A large elephant is looking directly at the camera. The elephant is in a large body of water, possibly having a bath. Photo by Craig Matters on Unsplash

January 23, 2023: Evangelical pastor Franklin Graham, a longtime supporter of President Trump, says he will not endorse Trump – or any candidate – in the 2024 GOP presidential primary… (The Hill)

CBS noted Graham doesn’t generally endorse primary candidates, but his remarks come as tensions have been rising between evangelical groups and Trump in the months after he announced his third bid for president. Trump said in an interview earlier this week that evangelical leaders are showing “signs of disloyalty” because they have yet to endorse his 2024 campaign…

…Another prominent evangelical pastor, Robert Jeffress, also declined to endorse Trump, saying in an interview with The Hill on Friday that he does not see “a need to make an official endorsement two years out.” He said that former Vice President Mike Pence would be a “strong contender” if he decided to run in 2024…

February 20, 2023: Nikki Haley is swinging through Iowa this week fresh off announcing her presidential campaign. Her fellow South Carolinian Republican, Sen. Tim Scott will also be here as he decides his political future. And former Vice President Mike Pence was just in the state courting influential evangelical Christian activists. (PBS)

After a slow start, Republican presidential prospects are streaming into the leadoff presidential caucus state. Notably absent from the lineup, at least for now, is former President Donald Trump…

…Yet, in the three months since he announced his bid for a comeback, Trump has not set foot in Iowa, the first place his claim of party dominance will be tested early next year.

To be sure, Trump had campaign presence in Iowa. Alex Latcham, who is part of Trump’s national team but is based in the state, has been working on landing a caucus campaign director. But Trump held a kickoff rally on Jan. 28 in South Carolina, where his 2016 primary victory sealed his status as GOP frontrunner. And he squeezed in a speaking spot in New Hampshire, where he also won the first-in-the-nation primary seven years ago.

Though the caucuses remain nearly a year off, they remain the first event on the calendar, and some Iowa GOP activists have taken notice of Trump’s absence…

March 3, 2023: Former President Donald Trump lashed out at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday, using his 2024 debut speech in Iowa to rehash his longtime 2020 campaign claims and attack his would-be political rival days after the Florida Republican made an appearance in the Hawkeye state. (The Hill)

In a campaign event in Davenport that was billed by Trump’s campaign as an address on educational policy, the former president appeared preoccupied by just about anything other than America’s schools.

He boasted about the work he did to “save” the ethanol industry, bragged about how he moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and rehashed his baseless claim that he was robbed of a second term in the White House by widespread voter fraud…

…Trump’s remarks came during the first Iowa stop of his 2024 presidential bid. He’s been officially seeking the Republican nomination since November, but has largely stayed off the campaign trail…

March 6, 2023: Donald Trump’s age and finances might be keeping him from holding a larger number of campaign rallies compared to his previous presidential campaigns, according to Maggie Haberman, a reporter at The New York Times. (Insider via Yahoo! News)

Haberman, a senior political correspondent who has covered Trump extensively for the past several years, compared the former president’s 2024 run with his previous campaigns on Sunday’s “The Week” on ABC News when asked whether Trump is running a “real campaign.”

“He has serious people running this campaign. There is a difference in terms of how it is put together from 2016 to now,” Haberman said. “We have seen somebody who got attention in 2015 because he was doing all these rallies, and he seemed very in-your-face and everywhere.”

Trump was “omnipresent” in the media in the 2016 election, but “he’s not now,” Haberman said. He launched his 2024 campaign months ago in November, yet his speech on Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference was “only his fourth real event,” according to Haberman…

March 9, 2023: An angry Donald Trump erupted Thursday night following a report of a likely indictment against him by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. (Raw Story)

“I did absolutely nothing wrong,” he declared on Truth Social. “I never had an affair with Stormy Daniels, nor would I have wanted… an affair” with her, he posted. The expected legal action is aimed at “taking down” the top presidential candidate, he insisted.

“This is a political ‘Witch-hunt,”” Trump claimed, using one of his favorite attack words on any investigation into his activities. The case is “trying to take down the leading candidate, by far, in the Republican Party, while at the same time also leading all Democrats in the poll,” he posted…

…The New York Times reported earlier that an indictment appeared to be near for the former president. Prosecutors had offered Trump the opportunity to testify next week before the grand jury hearing evidence in a potential case against him. Such an offer would likely not be made unless indictments loomed, the newspaper reported.

The Manhattan probe centers on a $130,000 payment to Daniels to keep her quiet about her alleged relationship with Trump ahead of the presidential vote. The payment was made by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, who has testified that he did so under orders of his boss, and that he was reimbursed by Trump.

March 11, 2023: Former President Trump is reportedly on the brink of facing charges related to a hush money payment during the 2016 campaign, throwing a wrench into the nascent 2024 GOP presidential primary (The Hill)

Trump has already said in interviews that he plans to continue his campaign for the presidency even if he is indicted, and he was defiant in posts on Truth Social late Thursday that that made clear he was undeterred by the latest specter of criminal charges.

But a possible indictment in New York would be another blow for Trump, whose extensive legal woes already has some Republican voters and leaders suggesting it may be time for the party to move on to a candidate with less baggage…

March 13, 2023: Former President Donald Trump is set to return to Iowa Monday evening, signaling a determination to trudge forward with his 2024 White House campaign in the face of a possible criminal indictment. (The Hill)

Trump will deliver an address on education policy in Davenport just days after his would-be rival for the Republican nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, made an inaugural swing through the first-in-the-nation caucus state. The Monday appearance will mark Trump’s first trip to Iowa since announcing his 2024 presidential campaign nearly four months ago.

But it also comes at an uncertain moment for the former president. Prosecutors in Manhattan have reportedly offered Trump a chance to testify in a grand jury investigation of an alleged hush money payment made during his 2016 campaign – a move that suggests that criminal charges could be close.

The ultimate question now, is whether such a legal threat will hobble Trump as he looks to reclaim the GOP nomination next year…

March 15, 2023: President Trump has gotten increasingly aggressive in attacking Ron DeSantis (R) as the Florida governor inches toward a presidential campaign, posing potentially the biggest threat to date to Trump’s bid for the GOP’s 2024 nomination.

While Trump has lobbed plenty of schoolyard taunts and nicknames toward his onetime ally, the former president in recent days showed how he will look to highlight some of DeSantis’s past policy views to dampen support for the governor among Republican voters.

It’s a surprise move for the former president, who wasn’t well known as a policy wonk during his four years at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Even more surprising, the policy-based attacks have shown some signs of landing as the two Floridians battle ahead of the GOP primary fight…

March 20, 2023: As Donald Trump runs again for the White House, he is dogged by four criminal investigations that have gained momentum, including two focused on Trump’s zealous drive to overturn his 2020 election loss, raising the odds he will face charges in one or more inquiries in coming weeks or months, say former federal prosecutors. (The Guardian)

All four inquiries have accelerated in recent months with numerous subpoenas to close Trump associates and testimony by key witnesses before grand juries in Washington DC, Georgia and New York, that pose growing legal threats to Trump plus several of his ex-lawyers and allies.

Two investigations are homing in on Trump’s nonstop efforts to thwart his 2020 election loss with bogus fraud charges, while others are looking into Trump’s retention of hundreds of classified documents post his presidency, and Trump’s role in a $130,000 hush money payment in 2016 to porn star Stormy Daniels with whom he allegedly had an affair…

April 4, 2023: Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) weighed in on Tuesday on the mounting criminal cases against Donald Trump, saying “there’s no way” the former president will return to the Oval Office at this point.” (The Hill)

Republicans “could put up” with the Manhattan case where Trump was arraigned on Tuesday, Kasich said on MSNBC, but a probe into efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia and a Justice Department investigation into his handling of classified documents could “be too much water for him to take.”…

April 11, 2023: Former President Trump said in a new interview that he wouldn’t drop out of the 2024 race for any legal reason as he faces a possible conviction in a case involving hush-money payments. (The Hill)

“Is there anything they could throw at you legally, that would convince you to drop out of the race? If you get convicted in this case in New York, will you drop out?” Fox News’ Tucker Carlson asked Trump in an interview that aired Tuesday night.

“No, I’d never drop – it’s not my thing. I wouldn’t do it.” Trump responded.

Trump was arraigned last Tuesday and charged with 34 felony counts in connection to hush-money payments made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged affair. Trump has repeatedly denied any affair and has denounced Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation as politically motivated.

New York law states that falsifying business records escalates to a felony when an individual’s “intent to defraud includes an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof.” Each charge carries a maximum four years of jail time, but experts said that first-time offenders rarely [go] to jail over similar charges…

April 14, 2023: A political action committee supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) running for president launched an ad on Friday criticizing former President Trump as a “gun-grabber” over comments he has made supporting gun control legislation. (The Hill)

The ad from the Never Back Down PAC, which was founded by former senior Trump administration official Ken Cuccinelli, states that Trump promised members of the National Rifle association (NRA) to that he would back them but argues he “abandoned us” after Second Amendment right “came under attack.”

The ad features comments Trump made about standing up to the NRA and supporting gun control measures and accuses him of agreeing with prominent Democrats, like Vice President Kamala Harris and Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), on gun control…

…Some comments Trump made include declaring support for red flag laws, which allow individuals to petition a court to try and take away someone’s firearms if they have reason to believe they might pose a danger to themselves or others. The ad also shows Trump supporting a ban on bump stocks, increasing background checks, and raising the minimum age for buying a weapon from 18 to 21.”…

April 14, 2023: Former president Donald Trump on Friday filed his personal financial disclosure, offering the first glimpse into his earnings since leaving the White House. (The Hill)

The 101-page document, filed with the Federal Election Commission because Trump is running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, provides broad details about how much the former president made on various business ventures. Candidates are not required to report specific dollar amounts, instead disclosing their earnings in assets and broad ranges.

Trump reported making more than $5 million from speaking engagements, and earning between $100,001 and $1 million from CIC Digital, a company that has sold digital images of him via non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

He also reported more than $5 million in royalties from a firm listed as DT Marks Oman LLC, which is one of the former president’s overseas business ventures.

The former president reported that Trump Media & Technology Group Corp., which is tied to the social media platform Truth Social, is valued between $5,000,001 and $25 million, though Trump reported making less than $201 from the company…

April 14, 2023: Former President Trump pledged to be the National Rifle Association’s “loyal friend” at its annual conference on Friday ahead of the 2024 presidential election. (The Hill)

Trump said during remarks at the Indianapolis event that he “saved” the Second Amendment to the Constitution while serving as president and will continue to do so for a long time. He added that he was the “most pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment” president to ever serve…

…He said as president, he would ask Congress to send him a bill to sign to establish a national concealed carry “reciprocity” law, meaning that states would be required to recognize concealed carry permits approved in another state even if their state did not issue an individual a permit to carry.

A bill to establish this passed the House in 2017 but did not advance in the Senate…

April 24, 2023: Former President Trump posted an email titled: “Statement from President Donald J. Trump on Joe Biden’s Announcement” (Note: Donald J. Trump is NOT currently the President of the United States.) From the email:

You could take the five worst presidents in American history, out them together, and they would not have done the damage Joe Biden has done to our Nation in a few short years. Not even close.

Thanks to Joe Biden’s socialist spending calamity, American families are being decimated by the worst inflation in half a century. Banks are failing. Our currency is crashing and the dollar will soon no longer e the world standard, which will be our greatest defeat in over 200 years. Real wages have been falling 24 months in a row – in other words, under Biden, workers have gotten a PAY CUT each and every month for two straight years. We have surrendered our energy independence, just like we surrendered in Afghanistan, which we had just a short time ago – and the price of gasoline just hit a 5-month high, and its going much hire than that…

(Note: There is absolutely nothing in the email that connects to any of what former president Trump put in the above paragraph.)

April 26, 2023: Former President Trump on Wednesday doubled down on his earlier comments that he could skip Republican White House primary debates, suggesting that he’s far ahead enough in recent polling that he doesn’t need to engage. (The Hill)

…Trump said he’s “leading by 40 points” and stressed that “people don’t debate when they have massive leads.” He’s threatened to skip debates several times throughout 2016 and 2020 bids for the Oval Office.

The GOP has announced plans for two primary debates so far – the first set for later this year in Milwaukee and the second to be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California at an unset date…

…Recent polling has shown Trump at the front of a hypothetical GOP presidential primary. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who hasn’t announced an official bid, has cropped up as a top possible contender, though some recent results show Trump with a double-digit lead.

At the same time, other polling results indicate that many Americans don’t want Trump, who kicked off his 2024 campaign last year, to run to retake the White House…

May 15, 2023: Former President Donald Trump’s CNN town hall appearance marked a turning point in his media management strategy, as his campaign plans to do more outreach beyond conservative media. (The Messenger)

In his first mainstream media remarks since the New Hampshire event last week, Trump told The Messenger that the network should have boasted about the eyeballs he brought it.

“It was amazed to see that they were traumatized by what took place. They were actually traumatized,” Trump said in a wide-ranging 30-minute interview concerning his campaign. “They should have said ‘we had a tremendous ratings night, one of the best in years, many years,” and spiked the football.”

Until last week, Trump largely confined himself to conservative outlets and was embroiled in such a toxic relationship with the network that his crowds used to chant “CNN sucks!” at his rallies. That dynamic began to change after Trump had a falling out with Fox News over its coverage of his 2020 election loss and once CNN started to reboot its coverage under CEO Christ Licht…

May 23, 2023: Ahead of Donald Trump’s campaign visit to Iowa last week, the Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation made sure it was financially protected from the nation’s bill-skipper-in-chief. (Raw Story)

According to documents obtained by Raw Story through an Iowa public records request, the public operator of Lauridsen Amphitheater in Des Moines, Iowa, compelled the Trump 2024 campaign committee to sign a six-page contract to use the facility for a May 13 rally that was ultimately canceled because of potential tornadoes in the area.

The Water Works Park Foundation charged the Trump campaign $12,900 for rent, not including fencing, parking personnel, and portable toilets, according to the contract, which Trump campaign treasurer Bradley Crate signed.

“Base rent fee is due prior to event, any additional fees as ordered by DJTFP24 will be due within 30 days of the event’s conclusion,” the contract said in bold type, referring to the Trump 2024 campaign. Sam Carrell, executive director of the Des Moines Water Works Part Foundation, said Tuesday that the Trump campaign indeed paid ahead.

“While we don’t offer a refund, we do offer other open make up dates when weather forces a cancellation,” Carrell told Raw Story…

…The contract states that the Trump campaign was required to have a “comprehensive general liability insurance policy, including public liability and property damage, covering its activities hereunder, in an amount not less than One Million Dollars ($1,000,000)…

May 25, 2023: Former President Trump is pushing back on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) remarks calling on the GOP to reject a “culture of losing” in 2024, saying “Ron is not a winner.” (The Hill)

…Ron’s not a winner because Ron, without me, wouldn’t have won,” Trump added. “If I would have left it alone he would have lost by 30 points or more.”

DeSantis, who is mulling a bid for the White House, said at an event over the weekend that Republicans would win if stye provide a “positive alternative” to President Biden…

…Trump has repeatedly taken credit for DeSantis’s win in the 2018 Florida gubernatorial race. He said in a new interview that DeSantis was as “dead as a doornail” before receiving his endorsement…

May 30, 2023: Former President Trump is returning to his calls to remove birthright citizenship, with his 2024 White House campaign announcing Tuesday he would seek to end it via executive order on his first day in office. (The Hill)

Trump announced his plan in the 125th anniversary of United States v. Wong Kim Ark, the Supreme Court case that established the constitutional right to birthright citizenship.

The proposal echos a longtime demand of immigration restrictionists and a measure Trump toyed with while in office, attracting criticism from both immigration advocates and legal experts.

Most experts agree that a president does not have the authority to end birthright citizenship through an executive order, primarily because the practice is enshrined in the Constitution.

