• Bob Beauprez Creams CPAC, Matt Schlapp, in Blistering Letter

    Sure, whatever.

    If you’ve been wondering what former Congressman and two-time gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez has had been doing lately, we’ve got you covered!

    As The Washington Post reported late last week, Beauprez has resigned his role as Treasurer of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a Trump-aligned right-wing organization known mostly for organizing bizarre conferences upon which every lunatic Republican in America descends at least once a year:

    Matt Schlapp, the prominent Trump ally who leads the influential Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), was accused this week of mismanaging money and staff in a scathing resignation letter from the parent organization’s treasurer.

    Bob Beauprez, the treasurer of the American Conservative Union and a board member for eight years, said he had “lost confidence” in the organization’s financial statements and could not solicit donations “in good faith.” He blamed Schlapp for excessive staff departures and suggested that violations of the organization’s bylaws could expose the storied institution to lawsuits or even criminal prosecution.  [Pols emphasis]

    Oh, snap! You know you done messed up when you’re a conservative who draws the ire of “Both Ways Bob.”

    As the Post continues:

    The 13-page letter, delivered Tuesday ahead of a scheduled June 1 board meeting, escalates the internal and public pressure on Schlapp, who as ACU chairman since 2014, has become a fixture in conservative media. But his leadership is facing multiple challenges amid corporate backlash over CPAC’s embrace of the far right in the United States and abroad, as well as reduced turnout at its flagship Washington-area conference in March. Schlapp called the event a “home run.”

    Schlapp and his wife, Mercedes, a senior fellow at the foundation and a former senior official in the Trump White House, are also fighting a defamation and battery lawsuit from a former Republican campaign aide who alleged that Schlapp groped him last fall during a visit to the Atlanta area. Schlapp, 55, has denied the aide’s account and attacked his credibility.

    Schlapp responded to Beauprez’s letter via Twitter, calling the letter “routine internal complaints from disgruntled employees.”

    Bob Beauprez knows his manure.

    The New York Intelligencer has more from the letter:

    “However great our sympathy,” Beauprez continued, “we cannot avoid our fiduciary responsibilities. A few of us have sought answers to some of what seem to be obvious and necessary questions. As a result, we have been accused of ‘not having Matt’s back’ and ‘trying to stage a leadership coup.’”

    The frustration led directly to Beauprez’s resignation, given he is “no longer able to in good faith advocate to donors.” The treasurer compared his role to “that of a mushroom — ‘to be kept in the dark and fed a lot of manure,’” he wrote. “I no longer am willing to comply.” [Pols emphasis]

    Beauprez should probably stop using “manure” as an analogy for things. Regardless, we’d certainly be anxious to get away from this CPAC disaster ourselves.

    Oath Keepers Leader Gets Eighteen Years For January 6th

    Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes.

    The Washington Post reports:

    Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in prison Thursday in the first punishments to be handed down for seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. U.S. prosecutors asked for up to 25 years in prison and the longest sentence by far in the rioting to deter future acts of domestic terrorism, arguing Rhodes played a significant role in spreading doubt about the 2020 presidential election and led more than 20 other Americans to seek to use violence against the government to thwart the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

    “These defendants were prepared to fight. Not for their country, but against it. In their own words, they were ‘willing to die’ in a ‘guerrilla war’ to achieve their goal of halting the transfer of power after the 2020 Presidential Election,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey S. Nestler wrote in sentencing memos for the prosecution team.

    Prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta to find that Rhodes’s actions were meant to intimidate or retaliate against the government, creating “a grave risk to our democratic system.”

    In September of last year, a leak of the alleged membership list for the Oath Keepers paramilitary organization revealed nearly a thousand members here in Colorado, including law enforcement and at least two elected officials. By that time, the group’s connection to the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol had already made them politically toxic, and nearly everyone contacted by the press for appearing on this list explained that at some point in the past they realized the Oath Keepers were “too extreme” and had separated from the organization.

    If they prosper, none dare call it sedition. But the January 6th insurrection failed. Now that the leaders of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers have been convicted of seditious conspiracy to keep Donald Trump in office after losing the 2020 presidential election, the next logical step is charges against the higher-level conspirators. The January 6th Select Committee presented ample evidence of high-level contacts between the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and Trump operatives including Roger Stone and Michael Flynn. John Eastman, the University of Colorado conservative scholar-turned coup plotter, continues to provide legal representation to Oath Keepers even while proceedings to disbar him in California continue.

    As unsavory a figure as Rhodes may be, he’s still just the low-hanging fruit of accountability for January 6th.

    Will Joe O’Dea Ride His Horse to Weld County in 2024?

    Joe O'Dea

    Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea (second from left) poses for the camera last summer after riding his horse to a Centennial sushi joint.

    Colorado Republicans apparently still think that it might be a good idea to get 2022 Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea to run for federal office again in 2024. That’s the very same Joe O’Dea who lost the 2022 U.S. Senate race to incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet by 15 points.

    POLITICO reports (again) about a potential O’Dea reboot — this time for Congress in CO-08 against incumbent Democratic Rep. Yadira Caraveo –– as part of a story about possible 2024 candidates being spooked by Donald Trump’s likely presence on the ballot:

    Less than a month after the midterms, Republican recruiters were already plotting how to persuade their prized 2022 Senate nominee to run for a Colorado congressional seat in 2024.

    Joe O’Dea was popular, personally wealthy and had adopted the kind of moderate positions that would endear him to voters in a swing suburban district, perhaps more easily in a state that has quickly turned blue. He was — and still is — interested. But among his top considerations: what it would mean to share a ballot with Donald Trump, according to two people familiar with his thinking. [Pols emphasis]

    Reporters Ally Mutnick and Holly Otterbein are perhaps not all that familiar with O’Dea and his 2022 Senate campaign, so we’ll offer some alternative perspective here:

    Joe O’Dea was popular [and] personally wealthy…
    O’Dea was certainly personally wealthy, which made him very popular with Republican consultants who were more than happy to milk his wealth for their own benefit. But O’Dea was absolutely NOT popular with the majority of Colorado voters, nor was he particularly well-liked among a GOP base in Colorado that felt he was too squishy for their tastes.

