Dem 51
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Today's Republican Party, Part V: Trump Throws a Hail Mary

Speaking of Donald Trump, and his terror/desperation, here's an item that is surely the least surprising of the day. As we have noted, special counsel Jack Smith has kindly invited former VP Mike Pence to drop by for a chat with a grand jury. Pence fought back, but only halfheartedly, and agreed to show up after losing a court challenge. Had Pence kept pressing the matter, he would have lost several more times, but at least he would have dragged it out and made it look like he was "fighting the good fight." The problem is that he doesn't particularly want to fight the good fight, either because he'd love to cut Donald Trump off at the knees, or because he's tired of paying lawyers, or both.

Although Pence is apparently OK with surrendering, that's not OK with Trump. And so, the former president has filed an appeal of the order commanding Pence to testify. Trump's argument here is one of his favorites, namely executive privilege, which he deploys as if it were a skeleton key, able to defeat all obstacles.

Of course, executive privilege isn't actually a skeleton key. In fact, it hasn't ever worked for Trump since he ceased to be president. Or, to put that another way, it hasn't worked since Trump ceased to be chief executive, and so ceased to have the privileges that come with that office. Has he fooled himself into believing that it will work this time, the way he fooled himself that at least one of his election-challenge cases would hit pay dirt? Or is he hoping to get before a very friendly judge, like Neomi Rao? Or is he just trying to buy time, in the hopes that he can drag this out until campaign season heats up in 2024, and it becomes much harder for the DoJ to go after him? Your guess is as good as ours, but this certainly speaks to high-level dysfunction in the GOP, and so fits with the overall theme of the day. (Z)

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