The 14th Amendment grants citizenship to those “born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

The widely accepted interpretation of that amendment – that it applies to children born in the United States regardless of the parent’s immigration status – has held since an 1898 Supreme Court case involving a U.S. citizen with Chinese parents…

June 6, 2023: Former President Trump said at a Georgia GOP convention event Saturday that his latest indictment is only driving his poll numbers up. (The Hill)

“It’s a horrible thing. It’s a horrible thing for this country,” Trump said of the indictment while in Columbus, Ohio. “I mean, the only good thing about it is, it’s driven my poll numbers way up. Can you believe it?”

The former president also claimed that his fundraising is “through the roof.” Shortly after he was notified of the indictment Thursday, Trump sent out a message to supporters asking for donations…

…Trump has been charged on 37 counts related to his handling of classified materials, according to the indictment that was unsealed Friday. During his speech in Georgia, Trump called the indictment “ridiculous” and “baseless.”…

June 7, 2023: Former President Trump said Friday that he would cancel every Biden administration policy that he described as “brutalizing our farmers” within hours of taking office, if he is elected in 2024. (The Hill)…

…The former president slammed President Biden for slashing ethanol blending levels “by hundreds of millions of gallons” and trying to “totally kill Iowa ethanol and replace it with expensive electric cars.”

“Within hours of my inauguration, I will cancel every Biden policy that is brutalizing our farmers,” Trump said while in the Hawkeye State, the nation’s leading producer of ethanol.

In finalized biofuel blending standards released last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reduced how much “conventional” biofuel. which includes corn-based ethanol, would be required for blending in 2024 and 2025, when compared to a previous proposal.

However, the latest standards still represent an increase over previous years, including under the Trump administration…

…Trump has previously touted his administration’s 2019 decision to lift summertime restrictions on the sale of gasoline blended with 15-percent ethanol. However, the decision was ultimately struck down by a federal appeals court in 2021.

The Biden administration is also planning to allow for the year-round sale of 15-percent ethanol blend in eight Midwestern states, including Iowa, starting next summer, according to Reuters.

June 11, 2023: Donald Trump has pledged to continue his 2024 presidential campaign even if he is convicted of a felony, saying he would campaign from prison if necessary. (The Guardian)

“I’ll never leave,” the former US president told Politico in an interview carried out on his plane between two campaign events. He also dismissed the possibility of pardoning himself, telling the outlet: “I didn’t do anything wrong.”…

…The defiant comments from Trump came two days after the US Department of Justice charged him with 37 criminal counts related to his mishandling of classified documents and obstructing the department’s investigation into the matter.

Trump, who is the leading contender in the Republican field aiming to snag the party nomination to fight Joe Biden for the White House, is the first former president to face federal charges – an extraordinary moment in American history…

…About 48% of Americans believe Trump should have been indicted over his handling of classified documents, according to a new ABC/Ipsos study, while 35% believe he should not have been. There is a significant partisan split in responses reflecting the US’s deep divides: 86% of self-identified Democrats say he should have been indicted, while 67% of self-identified Republicans say he should not have…

June 12, 2023: Former President Trump on Monday threatened to appoint a special prosecutor to specifically target President Biden and his family if he’s re-elected to the White House. (The Hill)

Trump’s post on Truth Social represents a brazen pledge to use the levers of government to target political rivals. It comes in the wake of his own indictment by a Justice Department special counsel stemming from his handling of classified materials after leaving office.

In a post on Truth Social written in all capital letters, Trump wrote, “Now that the ‘seal’ is broken, in addition to closing the border & removing all of the ‘criminal’ elements that have illegally invaded our country, making America energy independent & even dominant again, & immediately ending the war between Russia & Ukraine, I will appoint a real special ‘prosecutor’ to go after the most corrupt president in the history of the USA, Joe Biden, the entire Biden crime family, & all another’s involved with the destruction of the country itself!”

The former president lashing out at Biden comes days after the Justice Department unsealed a 37-count indictment that includes 31 counts under the Espionage Act after Trump refused to return classified materials he took with him upon leaving the White House in 2021…

Second, the legislative branch will be neutralized and GOP objectors muzzled.

Former Tea Party congressman Reid Ribble said Congress’s checks and balances against the presidency “will be undone entirely” by another MAGA White House. Current and former Republican representatives like him projected that another Trump would actively obstruct Congress, from bypassing the Senate by installing unqualified “acting” officials to run government agencies to simply ignoring subpoenas.

If there’s a legislative agenda, one veteran GOP operative said it would be: “guns, gays, and girls.” The White House would pressure Congress to water down gun laws, overturn protections for same-sex marriage, and seek to outlaw abortion, putting the culture wars center stage…

Third, the justice system will be used to punish the MAGA movement’s enemies.

Former FBI leader Andy McCabe and others worry that purging the FBI of “the deep state” has gone from an unserious Trump refrain to a mainstream GOP position. They fear the bureau will be used for revenge…

…The courts may not be able to protect these Americans, especially if the White House ignores the judges, as Trump wanted to do. Jon Burks, former chief of state to House Speaker Paul Ryan, said that a refusal by Trump 2.0 to comply with court orders could spark “war in the justice system.”…

June 12, 2023: The political network financed largely by billionaire Charles Koch is launching a wave of digital ads targeting former President Donald Trump. (CNBC News)

The ads argue that if Trump becomes the Republican nominee next year, it will lead to President Joe Biden winning reelection.

American’s for Prosperity Action, a super PAC that received millions of dollars during the 2022 election cycle from the Charles Koch-chaired Koch Industries and the Koch-backed Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, gave CNBC a first look at some of the new digital ads.

Koch, who’s worth more than $60 billion and his network notched several wins while Trump was in office, including tax cuts and the appointments of multiple conservative Supreme Court justices. The network traditionally backs Republican candidates.

But Koch’s group also had its differences with the former president, including on Trump’s trade war with China. Trump, likewise, ripped the Kochs in a 2018 tweet tirade, saying they’ve become a “total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade.”

One of the spots, titled “Only Way,” has a VoiceOver saying, “The only way Biden wins if if we nominate Trump again.” Another ad, called “No, Thanks,” says, “Trump can’t win” and “we need new leadership.”…

A third clip, named “Biden’s Secret Weapon,” says: “What’s Biden’s secret weapon? Donald Trump as the GOP nominee. Biden wins the White House and gets the House and Senate, too.”…

…The ads are also targeting voters at a tumultuous moment for Trump. He faces arraignment Tuesday in a federal criminal case over his retention of classified and top military and government documents. Trump has referred to the case as the “boxes hoax.”…

June 20, 2023: Donald Trump said his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner will not serve in his administration if he is elected president again in 2024 because it was “too painful for the family” last time. (HuffPost)

“I said, that’s enough for the family. You know why? It’s too painful for the family,” Trump told Fox News host Bret Baier in an interview that aired in part on Monday.

Baier had asked Trump if he planned to involve his daughter and son-in-law in a hypothetical second administration.

“Nobody has been through what my family has been through,” Trump complained, adding that his daughter had been “making a fortune” with a “really successful line of clothing” before he appointed her as one of his White House advisers.

“When I did this, she was really – she closed it up,” Trump said. “She sort of felt she had to.”

Ivanka Trump shut down her namesake lifestyle brand in July 2018, citing a commitment to work in Washington and following a significant dip in sales…

June 20, 2023: Former President Donald Trump’s support appears to have softened following his indictment and arrest on federal charges, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. (CNN)

Most Americans approve of Trump’s indictment stemming from his alleged mishandling of classified documents after leaving office, even as 71% say politics played a role in that charging decision.

Though Trump continues to lead the GOP field by a wide margin in the race for the Republican Party’s nomination for president, the poll suggests that his support has declined, as have positive views of him among Republican and Republican-leaning voters. Nearly a quarter now say they would not consider backing his candidacy under any circumstances. The survey also finds that those GOP-aligned voters not currently backing his 2024 bid have different views on his indictment and behavior than those in his corner.

Still, there’s little sign that Republican-aligned voters who aren’t backing Trump consolidating behind any one of his rivals. Nor are they unified around wanting Trump out of the race entirely, or in filing that is primary opponents ought to call him out for his alleged actions in this case…

…In addition to the decline in support for Trump’s candidacy, his favorability rating among Republican-aligned voters has dipped, from 77% in May to 67% now, while the share who say the would not support him for the nomination under any circumstances has climbed, from 16% in May to 23% now. At the same time, there has been a similar increase in the share saying they would not back DeSantis under any circumstances (up 6 points to 21%), while the shares ruling out other top candidates have held roughly steady.

This poll was completed entirely after Trump’s arraignment in federal court last week, and Republican and Republican-leaning voters participating in the poll were asked about the 2024 presidential race before any mention of the charges facing Trump…

June 21, 2023: Donald Trump’s grasp over the GOP primary base appears to be slipping after the news of his second criminal indictment broke this month. (The Independent)

But a new CNN poll shows that even an active prosecution for alleged criminal retention of classified materials hasn’t undone Mr Trump’s lead over his rivals just yet.

The survey, released on Wednesday, found that Mr Trump’s share of the likely GOP primary vote has dropped below 50 per cent – a welcome sign for his multitude of competitors, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Senator Tim Scott.

But the twice-impeached and now twice-indicted former president still remains in the lead, likely frustrating others in the race who are clearly hoping that the president’s legal problems will hamstring his campaign before they ever have to land a blow…

July 11, 2023: Jason Miller, a longtime advisor to Donald Trump, said the former president was “unlikely” to participate in at least the first two Republican presidential primary debates, but said the former president still has not made his final decision on the matter. (The Hill)

In an interview Tuesday on “The Hill” on NewsNation, Miller doubled down on Trump’s position that his strong polling numbers make it unwise for the former president to join the other candidates on the debate stage. News Nation is owned by Nexstar Media Group, which also owns The Hill…

…”So, ultimately, President Trump will make a decision as we get closer. He has not said anything definitive, one way or the other. I’m not expecting him to participate, though,” Miller said…

…The first 2024 Republican presidential primary debate is scheduled to take place in August 23 in Milwaukee, Wis. In order to attend, candidates must meet certain criteria, including a pledge to support whichever candidate ultimately ascends to the top of the ticket. Many candidates – including Trump – have been reticent to fully make that pledge.

Miller, in the interview, maintained that Trump is committed to debating President Biden in the general election if, as expected, they are both nominated…

July 11, 2023: Donald Trump will join Fox News anchor Sean Hannity for a town hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on July 18, amid tensions between the former president and some Republicans in the state. (The Hill)

The town hall, which will air on Fox News from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET, will be pre-taped earlier in the day at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse Arena, the network announced Tuesday.

The news comes as Trump risks a growing rift with Republicans in the Hawkeye State. The former president declined to take part of forum being hosted by Tucker Carlson – himself a former Fox News personality – in Iowa this Friday, even though some of his top Republican rivals, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will be participating…

…Meanwhile, Trump has joined several interviews with Fox News hosts, including Hannity and Bret Baier. Fox News announced Sunday that the former president will join anchor Maria Bartiromo for a pre-taped interview on her show, “Sunday Morning Futures” on July 16 at 10 a.m….

Hannity will “take questions from the audience while discussing the 2024 presidential race, immigration, the economy and the overall state of the country with the former president,” according to a press release.

July 12, 2023: Throughout Donald Trump’s presidency, aides worried he wanted to invoke the Insurrection Act, which would allow him to deploy the military on U.S. soil. The prospect became a vivid possibility on January 6, 2021. What hasn’t been discussed is that Donald Trump came within sentences of making it happen – two years prior. (TIME) – Written by Miles Taylor

Trump asked aides to draft language invoking the extraordinary powers in 2019, so that he could expel migrants from the United States by force. The president was talked out if it. But if a MAGA figure returns to the White House, our luck may run out.

That’s because “Trump 2.0” won’t be as bad as any thing. It will be worse…

Three predictions that alarmed me the most:

First, ex-officials I spoke with warn that the executive branch will be weaponized by another MAGA president in previously unreported ways.

“The damage Trump did in the first term is repairable,” said former national security advisor John Bolton, but he said the next Trump “would do damage that is not reparable, especially in a White House surrounded by fifth-raters.”

Intelligence agencies and the military are of particular concern…

…Trump’s former defense secretary Mark Esper added that his “biggest concern would be withdrawing troops from key places abroad” and “abandoning alliances,” projecting the next Trump could leave America vulnerable to attack. Other defense leaders worry about military forces being brought home for the wrong reasons.

Indeed, Donald Trump came close to deploying armed U.S. troops on American soil in February 2019. After watching television footage of migrants at the border, he told aides to invoke the Insurrection Act to put down what he called “an invasion.” Then-president Trump prepared to include the announcement in his State of the Union Address, forcing a number of officials (myself included) to rush to the White House to talk the president out of it.

Next time, no agency will be spared from such abuses of power…

Second, the legislative branch will be neutralized and GOP objectors muzzled.

Former Tea Party congressman Reid Ribble said Congress’s checks and balances against the presidency “will be undone entirely” by another MAGA White House. Current and former Republican representatives like him projected that another Trump would actively obstruct Congress, from bypassing the Senate by installing unqualified “acting” officials to run government agencies to simply ignoring subpoenas.

If there’s a legislative agenda, one veteran GOP operative said it would be: “guns, gays, and girls.” The White House would pressure Congress to water down gun laws, overturn protections for same-sex marriage, and seek to outlaw abortion, putting the culture wars center stage…

Third, the justice system will be used to punish the MAGA movement’s enemies.

Former FBI leader Andy McCabe and others worry that purging the FBI of “the deep state” has gone from an unserious Trump refrain to a mainstream GOP position. They fear the bureau will be used for revenge…

…The courts may not be able to protect these Americans, especially if the White House ignores the judges, as Trump wanted to do. Jon Burks, former chief of state to House Speaker Paul Ryan, said that a refusal by Trump 2.0 to comply with court orders could spark “war in the justice system.”…

July 15, 2023: Former president Trump accused Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) Saturday of neglecting his home state while out on the campaign trail, as insurers flee Florida over increased risks from natural disasters. (The Hill)

“We are totally dominating DeSanctus right here in the state of Florida,” Trump said at the Turning Point Action Conference in West Palm Beach. “So, we want him to get home and take care of insurance because you have the highest insurance in the nation.”

Farmers Insurance announced earlier this week that it was ending home, auto, and umbrella coverage in the Sunshine State and was quickly followed by AAA, which said it would not renew home and car insurance for some policyholders in Florida.

AAA specifically pointed to the state’s “catastrophic” hurricane season last year. Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 hurricane that struck Florida last fall, was the costliest disaster of the year, resulting between $50 and $65 billion in insured damages, according to Swiss Re…

July 17, 2023: Former President Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly said a second term for the ex-president would result in a “nonstop gunfight” with Congress. (The Hill)

Kelly was Trump’s second chief of staff and came into the job hoping to instill discipline on the White House. He ended up lasting in the role for nearly a year and a half but had little success in ending the drama and infighting that characterized Trump’s administration.

“It would be chaotic,” Kelly said of what a second term might look like in a New York Times piece.

“It just simply would be chaotic, because he’d continually be trying to exceed his authority but the sycophants would go along with it. It would be a nonstop gunfight with Congress and the courts.”

Since Trump left office, Kelly has offered sharp criticism of the former president, including reportedly saying Trump was the “most flawed person” he has ever met…

…Kelly also has spoken about Trump’s ongoing legal battles, including the federal indictment against him where he pleaded not guilty to 37 counts of mishandling classified documents and attempting to keep them from the government.

“He’s scared s-less,” Kelly told The Washington Post. “This is the way he compensates for that. He gives people the appearance he doesn’t care by doing this.”…

July 17, 2023: A major evangelical leader in Iowa argued Monday that a gathering of religious conservatives last week showed many voters were ready to “turn the page” from former President Trump. (The Hill)

Bob Vander Plaats, president of The Family Leader in Iowa, offered his takeaways from the group’s summit in Des Moines last Friday. He said former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley “intrigued and impressed,” while entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy “inspired and on message.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), he said was “in command and validated his leadership bona fides.”

Vander Plaats said the biggest win was Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signing a heartbeat abortion bill at the event, while the “biggest loss” belonged to Trump, “as it becomes more clear … people want to turn the page.”

Vander Plaats has long been a leading evangelical figure in Iowa, which will host the first caucuses on the GOP primary schedule next January. He has endorsed the last three winners of the Republican caucuses, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in 2016.

He has been critical of Trump in recent months as the former president pursues the Republican nomination in 2024, but Vander Plaats has yet to endorse a particular challenger…

July 18, 2023: Former President Trump’s announcement Tuesday that he had been contacted by the special counsel over his involvement in the events of Jan. 6, 2021, is the latest legal bombshell to roil the 2024 race. (The Hill)

Trump made the announcement on his Truth Social platform, saying that special council Jack Smith had sent him a “target letter” informing him he’s a focus on the Justice Department investigation.

The receipt of such a letter indicates that Trump could soon face federal charges in the DOJ probe, which is investigating his efforts to stay in power following his loss to President Biden in the 2020 election.

“Deranged Jack Smith, the prosecutor with Joe Biden’s DOJ, sent a letter (again, it was Sunday night!) stating that I am a TARGET of the January 6th Grand Jury investigation, and giving me a very short 4 days to report to the Grand Jury, which almost always means an arrest and indictment,” Trump said in his statement.

It would be the third time Trump was charged with a crime this year, and the second time he was hit with federal charges. Yet the impact it could have on the 2024 election remains unclear, and Trump continues to lead in most state and national polling…

July 18, 2023: No Labels is facing increasing scrutiny over the possibility it could play a spoiler role in the 2024 presidential election, and its founder and CEO said in an exclusive interview that she vows to end the group’s third-party 2024 effort if it risks putting Donald Trump back in the White House (NBC News)

But Nancy Jacobson repeatedly declined to offer any metric on how the group would determine whether to stand down.

“As a Democrat? Categorically, that will not happen,” Jacobson said in response to a question about concerns that a third-party ticket, running on the ballot line No Labels is seeking in every state, could siphon off votes from President Biden and benefit Trump. “This effort will nev – we’ll pull it down”

Jacobson immediately added, “We will not spoil for either side. The only reason to do this is to win.”

It’s a bold statement in a nation where the most successful third-party presidential effort in the last century finished a distant third. And even as the No Labels effort stepped out this week with a public campaign-style event in Dallas in April also aren’t clear, though the group has no plans to hold traditional primaries or caucuses in which votes select a presidential nominee. Jacobson said the group will assess its standing after Super Tuesday and the Florida primary next year…

…Aspects of current polling are grim for Biden. Though he retained a slight lead against Trump in the most recent NBC News national poll, his approval rating stood at 43%. And 44% of voters, including a larger share of Democrats than Republicans, say they’re open to considering a third-party candidate…

July 21, 2023: Former President Trump ripped some of his challengers for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination Thursday, as he continues to enjoy a wide polling lead over the crowded field. (The Hill)

“Vivek Ramaswamy is now beating DeSanctimonious,” Trump said in a post on Truth Social. “Christie dead as his stomach band,” ‘Aida’ Hutchinson a solid minus 1%. I’m up 44 points!!!”

Trump did not cite a specific poll, but a Kaplan Strategies poll released Thursday showed the former president leading with 48 percent support among likely Republican voters, and conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy tied with Florida Gov Ron DeSantis for second place, with 12 percent support.”…

…Trump has repeatedly mocked Christie for his weight, with Christie firing back last month: “Oh, like he’s some Adonis?”

“Here’s my message to him,” Christie told Fox News’s Howard Kurtz. “I don’t care what he says about me, and I don’t care what he thinks about me. And he should take a look in the mirror once in a while. Maybe he dropped the weight thing off of his list of criticisms.”…

July 21, 2023: Former President Donald Trump’s rivals are upping the pressure on him to take part in next month’s GOP primary debate, seeking to draw the front-runner onto a crowded stage as they look to put a dent in his polling lead. (The Hill)

Trump has repeatedly signaled he is leaning against attending the first debate, scheduled for Aug. 23 in Milwaukee, arguing there’s no reason for him to stand on stage and absorb attacks given his comfortable lead in national polls.

But several other candidates, some of them in need of a signature moment or a way to contrast themselves directly with Trump, have publicly chided the former president for suggesting he may duck the debate.

Their arguments have included accusing Trump of cowardice if he does not show up, contending the former president has to earn the nomination in part through debates, and, in the case of the Republican National Committee (RNC), maintaining that voters deserve to hear from all candidates at party-sponsored events…

…Trump has for months threatened to skip at least the first two GOP debates. As recently as last weekend, he indicated he was inclined not to attend.

“When you have a big lead, you don’t do it,” Trump told Fox News. “Why would you let somebody that’s at zero or at one or two or three be popping you with questions?”

But there are risks for Trump in sitting out the debate. It would allow his competitors a chance at the spotlight without the former president dominating the proceedings, and candidates would be able to take free swings at Trump without fear of an immediate counterpunch…

July 22, 2023: Former President Trump isn’t just campaigning for the White House. Increasingly, he could be campaigning for his freedom. (The Hill)

Trump this week announced he had been informed he is a target in the Justice Department investigation into his efforts to remain in power after losing the 2020 election, a development that could foreshadow additional federal charges against him.

Trump has not been convicted of any crime yet, nor is it certain he will be.

But as he faces a potential third criminal indictment, with an additional state-level probe into his actions ongoing in Georgia, the stakes for Trump to win the 2024 election are ratcheting up, with a victory next year perhaps the best way to insulate himself from conviction or jail time…

…A trial is currently set for March on charges against Trump in Manhattan over a hush money scheme during the 2016 campaign to keep quiet a previous affair. And on Friday, a judge in Florida scheduled the trial over his handling of classified documents and refusal to give them back to the government for May.

At a campaign town hall in Iowa Tuesday, Fox News host Sean Hannity asked Trump how he managed to seem so unbothered as the investigations and charges grow.

“It bothers me. It bothers me for everybody in this incredible sold-out audience,” Trump said. “I got the letter on Sunday night. Think of it … And they’re in a rush because they want to interfere. It’s interference with the election.”…

…The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment about whether Trump himself views his 2024 bid as a fight for his freedom.

July 22, 2023: A majority of Americans, 57 percent, believe a new criminal indictment against former President Trump was served to add drama to the presidential election, according to a monthly Harvard CAPS-Harris poll released Friday. (The Hill)

However, an identical majority of respondents said an additional indictment would hurt Trump’s chances at a second term.

The poll comes as Trump was served a target letter Sunday by federal special council Jack Smith in his investigation in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot on the Capitol and the former president’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election – sparking speculation that Smith may soon indict Trump again on additional charges.

The former president was indicted on 37 criminal counts related to Smith’s investigation of mishandling classified documents in June. A New York state investigation also indicted Trump on 34 counts of falsifying business documents in April.

The poll found that Americans are almost perfectly split on whether Trump was responsible for the Jan. 6 insurrection and whether he committed a crime. However, about 57 percent of respondents said that prosecutors would have a “strong case” against Trump in any 2020 election trial.

The former president is also being investigated for election interference activities by a Georgia grand jury on state charges, which could result in charges…

July 25, 2023: Republican senators who don’t want to see former President Trump as their party’s nominee are feeling increasingly anxious that special council Jack Smith is actually helping Trump’s presidential campaign through his dogged pursuit of the former president. (The Hill)

They fear another round of federal charges against Trump will only boost his fundraising and poll numbers, solidifying his possession as the dominant front-runner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary field.

And they worry that Smith’s effect on the Republican presidential primary is being magnified by prominent House Republicans and conservative media personalities who have rallied behind Trump, effectively blotting out the rest of the GOP presidential field…

July 25, 2023: MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” backed Republican Sen. Mitt Romneys latest op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, which asked donors to narrow the 2024 GOP candidates in order to prevent a Donald Trump nomination. (The Wrap – via Y! entertainment).

The Romney piece, titled: “Donors, Don’t Fund a Trump Plurality,” was published Monday afternoon in the WSJ.

“A baker’s dozen Republicans are hoping to become the party’s 2024 nominee for president,” the senator writes. “That is possible for any of them if the field narrows to a two-person race before Mr. Trump has the nomination sewn up.”

According to Romney, for that to happen, donors should “get candidates they support to agree to withdraw if and when their paths to the nomination are effectively closed.”

The Senator suggested the deadline of Feb. 26, which is the Monday after the primary in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

“Let to their own inclinations,” Romney warned, “expect several of the contenders to stay in the race for a long time.”

“They will split the non-Trump vote, giving him the prize,” the prospect of which disappoints the senator who is looking for a younger nominee with “character” and “driven by something greater than revenge.”…

July 27, 2023: The last time Donald Trump delivered a major speech in Washington, DC, from outside the White House it unleashed a vicious mob attack. There was no violence this time, but his searing bombast may have heralded the dawn of a new era of American extremism. (CNN)

Trump returned Tuesday for the first time since leaving the capital in disgrace in January 2021 and made clear that he plans to take the country down a dark, demagogic, dystopian road in the coming months. His assurance that it is when and not if he launches a 2024 White House campaign never looked more locked in.

Trump vowed at the American First Policy Institute summit to “save our country,” chillingly employing many of the rhetorical devices of authoritarian leaders he brimmed with bitterness, a persecution complex and stoked resentment against vulnerable members of society like the homeless and transgender athletes. The ex-President conjured an update and intensified picture of “American carnage” that he first laid out in his 2017 inaugural address. He bemoaned a “failing nation” swamped by historic inflation, begging the Saudis for oil, a media that sees itself as “the police of honesty,” deep state bureaucrats, “hacks and thugs” in Congress and cities overrun by undocumented migrants preying on innocent citizens that exemplify contempt for the law and the police.

Amid new signs of an expansive Justice Department probe into the election-stealing scheme launched by his cronies and shocking evidence about his 2020 coup attempt from the House select committee, Trump complained Democrats had “weaponized law enforcement … against the opposition party.” His railing against the investigations that could hold him to account for his dereliction of duty while in office highlighted the absurdity of the only president ever to launch an insurrection lecturing on law and order…

July 28, 2023: Former President Donald Trump on Friday took aim at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at a gathering of Iowa Republicans, seeking to cement his grip on the state with less than six months until the state caucuses. (The Hill)

Trump and nearly every other Republican running for the party’s 2024 nomination spoke at the Iowa GOP’s Lincoln Dinner on Friday night in Des Moines. While DeSantis and other top rivals did not attack the former president – who in a recent Fox News Business Network poll was leading in the state by 30 points – Trump wasted little time attacking the Florida governor, who is viewed as his top competition.

“I’m here to deliver a simple message. Iowa has never had a better friend in the White House than Donald J. Trump,” Trump said.

The former president repeatedly referred to DeSantis as Ron DeSanctus,” shorthand for a longer nickname of “Ron DeSanctimonious.”…

…The former president also took credit for maintaining Iowa’s position as the first caucus on the GOP primary calendar and he touted the tariffs he placed on China during his first term in office, though China retaliated by putting tariffs on the U.S. agricultural imports that adversely affected Iowa farmers.

He also took credit for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, while adding that he supports exceptions to abortion cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother…

July 31, 2023: Fani Willis, the district attorney of Fulton county, Georgia, is “ready to go” with indictments in her investigation of Donald Trump’s election subversion. In Washington, the special council Jack Smith is expected to add charges regarding election subversion to 40 counts already filed over the former president’s retention of classified records. (The Guardian)

Trump already faces 34 criminal charges in New York over hush-money payments to the porn star Stormy Daniels. Referring to Trump being ordered to pay $5m after being found liable for sexual abuse and defamation against the writer E. Jean Carroll, a judge recently said Carroll proved Trump raped her. Lawsuits over Trump’s business affairs continue…

…Heading for trials in primary season, Trump denies wrongdoing and claims political persecution. But his chaos-agent campaign, which he has said he will not abandon even if convicted and sentenced, does not just threaten the national peace. It threatens his own party…

August 1, 2023: Former President Donald Trump, bent on staying in power, undertook a “criminal scheme” to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including repeatedly pushing lies about the results despite knowing his claims were false, and doubling down on those falsehoods as the Jan. 6 riot raged, a sweeping federal indictment alleges. (ABC News)

This is the third indictment faced by the former president, who — as the Republican front-runner in the 2024 presidential race — continues to insist the vote was rigged.

Prosecutors say the alleged scheme, which they say involves six unnamed co-conspirators, including enlisting a slate of so-called “fake electors” targeting several states; using the Justice Department to conduct “sham election crime investigations”; and trying to enlist the vice president to “alter the election results” — all in an effort to subvert and stay in power.

The six alleged co-conspirators include several attorneys and a Justice Department official.

The indictment alleges that Trump knew that the claims he advanced about the election, specifically in Arizona and Georgia were false — yet he repeated them for months.

It also highlights Trump’s alleged pressure campaign on his own vice president, Mike Pence, alleging that the asked Pence during a Christmas Day phone call to reject the electoral votes on Jan. 6, that he told Pence on Jan. 1 that he was “too honest,” and that he lied to Pence about election fraud to get him to accept a slate of fake electors. “Bottom line — won every state by 100,000s votes,” Trump allegedly told Pence, according to the indictment. “We won every state.”…

…”Despite having lost, the Defendant was determined to remain in power,” the indictment reads “So for more than two months following Election Day on November 3, 2020, the Defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won.”

“Those claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false. But the Defendant repeated and widely disseminated them anyway — to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode the public faith in the administration of the election,” reads the indictment…

…The former president has been summoned to appear in court on Thursday in Washington D.C…

August 3, 2023: The latest federal indictment against former President Trump has raised fresh speculation over whether he will participate in the first GOP presidential primary debate later this month. (The Hill)

The former president and his team have signaled that he’s leaning toward not participating in the event given his front runner status.

But some Republicans think Trump would be better served if he had the opportunity to make his case in front of a national audience – and defend himself in person against his fiercest rivals…

…But other Republicans are skeptical that the first debate would be a good move at all for him…

…So far, Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) have qualified for the forum…

…With or without Trump on stage, DeSantis will likely be a prime target…

…The New York Times reported this week that on Tuesday Trump dined with top executives at Fox News, who asked him to consider attending the first Republican primary debate later this month…

…Trump could skip the first debate and host or participate in a counterprogramming event, which he did in 2016 ahead of the Iowa caucus…

August 4, 2023: Former President Donald Trump has won the support of the entire Republican Alabama U.S. House delegation as well as five statewide elected officials, extending his commanding lead over his primary rivals in endorsements. (Politico)

The campaign announced the endorsements one day after Trump was arraigned on federal charges tied to his involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Despite Trump’s mounting legal problems – he has now been indicted three times and faces a possible fourth – he has continued to win support of Republican lawmakers, many of whom have vocally defended him.

Trump is set to make an appearance at the Alabama Republican Party Dinner on Friday evening in Montgomery. He has received the support of all six Alabama GOP House members: Robert Aderholt, Mike Rogers, Gary Palmer, Barry Moore, Jerry Carl, and Dale Strong. He also has endorsements from Sen. Tommy Tuberville, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth and Agricultural Commissioner Rick Pate, and all three members of the Alabama Public Service Commission. The state’s junior senator, Kate Britt, has not yet endorsed in the race. Nor has the governor, Kay Ivey…

August 5, 2023: The latest federal indictment against former President Trump has raised fresh speculation over whether he will participate in the first GOP presidential primary debate later this month. (The Hill)

The former president and his team have signaled that he’s leaning toward not participating in the event given his frontrunner status.

But some Republicans think Trump would be better served if he had the opportunity to make his case in front of a national audience – and defend himself in person against his fiercest rivals.

On Thursday, Fox News host Dana Perino said that it could be strategically beneficial for the former president to attend…

…But other Republicans there isn’t much more for Trump to say on the matter, pointing to how the former president has frequently called it “a political witch hunt.”…

…And some Republicans are skeptical that the first debate would be a good move at all for him…

…The New York Times reported this week that on Tuesday Trump dined with top executives at Fox News, who asked him to consider attending the first Republican primary debate later this month…

…Trump could skip the first debate and host or participate in a counter programming event, which he did in 2016 ahead of the Iowa caucus…

August 5, 2023: House Republicans flocked to former President Trump’s side following his indictment on charges stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, criticizing it as politically motivated and accusing the Department of Justice (DOJ) of malpractice. (The Hill)

But some of their responses were notably different from what they were saying privately and publicly around the time of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot – which marked the culmination of Trump’s attempts to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s win and keep himself in power.