    O’Dea…had adopted the kind of moderate positions that would endear him to voters in a swing suburban district…
    Joe O’Dea lost by 15 points. He waffled more than Eggo, particularly on the key issue of abortion rights. He also seemed to get worse as a candidate the closer he got to Election Day. There is NOTHING that O’Dea showed in 2022 that would indicate voters would be happier with him in 2024.

    He was — and still is — interested.
    Why? Does he feel wistful about watching GOP consultants light his money on fire?

    But among his top considerations: what it would mean to share a ballot with Donald Trump…
    It would mean what it meant in 2022, only much, much worse.

    Congresswoman Yadira Caraveo (D-Adams County)

    This is a fairly obvious conclusion from our perspective. Nevertheless, here’s more from POLITICO on O’Dea’s apparent interest in running for Congress in CO-08:

    Recruiters have urged O’Dea to consider a run against freshman Democratic Rep. Yadira Caraveo in a highly competitive district that Biden won by 5 points — an area far less blue than the state as a whole. But his stance on Trump and abortion rights could complicate O’Dea’s bid before he even faces a Democratic opponent, making it difficult for him to prevail in a GOP primary.

    “Trump is obviously part of the conversation in a big way,” a person close to O’Dea said. “The question is: Does the party want to move on and win and govern or do they want to look backwards?”

    His stance on Trump and abortion rights could complicate O’Dea’s bid…

    Hmmm…yeah, that’s probably true given that WE SAW THIS EXACT SCENARIO PLAY OUT LAST NOVEMBER.

    The fact that O’Dea’s name keeps coming up as a potential Caraveo challenger says less about O’Dea and more about the sorry state of Republican politics in Colorado. It is also a YUGE insult to Republicans in Adams and Weld County if GOP consultants think an awkward white dude who lives in Denver would be their best chance at unseating a Latina incumbent 45 minutes to the north.

    The idea that O’Dea might be a good candidate for Congress in 2024 is based on the belief that O’Dea was a good candidate for U.S. Senate in 2022. Except…he wasn’t.

    As Nathan Gonzales noted for Roll Call in January, the O’Dea narrative falls apart when confronted with, you know, evidence:

    Did underwhelming nominees in key states torpedo GOP efforts to retake the Senate? Were Democratic incumbents as good as advertised? Vote Above Replacement (VAR) can help answer those questions…

    VAR casts doubt on at least one consistent talking point from the 2022 Senate cycle. Joe O’Dea in Colorado and Tiffany Smiley in Washington were considered two of Republicans’ best Senate nominees anywhere in the country. According to the narrative, the duo were running strong campaigns that would help them transcend the partisan makeup of their states.

    VAR tells a different story. Both O’Dea (-2.3) and Smiley (-0.9) posted negative VARs, which means they did worse than a typical GOP nominee in their respective states. 

    O’Dea actually performed worse than Ohio Republican J.D. Vance (-1.6 VAR), who received plenty of criticism for his underwhelming general election campaign. [Pols emphasis] 

    Beyond this reality is the Big Orange Guy himself. Trump is likely to be the Republican nominee for President in 2024, and Trump has already made it clear that he thinks O’Dea is a useless idiot. If O’Dea decides to seek the Republican nomination in CO-08, there’s virtually no chance that he will avoid a Republican challenge from his right flank because of Trump’s opposition and O’Dea’s own mangled position on abortion rights.

    But sure: Go ahead and force a doofus from Denver upon Republicans in Weld County in 2024. Let #HorseSushi ride again!

    Sweet Home Colorado for Space Command HQ?


    Space Force!

    The administration of former President Donald Trump created a new branch of the military called “Space Force” in 2018. The headquarters of U.S. Space Command was established in Colorado Springs on a temporary basis until an official home was found, and Colorado politicians lobbied hard for the HQ to remain in our state. But in a late 2020 decision that appeared to be a purely political move — speculation that was confirmed by Colorado Springs Mayor John SuthersTrump announced that he had “single-handedly” decided to establish the Space Command HQ in Huntsville, Alabama instead of Colorado.

    However…a report from NBC News earlier this week is giving Colorado new hope that U.S. Space Command will remain in Colorado permanently:

    Some defense and congressional officials believe the White House is laying the groundwork to halt plans to move U.S. Space Command’s headquarters to Alabama in part because of concerns about the state’s restrictive abortion law, according to two U.S. officials and one U.S. defense official familiar with the discussions…

    …The White House directed the Air Force last December to conduct a review of the process that led to the Trump administration’s decision to move Space Command’s headquarters from Colorado to Huntsville, Alabama. The review was ordered up in the months after Alabama’s law banning nearly all abortions, including in cases of rape and incest, went into effect last summer. The law is considered among the most restrictive in the U.S.

    While abortion rights may be playing some role in the decision to keep Space Command in Colorado, it’s certainly not the only reason:

    Biden administration officials have signaled privately to Pentagon officials and lawmakers that they’re looking to reverse the Alabama decision over concerns about operational disruptions that moving Spacecom’s headquarters, which is currently located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, could bring. [Pols emphasis]

    The White House said Alabama’s abortion ban was not a factor in its ongoing review of the decision to build Spacecom’s permanent headquarters there. A White House official said that access to reproductive health care does not weigh in to making the decision about location.

    Alabama Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville might also be a problem for that state’s hopes of landing Spacecom. “He’s not helping,” as one official told NBC News.

    Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) seen here launching a different sort of exploration.

    Tuberville has been blocking military promotions for months because he is apparently a craven racist. As The Associated Press reported last week:

    Tuberville is facing backlash for remarks he made about white nationalists in the armed forces in an interview about his blocking of military nominees…

    …The first-term senator from Alabama made his initial remarks in an interview last week with WBHM, an NPR affiliate. He suggested that the Biden administration’s efforts to expand diversity in the military were weakening the force and hampering recruitment, though the Army has said that the real problem is that many young people do not see enlistment as safe or a good career path.

    “We are losing in the military so fast. Our readiness in terms of recruitment,” Tuberville said, according to the station’s transcript of the May 4 interview. “And why? I’ll tell you why. Because the Democrats are attacking our military, saying we need to get out the white extremists, the white nationalists, people that don’t believe in our agenda.”

