Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) took to Fox News this week to decry to latest indictments of Donald Trump. Said Graham: “This should be decided at the ballot box and not in a bunch of liberal jurisdictions trying to put the man in jail. They’re weaponizing the law.”
The problem with Graham’s argument is that it was decided at the ballot box. Trump refused to accept the results. Then Trump sought to have the courts override the results. He lost 63 lawsuits. Then he tried to get Vice President Mike Pence to ignore the U.S. Constitution when counting electoral votes. Pence refused. Then he encouraged his supporters to engage in a “wild” rally on January 6. It ultimately failed.
And that’s why we are where we are.
Jonathan Chait: “Maybe, just maybe, the reason Trump keeps getting indicted for crimes is not that the criminal justice system is in the grips of a vast liberal conspiracy but that he is, in fact, a criminal?”
Asked by reporters about new criminal charges unveiled against Donald Trump in Georgia, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) pointed to a “legal system weaponized against political opponents that is un-American and unacceptable,” the Des Moines Register reports.
Vanity Fair: Republicans are having a really, really hard time processing Trump’s Georgia indictment.
Donald Trump is now promising a “Large, Complex, Detailed but Irrefutable REPORT on the Presidential Election Fraud which took place in Georgia” which he claimed “is almost complete & will be presented by me at a major News Conference at 11:00 A.M. on Monday of next week in Bedminster, New Jersey.”
He predicts: “There will be a complete EXONERATION!”
After Donald Trump teased a “major news conference” on Monday to prove the election was stolen, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) responded: “The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen.”
“Mike Pence said Wednesday that the Georgia election was not stolen in 2020, leaning into his role on Jan. 6, days after Donald Trump’s indictment for his attempts to overturn the election results in the state,” Politico reports. Said Pence: “The Georgia election was not stolen and I had no right to overturn the election on Jan. 6.”
New York Times: “The report in question is a document of more than 100 pages that was compiled at least in part by Liz Harrington, a Trump communications aide who is often described as among the true believers in his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him through widespread fraud.”
“The document focuses on what detractors of the election have insisted are widespread voting anomalies in Georgia during that campaign, the people said. It has been in the works for many weeks.”
Not surprising: “It is also unclear whether Mr. Trump’s promised news conference will go forward on Monday, when the club is expected to be closed and holding only private events.”
“The district attorney in Fulton County, Ga., Fani Willis, began investigating former President Donald Trump 21 months before Jack Smith was appointed special counsel — but they both secured indictments, covering much of the same ground, in one two-week span,” the New York Times reports.
“The Fulton County indictment represents a single chapter in the four-count indictment brought by Mr. Smith: the former president’s attempt to strong-arm Georgia into his win column.”
“But the Atlanta case, because of its use of the state’s expansive anti-racketeering law, extends far beyond Georgia’s borders to encompass Mr. Trump’s broader effort across the country to cling to power — creating an extraordinary parallel-track prosecution of a leading political figure unlike anything in the country’s history.”
Washington Post: In Georgia and federal indictments, two vastly different approaches.
USA Today: Trump is wrestling with 5 big legal cases. Here’s how they may collide with the campaign calendar.
“The criminal case against former President Donald Trump for attempting to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia will be handled by the newest judge on the court, a former prosecutor who once worked in the same office as Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis,” Reuters reports.
“Fulton County Superior Court records show Judge Scott McAfee will oversee the case against Trump, which alleges the Republican was part of a scheme to overturn his loss in the state to Democrat Joe Biden. Judges are randomly assigned to cases.”
Harry Litman: “Trump’s latest indictment is also distinct from the others by virtue of the government-friendly laws that will apply at trial. Those begin with RICO, the Georgia version of which is unusually expansive, encompassing predicate acts such as perjury that are not included in its federal counterpart.”
“Georgia also has stricter laws governing the conditions of release that lean toward pretrial detention, including a requirement that defendants show they pose no risk of intimidation to witnesses. Given Trump’s history, imagine the challenge that presents for his lawyers when he is arraigned, probably later this month.”
“Georgia also has strong speedy-trial provisions that could allow another defendant to demand to be tried within a few months, which could put Trump in a tight spot.”
“Even as it repackages much familiar evidence and treads some of the ground covered by another prosecution, Trump’s fourth indictment is a lot more than piling on. In some respects, it is the most far-reaching and portentous response to Trump’s assault on democracy.”
Donald Trump’s indictment in Georgia is more legally perilous than his other three criminal indictments. He can’t pardon himself if he wins re-election, prison time is almost certain if he’s convicted and all courtroom proceedings will be televised.
But more immediately, Georgia has much stricter laws governing the terms of release. After Trump turns himself in, bail can be granted only if there is “no significant risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the administration of justice.” Trump has spent years attacking judges and witnesses on television, in his speeches and on social media.
He’s already attacked the prosecutor in the Georgia case as “corrupt” and even warned a witness not to testify before the grand jury. Since Trump reportedly won’t be spared the indignities of being fingerprinted and having a mugshot taken, it will be interesting to see if the state’s witness intimidation law is enforced.