The contrast between the reactions underscores the evolution of how GOP lawmakers talk about Jan. 6, which has been fueled in large part by Trump and the firm grip he continues to have on the Republican Party…

…”[J]ust yesterday a new poll showed President Trump is without a doubt Biden’s leading political opponent. Everyone in America could see what was going to come next: DOJ’s attempt to distract from the news and attack the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, President Trump,” McCarthy wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter…

…Days after the Capitol riot, however, McCarthy did not mince words.

“The President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” declared McCarthy, then the minority leader, on the House floor as lawmakers debated Trump’s impeachment. “He should have immediately denounced the mom when he saw what was unfolding.”

“These facts require immediate action by President Trump, accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure President-elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term,” he added…

August 8, 2023: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem gave Donald Trump her “full and complete endorsement” after delivering a glowing introduction at the former president’s campaign rally in Rapid City, S.D., on Friday night. (Politico)

“He is the leader, the fighter that our country needs. He has my full and complete endorsement for President of the United States of American,” Noem said in front of a crowd of supporters holding “Trump Noem 2024” signs, before promising to do “everything I can to help him win and save this country.”

Soon after taking the stage, Trump praised the South Dakota governor, calling her “one of the most successful governors in the entire nation.”

“Kristi, I’m honored to receive your endorsement,” Trump said…

August 8, 2023: Donald Trump’s legal team turned to the First Amendment in combatting a Justice Department (DOJ) request to limit what evidence he can share and discuss with the public, parroting the former president’s claims the protective order takes aims at his candidacy. (The Hill)

Monday’s filing echos one of Trump’s defenses to the broader Jan. 6 case, arguing he should only be limited from sharing “sensitive” evidence in the case with the public, while pushing for “volunteer attorneys” to have access to the full range of discovering in the case.

The Justice Department attacked the proposal in their own filing hours later, dismissing Trump’s effort as a way to try the case in the media by selectively releasing evidence, including information from confidential witnesses that may ultimately not be used at trial.

The protective order, a routine request from prosecutors, structures how to handle evidence in the case, and was initially requested by DOJ on Friday just hours after Trump made an incendiary comment on social media.

“In a trial about First Amendment rights, the government seeks to restrict First Amendment rights,” Trump’s attorney wrote in the Monday filing, calling the DOJ’s request too broad…

…DOJ shot back saying that Trump was seeking to improperly use a process designed only to help him prepare his own defense.

“The defendant’s proposed order would lead to the public dissemination of discovery material. Indeed, that is the defendant’s stated goal; the defendant seeks to use the discovery material to litigate this case in the media,” DOJ wrote…

August 9, 2023: Former President Trump told a crowd in South Dakota that the Supreme Court’s decision to remove federal abortion rights protections “probably cost” the Republican Party politically, but it was still the right decision. (The Hill)

“Last year, those justices bravely and incredibly ruled on something that everybody has wanted for decades, for 51 years,” Trump said Friday at the Monumental Leaders rally in Rapid City, S.D. “They ruled to end Roe v. Wade. That was a big thing.”

“And it’s probably cost us politically because the other side got energized,” he added. “You know, they’re radicals, not the pro-lifers. But now pro-lifers have a tremendous power to negotiate.”

The high court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in summer of 2022- which overturned Roe v. Wade – is generally unpopular. Nearly two-thirds of Americans disapproved of the decision in a June poll.

Political experts theorized that the court’s decision energized Democrats to turn out for the 2022 midterms, as Democrats are more likely to support abortion rights. In the wake of the decision last year, about 40 percent of women said they were more likely to vote than before…

August 9, 2023: Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) called former President Trump a “liar” after he suggested a recent push to use the 14th Amendment to keep him off the ballot in the state was “election interference” (The Hill)

“Trump is a liar with no respect for the Constitution,” Griswold said in an interview on MSNBC on Saturday.

“To say that a section of the 14th Amendment is election interference and considering how to uphold the Constitution is election interference is un-American,” she continued. “We know that the former president is a liar who will do everything he can to hold onto power.”

Griswold and Trump were both named in a recent lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which argues that the former president is disqualified from the 2024 ballot under the 14th Amendment’s Section 3 – also dubbed the insurrection clause.

The D.C.-based watchdog group asked the court to find Trump’s alleged actions related to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol disqualifying and to bar Griswold from allowing him on the 2024 Republican primary ballot or any future ballots in the state.

Griswold added Saturday that she plans to “see this litigation through,” noting that she thinks “it’s good for the court to weigh in” on the issue…

August 10, 2023: Shortly after Miami Mayor Francis Suarez announced he was dropping his presidential bid, he found himself on the phone with someone who had paid little attention to him up to that point: Donald Trump. (Politico)

Suarez, who ran as a traditional conservative and did not vote for Trump in 2016 or 2020, had barely registered in the polls and spent all of 11 weeks campaigning. His departure from the race created nary a ripple. Those familiar with the call declined to reveal the specifics of what was discussed. But the fact that the runaway Republican frontrunner felt compelled to touch base with the also-ran offered a window into how Trump and his team view the race.

Trump is on what seems to be a glidepath to the nomination. He has largely eschewed traditional day-to-day campaigning. And his social media missives toggle between attacks on his political opponents and laments about the legal troubles surrounding him.

But he’s not taking his eye entirely off the primary. In fact, he and his team are heavily engaged behind the scenes…

…The approach Trump’s team has adopted is a reflection of the unprecedented and unorthodox place his campaign is in. He has publicly taken on the posture of an incumbent, privately adopted in the mindset of a fighter, all while trying to avoid the fate of a convict.

The results: A man who once couldn’t resist a camera or a crowd is doing a lot of his work outside of public view. While he has worked the phones, Trump has done far less on-the-ground campaigning than his competitors, his campaign says in part due to his near-universal name recognition and constant media attention. He rejected the opportunity to appear at the first GOP debate and is unlikely to appear at the second debate, in California, which is hosted by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, an institution he has feuded with in the past…

August 11, 2023: Two conservative legal scholars, members of the Federalist Society in good standing, have just published an audacious argument: that Donald Trump is constitutionally prohibited from running for president, and state election officials have not only the authority but the legal obligation to prevent his name from appearing on the ballot. (Vox)

The legal paper, authored by University of Chicago professor William Baude and University of St. Thomas professor Michael Stokes Paulsen, centers on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment – a provision that limits people from returning to public office if they have since “engaged insurrection or rebellion” or “given aid or comfort” to those who have. Baude and Paulson argue that this clearly covers Trump’s behavior between November 2020 and January 2021.

“The most politically explosive application of Section Three to the events of January 6, is at the same time the most straightforward,” Baude and Paulsen write. “Former President Donald J. Trump is constitutionally disqualified from again being President (or holding any other coveted office) because of his role in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 election and the events leading to the January 6 attack.”…

August 13, 2023: Former President Trump is seeking to keep the spotlight on him by drawing out his decision on whether or not to join his fellow candidates in the first GOP presidential primary debate later this month. (The Hill)

Trump has been threatening to skip the Republican National Committee (RNC) Aug. 23 debate for months, citing his front-runner status in the primary, but he said this week that he hasn’t “totally ruled it out.”…

…Trump has been talking about the possibility of skipping the debate since late April, and the will-he-or-won’t he debate has been a hot topic the months since – especially as the GOP primary field grew to include Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence, former Trump ally Chris Christie, and others.

He’s faced pressure from the RNC and his fellow White House contenders to get on the stage while others have argued he should sit it out…

…But strategists predict Trump will be a central conversation in the debate whether he shows up or not…

…At a rally in New Hampshire this week, Trump publicly polled his supporters on whether he should attend the event.

“We’re so far above everybody else in the polls. They’re all saying, ‘Is he going to go into the debate’ …Should I? Ok, you ready? Poll … Should I do the debate?” Trump asked the crowd spurring cheers and some boos.

“Maybe we’ll do something else. See, some people say yes, but they hate to say it, because it doesn’t make sense to do it if you’re leading by so much. But they like it for entertainment value, because they’re selfish,” Trump said, laughing at the crowd’s reaction.

He asked a crowd in Pennsylvania last month whether he should join “10 or 12 hostile people and a hostile network” at the event and was met with a chorus of “no”…

Some strategists say Trump’s base is already so squarely in his corner that it doesn’t matter whether or not the former president joins the debate – though others note his absence could make it possible for another candidate to stand out in what’s seen by many as a race for second place…

August 15, 2023: After every new indictment, Donald Trump has boasted that his standing among Republicans only improves – and he has a point. (Associated Press)

Nearly two-thirds of Republicans – 63% – now say they want the former president to run again, according to new polling from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That’s up slightly from the 55% who said the same in April when Trump began facing a series of criminal charges. Seven in 10 Republicans now have a favorable opinion of Trump, an uptick from the 60% who said so two months ago.

But in a crucial warning sign for the former president and his supporters, Trump faces glaring vulnerabilities heading into a general election, with many Americans strongly dug in against him. While most Republicans – 74% – say they would support him in November 2024, 53% of Americans say they would definitely not support him if he is the nominee. Another 11% say they would probably not support him in November 2024…

August 16, 2023: Former President Trump’s refusal to sign the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) loyalty pledge is putting the organization in a bind as next week’s GOP primary debate approaches. (The Hill)

Trump said he wouldn’t sign the pledge last week and is expected to announce in the coming days whether he will attend the event.

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel must now navigate the thorny situation of appeasing Trump – both a ratings draw and the clear front-runner in the primary, whole maintaining her control as head of the party…

…However, McDaniel has given no indication that the RNC will make any exceptions for the former president.”…

…The pledge states that the candidate will support the eventual nominee of the party’s primary and that the candidate will not participate in any debate the RNC has not sanctioned. The pledge is part of of the criteria Republican candidates must meet to qualify for the first presidential primary debate set for Aug. 23…

August 18, 2023: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who’s running for the GOP presidential nomination, responded to Donald Trump’s cancellation of a press conference he planned to give next week on alleged election fraud in Georgia, calling it “the first smart decision he’s made” in a while. (The Hill)

In an interview on CNN, Christie said he isn’t surprised about Trump’s decision to cancel the press conference. He said the former president is now aware that he is “facing jail time”, and “can’t make his situation much worse.”

“I think the first smart decision he’s made in this regard, in a long time, was canceling that ridiculous press conference for Monday,” Christie said.

Trump announced the press conference Tuesday on Truth Social in the wake of his fourth indictment in Georgia related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election the day before…

…Christie and several other GOP contenders are set to face off at the first presidential primary debate Wednesday in Milwaukee. Trump, however, has strongly hinted he won’t attend.

August 18, 2023: Former President Donald Trump is planning on not attending the first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee next Wednesday and is strongly considering sitting down for an interview with Tucker Carlson that day instead, according to sources familiar with the matter. (ABC News)

But sources indicated no final decision has been reached and cautioned Trump can always change his mind last minute.

The Republican National Committee has previously stated it needed two days notice for Trump’s final decision to make necessary arrangements.

The debate plans were first reported by The New York Times.

Trump met the RNC donor and polling threshold for the debate but publicly said he wouldn’t sing the RNC pledge — a requirement to be on the debate stage — that says the candidate will support the eventual nominee…

August 20, 2023: The website for former President Donald Trumps’s legal defense fund appear to have been hacked and defaced over the weekend. As of the writing of this blog, the defacement is still live on the site and has not yet been taken down. (Gizmodo)

The Patriot Legal Defense Fund is a fundraising effort launched about a week ago by high-level members of the Trump team. The stated goal of the fund is to help pay the legal expenses of Trump’s political allies and staffers, many of whom are currently mired in the numerous, ongoing legal investigations into the former President. While the Patriot fund has notably said it won’t be paying the legal bills for Trump or his family, The Daily Beast recently flagged some potential ethics issues involving the group that are probably worth looking into.

To add to Trump’s troubles, it appears that someone hacked the fund’s website on Friday. An archived version of the site shows that, prior to the hacking, it included Trump’s catchphrase – “Make America Great Again” – and asked for visitors to “Help DEFEND Donald Trump!!!” with a financial donation of some kind. Now, however, the site says something quite different.

The hacker, whoever they are, crossed out Trump’s name and appended to the site’s banner “America Is Already Great.” They then posted a rambling screed about “lies” and Trump’s growing list of legal troubles…

August 27, 2023: At approximately midnight on Saturday, Donald Trump attacked both Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, accusing them of propping up the presidential nomination campaign of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and then complained about a Fox poll where he was not included. (Raw Story)

Over two posts on his Truth Social platform, the former president made dubious claims about the popularity of his interview with fired Fox News personality Tucker Carlson on the night of the Republican Party debate and then claimed the conservative network “will continue to Hemorrhage Viewers and Ratings.”

In his first post, he maintained, “The Globalists over at Fox News and their subservient ‘paper,” The Wall Street Journal, in their never ending quest to stop America First, and give Ron DeSanctimonious one last HOPELESS push, have created the dumbest Poll yet. It states ‘What candidates are you voting for among likely GOP primary votes who WATCHED THE DEBATE?”…

August 28, 2023: The New Hampshire secretary of state’s office was flooded with hundreds of calls Monday from Donald Trump supporters seeking reassurance that the former president is going to be on the ballot next year after conservative talk show host Charlie Kirk falsely told listeners the state is trying to sideline Trump. (NBC News)

Secretary of State David Scanlan told NBC News that he is “not seeking to remove any names from the presidential primary ballot, and I have not said that I am seeking to remove any names from the presidential primary ballot.”

But Scanlan does expect there to be challenges to Trump’s qualifications to run in the state under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which says no person can hold public office who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the U.S. A Republican former Trump-ally-turned-opponent met with Scanlan recently to make his case on the subject.

The result: the latest example of Trump supporters’ turning an election administration office into a partisan battlefield as they ingest conspiracy theories and vent at a system they’ve been told is rigged against the former president…

September 1, 2023: Efforts to keep former President Trump off the 2024 ballot under the 14th Amendment are gaining momentum as election officials in key states are preparing for or starting to respond to legal challenges to Trump’s candidacy. (ABC News)

The argument to disqualify Trump from appearing on the primary or general election ballots in 2024 boils down to Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which states that an elected official is not eligible to assume public office if that person “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the United States, or had “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof,” unless they are granted amnesty by a two-thirds vote of Congress.

Several advocacy group have said that Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021, fit that criteria — that he directly engaged in an insurrection. The legal theory has been pursued, unsuccessfully, against a few other elected Republicans; arguing their actions around Jan. 6 and support for overturning the 2020 election results amounted to the disqualifying behavior.

Trump has denied any involvement on the attack on the Capitol…

September 8, 2023: Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) heartily endorsed former President Donald Trump on Friday night, saying the other candidates snubbed her state, in what sounded like an audition to be his running mate. (Washington Examiner)

Noem made an impassioned case for South Dakota as the real model for conservative governance nationwide, “the strongest state in America,” beginning with her refusal to lock down during the pandemic.

Trump and Noem appeared together at the South Dakota GOP Monumental Leaders Rally in Rapid City.

“He has my full and complete endorsement for President of the United States of America,” Noem said. “I will do everything in my power to help him win to save this great country.”…

September 12, 2023: The New Hampshire Secretary of State on Wednesday said there are no legal grounds to not allow Donald Trump on the primary ballot in the state. (The Hill)

“There is no mention in New Hampshire state statute that a candidate in a New Hampshire presidential primary can be disqualified using the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, referencing insurrection or rebellion,” David Scanlan (R) said at a news conference.

“Similarly, there is nothing in the 14th amendment that suggests that exercising the provisions of that amendment should take place during the delegate selection process held by the different states,” the Secretary of State continued.

Scanlan’s announcement comes as a group of New Hampshire lawmakers recently pressed him to deny those who would attempt to keep Trump off the ballot in the state using the 14th Amendment. Minnesota and Colorado have faced legal attempts to block Trump from primary ballots under a Reconstruction-era clause in the amendment barring those who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” from public office…

September 17, 2023: In a new interview, former President Donald Trump refused or avoided answering many specific questions about his conduct on Jan. 6 — but maintained that it was his decision to challenge the 2020 election, the manner of which is now at the center of two of the four indictments he faces. (ABC News)

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and dismissed the prosecutions as politically motivated.

In the interview with NBC News’s Kristen Welker, which aired Sunday on “Meet the Press” after portions were released last week, Trump agreed that he was calling the shots when it came to falsely claiming that the last presidential election was illegitimate.

“As to whether or not I believed it was rigged? Sure. It was my decision. But I listened to some people. Some people said that,” he said.

Trump, who is seeking the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, at times grew angry when being interviewed by Welker, refusing to answer whether he called law enforcement on Jan. 6, 2021, who he called that day and how he watched the chaos unfold, claiming he “behaved so well.”

“I’m not going to tell you. I’ll tell people later at an appropriate time,” he said.

He insisted that he wanted to go down to the Capitol “peacefully and patriotically,” echoing the speech he gave outside the White House earlier on Jan. 6.

However, in those same remarks, he also encouraged supporters to march to Congress where lawmakers were certifying the 2020 election results. “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” he said then…

September 25, 2023: Attorneys for former President Donald Trump argue that an attempt to bar him from the 2024 ballot under a rarely used “insurrection” clause of the Constitution should be dismissed as a violation of his freedom of speech. (NBC News)

The lawyers made the argument in a filing posted Monday by a Colorado court in one of the most significant of a series of challenges to Trump’s attempts to overturn his 2020 loss to Democrat Joe Biden and his role leading up to the violent Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“At no time do Petitioners argue that President Trump did anything other than engage in either speaking or refusing to speak for their argument that he engaged in the purported insurrection,” wrote attorney Geoffrey Blue.

Trump also will argue that the clause doesn’t apply to him because “the Fourteenth Amendment applies to one who ‘engaged in insurrection or rebellion,” not one who only ‘instigated’ any action,” Blue wrote.

The former president’s lawyers also said the challenge should be dismissed because he is not yet a candidate under the meaning of Colorado election law, which they contend isn’t intended to settle constitutional disputes.

The motion under Colorado’s anti-SLAPP law, which shields people from lawsuits that harass them for behavior protected by the First Amendment, will be the first of the 14th Amendment challenges filed in multiple states to be considered in open court. It was filed late Friday and posted by the court Monday.

Denver District Judge Sarah B. Wallace has scheduled hearing on the motion for Oct. 13. A hearing on the constitutional issues will come on Oct. 30.

Whatever Wallace rules, the issue is likely to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, which has never heard a case on the provision of the 14th Amendment, which was ratified in 1868, three years after the Civil War ended. The clause has only been used a handful of times…

September 26, 2023: Former President Donald Trump said he was traveling to Detroit to rally with striking autoworkers, but the location he settled on for his Wednesday event is a nonunion parts supplier whose workers aren’t at all involved with the strike. (HuffPost)

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain pointed that out after President Joe Biden’s stop at a picket line in Belleville, Michigan, on Tuesday.

“I find it odd he’s going to a nonunion business to talk to union workers,” Fain told reporters after Biden’s stop. “I don’t think he gets it, but that’s up to the people to decide.”

Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign is set to hold its event at Drake Enterprises in Macomb County, a quintessential swing county in the Detroit suburbs that backed Biden in 2020 after Trump won it in 2016. A national UAW spokesperson confirmed that the union does not represent workers at Drake, but the factory could be home to other unions. Drake did no respond to a request for comment.

Trump’s campaign says he’s planning a prime-time speech to an audience of 500 union members, including some autoworkers. The former president has touted his renegotiation of trade relations between the United States, Mexico, and Canada as benefiting rank-and-file workers, but union leaders see him as anything but an ally. Trump, and Republicans in general, were mostly silent during the UAW’s 2019 strike against General Motors, and Trump did not visit the picket line. Fain is sharply critical of Trump, calling him an out-of-touch member of the milionaire and billionaire class that workers are fighting against…

September 26, 2023: Few corners of the U.S. may be less hospitable Donald Trump than California, where he lost by more than 5 million votes in the 2020 election. But as the former president seeks to return to the White House, the liberal bastion may give him an unlikely boost. (Associated Press)

A state GOP rule change has opened the possibility that Trump could sweep each of the state’s 169 delegates on March 5, when California is among more than a dozen states participating in the so-called Super Tuesday contests. With Trump already leading his rivals in many state and national polls, a dominant performance in California could move him much closer to the GOP nomination…

…With less than four months before the Iowa caucuses officially kick off the GOP nomination process, the dynamics of the race could still change. But Trump is keeping a close eye on the state, where his most prominent Republican rivals will gather without him on Wednesday for the second presidential debate. While Trump is skipping the event, he has made sure to be in California on Friday to appear at the state’s GOP convention, where many of the people who will ultimately serve as delegates will be in attendance.

In what would be an ironic twist, the state where the former president is widely loathed outside his conservative base could help him tighten his grip on the Republican White House nomination.

Trump, who is facing criminal charges in four separate cases, has long had a conflicted relationships with California, the nation’s most populous state, where Democrats haven’t lost a statewide election since 2006 and outnumber registered Republicans by about 2-to-1…

September 30, 2023: A liberal group on Friday filed a lawsuit to keep former President Trump off the 2024 ballot in Michigan, saying he violated the 14th Amendment and should be banned from being able to participate in the election. (The Hill)

It is the third challenge to Trump’s ballot eligibility after similar actions were filed in Colorado and Minnesota. It was filed by Free Speech for People, the same group behind the Minnesota lawsuit.

The suit argues that because of Trump’s alleged role in the Jan 6, 2021, riot on the Capitol, he should be disqualified from running for federal office.

The suit also compares Trump to members Congress that were kicked out of their seats during the Civil War for supporting the Confederacy.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which is cited in the lawsuit, states that no person shall hold elected office who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States.”…

October 4, 2023: The Trump campaign raised more than $45 million during the third quarter of 2023, it announced Wednesday, easily surpassing the former president’s rivals in the 2024 GOP primary. (The Hill)

The campaign said it has more than $37.5 million cash on hand, with close to $36 million of it designated for use in the primary campaign.

The significant haul came during the months of July, August, and September, during which Trump was indicted in Washington, D.C., for his attempts to remain in power after losing the 2020 election and indicted in Georgia for his efforts to overturn the election results there. Prosecutors also brought additional charges in that time frame related to Trump’s retention of classified documents.

“The [third quarter] numbers are even more impressive considering the Summer months are usually when most campaigns experience lagging fundraising support. President Trump and his campaign have completely shattered that notion,” the campaign said in a release announcing the numbers.

The fundraising amount is the latest sign of Trump’s commanding lead in the primary…

October 5, 2023: Former President Trump’s legal team is asking a Florida judge to delay his trial in the Mar-a-Lago case until “at least mid-November 2024,” which would put it beyond next year’s presidential election. (The Hill)

The request from Trump, the front-runner for the GOP nomination, comes amid complaints from his legal team about the amount of classified evidence they’ve been able to review in the case, as well as their workload, as they manager numerous indictments filed in the case against the former president.

The attorneys say they have yet to get access to all classified evidence underpinning charges in a superseding indictment that accused Trump of an additional Espionage Act charge and of trying to delete security camera footage from his Florida home.

Trump’s team also complains that it “only has access to a small, temporary facility in Miami” to view the highly classified records. It must visit the facility in person while managing hearing dates for Trump’s trial on allegations he sought to block the transfer of power after losing the 2020 election.

“The March 4 2023 trial date in the District of Columbia, and the underlying schedule in that case, currently require President Trump and his lawyer to be in two places at once,” Trump’s attorneys, Christopher Kise and Todd Blanch, wrote in the filing.

Trump is set to face trial on the classified records case in May…

November 3, 2023: Former President Donald Trump picked up another endorsement from a Florida lawmaker – this time from GOP Sen. Rick Scott, who is running for re-election next year. (NBC News)

“I think we all should come together and do everything we can to help him win the nomination so we can beat Biden,” Scott told NBC’s Matt Dixon in his first interview since announcing the endorsement.

Scott is the 12th senator and the 13th member of Florida’s congressional delegation to endorse Trump over Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis. Just Florida GOP Rep. Laurel Lee, who also served in DeSantis’ administration, has backed the governor’s presidential campaign.

Trump has the most congressional endorsements of any presidential candidate by far, with around 70 House members backing Trump in addition to the 13 senators. DeSantis has the next highest number of congressional backers, with five endorsing his campaign…

November 4, 2023: Former President Trump called out fellow Republican Presidential candidate Chris Christie, suggesting the former New Jersey Gov. is only running in the GOP primary because Trump didn’t give him a spot in his cabinet. (The Hill)

“I mean, I heard they booed Christie off the stage today, is that true?” Trump asked his supporters at Saturday’s Florida Republican Party’s Freedom Summit in Kissimmee, Fla.

Christie was booed froth state at the event Saturday by Trump supporters. Between jeers, he tried to tell the crowd that they could reject his arguments, he just needed to be able to say them first.

He said the pettiness and anger shown by the attendees doesn’t bother him, what does, is the “atrocities that are going on in Israel.”

Trump, the event’s headliner, asked the crowd who got louder boos from the crowd, Christie or former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The crowd replies the Christie did.

“I heard they virtually booed him off the stage,” Trump said. He then questioned Christie’s campaign. “What’s it all about? Is he just doing it because I didn’t give him a job on the administration?…

November 6, 2023: Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday endorsed former President Trump in his bid for a second White House term, throwing her support behind her onetime boss ahead of this week’s GOP primary debate. (The Hill)

“It’s not a question between right versus left anymore. It’s normal versus crazy, and President Biden and the left are doubling down on crazy,” Sanders, who previously served as Trump’s White House press secretary, said in a statement.

“The time has comet return to the normal policies the Trump era, which created a safer, stronger, and more prosperous America, and that’s why I am proud to endorse Donald Trump for President,” Sanders added.

In a separate statement, Trump called it “an honor to have Sarah’s endorsement.”

Sanders is expected to attend Trump’s rally Wednesday in Hialeah, Fla., which will take place at the same time as the GOP primary debate up the road in Miami…

November 11, 2023: President Joe Biden and Donald Trump took to social media on Saturday to mark Veterans Day with very different message. (Newsweek via Microsoft Start)

…Trump, on the other hand, first marked Veterans Day with a message on his Truth Social platform that said, “To our heroic veterans, I am grateful for your service to our country and honored to wish you a Happy Veteran’s Day!”

He added that there “is no greater act of selfless service than defending America’s God-given freedoms and liberty.”

In another post, he shared a graphic that featured a quote from Trump saying the nation’s veterans “will never stop fighting for the America we cherish,” and that the “full measure of your sacrifice and your family’s dedication in support of your service may not be fully understood and appreciated, but it will never be forgotten.

Several hours later, Trump returned to Truth Social with a more polarizing message.

“In honor of our great Veterans on Veteran’s Day, we pledge to you that we will root out the Communists, Marxists, Fascists, and Radical Left Thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our Country, lie, steal, and cheat on Elections, and will do anything possible, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America, and the American Dream,” he wrote.

“The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous, and grave than the threat from within. Despite the hatred and anger of the Radical Left Lunatics who want to destroy our country, we will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

The message prompted some to take to social media to say that Trump’s words were reminiscent of Adolf Hitler.

Journalist Bill Grueskin wrote that it was a paragraph for readers who can’t handle the “subtle nuances” of Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Prem Thackkerm a reporter with The Intercept, wrote that Trump “echoed Hitler, who said communists and Jews were Germany’s ‘enemies within.'”

And presidential historian Michael Beschloss wrote: “Today, ‘in honor of our great veterans,” ex-president demands on social media to ‘root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.” Please tell us if this reminds you of any earlier historical figure.”

…The Biden campaign also brought up statements that Trump has reportedly made, disparaging veterans and soldiers killed in battle.

“If you don’t respect our troops, you can’t lead them,” Biden posted on his personal X account.

November 12, 2023: Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) warned voters on Saturday that Donald Trump is a “threat” and that a second term for him “represents clear and present danger.” (Newsweek)

Trump, who is the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has also recently been shown to be leading President Joe Biden in five out of six key swing states: Arizona, Georgia Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, according to New York Times & Siena College poll released last week. Multiple national polls also show the former president leading Biden.

However, this comes amid Trump’s various legal troubles as he faces trials at both the state and federal levels as he has been indicted in four separate cases: two brought by Department of Justice (DOJ) special counsel Jack smith, one by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, and another from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in Georgia. Trump has denied any wrongdoing in all the cases, maintaining his innocence.

Steele, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, issued his warning about Trump on an article with The Guardian, in which he said voters need to recognize the threat the former president poses in the 2024 election.

“He represents a clear and present danger. He is a threat and I take him at his word. When a candidate says, ‘I am your retribution’ to his base that’s not good for the rest of us. People need to get their heads out of their behinds when it comes to what the threat is,” Steele said…

…Steele also said he refuses to believe the former president is the better option for Americans.

“But I’m not going to sit back and say that the guy who tried to overthrow the government, who botched the most consequential pandemic in modern times, resulting in the death of over a million Americans, who plays footsies with our enemies in Russia and China, is going to be the answer to high inflation which, by the way, is half of what it was. year ago. I’m not buying what folks are out there are trying to sell with thinking that it will be better with Donald Trump,” he said…

…Meanwhile, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen warned voters this week amid Trump’s $250 million civil fraud trial in New York about how a second term for Trump could threaten the U.S. Constitution and people’s First Amendment rights.

“Donald made me the very first political prisoner held by this country for failing to waive a First Amendment constitutional right,” Cohen, who is a key witness in the trial, said in an MSNBC interview on All In With Chris Hayes. “Let me be very clear about something: I won’t be the last if in fact he gets into office.”…

November 14, 2023: House Speaker Mike Johnson took sides in the presidential primary on Tuesday, endorsing former President Donald Trump. (NBC News)

Johnson’s endorsement breaks with his predecessor, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who had declined to back a candidate in the GOP primary. Party leaders from both sides in Congress have often stayed neutral until a presumptive nominee emerged from the primaries.

“I’m all in for President Trump,” Johnson told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday. “I expect he’ll be our nominee. He’s going to win it and we have to make [President] Joe Biden a one-term president.”

Trump had praised the Louisiana Republican during the speaker fight, nicknaming the four-term congressman “MAGA Mike Johnson” in one post on his Truth Social platform.

Johnson was a vocal proponent of Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, leading to an amicus brief supporting a Texas lawsuit aimed at tossing out results from four critical states…

…Johnson is the latest member of House GOP leadership to back Trump, joining GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York and Republican Study Committee Chair Gary Palmer of Alabama.

Johnson’s endorsement came the same day that The New York Times unearthed his past criticism of Trump. Johnson reportedly wrote in a 2015 Facebook post that Trump could be “dangerous” and that he “lacks the character and the moral center” to be president.

November 15, 2023: Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee indicated that he is inclined to issue a protective order in the election interference case against Donald Trump and others, based on a request from District Attorney Fani Willis’ office following the publication of confidential proffer interview videos by ABC News and other outlets. (ABC News)

ABC News was the first to report on portions of the videos exclusively obtained showing Fulton County prosecutors confidentially interviewing two attorneys, Sydney Powell and Jenna Ellis, who helped Trump try to overturn the 2020 election results in the state.

“On November 13, 2023, confidential video recordings of proffers conducted by the State with certain witnesses pursuant to guilty plea agreements were published by ABC News and other media outlets,” the Tuesday filing from the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the state and nearly all defendants in the case agreed to a proposal under which the DA’s office would designate which discovery material they consider to be sensitive and give defendants an opportunity to challenge that. Material designated as sensitive would then fall under a protective order to keep it from being made public.

“Everything that we’ve turned over, we believe were prepared to go through it to say what’s sensitive and what’s not,” special prosecutor Nathan Wade told the judge…

…Ellis and Powell were originally indicted alongside Trump and 16 others this summer on charges they worked to overturn the state’s election results. Both later took plea deals, allowing them to plead guilty to reduced charges in exchange for their cooperation. The Washington Post later reported on those proffer videos in addition to videos of two other defendants who also took deals, Kenneth Chesebro and Scott Hall…

November 29, 2023: Former President Trump emphasized late Tuesday night that he wants to “replace” the Affordable Care Act – more commonly known as ObamaCare – rather than “terminate” it entirely.

“Getting much better Healthcare than Obamacare for the American people will be a priority of the Trump Administration. It’s not a matter of cost, it is a matter of HEALTH,” he wrote on Truth Social. “America will have one of the best Healthcare Plans anywhere in the world. Right now, it has one of the WORST!”

“I don’t want to terminate Obamacare, I want to REPLACE IT with MUCH BETTER HEALTHCARE,” Trump added in a separate post. “Obamacare Sucks!!!”…

November 29, 2023: Former President Trump is creating new political headaches for Republicans locked in a highly competitive battle to win back the Senate majority by making extreme statements on health care, immigration and other issues unlikely to play well with swing voters in key states. (The Hill)

Trump shook up Republicans on Capitol Hill over the weekend by declaring that if elected president he would make another run at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

The comments posed on Trump’s media platform, Truth Social, caught GOP lawmakers off guard because they haven’t had any serious policy discussions recently about getting rid if the landmark health care law, and there’s no consensus within their party on how to replace it…

…Trump’s call to revive the effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare follows sweeping pledges he’s made to end birthright citizenship for the children of immigrants living in the country illegally and to deputize the National Guard to implement mass deportations.

Trump drew criticism last month by claiming the flow of migrants across the southern border is “poisoning the blood of our country.”…

December 1, 2023: Ohio’s Republican Party endorsed former President Trump in his reelection bid for the White House on Friday. (The Hill)

“President Trump has proven time and again that despite the unhinged and relentless attacks from the radical left, he will never give up on fighting for Ohio’s workers, business and families,” Ohio Republican Party Chair Alex M. Triantafilou said in a Trump campaign press release. “His unapologetic leadership and commitment to putting America First is exactly what we need to reverse course from the failed policies of Joe Biden and Sherrod Brown.”

Ohio’s becomes the first state Republican Party to endorse the former president for 2024, according to reports from multiple outlets.

Trump’s endorsement by Ohio Republicans follows recent wins for liberal causes in the Buckeye State. At the beginning of last month, a majority of voters in Ohio voted for a ballot measure that enshrined abortion rights in the state constitution. Voters also voted to legalize recreational marijuana, making Ohio the 24th state to do so…

Trump told a crowd at his Commit to Caucus event that the attempts by several states to keep him off the ballot next year backfired.

“To be honest with you, I’m much more popular now than I would have been if they didn’t do it,” he said.

Cases were brought forth by voters and advocacy groups seeking to disqualify Trump from running in 2024 and several went to court, including in Michigan, Colorado and Minnesota, for his role in the Jan. 6 2021 attack on the Capitol. Section 3 of the 14th Amendment stipulates that no one can hold office if they have previously engaged in insurrection against the government. Courts found that Trump could remain on the ballot in all three states…

December 1, 2023: Donald Trump is not immune from prosecution in his election interference case in Washington, a federal judge ruled Friday, knocking down the Republican’s bid to derail the case charging him with plotting to overturn the 2020 presidential election. (NPR)

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chatman’s decision amounts to a sharp rejection to challenges the Trump defense team had raised to the four-count indictment in advance of a trial expected to center on the Republican’s multi-pronged efforts to undo the election won by Democrat Joe Biden.

Though the judge turned aside Trump’s expansive view of presidential power the order might not be the final say in the legal fight. Lawyers for Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing, are expected to quickly appeal the fight to what they say is an unsettled legal question.

In her ruling, Chutkan said the office of the president “does not confer a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass.”

“Former Presidents enjoy no special conditions on their federal criminal liability,” Chutkan wrote. “Defendant may be subject to federal investigation, indictment, prosecution, conviction, and punishment for any criminal acts undertaken while in office.”

Chutkan also rejected Trump’s claims that the indictment violates the former president’s free speech rights. Lawyers for Trump had argued that he was within his First Amendment rights to challenge the outcome of the election and to allege that it had been tainted by fraud, and they accused prosecutors of attempting to criminalize political speech and political advocacy.

But Chutkan said, “it is well established that the First Amendment does not protect speech that is used in the instrument of a crime.”

“Defendant is not being prosecuted simply for making false statements… but rather for knowingly making false statements in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy and obstructing the electoral process.”

An attorney for Trump declined to comment Friday evening…

December 1, 2023: A federal judge has dismissed ex-President Donald Trump’s bid to throw out charges of election interference on the basis of “presidential immunity.” (BBC)

Mr Trump’s lawyers had argued his attempts to reject the 2020 results fell within his duties as president.

But Judge Tanya Chutkan found no legal basis for concluding presidents cannot face criminal charges once they are no longer in office.

Mr Trump is accused of unlawfully trying to overturn his election defeat.

“Whatever immunities a sitting president may enjoy, the United States has only one chief executive at a time,” Judge Chutkan wrote late on Friday.

“That position does not confer a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass.”

She added that Mr Trump’s presidency “did not bestow on him the divine right of kings to evade the criminal accountability that governs his fellow citizens.”

The ruling is the first by a US court confirming that presidents can be prosecuted like any other citizen. Mr Trump is the first current or former US president to face criminal charges…

…Mr Trump is facing four criminal counts – including conspiracy to defraud the US related to his alleged efforts to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.

He has pleaded not guilty. The Washington DC trial, brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith, is scheduled to begin in March in the midst of his campaign for next year’s White House election.

December 4, 2023: Headlines blaring warnings about how a second Trump presidency could slip toward dictatorship on Monday prompted a stiff pushback from the allies of the ex-president, who is topping GOP primary polls jus weeks before the Iowa caucuses. (The Hill)

The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and The New York Times each published stories referencing a “Trump dictatorship” in recent days, arguing a new Trump presidency posed a threat to democracy. The Times wrote a second Trump turn would likely be more radical than his first.

…The Atlantic announced Monday the magazine’s January/Feburary issue would be dedicated to what a second Trump term would mean for immigration civil rights, the Justice Department, climate and more. The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, wrote an editor’s note titled “A Warning,” to introduce the series.

The New York Times on Monday published its latest piece in a series focused on what a second Trump term might mean for the country. In it, the reporters noted Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail “has attracted growing alarm and comparisons to historical fascist dictators and contemporary populist strongmen.”

And a Washington Post opinion column penned by editor-at-large Robert Kagan headlined, “A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending,” made an extensive case that Trump’s reelection could feasibly set the U.S. on a path to becoming a dictatorship…

…I think it’s a very, very real threat and concern,” former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), an outspoken Trump critic, told NBC’s “Today” on Monday when asked about the risk of the U.S. becoming a dictatorship under Trump.

“And I don’t say any of this lightly and frankly, it’s painful for me as someone who has spent her whole life in Republican politics, who grew up as a Republican to watch what’s happening to my party and to watch the extent to which Donald Trump himself has basically determined that the only thing that matters is him, his power, and his success,” she added…

December 6, 2023: Former President Donald Trump and his allies are preparing for an aggressive expansion of his powers should he take back the White House. (NPR)

This includes more power to crack down on immigration and overhaul the Justice Department to punish opponents.

Trump mocked fears about his authoritarianism tendencies at a Fox News town hall on Tuesday, stating he’d be a dictator only on “Day 1″ so that he could close the border and start drilling.”

“After that, I’m not a dictator, OK?” Trump told host Sean Hannity to applause from the Iowa crowd.

The fiery language is not new, but he and a group of Trump supporters are working behind the scenes on plans to amass his power so that the can carry out an unprecedented restructuring of the U.S. government.

During their last go in the White House, say former Trump officials like Russ Voight, who served as Trump’s budget director at the White House, career staff members often blocked or slow-walked even the smallest efforts to make policy changes.

“I can’t tell you how many times I would get the question, ‘Well, that’s not allowed,” remembered Vought, who is now president of the think tank Center for Renewing America…

…Vought is now helping to lead a team drafting plans that would curtail the independence of some federal agencies and end government protections for tens of thousands of federal employees – whom Trump calls the deep state – so that those employees could be replaced with partisan loyalists.

A key part of this effort revolves around reinstituting an executive order known as Schedule F, which would reclassify a large chunk of those federal staff members as at-will employees.

And that is raising concerns about authoritarianism…

December 8, 2023: Former President Trump took a swing Friday at former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) after his stronger debate showing. (The Hill)

“Sloppy Chris Christie is not fit to run for President. He is suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome,” Trump posted to Truth Social. “According to all, he came in LAST in the debate, and I came in FIRST, as I have in all of the debates, without even being there. MAGA!”

(NOTE: Trump Derangement Syndrome is not real. It does not appear in the DSM-5, and therefore, is NOT a real mental health disorder. Psychologists and psychiatrists would never label a client with a non-existent mental disorder. In addition to Trump Derangement Disorder, there has also been Obama Derangement Disorder, and Bush Derangement Disorder.)

Christie went after the former president during Wednesday’s Republican primary debate. The former New Jersey governor got into a tense back-and-forth with rival candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) over Trump during the event.

“There is no mystery to what he wants to do. He started off his campaign by saying ‘I am your retribution.’ Eight years ago, he said, “I am your voice,” Christie said of Trump.

“This is an angry, bitter man who now wants to be back as president because he wants to extract retribution on anyone who has disagreed with him, anyone who’s tried to hold him accountable for his own conduct, and every one of these policies that he’s talking about are about pursuing a plan of retribution,” Christie contended…

December 10, 2023: The chairman of an Austrian political party founded by ex-Nazis, the conservative Twitter star behind the anti-trans Bud Light backlash and former President Trump all walked into a bar. Seriously. (Politico)

On Saturday night in Manhattan, amid butler-delivered bellinis, sequenced ball gowns and a five course French service meal, characters from all corners of the Republican Party’s MAGA faction gathered for “a night of dinner, drinking, and love of country.”

Trump, the New York Young Republican Club’s 111th Annual Gala Keynote speaker, delivered.

“We want to liberate America because we’re in a country that’s in a lot of pain right now, a lot of hurt,” Trump told the crowd, during his 80-minute long speech. “This campaign is on a righteous crusade to rescue our nation from a very corrupt political class.”

On the heels of a reaffirmed gag order, a debate of largely deferential Republican opponents and near slam-dunk poll numbers for the Iowa caucuses just weeks away, Trump made his pledge for a return to the White House.

The former president also addressed his comments earlier this week where he said he would not be a dictator “except for day one” if he returns to office in 2025.

“[Peter] Baker today in the New York Times said that I want to be a dictator,” Trump said, referencing an article from the newspaper’s chief White House correspondent.

“I didn’t say that. I said I want to be a dictator for one day. You know why I wanted to be a dictator? Because I want a wall, and I want to drill, drill, drill,” Trump said, adding that Democrats’ “newest hoax” is to label him a threat to democracy…

December 12, 2023: Trump-supporting Republicans are less likely than voters who support other GOP presidential candidates to favor political compromise on issues, according to a Pew Research Center poll published Thursday.

About 63 percent of former President Trump’s supporters want their candidate to focus on pushing for GOP policy in office rather than working with Democrats, more than supporters for any other GOP primary candidate.

Republican voters are split overall, with exactly half of respondents emphasizing compromise.

Among other GOP candidates, supporters of former U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley support compromise the most, with 72 percent of respondents saying they want the GOP candidate to work across the aisle. Just more than half of supporters for Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) back compromise over partisanship, the poll found…

December 14, 2023: The Michigan Court of Appeals said Thursday it won’t stop former President Donald Trump from appearing on the state’s 2024 Republican ballot, turning aside challenges from critics who argue that his role in the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol disqualifies him. (NBC News)

The court affirmed two lower court rulings without determining whether Trump falls under the insurrection clause in the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

“Who to place on the primary ballot is determined by the political parties and the individual candidates,” the appeals court said in a 3-0 opinion citing Michigan law.

The court further said Trump’s possible spot on a general election ballot was not ripe for consideration.

The two-sentence clause in the 14th Amendment has been used only a handful of times since the years after the Civil War. It’s likely that one of the lawsuits challenging Trump eventually will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has never ruled on the insurrection clause.

The Michigan court decision was similar to one from Minnesota Supreme Court, which said Trump could stay on that state’s primary ballot because the election is a party-run contest…

December 15, 2023: In a post on his Truth Social site, former President Trump slammed Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie for doing poorly in New Hampshire in the 2016 race. (The Hill)

“Sloppy Chris Christie did so poorly in the Great State of New Hampshire in 2016 that immediately after the votes were counted, he dropped out and endorsed me,” Trump said.

Trump said then Christie headed home to New Jersey, where he was governor at the time, “to an approval rating of 9%.” The former president took a dig at Ron DeSantis (R) for abandoning his state to campaign, too.

“New Hampshire doesn’t like that Sloppy RINO Dog, and they don’t like Ron, who is in 5th place, either. MAGA!” Trump’s post said…

December 15, 2023: Bob Vanar Plaats, an influential evangelical leader, said he doesn’t believe recent polling that shows evangelical voters still support former President Trump. (The Hill)

“I don’t believe them, and there’s a reason I don’t believe them – because it does not match up at all to what I’m hearing on the ground.” Vander Plaats told The Washington Post on Thursday…

…Vander Plaats’s interview came more than a month after he endorsed Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) who continues to trail the former president in both state and national polls…

…While Trump remains the clear front-runner in the race for the GOP nomination, Vander Plaats says he believes his numbers are “much closer to low 40’s”

“I don’t think he’s got a 30-point lead,” he said. “And I don’t think there’s plenty of time to make that up.”

He said he doesn’t believe there is a disconnect between evangelicals who support Trump and those who don’t support the former president.

December 15, 2023: One of Donald Trump’s former staffers claims the former president may “turn off the internet” if he is re-elected. (The Independent)

Miles Taylor, Mr Trump’s former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, made the claim during an appearance on MSNBC.

Mr Taylor was asked what kind damage Mr Trump could potentially do if he were re-elected to the Oval Office in 2024.

“The possibilities are almost limitless,” Mr Taylor said. “The biggest concerns for me are on the national security side. I think Americans still don’t understand the full extent of the president’s powers and things Donald Trump could do, bubble-wrapped in legalese, that would be damaging to the republic.”

He claimed that Mr Trump could “invoke powers we’ve never heard a President of the United States invoke” which would include decisions to “potentially shut down companies or turn off the internet, or deploy US military on US soil.”…

…He said the potential for Mr Trump to use his presidential powers as bludgeons against his political enemies is “a big worry for people like me and others.”

“But that weaponization of government could extend across the interagency to places where we haven’t seen it before – the Department of Education, the Department of Veteran Affairs – ways to wield that power and those budgets to help his allies and to hurt his enemies,” Mr Taylor said…

December 16, 2023: Former President Donald Trump on Saturday quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin to attack President Joe Biden as a “threat to democracy” and doubled down on language condemned for its ties to White supremacist rhetoric, saying at a campaign event in New Hampshire that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country.” (CNN)

“Joe Biden is a threat to democracy. He’s a threat,” he told supporters at a rally in Durham, New Hampshire. “Even Vladimir Putin… says that Biden’s – and this is a quote – ‘politically motivated persecution of his political rival is very good for Russia because it shows the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach others about democracy.”

Trump also praised two other authoritarian leaders, calling Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban “highly respected” and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “very nice.”

Trump’s comments align with a pattern of expressing fondness for foreign leaders who use anti-democratic measures to maintain power. They also come after the former president attempted to sidestep questions in a Fox News town hall about whether he would act as a dictator if reelected, saying he would not act as a dictator “except for Day 1.” Trump faces federal and state charges stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election…

December 17, 2023: Former President Trump on Sunday compared himself to infamous mob boss Al Capone, noting Capone was indicted once but Trump now faces four criminal indictments. (The Hill)…

…Trump faces four criminal indictments. Special counsel Jack Smith brought two federal indictments against Trump, one related to his efforts to stay in power following the 2020 presidential election and one related to his alleged willful retention of national defense information, by repeatedly refusing to give back government documents. He also faces a criminal indictment in New York and one in Georgia…

In his remarks on Sunday, Trump claimed that the indictments were not just about him, but were about his supporters.

“Never forget: Our enemies want to take away my freedom because I will never let them take away your freedom. That’s what I do. They want to silence me because I will never let them silence you,” Trump said. “And in the end they are not after me. They are after you. And I just happened to be standing in the way. I am in their way.”

December 18, 2023: Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and former President Trump have reached out to Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) about endorsing their presidential candidacies, the Hill has confirmed. (The Hill)

A source familiar with the situation confirmed other outlets’ reports that both candidates have tried courting the former presidential contender and other high-profile Senate Republicans to throw his support behind them, Semafor first reported their attempts.

The outlet reported that Haley called Scott on Friday to try to get his endorsement, while Trump had privately worked to get Scott’s support.

Scott struggled to gain traction in Republican primary polls for months before dropping out last month. Still, he was well-liked and viewed more more positivity than several of this competitors.

But all of the major candidates seem to have expressed interest in Scott since he left the race…

December 19, 2023: Former President Trump launched new attacks Monday against New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) and Judge Arthur Engoron, the judge overseeing his fraud trial in the Empire State. (The Hill)

“Remember, the corrupt and radical Judge Engoron is a political hack who wouldn’t give us a Jury, wouldn’t let this ‘case’ go to the Commercial Division, where it belongs (would have been TERMINATED), incredibly ignored the Appellate Court decision that struck down almost 90% of this fake lawsuit based on Statute of Limitations, etc., and, illegally and Unconstitutionally Gagged me and my lawyers, in a brazen and blatant attempt to prevent us from bringing vital information to the Public and the Courts,” Trump posted to Truth Social.

(NOTE: According to Snopes, what actually happened was that New York Attorney Letitia James filed a form with a checkmark next to the field: “Trial without a jury.” Trump’s legal team didn’t file a corresponding form, and the former president may have regretted his lawyer’s inaction ever since.

Snopes also wrote that in an interview with Newsmax, Trump lawyer Alina Habba made the argument that her team, in fact, never had a right to a jury trial in the first place:

“I have to address this one common misconception in the press, and unfortunately, it just keeps getting repeated, which is that we have this great option to have a box checked for a jury.”

“No, we didn’t have that. That’s not how this works. They brought it under Section 63(12), which is a very narrow, not appropriately used section of the law, which is for consumer protections, not this. And that is why we’re sitting here in front of a judge.”)

December 20, 2023: Former Attorney General Bill Barr criticized the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling to prohibit former President Trump from the state’s primary ballot Wednesday, saying that the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to shut down the opinion and that the move could help get Trump elected. (The Hill)

Barr, who served as Trump’s attorney general but doesn’t support the former president in the GOP primary focused his criticism on how the decision was made, not its contents.

“I strongly oppose Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, but I think this case is legally wrong and untenable,” Barr said in a CNN interview. “And I think this kind of action of stretching the law, taking these hyper-aggressive positions to try to knock Trump out of the race are counterproductive. They backfire.”

“He feeds on grievance just like a fire feeds on oxygen. And this is going to end up as a grievance that helps him,” Barr continued.

The Colorado decision determined that Trump inflamed and engaged in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots and should be disqualified from the state’s ballot under the 14th Amendment. The complex case is likely set for the Supreme Court…

…The former attorney general said he expects the Supreme Court to take up the case on the Colorado case and reverse it.

“I hope they do,” he said. “Take it up quickly and slap it down, because otherwise [Trump] could be left off the ballot in this primary.

He also warned that if the Colorado case is allowed to stand, it would “create chaos,” with states frequently invoking the 14th Amendment to kick national politicians off ballots…

December 20, 2023: Former President Trump’s legal team asked the Supreme Court to hold off on weighing whether he is immune from prosecution after special counsel Jack smith asked the high court to address the issue. (The Hill)

Trump is appealing the decision of U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, who declined his motion to toss his election interference case after he argued his status as a former president shields him from the charges.

Smith petitioned the justices to immediately weigh in on Trump’s immunity defense to keep the schedule on track ahead of his March 4 trial.

“The Special Counsel identifies no compelling reason for extraordinary haste he proposes. Instead, he vaguely asserts that the ‘public interest’ favors resolution on a dramatically accelerated timetable, to ensure President Trump may be brought to trial in the next few months,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in the filing.

“In doing so, he confuses the ‘public interest’ with the manifest partisan interesting in ensuring that President Trump will be subjected to a months-long criminal trial at the height of the presidential campaign where he is the leading candidate and the only serious opponent of the current administration.”

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear Trump’s challenge to Chutkan’s rejection of his arguments on Jan. 9.

Trump’s team argues allowing the appeals court to first weight the issue will give the Supreme Court “the benefit of an appellate court’s prior consideration of these historic topics and performing the traditionally winnowing function that this Court has long preferred.”

“Importance does not automatically necessitate speed. If anything, the opposite is true,” Trump’s team wrote…

…Still, Trump argued against expediting the circuit court’s review of his appeal, a move that comes after prosecutors have contended Trump is seeking every delay possible to punt the case beyond the 2024 election.

“Whatever immunities a sitting President may enjoy, the United States has only one Chief Executive at a time, and that position does not confer a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass, Former Presidents enjoy no special conditions on their federal criminal liability,” Chutkan wrote in her early December ruling.

“Defendant may be subject to federal investigation, indictment, prosecution, conviction and punishment for any criminal acts undertaken while in office,” she added.

Trump’s motion also argues the case should be tossed as he was already acquitted by the Senate in his second impeachment trial, saying prosecution by the Justice Department constitutes double jeopardy.

The Supreme Court already agreed to an expedited briefing schedule on the matter but has not yet determined whether to take the case at a closed-door conference.

“It is imperative public importance that the respondent’s claims of immunity be resolved by this Court and the respondent’s trial proceed as promptly as possible if his claim of immunity is rejected,” Smith wrote in his filing last week.

December 20, 2023: The Colorado GOP is threatening to try to withdraw from Colorado’s Republican presidential primary in March – or ignore the results – if Donald Trump isn’t on the ballot, heaping uncertainty onto the fast-approaching contest and setting up a possible legal showdown with state elections officials. (Colorado Sun)

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Trump can’t appear on the ballot because he engaged in an insurrection on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and therefore is disqualified from holding office again. The decision will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but there’s little time for a resolution before the Jan. 5 state deadline to set the ballot. Ballots start being mailed to military and overseas voters on Jan. 20. Election Day is March 5.

Colorado GOP Chairman Dave Williams told The Colorado Sun on Tuesday night that if Trump isn’t on the ballot, the party would ask the state to cancel the Republican presidential primary. Instead, Republican voters would caucus to select delegates to the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee next year.

There are 37 delegates up for grabs from the state…

…The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office said the Colorado GOP couldn’t withdraw from the presidential primary and that it had doubts about whether the party can ignore the primary results.

“Colorado law does not allow a presidential primary election to be canceled at the request of a political party,” the office said in a written statement Wednesday. “If the Colorado Republican Party attempts to withdraw from the presidential primary or ignore the results of the election, this would likely be a matter for the courts.”

State law says “each political party shall use the results of the (president primary) election to allocate national delegate votes in accordance with the party’s state and national rules.”

The legal and political uncertainty highlights how the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling marks the first time that the insurrection clause has been used a block a presidential candidate from appearing on the ballot.

The Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling is stayed until Jan. 4. The court that the stay remain in place, and that the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office must place Trump’s name on the ballot, if its decision is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Since an appeal is imminent, the U.S. Supreme Court would have to block Trump from Colorado’s ballot in the next three weeks for Williams’ threat to be relevant…

December 20, 2023: Former federal Judge Michael Luttig argued Wednesday that the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling disqualifying former President Trump from the state’s ballot is not “anti-democratic,” but rather the conduct that prompted the disqualification was anti-democratic. (The Hill)

Responding to former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s comments arguing all eligibility requires are anti-democratic “in a sense,” Luttig said, “It is not the former president’s disqualification that is anti-democratic.”

“The Constitution itself tells us that it is the conduct that gives rise to disqualification under the 14th Amendment that is anti-democratic.” Luttig added during an appearance on CNN’s “This Morning”…

…Several lawmakers argued the decision sets a dangerous precedent for how courts might be used to decide who can compete in elections.

“It is a serious matter – nonpolitical mater through to this extent,” Luttig continued. “We live under the rule of law in this country, and it’s imperative that all Americans accept the decision of our courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. It is not an option in the United States of America to protest in the streets [the] decisions of our courts – state or federal.”

Luttig, a conservative legal thinker appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush, has been a leading proponent of using the 14th Amendment to bar Trump from returning to office. He has also called the former president a “clear and present danger to the US democracy” during testimony before the House Jan. 6 committee last year…

…”That’ why the Supreme Court will take this case. It will decide it … and the will be a uniform rule nationwide for at least the 2024 election,” Luttig continued…

December 21, 2023: Donald Trump touts his transformation of the U.S. Supreme Court as one of his presidency’s greatest accomplishments. Now his legal and political future may lie in the hands of the court he pushed to the right. (Associated Press)

With three Trump-appointed justices leading a conservative majority, the court is being thrust into the middle of two cases carrying enormous political implications just weeks before the first votes in the Iowa caucuses. The outcomes of the legal fights could dictate whether the Republican presidential primary front-runner stands trial over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and whether he has a shot to retake the White House next November.

“The Supreme Court now is really in a sticky wicket, of historical proportions, of constitutional dimensions, to a degree that I don’t think we’ve ever really seen before,” said Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Trump’s lawyers plan to ask the Supreme Court to overturn a decision Tuesday barring him from Colorado’s ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anyone who swore an oath to support the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” against it from holding office. The Colorado Supreme Court ruling is the first time in history the provision has been used to try to prohibit someone from running for the presidency…

December 22, 2023: In a poll taken just after the dramatic Colorado Supreme Court ruling barring Donald Trump from the ballot in the state, over half of Americans approve of the disqualifying the former president. (Daily Mail – via Microsoft Start)

The ruling, released Monday, was made under the 14th Amendment’s clause against people who have committed ‘insurrection,’ with the Colorado justices determined to punish Trump for Jan. 6. A total of 54 percent of American adults approve of the ruling, according to the YouGov survey that questioned nearly 3,500 citizens. About 38 said they strongly approved of the decision.

December 22, 2023: Steering clear of a political firestorm for now, the Supreme Court said on Friday it would not immediately decide the key question of whether Donald Trump has broad immunity for actions he took as president challenging his 2020 election loss. (NBC News)

The court denied without comment special counsel Jack Smith’s request asking the justices to circumvent the normal appeals court process and quickly decide the question, which looks large in Trump’s prosecution in Washington over allegations of election interference.

If Trump were to win on this threshold issue, the charges would be dismissed. If he loses, the legal proceedings in the trial court would continue, with Trump having her issues he could mount appeals over.

As a result of the court’s refusal to intervene, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will take the first crack at the issue; it is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Jan. 9.

Once that court rules, the Supreme Court could act quickly on whether to take up the case…

December 22, 2023: Conservative former federal judge J. Michael Luttig applauded the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to disqualify former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 primary ballot as “masterful” and “brilliant.” (USA TODAY – via Microsoft Start)

The Colorado Supreme Court’s Tuesday ruling was based on a provision of the 14th Amendment that disqualified certain elected officials who have engaged in an insurrection from holding office. The state’s high court ruled that Trump was disqualified over his actions surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the capitol.

Trump is expected to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This is the most pressing constitutional question of our times,” Luttig said in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday. “And it will be a test of America’s commitment to its democracy, to it’s constitution and to the rule of law for all the reasons that are coming to the forefront this morning.”

Luttig added that, when the U.S. Supreme Court hears the case, it will be the ‘single most important constitutional decision in all of our history.”

“Yesterday’s decision by the Colorado Supreme Court was masterful. It was brilliant, and it is an unassailable interpretation of the 14th Amendment,” the former judge added…

…Colorado isn’t the only state where advocates have tried to keep Trump off the 2024 Republican ballot. Lawsuits have also been brought in Michigan, Minnesota and other areas ahead of next year’s presidential election.

December 27, 2023: The Colorado Republican Party on Wednesday appealed the state’s Supreme Court decision that found former President Donald Trump is ineligible for the presidency, the potential first step to a showdown at the nation’s highest court over the meaning of a 155-year-old constitutional provision that bans the office those who “engaged in insurrection.” (Associated Press)

The first impact of the appeal is to extend the say of the 4-3 ruling from Colorado’s highest court, which put its decision on pause until Jan. 4, the day before the state’s primary ballots are due at the printer, or until an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is finished. Trump himself said he still plans to appeal the ruling to the nation’s highest court as well.

The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which was added after the Civil War to prevent former Confederates from returning to government. It says that anyone who swore an oath to “support” the constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” against it cannot hold government office.

The Colorado high court ruled that applies to Trump in the wake of this role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, intended to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory on 2020 presidential election. It was the first time in history that the provision was used to block a presidential contender’s campaign…

December 28, 2023: Maine’s Democratic Secretary of State on Thursday removed former President Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot under the Constitution’s insurrection clause, becoming the first election official to take action unilaterally as the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to decide whether Trump remains eligible to return to the White House. (Associated Press)

The decision by Secretary of State Shenna Bellows follows a ruling earlier this month by the Colorado Supreme Court that booted Trump from the ballot there under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. That decision decides whether Trump is barred by the Civil War-era provision, which prohibits those who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office.

The Trump campaign said it would appeal Bellows’ decision to Maine’s state courts, and Bellows suspended her ruling until that court system rules on the case. In the end, it is likely that the nation’s highest court will have the final say on whether Trump appears on the ballot in Maine and in other states.

Bellows found that Trump could no longer run for his prior job because his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attacks on the U.S. Capitol violated Section 3, which bans from office those who “engaged in insurrection.” Bellows made the ruling after some state residents, including a bipartisan group of former lawmakers, challenged Trump’s position on the ballot.

“I do not reach this conclusion lightly,” Bellows wrote in her 34-page decision. “I am mindful that no Secretary of State has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection.”…

…Legal experts said that Thursday’s ruling demonstrates the need for the nation’s highest court, which has never ruled on Section 3, to clarify what states can do.

“It is clear that these decisions are going to keep popping up and inconsistent decisions reached (like the many states keeping Trump on the ballot over challenges) until there is a final and decisive guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court,” Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California-Los Angeles, wrote in response to the Maine decision. “It seems a certainty that SCOTUS will have to address the merits sooner or later…

December 28: Sen. Collins: Maine secretary of state’s decision to bar Trump from ballot ‘should be overturned” (The Hill – Via Microsoft Start)

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) criticized the Maine secretary of state’s decision to remove former President Trump from the Maine primary ballot Thursday, arguing that thoughts on the Jan. 6 Capitol riots should be between the voter and the ballot box.

“Main voters should decide who wins the election – not a Secretary of State chosen by the Legislature,” Collins wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “The Secretary of State’s decision would deny thousands of Mainers the opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choice, and it should be overturned.”

Maine Secretary of State Shanna Bellows (D) decided Trump’s Jan. 6 conduct violated the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection clause,” which prevents those who assist in rebellions against the country from holding office.

The landmark decision makes Maine the second state to remove Trump from their primary ballot, after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled the same last week…

…Bellows said Trump “used a false narrative of election fraud to inflame his supporters,” on Jan. 6 and “was aware of the likelihood for violence and at least initially supported its use given he both encouraged it with incendiary rhetoric and took no timely action to stop it…

December 28, 2023: Donald Trump shouldn’t be allowed to make “irrelevant claims” targeting President Joe Biden or say others are to blame for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot during his federal election interference trial, special counsel Jack Smith wrote in a court filing Wednesday. (ABC News via Microsoft Start)

“Through public statements, filings and argument in hearings before the court, the defense has attempted to inject into this case partisan political attacks and irrelevant and prejudicial issues that have no place in a jury trial,” the filing states.