    When asked if he believed white nationalists should be allowed in the U.S. military, Tuberville responded, “Well, they call them that. I call them Americans.” [Pols emphasis]

    According the POLITICO, there is no looming announcement about the future plans for Spacecom. The Air Force has yet to make a recommendation to the National Security Council for the location of Spacecom.

    Colorado Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) and Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) both told KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs that they do not believe a final decision is imminent. Colorado’s Congressional delegation has generally been on the same page in fighting for Spacecom to remain in Colorado Springs.

    Trump’s Triumphant Trashing of CNN’s Reputation a Turning Point

    The Washington Post’s Jeremy Barr reports for those of you who found something better to do on a Wednesday night than listen to ex-President Donald Trump fictionalize recent American political history for more than an hour:

    During a roughly 70-minute-long forum with likely Republican voters in New Hampshire on Wednesday night, CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins attempted to correct inaccurate claims made by former president Donald Trump about many topics — but she found her rebuttals falling on deaf ears.

    As the crowd cheered throughout Trump’s boasts and falsehoods, Collins repeatedly pushed back when Trump said the 2020 election was “stolen.”

    “The election was not rigged, Mr. President,” Collins said. “You can’t keep saying that all night long.”

    But he did…

    Instead of nailing Trump to the wall once and for all on the historic amalgamation of lies and prejudice that fueled his rise to power and defined his chaotic presidency, ending in removal from office tainted by an attempted insurrection, CNN appears to have demonstrated again how accountability is basically impossible to extract from an unflappable liar like Donald Trump. Even when host Kaitlin Collins was able to follow up with a fact-check, it didn’t matter, because the pro-Trump audience preferred to believe Trump. Politico captured the moment well:

    Steamrolling his way through a made-for-primetime spectacle, Trump maintained his lie that the 2020 election was rigged, refused to pledge to accept the results of the 2024 election and called his interviewer a “nasty person.” And he had the crowd on his side for all of it, cheering his answers and laughing at his jokes…

    The crowd applauded, laughed and cheered as Trump discussed his decision making on Jan. 6, said he was “inclined” to pardon “many” of the defendants from that day, continued to call the 2020 election “rigged,” and suggested former Vice President Mike Pence should have done more to overturn the election.

    There was laughter in the room when he belittled E. Jean Carroll, the former magazine advice columnist to whom a jury in Manhattan awarded $5 million in damages.

    In the end, Trump turned this “town hall” event into a campaign rally at the expense of CNN’s airtime and (more importantly) reputation, and proved correct critics who warned that giving Trump any kind of platform would result in a net disservice to the truth CNN is nominally dedicated to reporting. Colorado’s “Ultra-MAGA” go-to Rep. Lauren Boebert rejoiced this morning that “President Trump destroyed Kaitlin Collins.” We have no doubt that CNN attracted a large audience of disaffected Fox News viewers, but the total failure to counter Trump’s serial falsehoods brought CNN’s credibility to the level of Fox News.

    With Trump enjoying a commanding lead in Republican primary polling and once-favored challenger Ron DeSantis sputtering before his campaign even launches, last night did a great deal to cement Trump’s status as the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee. Republicans who already harbor contempt for the mainstream media were thrilled to see Trump effortlessly powering through fact-checking attempts. The same lies that repel a majority of Americans resonate with a majority of Republicans.

    There’s no sugar-coating it, folks. Last night was a bad night for American democracy, but even worse for Republicans who want to move on from Donald Trump. Sources keep insisting to us that such Republicans exist, but today they have never seemed less relevant.

    BREAKING: Trump Liable For $5 Million In Sexual Battery Case

    UPDATE #2: We promised earlier today to update with local reactions, but from what we can see none of our local Republican talking heads, including “Ultra-MAGA” GOP chairman Dave Williams and Rep. Lauren Boebert, have said a word as of 7:30PM this evening.

    That too is notable.


    UPDATE: We hit publish too soon! The total award in this case exceeds $5 million when all the aggravating factors are tallied. CNN originally reported the smaller figure.


    Ex-President Donald Trump with Colorado GOP chairman Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams (R).

    CNN with another round of horrendous legal news for ex-President Donald Trump, who was found liable in a New York civil court case moments ago for sexual battery and defamation of author E. Jean Carroll and ordered to pay up a cool $2 5 million:

    A Manhattan federal jury found that Donald Trump sexually abused E. Jean Carroll in a luxury department store dressing room in the spring of 1996.

    The jury found him liable for battery in Carroll’s civil trial against him, based on that sexual assault claim.

    Carroll also sued Trump for defamation related to a 2022 statement he made denying Carroll’s allegations.

    Although Trump was found liable for sexual abuse, jurors did make a distinction between that offense and the crime of rape. We admit to not having followed the case closely enough to understand the difference in this case, but sexual battery is certainly bad enough to, well, be very bad. Safe to say, Trump is not a role model for the MAGA youth of America:

    What happens next? Most likely years of appeals, denials…and if previous events serve as accurate predictors, Trump’s base will cling to him all the more. Trump famously declared on the campaign trail in 2016 that he could “shoot somebody on 5th Avenue” and not lose political support. So far, after two impeachments, an insurrection, and the first of what could be a host of criminal indictments, that’s proven correct. Each day, we suppose, is a new chance for Republicans to say enough is enough and start cutting into Trump’s prohibitive lead in the 2024 GOP primary polls. But it hasn’t happened yet.

    We’ll update with local reactions and coverage when they appear.

    Tina Peters Held In Contempt Of Court, Avoids Jail Again

    Tina Peters.

    An update in the long and complicated legal proceedings against former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters today, as a Mesa County judge ruled Peters in contempt of court stemming from an incident in which Peters illegally recorded court proceedings. The iPad used to record that court hearing became the focus of an obstruction charge Peters was found guilty of in March after Peters tried to physically prevent investigators from getting possession, while today’s hearing was over Peters’ dishonesty regarding the unauthorized video recording.

    In a preview of what we can expect from Peters’ main event trial later this year on felony misconduct and impersonation charges related to the theft of Dominion Voting Systems data, her former subordinate employee supplied some of the most damaging testimony:

    Peters was sentenced last month to four months in home detention for the obstruction charge, but no jail time–and even that light sentence was suspended pending appeal. Overall, Peters has enjoyed what can only be called an accommodating legal process despite showing little but contempt for the judiciary system as a defendant. As a candidate for Secretary of State last year, Peters pushed the limits of her pre-trial travel restrictions to the point of nearly being jailed–but in the end was not. The obstruction charge and today’s contempt ruling are both related to Peters’ delusional sense of righteous impunity that in her mind allows her to simply defy lawful authority. That’s the same sense of impunity that led Peters to believe she could steal and distribute proprietary election system software in a failed attempt to prove that Donald Trump should still be President.

    Unless Peters sees reason and cops a plea, her main event trial on felony charges is still looming.

    Wish Peters a pleasant summer, because it could be her last for some time.

    Proud Boys Convicted of “Seditious Conspiracy”

    UPDATE: Local Proud Boys self-appointed spokesman Louie Huey responds defiantly:

    We figure it will at least muffle them. Federal prison tends to do that.


    Enrique Tarrio will have to continue leading the “Proud Boys” from a prison cell.

    As The Washington Post reports, former President Trump’s sort-of private army failed to convince a jury that the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection was just their patriotic duty:

    Former Proud Boys chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and three other members of the extremist group were found guilty Thursday of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

    A jury deliberated for seven days in Washington before finding Tarrio, 29, and other defendants guilty on 31 of 46 counts. The jury returned not guilty verdicts on four counts and continued deliberating on 11 remaining counts. The result was another decisive victory for the Justice Department in the latest of three seditious conspiracy trials held after what it called a historic act of domestic terrorism to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 presidential election.

    Tarrio, dressed in blue suit and vest with red tie, gazed at his relatives in the courtroom gallery as the verdict was read. The other men fixed their eyes on the jury foreman…

    …Legal analysts said the convictions on the historically rare and politically weighty crime of seditious conspiracy sent a necessary signal of deterrence to extremists contemplating political violence. [Pols emphasis]

    Tarrio remains defiant, telling reporters in a call from jail that he is “standing on principle” and that his prosecution has something to do with the 2024 election being manipulated. It’s all nonsense, of course, and a jury saw right through it.

    The New York Times underscores the seriousness of today’s verdict:

    The sedition charge, which is rarely used and harks back to the Union’s efforts to protect the federal government against secessionist rebels during the Civil War, was also used in two separate trials against nine members of another far-right group, the Oath Keepers militia. Six of those defendants — including Stewart Rhodes, the organization’s founder and leader — were convicted of sedition; each of the others was found guilty of different serious felonies.

    As the verdicts were read in the fourth-floor courtroom, Mr. Tarrio, Mr. Pezzola and the other defendants — Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl — remained steely. With the exception of Mr. Pezzola, the men were also found guilty of conspiring to obstruct the certification of the election, which took place at the Capitol on Jan. 6. All five defendants were convicted of a third conspiracy count as well, which accused them of interfering with the duties of members of Congress that day.

    On the conspiracy counts alone, the men could face a maximum of nearly 50 years in prison. And they were found guilty of other felonies as well.


    Today’s verdict is also another ominous sign for Trump himself. As MSNBC explains:

    Today’s verdicts, which include convictions for multiple other serious crimes, are sure to bolster federal prosecutors in Washington and local prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, who are considering charges against former President Donald Trump in connection with events before and during Jan. 6…[Pols emphasis]

    …The convictions add to the former president’s legal woes. Recall the first presidential debate in 2020, when Trump famously told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” The effect of that callout to the militants became visible to the nation on Jan. 6, and again to the jury here. At trial, the government introduced a message from one Proud Boy who wrote right after the debate that “Donald has given us a command.” Prosecutors also introduced the group’s messages suggesting that some coordination with the White House may have occurred before Jan. 6.

    The outcome of this trial and previous prosecutions of the “Oath Keepers” makes it clear that the Jan. 6 insurrection was a planned and coordinated attack on democracy, all of which could (and should) embolden investigators as they look deeper into Trump’s direct role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

    The wheels of justice may turn slow…but they are indeed turning.

    Haley Sideswipes DeSantis on Disney, But Colorado’s Got Dibs

    The conservative Washington Examiner reports from the early stages of the Republican 2024 presidential primary, where former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has joined in the recent collective dunking on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for his “anti-business” hostile relationship with one of his state’s largest employers, The Walt Disney Company. If Disney is tired of being harassed by their governor over political quibbles, a much friendlier Palmetto State is just up the road:

    Haley’s invitation comes shortly after Disney filed a lawsuit against DeSantis in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida over what the company called “a relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials.”

    “South Carolina was a very anti-woke state. It still is,” Haley said on Fox News. “And if Disney would like to move their hundreds of thousands of jobs to South Carolina and bring the billions of dollars with them, I’ll let them know I’ll be happy to meet them in South Carolina and introduce them to the governor and the legislature that would welcome it.”

    Haley also said that when she was governor of South Carolina, businesses were her partners “because if you take care of your businesses, you take care of your economy, your economy takes care of the people, and everyone wins.”

    Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R-ight), with ex-Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado).

    Politically, it’s true that South Carolina isn’t all that much better than Florida in terms of tolerance. Haley’s point, and it’s not a bad point assuming it became true in practice, is that the state no matter how politically conservative has no interest in hostility towards a major economic engine like Disney. From a purely free market economic perspective, it makes no more sense to persecute Disney while they fill tax coffers and employ tens of thousands than to boycott major Republican Party donor Anheuser-Busch over a minor marketing ploy to the LGBTQ+ community.

    When DeSantis originally announced his intention to politically persecute Disney in retaliation for the company’s vocal opposition to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, Colorado’s Gov. Jared Polis rolled out the welcome mat if the Magic Kingdom needed to relocate:

    After all, Colorado doesn’t have to fake tolerance. We do tolerance for real, and that’s the best business climate of all.

    As for Ron DeSantis, his delayed campaign rollout has given the undisputed GOP 2024 frontrunner Donald Trump a long runway to consolidate his position, while taking on water continuously as DeSantis’ lack of charisma becomes painfully obvious. With even DeSantis forced to defend Trump against criminal indictments or face the wrath of the MAGA base, the next available target for prospective primary opponents is to hammer away DeSantis at every opportunity–despite the fact that none of them appear to have any better chance of beating Trump themselves.

    It is, we suppose, a good way to run for vice president.

    Biden Announces Re-Election as Trump, MAGA Slump

    Dark Brandon is rolling again in 2024

    Everything old is new again.

    Well, that’s not exactly right. Everything that was old in 2020 is now older, but there will be a newish version in 2024. A darker version, but in a good way.

    From The New York Times:

    President Biden formally announced on Tuesday that he would seek a second term, arguing that American democracy still faces a profound threat from former President Donald J. Trump as he set up the possibility of a climactic rematch between the two next year.

    In a video that opens with images of a mob of Trump supporters storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the president said that the “fight for our democracy” has “been the work of my first term” but is incomplete while his predecessor mounts a comeback campaign for his old office that Mr. Biden suggested would endanger fundamental rights.

    “Around the country, MAGA extremists are lining up to take on those bedrock freedoms,” Mr. Biden said, using Mr. Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan to describe the former president’s allies. “Cutting Social Security that you’ve paid for your entire life while cutting taxes for the very wealthy. Dictating what health care decisions women can make, banning books and telling people who they can love. All while making it more difficult for you to be able to vote.”

    “When I ran for president four years ago,” he added, “I said we were in a battle for the soul of America. And we still are.”

    The Biden campaign also rolled out its first election ad for Dark Brandon, and it’s a good one:


    Biden’s team has clearly decided to re-take the mantle of “freedom.” This is a simple framing that Republicans have inaccurately used for multiple election cycles; their recent actions, however, have opened the door for Democrats to snatch it back.


    As David Frum writes for The Atlantic:

    Despite lavish anti-Trump donations by big-money Republicans, Trump is cruising to easy renomination. Rather than capitalize on existing economic troubles, Republicans have started a debt-ceiling fight that will cast them as the cause of America’s economic troubles. Worse for them, the troubles are fast receding. Inflation is vexing, but the recession that Republicans hoped for did not materialize: Instead, Joe Biden has presided over the fastest and steepest unemployment reduction in U.S. economic history…

    Republicans are doing everything wrong. [Pols emphasis] They are talking to their voters about Trump’s personal grievances and about boutique culture-war issues that their own base does not much care about, such as the state of Florida’s “war on Disney.” At the same time, Republican leaders are confronting Democratic voters with extremist threats on issues they care intensely about: bans on abortion medication by mail, restrictions on the freedom of young women to travel across state lines, attacks on student voting rights, proposed big cuts to Medicaid and food stamps in the GOP debt-ceiling ransom demand. Republicans offer no economic message and no affirming vision, even as they make new moves to police women’s bodies and start a land war in Mexico. They are well on their way to earning a deep, nasty defeat—and the smell of that defeat may be an additional draw to the polls for the Democratic-leaning constituencies that will inflict it.

    “Trump, together with DeSantis, has completely rebranded the GOP as the party of bossing around women, minorities, and young people.”

         — The Atlantic (4/26/23)

    As Frum correctly notes, any voter concerns about Biden must be considered in a binary manner with former President Donald Trump the likely GOP nominee in 2024. Biden doesn’t have to be America’s favorite candidate ever — he just has to be better than Trump.

    That alternative, meanwhile, launched its first 2024 campaign ad this week. Trump’s first 2024 television spot sounds like it was written by the Big Orange Guy himself:



    Astute observers will note that Trump’s first television spot does not talk about what he accomplished as President or what he wants to accomplish next. Rather, it is 60 seconds of LOOK AT THIS UNGRATEFUL BASTARD WHO THINKS HE’S BETTER THAN ME!

    Trump’s enemy will be Biden — eventually — but for now it’s all about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

    This should be a concern for Republicans for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the disdain that Americans currently hold for whomever captures the hearts of the MAGA Republican base. As NBC News reports, both Trump and his “Make America Great Again” movement are wildly unpopular:


    Via NBC News


    Catering to MAGA Republicans is still the best way for a candidate to win the GOP nomination for any office, but that prize comes with a significant downside (as Colorado Republicans keep learning). You can have the love of MAGA Republicans, or you can have the support of the broader American electorate. But you can’t have both.

    Anyway, welcome to the 2024 election cycle! The race for President has officially begun.

    Catch Trump If You Can

    A new poll today from NBC News re-affirms the reality many Republicans don’t want to face: former President who had to be pried from office Donald Trump remains the overwhelming favorite of the GOP rank-and-file, and at this point the 2024 Republican nomination for President is Trump’s to lose:

    Former President Donald Trump holds 15-point lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a new NBC News poll of the race for the Republican presidential nomination — and the two men the only candidates to win double-digit support from GOP primary voters.

    The former president leads the field with 46% of Republican primary voters, followed by DeSantis at 31%. Former Vice President Mike Pence sits at 6%, followed by former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who are all tied at 3%. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, the only other politician specifically named to GOP primary voters by the interviewers conducting the poll, is at 2%.

    Sitting a mere four points below the decisive 50% mark and way out in front of stumbling Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the window is closing faster than opponents want to admit to stop Trump. One of the things that would greatly help Trump’s opponents, of course, would be additional indictments from one of the many pending investigations against him. Unfortunately, the Republican base appears to be hardened enough against negatives about Trump that criminal indictments only boost his popularity–a phenomenon helped by Trump’s opponents and Republican officials lining up to trash the New York DA, just like they spent the last two years trashing the Justice Department in Trump’s defense.

    In short, every Republican who told you since 2021 that their party was ready to “move on” from Trump was either lying or clueless. The oft-heralded “Never Trump” wing of the party decisively lost the battle for the Colorado Republican Party in March, and they’re on the cusp of losing the national campaign to Trump in 2024.

    Stop telling us this isn’t what Republicans want. It’s not what some Republicans want. Maybe even some Republicans you know and respect.

    But they are not the majority.

    BREAKING: Tucker Carlson Out At Fox News

    Fox News’ Tucker Carlson mythologizing the Tina Peters case.

    UPDATE #2: Colorado’s far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert stans up for Tucker: “Wherever Tucker Carlson goes, America will follow!” Even Newsmax?

    Our prediction: even less fact-checking where Tucker lands.


    UPDATE: Washington Post suggests Tucker Carlson was let go for biting the hand that feeds:

    Many of Carlson’s private messages were released in motions filed by Dominion, revealing that the host was skeptical of many of the election-fraud claims made on-air by Trump-affiliated attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani.

    But it was Carlson’s comments about Fox management, as revealed in the Dominion case, that played a role in his departure from Fox, a person familiar with the company’s thinking told The Post.

    Notably, Carlson was not allowed back on air to say goodbye to the mammoth audience he had amassed in his years as a primetime host.


    Huge news this Monday morning in the wake of last week’s $787 million settlement between Fox News and Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems: Tucker Carlson, one of the network’s biggest names and a major source of election misinformation including his fact-free defense of indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, is off the air “effective immediately.” CNN:

    Fox News and Tucker Carlson, the right-wing personality who hosted the network’s highly rated 8pm hour, have severed ties, the network said in a stunning announcement Monday.

    The announcement came one week after Fox News settled a monster defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million over the network’s dissemination of election lies.

    The statement from Fox News betrays nothing:

    FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways. We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.

    Mr. Carlson’s last program was Friday April 21st. Fox News Tonight will air live at 8 PM/ET starting this evening as an interim show helmed by rotating FOX News personalities until a new host is named.

    We’ll update as more information becomes available. But there’s no hiding this from the viewers.

    Dominion Settles With Fox News Over 2020 Election Lies

    WEDNESDAY UPDATE: One of the prime movers of the Dominion conspiracy theory, local gun store owner and wannabe hangman Joe Oltmann, is most displeased with Fox News for settling:

    F@ck those shitbags at Dominion and f@ck Fox… listen to this. No question, Fox sold out the American people. F@ck them. I will never stop fighting these liars, terroristic 🗑 heap radical leftists.

    To the extent that Oltmann will be seeing Dominion in court again, that’s true.


    TUESDAY UPDATE #2: The terse statement from Fox: “We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false.”

    In making the announcement, the network said, “We are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems. We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. This settlement reflects FOX’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards. We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues.”

    We sincerely hope that isn’t all they have to say.


    TUESDAY UPDATE: The New York Times reports that a settlement has been reached between Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems over the 2020 presidential election falsehoods promoted by the former about the latter. No word yet on what record-correcting measures are included in this settlement, but Fox is paying up almost $800 million, which says a mouthful by itself:

    The judge in the Fox News defamation case said on Tuesday that the case was resolved, abruptly ending a long-running dispute over misinformation in the 2020 election just as a highly anticipated trial was about to begin.

    It was a last-minute end to a case that began two years ago and after the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of pages of documents that peeled back the curtain on a media company that has long resisted outside scrutiny. The settlement included a $787.5 million payment from Fox, according to Justin Nelson, a lawyer for Dominion.

    Updates coming, stay tuned. To us, not Fox.


    Fox News’ Tucker Carlson mythologizing the Tina Peters case.

    Today was supposed to be the first day of the much-anticipated trial in the defamation case against Fox News from Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems, who is seeking over a billion dollars in damages for the network’s knowing promulgation of the “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump in a conspiracy involving Dominion products. But as CNBC reports, the trial was delayed until tomorrow amid rumors of a possible settlement in the works:

    In a brief hearing in Delaware Superior Court, Judge Eric Davis said Monday he made the decision to delay the jury selection process and the start of opening statements. News of the delay came Sunday night, just hours before the trial was originally set to begin.

    The judge offered little explanation for the postponement. “This is not a press conference, I don’t do that,” Davis told a courtroom that was mostly filled with journalists…

    The trial delay came as some news outlets have reported Dominion and Fox are meeting to discuss a possible settlement. Spokespeople for Fox and Dominion have not provided statements about the possibility of settlement talks.

    The voluminous documentation leading up to this trial of top Fox News executives and talent acknowledging freely that Trump’s campaign was lying and Trump’s claims of a stolen election were meritless despite continuing to humor their audience convinced otherwise has wrecked what remained of the network’s reputation outside their core group of faithful viewers. What’s more, many of those faithful viewers have been in turn sent packing to even more shameless propaganda mills like Newsmax when Fox failed to deliver the red meat as unequivocally as they demanded. As a result of these competing pressures, Fox News’ viewership (although still the highest-rated cable news network) has dropped about 15% in Q1 of 2023 compared to the previous year.

    Dominion has repeatedly stated that their goal is to maximize Fox News’ pain by taking the case to trial and forcing the network’s executives and anchors to testify. The response from the network from the damning discoveries in the Dominion case was Tucker Carlson’s universally-panned attempt to rewrite the history of the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as “mostly peaceful chaos,” and most recently welcoming Donald Trump back for softball interviews. Locally, conspiracy theorist and aspiring mass hangman Joe Oltmann, one of the principal agents behind the Dominion conspiracy theory, continues his unrepentant threat-laden misinformation campaign despite his own pending defamation suit.

    Although no evidence has ever surfaced to validate any of these contentions about Dominion Voting Systems hardware, the harm done by the lies about this Colorado company is extensive–and not just to the company’s bottom line. In addition to a majority of Republican voters still convinced without evidence that the 2020 election was not decided fairly, former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters faces the possibility of a longer prison sentence than she can expect to naturally live due to her fruitless pursuit of evidence to prove the “Big Lie” was true. Peters’ guileless sincerity that her alleged felony crimes were perfectly justifiable is backed up by a whole culture of election denialism created to service Trump’s denial. Despite her indictments, Peters continues to enjoy star status (and a paycheck) in an executive role at the Colorado Republican Party.

    With all of this in mind, it’s not for us to judge whether Dominion should accept a settlement from Fox, especially with no idea what the terms of any such settlement might be. What we will say is that the disclosure Dominion has already extracted from Fox News is devastating to their credibility, and effectively refutes the lie still believed by a majority of Republicans better than anything achievable by another news outlet.

    If there is a settlement, every recorded word from their own executives debunking the “Big Lie” uncovered by Dominion’s discovery should play on repeat until every Fox News viewer across the nation has seen it. Fox News must clearly articulate not only that they lied, but that they did so knowingly in order to pander to their radicalized audience. Some of their viewers probably still won’t believe it, and they can’t be helped. But this case is about the truth winning the battle for the historical record.

    For Dominion’s sake and American democracy itself, they must not stop until that is achieved.

    Ken Buck “Soft Endorses” Ron DeSantis, Says Team DeSantis

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in his swamp booties.

    As USA TODAY’s David Jackson reports, as-yet undeclared Republican presidential candidate Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida is changing swamps for the day to court potential supporters in the nation’s capital:

    The Florida governor was scheduled to attend a “meet and greet and policy discussion” sponsored by an issue advocacy organization called “And To The Republic.” The closed-press meeting was expected to include at least five Republican members of Congress, as well as potential donors and conservative activists.

    DeSantis aides declined to provide details of the governor’s D.C. trip, which comes amid heightened criticism by Trump – and other Republicans – over issues like Social Security, abortion, poll numbers, and Disney…

    The prospective presidential candidate has been holding similar meetings across the country for months, especially in early primary states. He has two stops scheduled for Wednesday in South Carolina, which is expected to hold the first southern primary of the 2024 GOP nomination race.

    Kill ’em all, let Ron sort ’em out?

    Axios’ Juliegrace Brufke reports that Colorado’s own Rep. Ken Buck will be in attendance for this evening’s event, which the DeSantis would-be campaign is touting as a “soft endorsement.”

    Only two House Republicans, Chip Roy of Texas and Thomas Massie of Kentucky, have endorsed DeSantis. But they and six more— plus Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) — have attached their names to the DeSantis event.

    Sources close to DeSantis said they see the additional lawmakers’ participation as “soft endorsements” [Pols emphasis] that will help DeSantis build momentum toward a campaign announcement, likely in the next few months.

    Other House Republicans announced as taking part in the event are Bob Good (Virginia), Randy Feenstra (Iowa), Mike Gallagher (Wisconsin), Darin LaHood (Illinois), Laurel Lee (Florida), and Ken Buck (Colorado). [Pols emphasis]

    Assuming Buck is willing to cop to Team DeSantis’ assessment of his attendance as a “soft endorsement,” that’s definitely setting Buck up to take the wrath of a large number of fellow Republicans back home in Colorado–including the “Ultra MAGA” faction that just won control of the state party apparatus Buck himself used to preside over. While DeSantis makes moves that signal the official launch of his campaign, Donald Trump has been laying down withering rhetorical fire on DeSantis and any proxies bold enough to come between them. And if you’re a believer in the early polling, Trump is way out in front of DeSantis in the FiveThirtyEight poll average.

    Although Buck was a reliable albeit gaffe-prone defender of Trump during Trump’s term in office, Buck did not carry the torch for Trump’s coup attempt like Reps. Lauren Boebert or even Doug Lamborn. If DeSantis can by whatever combination of circumstances pull out of his 25%+ deficit in the polls to become a serious threat to Trump, obviously that’s good news for Buck.

    If DeSantis falters, Buck just put himself on the wrong side of America’s most vengeful politician.

    Four Months In An Ankle Bracelet, But Tina Peters Free For Now

    Former Sen. Kevin Lundberg, GOP chairman Dave Williams, indicted ex-Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (R).

    As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters was sentenced this morning after her conviction of obstruction in one of the cases on the periphery of the larger investigation into the theft of proprietary election data in her failed quest to prove Donald Trump should still be President.

    As readers know, Peters has recently accepted a position of some executive description with the Colorado Republican Party under new chairman Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams. Under the terms of Peters’ sentence on today’s charge she’ll be able to work, but not without restrictions on her movement. Today’s sentence was also stayed to allow for an appeal:

    Former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters escaped jail time in her misdemeanor conviction of obstruction of government operations, but was given 120 hours of community service, four months of home detention with an ankle monitor and a small fine.

    That sentence, however, was immediately stayed by County Judge Bruce Raaum after Peters’ defense attorney, Harvey Steinberg, announced he would appeal her conviction and sentence.

    During her sentencing hearing today, Steinberg argued that because it was her first conviction, and because she was just exercising her rights to question government, that she should not receive jail time. She could have received as much as six months in jail.

    As a candidate for Secretary of State last year also under indictment, Peters stretched the privileges afforded pre-trial defendants to the max, coming close to jail for unauthorized interstate travel. Assuming this sentence holds up on appeal, it will be interesting to see how much Peters pushes the limits of her home detention by traveling to Republican Party “work events” that could be across the state or even the nation. As Ashby reported last month when Peters was found guilty on this obstruction charge, the next step in Peters’ journey through the legal system will be contempt of court charges stemming from the use of the iPad she was convicted of obstruction for trying to physically keep from investigators to illegally record court proceedings.

    Peters’ “main event” trial on felony charges related to the Dominion Voting Systems data theft, which has been postponed repeatedly, is where her fate in a long-term sense will be determined. These preliminary charges are just addressing the ways Peters made things worse for herself during the investigation.

    All we can say is, it’s a PR (and HR) headache that Dave Williams has willingly taken on.

    Trump Under Arrest Gratuitous Gratification Thread

    UPDATE: 34 felony charges, the Washington Post reports:

    In the city that made him famous, under extraordinary courtroom security, Donald Trump pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 34 felony counts related to payments to silence an adult film actress during his 2016 presidential campaign. He is the first former or sitting U.S. president to be criminally charged.

    The charges — falsifying business records in the first degree — were announced at an arraignment hearing Tuesday afternoon. The indictment has not yet been released, so the precise details of the charges have not been made public, but that should happen later Tuesday.


    NBC New York reports:

    Donald Trump waved to throngs of people, some decrying his arrest, others cheering it, as he arrived at the Manhattan district attorney’s office Tuesday, where he surrendered ahead of a historic court moment that will see him become the first-ever criminally indicted U.S. president.

    The one-time commander-in-chief posted a message on his Truth Social account as his motorcade left Trump Tower, writing, “Heading to Lower Manhattan, the Courthouse. Seems so SURREAL — WOW, they are going to ARREST ME. Can’t believe this is happening in America. MAGA!”

    “We are the party that elected Donald J. Trump, and we are not going to apologize for that anymore.”

