Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

Trump Legal News: Only in America

The title of that song, by Brooks & Dunn, actually works on numerous levels here. However, we have one reason in particular for using it. Reader R.M.S. in Stamford, CT, gave us a heads-up about this story. Normally, when Donald Trump holds one of his rallies, the song that is played is Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA." However, the recent Lincoln Dinner in Iowa was not staged by the Trump campaign, and so the choice of music was not theirs. The folks organizing the event went with the Brooks & Dunn song instead, which just so happens to include these lyrics:

One kid dreams of fame and fortune
One kid helps pay the rent
One could end up going to prison
One just might be president
Only in America

Was the song chosen because it's a country classic with a patriotic theme? Or was it chosen by someone who's not a fan of Trump (perhaps because of his attacks on Gov. Kim Reynolds, R-IA) and who wanted to get in a subtle dig? We don't know, but Trump was reportedly furious about it. He may not listen to security briefings, or to his lawyers, but he does listen to song lyrics, it would seem.

Yesterday, of course, was Trump's third arraignment. And, of course, he entered a plea of "not guilty." Here are the five most interesting things from the courtroom portion of the day:

  1. The magistrate judge who handled the hearing is Moxila A. Upadhyaya, a woman of Indian descent (Tanya Chutkan will take the case over once the pleadings are complete). One can only imagine some of the thoughts that went through Trump's head, some of which might end up being expressed on his boutique social media platform.

  2. Trump was visibly irritated when the Judge addressed him as "Mr. Trump" and not "Mr. President."

  3. Trump was also irritated when the Judge warned him that he would face arrest if he tried to threaten a juror, bribe a witness, or retaliate against anyone cooperating with the government.

  4. The two sides are already fighting aggressively over the timeline for the case. Trump lawyer John Lauro basically said he's going to need infinite time to get a handle on the case. The government wants to adhere to the terms of the Speedy Trial Act of 1974. If that happens, the trial would commence in 30 to 70 days. In other words, as we've already written, Team Smith is locked, loaded and ready to go.

  5. The next court hearing will be on August 28.

So, the courtroom portion was pretty dry, as would be expected. On the other hand—speaking of "Only in America"—the scene outside the courthouse was a carnival. Reader R.G. in Washington, DC, was kind enough to send in a few photos:

There's a sign that says 'Grump = Loser' and a Black Lives Matter flag

A woman holds a sign that says 'Make fascists ashamed again'

A guy in an old-style striped prison suit holds a sign that says 'Lock him up' while flanked by Black Lives Matter flags

A Black woman has a banner that says 'Black folks will save us' and 'Finally, Trump arrested again... and again

A guy is selling pins out of a wagon labeled 'The Roving Anti-Trumpism Bandwagon,' which also has a banner that says 'He's indicted and it feels so good'

As you will note, and as R.G. points out, the guy in the last picture stole our song idea. He's even selling buttons that say "He's indicted, and it feels so good." Needless to say, we'll be suing for our cut of the profits. R.G. did not manage to get a picture of the guy who was dressed like a Minuteman and singing Miley Cyrus songs, but luckily someone else got that and put it on YouTube.

What you don't see in the pictures is many (any?) Trump supporters. Their absence was noticeable enough that both CNN and Fox commented on it. It is Washington, DC, of course, and not exactly Trump Territory. On the other hand, the Trumpers had no issues getting there en masse on January 6, 2021. Presidential "candidate" Vivek Ramaswamy was ostensibly there to show his support, but in truth he was finished recording his "on the scene" video hit and was outta there by 7:30 a.m., well before Trump arrived. In fact, it was well before the judge or most of the press corps had arrived. We pass this along just in case you had any doubts that Ramaswamy is kinda phony.

Unsurprisingly, the pro-Trump spin operation was operating at full capacity once the former president left the courtroom. A few selected quotes:

Trump: When you look at what's happening, this is a persecution of a political opponent. This was never supposed to happen in America. This is the persecution of the person that's leading by very, very substantial numbers in the Republican primary and leading Biden by a lot. So if you can't beat 'em, you persecute 'em or you prosecute 'em. We can't let this happen in America. Thank you very much.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): The likelihood that a D.C. jury will vote to convict Donald Trump is exceptionally high and the facts don't matter, the laws don't matter: They hate him. That's a big part of the reason why the Biden DOJ wants to bring this case in D.C. Which means, with a far-left judge and a far-left jury, there is a very real possibility that Donald Trump ends up being convicted.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO): This is election interference at its finest. The DOJ is no longer the Department of Justice. It's the department of injustice and with this arraignment, Joe Biden, his DOJ, has officially become his new campaign headquarters, and [Special Counsel] Jack Smith is his new campaign manager. I'm actually really excited over this arraignment because it only ensures that President Trump will be the 47th president of the United States.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): I think people in fly-over country, hillbillies in Ohio, or Iowa or Oklahoma, they're so sick of it, we're so sick of it. We're saying, we're going to support president [sic]. I think that's the take-away, I think that's the result of all this.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA): This is not justice. This is the greatest injustice. This is actual real communism in America. The Biden administration is arresting and trying to put in jail their top political opponent, Donald Trump. Why? Because they're watching the polls and they know that he's going to win. This is a serious situation.

On a related note, a new study reveals that there is a correlation between cognitive decline and constipation. So it's now a scientific fact that stupid people are more likely to be full of sh**.

Now, carefully crafted spin is one thing. Maybe it actually does some good in terms of fundraising, rallying the troops, etc. It's another thing entirely when the spin amounts to shooting yourself in the foot. Two different Trump attorneys went before the cameras yesterday and reminded us all why cut-rate legal representation is not usually the best idea:

Alina Habba: Well, I think that everybody was made aware that he lost the election. But that doesn't mean that was the only advice he was given.

John Lauro: What President Trump said is, "Let's go with option D. Let's just halt, let's just pause the voting and allow the state legislatures to take one last look and make a determination as to whether or not the elections were handled fairly." That's constitutional law. That's not an issue of criminal activity.

For those keeping score at home, that's two Trump lawyers admitting to key elements of the prosecution's case (that Trump knew he lost, and that he was involved with efforts to overturn the vote in various states). Habba was on the scene of her own volition, but Lauro was speaking in an official capacity as a representative of the former president. And he said the exact same thing on multiple programs. Lauro can be put on the stand and required to explain what he meant by that. This means the government can potentially admit that into evidence, even if Trump chooses not to testify.

And finally, since we're on the subject, The New York Times thinks it has figured out the identity of mysterious Co-Conspirator 6: Boris Epshteyn. This is based on a reference the indictment makes to an e-mail sent to Rudy "Co-Conspirator 1" Giuliani. The indictment's description of the e-mail lines up pretty well with an e-mail that Epshteyn is known to have sent to Giuliani on Dec. 7, 2020. We'll learn, sooner or later, if the Times is right, but the paper wouldn't put its name to the story if they weren't pretty darn sure. (Z)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates