Trump Tells Followers to Sacrifice Themselves to Save Him from the Law - The Monday AM Quickie 3/20/23
I'm knocking on wood as I type this, but I think the spring thaw may finally be here at last. I spent a whole day walking around in sneakers instead of boots! - Corey
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THE BIG NEWS
Why Trump Is Convinced He Will Be Arrested Tomorrow
Busy weekend! NBC News reported on Friday that local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies were preparing for a possible criminal indictment of Donald Trump as early as this week. Trump seemed to confirm that report the next day when he told his cult-like following on Truth Social that he expected to get arrested this Tuesday – tomorrow – on the orders of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and who Trump cast as his supposed paymaster, George Soros. Bragg's office has been investigating Trump's hush money payments to the porn star Stormy Daniels, and as the New York Times reported yesterday, a grand jury is hearing witnesses and weighing whether to indict the former crook-in-chief.
"PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!" Trump wrote. "WE JUST CAN'T ALLOW THIS ANYMORE. THEY'RE KILLING OUR NATION AS WE SIT BACK & WATCH. WE MUST SAVE AMERICA!PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!!!" After posting this, the Washington Post reports, Trump hit the links at his golf club in Jupiter, Florida, before flying to a wrestling tournament in Oklahoma.
Trump loyalists online quickly took up the call to arms, with one popular suggestion being that they offer themselves up as human shields at Mar-a-Lago to save Trump from arrest, and perhaps, if necessary, shoot down a few police helicopters. (Incidentally, similar scenes played out in Pakistan over the weekend as police arrested 61 supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is facing corruption charges, at Khan's house in Lahore.) Bragg, the DA, seemed to indicate that his office was receiving threats from Trump supporters yesterday, noting in an email to staff that "we do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York." Former Vice President Mike Pence said yesterday that Trump supporters should protest peacefully, and those that do so violently "should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Is Trump really going to get arrested? According to Vice News, "Trump's own people seem to think Trump's incendiary post may have gotten ahead of the facts," with a Trump spokesperson suggesting that the Friday NBC report may have inspired Trump's post the following day, and claiming that Trump has received no other notification about his arrest. The Secret Service claims it was not notified of any indictment. So there is an off chance that this huge public freakout was primarily a product of Trump's paranoid imagination. But that chance looks smaller with every new headline. The Associated Press was able to verify NBC's story about law enforcement preparing for a Trump indictment, and the Times story had a lot of detail suggesting Trump and his lawyers must be fully aware of the imminent potential for an indictment from the Manhattan grand jury. Bottom line: there's a real chance he could be forced to answer criminal charges soon. Good!
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
'October Surprise' Conspirator Comes Clean
With former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, 98, in hospice care, an 84-year-old participant in the "October Surprise" conspiracy to derail Carter's 1980 reelection campaign has finally decided that "history needs to know" what really happened. Ben Barnes, a prominent Texas Republican politician, tells the New York Times that former Gov. John Connally Jr. took him to the Middle East that summer in order to send the message to Iran that they shouldn't release 52 American hostages until after the election, in order to get "a better deal" (read: covert weapons shipments) from Ronald Reagan. Connally hoped Reagan would make him Secretary of Defense, and Barnes says future Central Intelligence Agency Bill Casey was fully aware of the plot. "Carter got a little bit of a bad deal about the hostages," Barnes says. If only his conscience had spoken up sooner.
White House Pooh-Poohs China's Ukraine Cease-Fire Bid
Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to meet with Aspiring Tsar Vladimir Putin in Moscow this week to discuss a possible cease fire in Ukraine, and the Biden administration is not happy. Per the New York Times:
A cease-fire now would be "effectively the ratification of Russian conquest," John Kirby, a White House spokesman, said on Friday. "It would in effect recognize Russia's gains and its attempt to conquer its neighbor's territory by force, allowing Russian troops to continue to occupy sovereign Ukrainian territory."
It seems to me Ukrainians should decide. For his part, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signaled more openness to Xi playing a mediator role, but he has also said he won't talk peace until Russia withdraws all its forces from Ukraine, including from Crimea. Putin, meanwhile, shrugged off his arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court by visiting occupied Mariupol over the weekend.
- Silicon Valley Bank Ignored Repeated Warnings from Fed Before Collapse "[T]he fact that the bank's chief executive, Greg Becker, sat on the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's board of directors until March 10" might have been a problem! via the New York Times.
- Macron Government Faces No Confidence Vote Today "We feel like they're going to cut our heads off," a conservative lawmaker says of Parisians striking over plans to raise the retirement age. via Le Monde and the Guardian.
- GOP Donor Who Ran Campaign Against Rep. Ilhan Omar Charged with Child Sex Trafficking Anton "Tony" Lazzaro of Minneapolis allegedly gave hard liquor, cash, vapes, alcohol, Plan B to teen girls in exchange for performing sex acts; like Trump, he calls the charges political. via the Associated Press.
- Netanyahu Orders Crackdown on Protests By Military Reservists As street protests continue, more than 700 "elite officers" from the Israeli Air Force, special forces, and the Mossad stopped volunteering for duty yesterday in protest of the prime minister's move to neuter the judiciary. via the AP.
That's how much Houston County, Georgia paid to a private law firm to argue in federal court that the county's health plan should not have to pay for gender transition surgery for sheriff's deputy Anna Lange. According to ProPublica, simply adding gender-affirming care to the county health plan would have cost roughly $10,000 per year.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
3/20: Sam and Emma host Bruce Schneier, lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, to discuss his recent book A Hacker’s Mind: How the Powerful Bend Society’s Rules, and How to Bend them Back.
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
VICTORY: Union Workers Celebrate End of 'Right to Work' Laws in Michigan
Good to see Democrats taking advantage of a legislative majority for a change.
Jimmy Dore Hosts Venture Capitalist Ghoul Who Demanded Fed Bail Out SVB
To set up this interview Dore played a long clip from Tucker Carlson's show and nodded along with his arguments.
"Hey, you actually can force-feed. Here's what you can do. Here's kind of the rules for that."
-- Florida Gov. RonDeSantis, speaking to a CBS News reporter in 2018 about the advice he gave as a U.S. Navy Judge Advocate to his superiors at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when hundreds of inmates went on a hunger strike. The Washington Post resurfaced the DeSantis quote in a weekend story about the likely Republican presidential candidate's oversight of torture, which includes forced feedings, at Guantanamo Bay.
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