Rolling Stone: “Donald Trump’s allies are searching frantically for legal methods to shut down the investigation in Georgia, another sign of MAGAworld’s growing angst over Trump’s mounting legal troubles — especially in Fulton County.”
Former President Donald Trump and his 18 co-defendants will be booked at the Fulton County Jail, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
Said the sheriff’s office: “Keep in mind, defendants can turn themselves in at any time. The jail is open 24/7. Also, due to the unprecedented nature of this case, some circumstances may change with little or no warning.”
Former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis said she is resolved to “trust the Lord” after she was indicted in Georgia last night for scheming to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
She added: “I will simply continue to honor, praise, and serve Him.” Hey Jenna, the Lord does not approve of lying or stealing. He issued some commandments to that affect.
Punchbowl News: “America’s economic story has largely stayed the same this summer. Virtually every macro metric that policymakers care about — unemployment, prices, growth — is trending in the right direction, even allowing for some recent fits and starts. Investment in new factories is soaring. Consumer sentiment has improved recently. And economists have backed off their recession call for 2023. In a big way. This should all be good for President Joe Biden and the Democrats.”
“But public polling hasn’t reflected that progress, as we’ve written before. Voters have consistently identified the economy as a top concern, and they haven’t heaped praise upon the Biden administration’s approach so far, to put it mildly.”
“The disconnect isn’t too hard to grasp. Inflation has been brutal during the past two years, and the resulting higher prices are still with us even as wages start to catch up. The pandemic-era boom in social welfare funding dried up long ago. And in the meantime, we’ve seen an unprecedented surge in U.S. food insecurity and homelessness. That makes it harder for Democrats to embrace ‘Bidenomics’ as a full victory.”
Washington Post: “With unemployment near 50-year lows, inflation edging down and wages rising faster than prices, businesses and families are still spending: Orders for American-made goods spiked in June and fresh data this week shows that retail and restaurant sales climbed for the fourth straight month in July.”
“The Atlanta Fed is now predicting economic growth will top 4 percent this quarter.”
“Hunter Biden attorney Christopher Clark is withdrawing from representing the president’s son in a Delaware probe, pointing to a continuing legal battle over a plea agreement in the tax case that dissolved before it could be approved by a judge,” The Hill reports.
“Special counsel David Weiss said the deal his team previously reached with Hunter Biden to resolve a felony gun possession charge was never approved by a probation officer and is not binding,” CNN reports.
“President Biden said on Tuesday that he would travel to Hawaii to inspect damage on Maui after the country’s deadliest wildfires in over a century ripped through the island, killing at least 99 people and devastating an entire coastal town,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Biden had not addressed the Maui wildfires since last week, when he declared a federal emergency and issued a statement with condolences for the families of those who died. His relative silence had drawn criticism from Republicans, which led to pushback from the White House.”
New York Times: “The filing of House financial disclosure reports each year is usually considered a routine affair. But for Representative George Santos of New York, who is facing 13 felony charges related to his finances, the matter has the potential to become yet another soap opera.”
“Mr. Santos, a first-term Republican, missed the Aug. 13 deadline to file his disclosures, a lapse that could lead to fines.”
“House Republicans first flirted with nullifying Donald Trump’s impeachments back when the former president faced only two indictments. Now that number has doubled, and the manager of Trump’s second impeachment — Rep. Jamie Raskin — simply laughed when asked about the GOP’s case for trying to erase Trump’s record,” Politico reports.
Said Raskin: “They could pass expungements, reversals, nullifications, apologies, pardons and valentines to Donald Trump, but it makes no difference.”
Special Counsel Jack Smith was seeking Donald Trump’s direct messages on Twitter, of which there were many, federal prosecutors and lawyers for Twitter revealed in newly unsealed transcripts from hearings about the search warrant, CNN reports.
New York Times: “While it remained unclear what sorts of information the messages contained and who exactly may have written them, it was a revelation that there were private messages associated with the Twitter account of Mr. Trump, who has famously been cautious about using written forms of communications in his dealings with aides and allies.”
“The lawyer for Twitter told Judge Howell that the company had found both ‘deleted’ and ‘nondeleted’ direct messages associated with Mr. Trump’s account.”
“Rudy Giuliani is staring down hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills and sanctions amid numerous lawsuits in addition to the new criminal charges – related to his work for Donald Trump after the 2020 election,” CNN reports.
“In court on Monday, the former New York City mayor said the legal quagmires have left him effectively out of cash. He even appears to have responded to some of the money crunch by listing for sale a 3-bedroom Manhattan apartment he owns for $6.5 million.”
New York Times: “The criminal indictment of Mr. Giuliani, his first, marks the lowest point so far in his yearslong reputational tumble. Once heralded as a fearless lawman, game-changing New York City mayor and Sept. 11 hero, he is now defined by a subservience to the 45th president that sometimes veered into buffoonery.”
“Several of the attorneys who spearheaded President Donald Trump’s frenzied effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election tried, and failed, to collect payment for the work they did for Trump’s political operation, despite the fact that their lawsuits and false claims of election interference helped the Trump campaign and allied committees raise $250 million in the weeks following the November vote,” CNBC reports.
“Among them was Trump’s closest ally, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. Trump and Giuliani had a handshake agreement that Giuliani and his team would get paid by the Trump political operation for their post-election work.”
“But the Trump campaign and their affiliated committees ultimately did not honor that pledge, according to campaign finance records.”
Associated Press: “The sheer number of investigations, criminal cases and lawsuits brought against Trump are unprecedented for a former president. The same could be said for the tens of millions of dollars in legal fees paid out to attorneys representing him and his allies, straining the finances of his campaign.”
“An Associated Press analysis of recent fundraising disclosures shows Trump’s political committees have paid out at least $59.2 million to more than 100 lawyers and law firms since January 2021.”
“The threat posed by this colossal drain of resources has led Trump’s allies to establish a new legal defense fund, the Patriot Legal Defense Fund.”
“The U.S. ambassador to Russia was granted access to jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich on Monday in the third such visit since his detention in March,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Wall Street Journal: “Setbacks securing the release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and other Americans held in Russia through a trade for high-profile Russians locked up in other countries have forced U.S. officials to refocus on a deal involving Russian prisoners in U.S. custody.”
“One problem: it’s unclear that Russia wants any of them.”
Playbook: “The reason for the silence is pretty simple. Candidate Joe Biden campaigned in 2020 on a restoration of time-tested governing norms — including the thick, bold line between the West Wing and the Justice Department that had been drawn after Watergate and, to Democrats, had been dangerously thinned during the Trump administration.”
“Then the special counsels and subpoenas and indictments and arrests started, sparking a frustrating almost-daily stalemate between the Beltway press corps and Biden’s foremost defenders at the White House and inside his political orbit.”
“Biden in fact sent explicit orders that individuals or entities associated with him are not to discuss the criminal investigations into Trump — from his reelection campaign to the DNC to anyone speaking as Biden’s surrogate.”
“But four indictments and 91 felony counts later — and Trump’s political power within the GOP only growing — some Democrats are getting antsy. The old rules, they argue, are ill-suited for a bruising battle with Trump, especially considering the heart of Biden’s reelection argument: that Trump and Trumpism are dangerous to democracy.”
“Sen. Dianne Feinstein has sued to remove the trustees of her late husband’s estate, alleging they have committed financial elder abuse, refused to respond to any requests for disbursements and improperly financially enriched his daughters,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
“The lawsuit, filed Aug. 8, also provides additional insight into Feinstein’s power of attorney arrangement with her daughter, Katharine Feinstein. The California Democrat, 90, executed a limited durable power of attorney July 23 to allow her daughter to act as her representative in litigation matters, according to the suit.”
“Donald Trump faces a dilemma as his criminal cases pile up and his first presidential primary contest nears: how will he divide his time between campaigning and fighting in court,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Instead of deciding, he is merging the two: The courtroom is now central to his campaign.”
“It is a strategy that has worked well for him so far—he has risen in the Republican primary standings since the first criminal case against him in the spring. But it also carries risks if he makes it to the general election, where independent voters will be critical in determining the presidential winner in November next year.”
“The company formerly known as Twitter has begun slowing the speed with which users can access links to the New York Times, Facebook and other news organizations and online competitors, a move that appears targeted at companies that have drawn the ire of owner Elon Musk,” the Washington Post reports.
“The delayed websites included X’s online rivals Facebook, Instagram, Bluesky and Substack, as well as the Reuters wire service and the Times. All of them have previously been singled out by Musk for ridicule or attack.”
“Donald Trump and some of his legal advisers see an upside to the latest criminal case against him: He can use his upcoming trial to further argue his false claims of a stolen 2020 election,” the Washington Post reports.
“The looming courtroom showdown is poised to push his insistence that election fraud occurred in 2020 toward the center of the 2024 presidential campaign, a dismaying prospect for Republicans and some of Trump’s advisers who have urged him to stop belaboring that subject.”
And if he’s the GOP nominee, he’ll ensure the 2024 election will also re-litigate the last election.
“In a recent speech, Michael Flynn, a Christian nationalist, suggested mothers were complicit in handing over their young children to go on trains to Auschwitz,” the Jewish Chronicle reports.
“There was this delicious mushroom dish. I was not aware that these mushrooms had hallucinogenic properties… I learned that later.”— Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, quoted by the HuffPost, recounting her China visit.
“Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) said Tuesday that he was the victim of a hacking attack by Chinese spies after hackers reportedly also managed to read emails belonging to State Department employees,” The Hill reports.
“A former high-ranking FBI counterintelligence official pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge Tuesday, admitting that he agreed after leaving the agency to work for a Russian oligarch he had once investigated to seek dirt on the oligarch’s wealthy rival in violation of sanctions on Russia,” the AP reports.