“America’s institutions have been attacked repeatedly over the past half-dozen years, thanks principally to the conduct and actions of Donald Trump. The next 18 months could further undermine confidence in democracy and the rule of law as the former president seeks a return to the White House while defending himself against federal and state criminal charges,” the Washington Post reports.
“Not since the Vietnam War in the 1960s or perhaps the mid-19th century before the Civil War has the country’s governing structure faced such disunity and peril, given the unprecedented nature of a federal criminal indictment of a former president compounded by the fact that Trump has been charged by the Justice Department in the administration of the Democrat who defeated him in 2020 and who is his likeliest general election opponent in 2024, if Trump is nominated again by the Republican Party.”
“Scholars, legal experts and political strategists agree that what lies ahead is ugly and unpredictable.”
Peggy Noonan: “The charges aren’t about press clippings, personal letters and autographed photos of foreign leaders. The federal criminal indictment charges Donald Trump with illegally keeping, hiding and showing to others national-security documents including information on U.S. nuclear programs, potential vulnerabilities of the U.S. and its allies to military attack, and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack.”
“You can’t get more serious, more breathtaking, in a charge against a former president. The documents have to do with the most essential of our security interests. They are about how we keep our country safe from military attack.”
“It is said Mr. Trump’s base never wavers and always rallies, and historically this has been true. When he’s accused of being a trickster in business they don’t care—it’s extraneous to presidential leadership. They don’t care if he’s an abusive predator of women—again, extraneous, old news. But endangering our national security, including our nuclear secrets? That is another matter.”
Mike Pence told NBC News the question of pardoning Donald Trump was “premature” and blasted his 2024 rivals for assuming Trump will even need a pardon.
Said Pence: “I don’t know why some of my competitors in the Republican primary presume the president will be found guilty. Look, all we know is what the president has been accused of in the indictment. We don’t know what his defense is.”
Mike Pence said he would “clean house” in federal law enforcement if he was elected president, The Hill reports.
Fintan O’Toole: “Secrets are a kind of currency. They can be hoarded, but if kept for too long they lose their value. Like all currencies, they must, sooner or later, be used in a transaction—sold to the highest bidder or bartered as a favor for which another favor will be returned.”
“To see the full scale of Donald Trump’s betrayal of his country, it is necessary to start with this reality. He kept intelligence documents because, at some point, those secrets could be used in a transaction. What he was stockpiling were the materials of treason. He may not have known how and when he would cash in this currency, but there can be little doubt that he was determined to retain the ability to do just that.”
“Before the publication of the grand jury’s indictment, it was possible to believe that Trump’s retention of classified documents was reckless and stupid. The indictment reveals that recklessness and stupidity are the least of his sins.”
“As they try to deflect attention from his federal indictment, former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies on Capitol Hill say President Joe Biden and his family members are the ones who should be prosecuted or jailed,” NBC News reports.
Trump posts a video: “CROOKED JOE BIDEN pressed deranged Jack Smith to do this FAKE INDICTMENT on me in order to take the pressure off the fact that they caught Joe Biden stealing FIVE MILLION DOLLARS, and that’s just the beginning!”
Washington Post: “All told, 35 Senate Republicans remain on the sidelines of the 2024 contest, more than 70 percent of the caucus, and it’s crystal clear that many are paralyzed by the fear that former president Donald Trump might seek revenge if they publicly support someone else.”
“Today’s Senate GOP ranks are adrift in a broader Republican realignment in which their traditional conservative ideology feels increasingly marginalized. They don’t comport with Trump’s America First worldview calling for a retreat from global leadership and opposing the strong defense of Ukraine against Russia.”
“The Tories face the threat of new Partygate police probe as previously unseen footage shows staff boozing, dancing and mocking lockdown laws at the height of Covid,” The Mirror reports.
“A bombshell video exposes for the first time how officials joked about their lockdown rule-bending Christmas bash at the Conservative Campaign Headquarters in London.”
“An angry, aggrieved former leader attacks the institutions he once led for accusing him of flouting the rules and lying about it. His allies whip up supporters against what they call a witch hunt. A country watches nervously, worried that this flamboyant, norm-busting figure could cause lasting damage,” the New York Times reports.
“There are obvious parallels in the political tempests convulsing Britain and the United States, but also stark differences: Former President Donald J. Trump faces federal criminal charges while Boris Johnson was judged to be deceitful about attending parties. And yet, Britain’s Conservative Party has regularly stood up to Mr. Johnson while the Republican Party is still mostly in thrall to Mr. Trump.”
“Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff under Donald Trump, is “the central witness” in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) probe into the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, according to former U.S. attorney and legal analyst Harry Litman,” Newsweek reports.
“Years before he said he was running for president to ‘defeat the cult of gender ideology,’ Donald Trump welcomed and praised the inclusion of transgender women in the Miss Universe pageant,” CNN reports.
“In since unreported radio and television interviews from spring and summer 2012, Trump celebrated the interest in a 23-year-old transgender woman named Jenna Talackova participating in a Canadian pageant.”
“He then later effusively praised the winner of the Miss USA pageant, Olivia Culpo, for saying that transgender women should be allowed to compete.”
“Secretary of State Antony Blinken makes his long-delayed visit to China beginning Sunday in the hope of slowing the downward spiral of relations between Beijing and Washington,” the New York Times reports.
“But China’s increasingly assertive, at times outright hostile, stance suggests that the visit will be as much about confrontation as détente.”
“President Joe Biden wanted to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the days after the U.S. military shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina — even saying publicly that he expected to do so — but his top national security advisers talked him out of it,” NBC News reports.
“Biden believed his relationship with Xi could help tamp down the newly escalated tensions with Beijing if he had the opportunity to speak directly and smooth things over.”
“In an effort to get credit with Americans now, Biden’s cabinet officials and campaign officials plan to fan out across the country this summer to aggressively promote the new bridges, roads, airport and broadband projects getting underway that may otherwise go unnoticed until their completion,” Time reports.
Said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg: “When something is unambiguously good, you have to work 10 times harder to get attention. We’re going to be on the road. We’re going to be drawing attention to this good work. The story is not going to tell itself.”
“In just 24 hours this past week the central banks of the world’s three biggest economic blocs came to starkly different conclusions, with the eurozone raising rates, the U.S. on hold and the Chinese cutting. It’s getting harder for investors to understand the global economy—and potentially getting harder for the Federal Reserve to put a lid on inflation,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The conflicting moves are caused by economies increasingly moving to local rhythms. Europe is in a technical recession, but the central bank expects inflation to last. China has no inflation problem but is suffering from the aftermath of its extended lockdowns and property bubble. The U.S. economy is doing surprisingly well, and inflation has plunged, but underlying price increases remain stubbornly high.”
Financial Times: “The performance of the S&P 500 index is now the most concentrated it has been since the 1970s. Seven of the biggest constituents — Apple, Microsoft, Google owner Alphabet, Amazon, Nvidia, Tesla and Meta — have ripped higher, gaining between 40 per cent and 180 per cent this year.”
“The remaining 493 companies are, in aggregate, flat.”
“Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst and anti-war activist whose disclosure of the so-called Pentagon Papers revealed systemic US government deception about the Vietnam War, has died… He was 92,” CNN reports.
USA Today: “Even as the justices wrap up their work, they’re also making decisions about the next term, which kicks off in the fall. The court may also announce whether it will hear significant cases involving guns, voting rights and other issues − adding to a docket already brimming with important disputes.”
President Biden has visited Philadelphia 13 times since becoming president, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
“The gross national debt exceeded $32 trillion for the first time on Friday, underscoring the country’s unsettling fiscal trajectory as Washington gears up for another fight over government spending,” the New York Times reports.
New York Times reporters Annie Karni and Luke Broadwater will be out in 2025 with “a rollicking, unvarnished, and deeply sourced account of life inside the Republican Party focusing on the GOP-led 118th Congress,” Axios reports.
“Ending a walkout that held up key bills for six weeks, Republicans showed up for work in the Oregon senate on Thursday after wresting concessions from Democrats on measures covering abortion, transgender healthcare and gun rights,” The Guardian reports.
Fox News host Jesse Watters launched into a tirade against San Francisco’s homeless population: “San Francisco’s been hollowed out. All that’s left is rich tech titans working from home and just bags of flesh mutating on the sidewalk.” He also referred to the homeless as “urine-soaked junkies” and “vagabonds and zombies.”