“Although the court can recognize these efforts for what they are and disregard them, the jury — if subjected to them — may not,” it continues. “The court should not permit the defendant to turn the courtroom into a forum in which he propagates irrelevant disinformation, and should reject his attempt to inject politics into this proceeding.”

The special council argues that Trump has suggested “he intends to impeach the integrity of the investigation by raising wholly false claims such as the government’s nonexistent ‘coordination with the Biden administration’ and other empty allegations recycled from the selected and vindictive prosecution motion that he based on anonymous sources in newspaper articles.”

Smith’s team also argues that in the filing that Trump should be barred from using “terminology such as the ‘Injustice Department’, ‘Biden indictment’ or similar phrases in front of the jury…

…In the filing Wednesday, Smith accuses Trump of engaging in a fact-free public disinformation campaign to discredit the indictment that he says must be excluded from tainting his criminal trial, which could be delayed from its anticipated March 4 start date. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the case, has stayed proceedings in the case while the appeals process plays out.

The special council also argues that Trump should be prohibited from arguing he was personally tricked by foreign disinformation about the election or that foreign disinformation campaigns led to the Jan. 6 riot.

“To begin with, the defendant has not pointed to a single piece of evidence indicating that foreign influence — rather than his own lies — motivated rioters on January 6,” Smith’s team says. “And in any event, whether others– be they civilians or foreign actors — said untrue things on the internet does not exonerate the defendant for the lies he told to his followers or the criminal steps he took to illegally retain power.”

Another area the special council says Trump should be prevented from raising is blaming law enforcement or D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for failing to protect the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“A bank robber cannot defend himself by blaming the bank’s security guard for failing to stop him,” the filing reads. “A fraud defendant cannot claim to the jury that his victims should have known better than to fall for his scheme. And the defendant cannot argue that law enforcement should have prevented the violence he caused and obstruction he intended.”

Trump responded to the filing in a statement Wednesday, claiming the prosecution is ignoring Judge Chutkan’s instructions to stay the election subversion case.

“[I]t is so sad that the Supreme Court just unanimously rejected his desperate attempt to rush this Witch Hunt, that he is ignoring the law and clear instructions from District Court Judge Chutkan, who unequivocally stated that this ‘case’ is stayed and there should be no litigation,” Trump wrote in a statement.

In his statement, Trump also attacked the special counsel, accusing him of being “obsessed with attacking President Trump and interfering with the 2024 Presidential Election” and calling him Biden’s “errand boy.”…

December 29, 2023: Unlike his counterpart in Maine, Rhode Island Secretary of State Gregg Amore will not try to block former President Donald Trump from appearing on the presidential primary ballot under the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause. (USA TODAY)

Amore “believes that the rhetoric of the Trump campaign, as well as the action that took place on and before Jan. 6, represents a real threat to our democracy,” Amore spokesperson Faith Chybowski wrote in an email Friday.

“With that said, he believes that any qualifying candidate should not be denied access to the ballot. It is not the role of the secretary of state’s office to litigate constitutional challenges; but, the RI Department of State will certainly adhere to the rulings of the courts.”…

…The question of his 2024 eligibility is expected to be settled ultimately by the U.S. Supreme Court and Amore said he will not stand in the way of Trump making Rhode Island’s April 2 presidential primary absent relevant court rulings in the meantime.

“As long as former President Trump meets Rhode Island’s ballot qualification requirements, and there are not further court rulings to the contrary, he will be included on the ballot as would any other qualifying candidate,” Chyboski wrote.

December 30, 2023: Special counsel Jack Smith urged a federal appeals court Saturday to reject former President Donald Trump’s claims that he is immune from prosecution, saying the suggestion that he cannot be held to account for crimes in office “threatens the democratic and constitutional foundation” of the country. (ABC News)

The filing from Smith’s team was submitted ahead of arguments next month on the legally untested question of whether a former president can be prosecuted for acts taken while in the White House.

Though the matter is now being considered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Court of Columbia Circuit, it’s likely to come again before the Supreme Court, which earlier this month rejected prosecutors’ request for a speedy ruling in favor holding that Trump can be forced to stand trial on charges that he plotted to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The outcome of the dispute is critical for both sides especially since the case has been effectively paused while Trump advances his immunity claims in the appeals court.

The outcome of the dispute is critical for both sides especially since the case has been effectively paused while Trump advances his immunity claims in the appeals court.

Prosecutors are hoping a swift judgement rejecting those arguments will restart the case and keep it on track for trial, currently scheduled for March 4 in federal court in Washington. But Trump’s lawyers stand to benefit from a protracted appeals process that could significantly delay the case and potentially push it beyond the November election.

Trump’s lawyers maintain that the appeals court should order the dismissal of the case, arguing that as a former president he is exempt from prosecution for acts that fell within his official duties as president.

Smith’s team has said no such immunity exists in the Constitution or in a case law and that, in any event, the actions that Trump took in his failed effort to cling to power aren’t part of a president’s official responsibilities.

The four-count indictment charges Trump with conspiring to disrupt the certification in Congress of electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021, when rioters motivated by falsehoods about the election results stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent clash with police. It alleges that he participated in a scheme to enlist slates of fake electors in battleground states who would falsely attest that Trump had won those states and encouraged then-Vice President Mike Pence to thwart the counting of votes…

December 31, 2023: Three women who served in former President Donald Trump’s White House are now warning against a possible second Trump term, with one of them saying it could mean “the end of American democracy as we know it.” (ABC News)

For the first time, former White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah Griffin, former White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews, and former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson sat down together with ABC News “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl to discuss their roles in speaking out against Trump in the wake of Jan. 6.

“Fundamentally, a second Trump term could mean the end of American democracy as we know it, and I don’t say that lightly,” Griffin, now a co-host of ABC’s “The View,” told Karl, accusing the former president of having gone to “historic and unconstitutional lengths in attempting to” steal a democratic election” and to stay in power.

“I’m very concerned about what the term would actually look like,” Griffin continued.

“We don’t need to speculate what a second Trump term would [be] like because we already saw it play out,” Matthews told Karl.

“To this day, he still doubles down on the fact that he thinks that the election was stolen and fraudulent,” Matthews said, claiming Trump’s rhetoric has become “increasingly erratic,” citing his threats to skirt the Constitution and suggestions about weaponizing the Justice Department to retaliate against his political enemies.

Hutchinson, who served as a top aide to Trump’s last White House chief of staff Mark Meadows – and who stood by Trump the longest after the 2020 election – said there’s a large portion of the population that’s not recognizing their mistakes, that’s not working to continue to better our country.”

“This is a fundamental election to continue to safeguard our institutions and our constitutional republic,” Hutchison said. “We’re extremely fragile as a country, and so is the democratic experiment.”…

…The Trump campaign responded to ABC’s interview with a statement calling the women “ungrateful grifters” who “used the opportunities given to them by President Trump” and had gone “full Judas.”

January 9, 2024: Former President Trump on Tuesday insisted the case against him and several others in Georgia over efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results should be dropped after another defendant filed a motion accusing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) of improper behavior. (The Hill)

“You had a very big event yesterday as you saw in Georgia where the district attorney is totally compromised. The case has to be dropped,” Trump said after a hearing in Washington D.C., over presidential immunity arguments in a separate, federal 2020 election interference case against him. “They went after 18 or 20 people … she was out of her mind. Now it turns out that case is totally compromised.”

“It’s illegal. What she did is illegal. She we’ll let the state handle that, but what a sad situation it is,” Trump added.

Mike Roman, a Philadelphia-based political operative who served a Trump’s director of Election Day operations on his 2020 campaign and faces seven criminal charges, claimed in court filings Monday that Willis and a top prosecutor in the case are engaged in an “improper” romantic relationship, making the indictment “fatally defective.”

Roman did not provide any hard evidence of the accusations. His lawyer, Ashleigh Merchant, claimed in court papers that “sources close” to both Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade indicated the pair are involved in an “ongoing, personal and romantic relationship.”…

…Trump and his campaign have for months attacked Willis, painting her as a radical political operative and accusing her of interfering in the 2024 election by bringing charges against the former president.

Trump was indicted in August and charged with 13 counts stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. He is facing a separate, federal criminal case in D.C. over his efforts to remain in power after losing the 2020 election…

January 10, 2024: Former President Trump said he may come around to liking Chris Christie again after the former New Jersey governor dropped out of the GOP primary race Wednesday night. (The Hill)

Trump also touted Christie’s hot mic incident earlier Wednesday, when Christie said Nikki Haley’s “gonna get smoked” in the race against the former president.

“I hear Chris Christie is dropping out of the race today – I might even get to like him again! Anyway, he was just caught on a hot mic making a very truthful statement: “She’s gonna get smoked… You and I both know it, she’s not up to this,” Trump wrote on Truth Social…

…I mean, look, she’s spent like $68 million so far, just on TV – spent $68 million so far – $59 million by DeSantis, and we spent $12. I mean, who’s punching above their weight and who’s getting a return on their investment, you know? Christie said. “And she’s gonna get smoked, and you both know it. She’s not up to this.”…

January 10, 2024: Former President Trump on Wednesday predicted there would be a stock market crash if he does not win the presidential election in November. (The Hill)

Trump was asked at a Fox News town hall in Iowa about his previous comments in which he said he hoped any economic downturn would happen in the next 12 months because he did not want to be like former President Hoover, who took office during a stable economy but later oversaw the Great Depression.

“You’re not saying you’re hoping for a crash, just to be clear?” town hall moderator Bret Baier asked.

“No. I think this. I think the economy is horrible, except for the stock market is going up, and I think the stock market is going up because I’m leading Biden in all of the polls,” Trump said.

“I think there will be a crash if I don’t win,” Trump added. “And I say that, and I do not want to be Herbert Hoover.”

Trump, who is the front-runner for the GOP nomination in 2024, sat for an interview with former Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs on a network launched by MyPillow founder Mike Lindell. In the interview, which aired Monday night, the former president described the economy as “fragile.”

“And when there’s a crash – I hope it’s going to be during this next 12 months, because I don’t want to be Herbert Hoover,” Trump added. “The one president I just don’t want to be, Herbert Hoover.”…

January 10, 2024: Republican senators are slapping down President Trump’s claim that people convicted of Jan. 6-related crimes are “hostages” who should be pardoned or set free by President Biden or a future president. (The Hill)

Three years after a mob of pro-Trump protestors invaded the Capitol to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election, GOP senators who witnessed the violence of that day bristle at the characterization of individuals who were convicted of crimes as “hostages” or political prisoners.

“I don’t condone that characterization at all, no,” said Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.) when asked about Trump calling the Jan. 6-related convicts “hostages.”

“We got a justice system and they’re working through it,” Thune said of the nearly 900 people convicted of Jan. 6-related crimes, including more than 200 people who have pleaded guilty to felonies.

Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), a member of the Senate Republican leadership team, dismissed Trump’s claim – echoed by some other Republicans – that individuals who were convicted of destroying property or assaulting police officers in the Capitol are “hostages.”

“Somebody who’s been duly convicted of a federal crime is not a hostage,” he said…

January 10, 2024: Former President Trump on Wednesday suggested he knows who’s in the running as his vice presidential pick should he win the GOP nomination. (The Hill)

Trump attended a Fox News town hall in Iowa, where anchor Martha MacCallum asked who would be in the contention to join him on the Republican ticket.

“Well, I can’t tell you that really. I mean, I know who it’s going to be,” Trump said.

Asked if he’d be willing to consider any of the people who ran against him in the primary, Trump indicated he would

“I’ve already started to like Christie better,” Trump quipped, referencing former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropping out of the primary race earlier in the day while criticizing fellow candidate Nikki Haley in the process.

NBC News reported that a Trump campaign adviser clarified that nothing is finalized in terms of a vice presidential pick.

Trump is the dominant front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, maintaining a comfortable lead in national and state-level polling dating back to when he announced his candidacy.

Polling averages from The Hill/Decision Desk HQ show Trump leading his GOP rivals by 53 percentage points in national surveys, by 36 points in Iowa and 11 points in New Hampshire.

Trump has been largely mum about who he might choose as a running mate, though he has named South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) as an option he’d consider. The former president is not expected to pick his previous running mate and vice president Mike Pence, for another campaign.

Trump allies have pushed for a female running mate, with Rep. Elise Stefanie (R-N.Y.), Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) and Haley among others mentioned.

January 16, 2024: Fighting the charges has in some respects weighted down Trump’s campaign: He has used tens of millions of dollars in his campaign funds to pay his legal bills, and his court dates will continue to interfere with his busy campaign schedule. But the court cases also seemed to boost Trump’s popularity among the Republican base, as he has only expanded his polling lead following each indictment. That would suggest that his supporters believe the cases are indeed the product of a “political witch hunt,” as Trump as often spuriously claimed. (Vox)

That may help Trump win the primary. However, it remains to be seen whether these indictments will cause moderates and independents to turn away from the former president. If Trump were to lose those voters, that would cause serious problems for him. In head-to-head matchups versus President Joe Biden over the last month, some polls have Trump winning key states by a few percentage points, while others have him narrowly losing. Much could change before November 2024, but should Trump be his party’s nominee, those numbers suggest a tight race in which losing moderates and independents could be the difference between victory and defeat…

January 28, 2024: Tucked into a footnote in a letter written by former federal judge Barbara Jones, the court-appointed special monitor overseeing Donald Trump’s New York business fraud case is a bombshell that appears to indicate the former president may have engaged in massive tax evasion, according to a new report by Business Insider. (Via Microsoft Start)

The letter, first reported by The Messenger, was delivered Friday to update Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arther Engoron on Jones’ findings while reviewing the former president’s business dealings through his company, The Trump Organization,

In it, Jones writes that the financial information filed to her by Trump’s team has contained “incomplete” or “inconsistent” disclosures containing multiple “errors.” However, she describes Trump and his businesses as “cooperative” with her investigation.

But buried in the sixth footnote of the 12-page letter is what the Daily Beast indicated is a clue that Trump may have evaded taxes on $48 million in income, with Jones writing that the massive sum – which Trump has claimed for years that he owes as a debt to one of his companies — never existed.

“When I enquired about this loan, I was informed that there are no loan agreements that memorialize the loan, but that it was a loan that was believed to be between Donald J. Trump, individually, and Chicago Unit Acquisition for $48 million,” Jones wrote.

She added: “However, in recent discussions with the Trump Organization, it indicated that it has determined that this loan never existed – and thus that it would be removed from any upcoming forms submitted to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) and would also be removed from subsequent versions pf MAML,” Jones wrote, referring to corporate financial statements filed by the company.

Jones and Trump Organization attorney Allan Garten did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

A ‘pretty brazen’ plot

Garten told The Daily Beast an “internal loan” wherein Trump “leant money to the entity that he owns” does exist.

“That’s one of many inaccuracies contained in the monitor’s letter, which we will be addressing with the court,” Garten told the outlet.

However, per the Daily Beast, as recently as October, Trump has claimed in financial disclosures that he owes the same to his company, Chicago Unit Acquisition LLC, listing his debt as more than $50 million.

The discrepancies, if true, would indicate that the disclosures Trump has filed with the federal government were intentionally submitted with inaccuracies related to the debt equating to tens of millions of dollars. “It would appear, assuming Judge Jones’ letter is accurate, that this amounts to tax evasion,” Martin Lobel, a tax lawyer, told The Daily Beast.

He added: “This explains why the Republicans have been so intent on cutting the IRS’s budget, because they don’t want it to be able to audit transactions like this.”

The $48 million central to this issues has been scrutinized before. In 2016, the then-candidate for president told The New York Times that he purchased an outstanding loan from several banks he owed money to and, instead of retiring it, chose to keep the debt outstanding and pay interest on it to himself…

…So, instead of paying income taxes of up to 39% on the forgiven debt, Mother Jones reported, Trump “invented a loan – and then parked it.” Debt parking is the process of purchasing debt using a corporation to avoid paying income taxes on it. The maneuver is legal as long as the borrower intends to repay the loan but is illegal to engage in indefinitely…

Posted in 2024 Presidential Campaign