       — State Republican Party Chair Dave Williams (3/11/23)


    On the scene this morning to protest was Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and George Santos, though they apparently didn’t stick around long:

    The appearance by Ms. Greene, who supports conspiracy theories and has falsely suggested that Democrats support pedophilia, had brought a crush of onlookers and counterprotesters.

    Police were separating pro- and anti-Trump demonstrators in Collect Pond Park, keeping an aisle — and an array of officers — between the two groups, who were largely peaceful, though at least one small skirmish broke out. Ms. Greene’s arrival was accompanied by heavy security.

    “Go back to Georgia!” one person shouted.

    Not on hand by any report we can find was Rep. Lauren Boebert, though she Tweeted her carefully-worded if a bit milquetoast support calling on Americans to be “vocal.”

    As for the recent poll showing 60% of Americans support Trump’s indictment?

    As they say in New York, fuggedaboudit:

    Boebert doesn’t say why she thinks the poll is fake, but we assume that’s how Boebert regards every poll that says something she doesn’t want to hear. At least she didn’t say “Today is 1776.”

    But the day is young! We’ll update with local reactions, developments, whatever comes next.

    Ken Buck Gets Brutally Acosta-ed Trying To Defend Trump


    President Donald Trump, Rep. Ken Buck.

    Fresh from Rep. Ken Buck’s drubbing last week at the hands of CNN’s White House correspondent Phil Mattingly over Buck’s trophy AR-15 and Buck’s dreadfully inaccurate recounting of Colorado’s “red flag” gun safety law, Buck was back on CNN this weekend to defend former President Donald Trump in the wake of Trump’s indictment last week by the New York DA on criminal charges related to Trump’s “hush money” payments to porn star Stormy Daniels–a scheme for which Trump former attorney Michael Cohen went to prison.

    As readers know, Rep. Buck has a knack for unintentionally blowing himself out of the metaphorical water while trying to defend Trump going all the way back to Trump’s first impeachment back in 2019, when Buck established while questioning Robert Mueller that Trump could face charges in the Ukrainegate scandal after he left office. Yesterday, CNN’s veteran political reporter Jim Acosta confronted Buck over Trump’s indictment, and Buck thought he had some clever prosecutorial-sounding arguments.

    But Acosta was ready:

    Ken Buck: The problem with having an elected District Attorney review a case like this as the final arbiter of whether to go forward or not, is he was saying during the campaign that he was interested in pursuing a case against Donald Trump. You just don’t have the same level of comfort in a state prosecution that you do with a Federal prosecution.

    Jim Acosta: But of course when the focus was on Hillary Clinton back in 2016 you and other prominent Republicans were taking it to the Democratic nominee at that time. I’m gonna bring up a comment of yours from a Trump rally in 2016. It was reported at that time. You said to the crowd quote- and this was October 26, 2016- “Lady Justice doesn’t see black or white. She doesn’t see male or female. She doesn’t see rich or poor. But soon, Lady Justice will see Hillary Clinton.” Setting aside the fact that Hillary Clinton was never charged with any wrongdoing, why not demand accountability in this Trump case, no matter who the prosecutor is?

    This is a textbook example what’s known as “bringing the receipts.” Of course Buck’s burning desire to see Hillary Clinton prosecuted for any conceivable wrongdoing makes his strained protestations of Trump’s indictment by a grand jury look hypocritical. Buck is far from alone in this hypocrisy. But what we have a right to not expect from a former prosecutor serving in Congress, even a prosecutor once reprimanded for misconduct, is to be bald-facedly lied to:

    Buck: Well, I think there should be accountability in this case but Hillary Clinton was being investigated in the federal system, and as I said there are layers and layers of protection for defendants in the federal system that make sure that we’re not just targeting someone because of their former status as a government official. Uh, that same protection doesn’t apply. So we’re not dealing with a blind- a blindfolded Lady Justice in this situation. We’re dealing with a political prosecutor who has stated that he’s going after President Trump. I haven’t seen the indictment. I can’t give an opinion as to the strength of the indictment at this point. But I am suspicious when the former federal prosecutor walked away from this case, the former DA Cyrus Vance the Manhattan prosecutor didn’t prosecute this case, [Pols emphasis] and now this District Attorney after making a campaign promise is prosecuting this case.

    As we know from former DA Cyrus Vance’s comments since the indictment, Buck is totally mischaracterizing Vance’s decision not to prosecute Trump. From Meet the Press yesterday via the Independent:

    Mr Vance replied that the Department of Justice, which typically holds seniority when it comes to investigating crimes, had asked his office to stand down its investigation into numerous aspects of the former president’s activities, presumably including the hush payments to Ms Daniels. Mr Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen would end up going to prison as a result of those payments, which prosecutors argued were illegal campaign contributions for reasons of both their size and secrecy…

    But Mr Vance went on to say that he was surprised by – and apparently disagreed with – the decision of federal prosecutors not to pursue criminal charges against Mr Trump over the matter at the time. [Pols emphasis]

    “I was somewhat surprised after Mr Cohen pleaded guilty that the federal government did not proceed on the areas in which it asked me to stand down,” said the former DA.

    The reason the previous DA didn’t press charges against Trump is Trump’s Justice Department asked him not to, and then “surprised” DA Vance by failing to file criminal charges against Trump themselves. That’s completely opposite of the impression Buck gave that Vance didn’t think the case was worth prosecuting.

    As for all these “layers and layers” of oversight that supposedly exist at the Justice Department…isn’t a grand jury supposed to remove prosecutorial bias from the equation?

    Acosta: But wasn’t there a grand jury looking at this? You’re not saying the grand jury is political?

    Buck: I’m not saying the grand jury is political at all. I have a great deal of respect for grand jury investigations. [Pols emphasis] The grand jury only receives information and only is able to really decipher the information its given by the prosecutor. There may have been one or two witnesses on behalf of President Trump but defense attorneys are never gonna put their full case in front of a grand jury.

    Folks, this is gibberish. As a former prosecutor, Buck cannot throw shade directly on the grand jury process, which is intended to provide precisely the “layer” of oversight Buck claims did not exist. First, Buck lied by claiming the DA is “The final arbiter of whether to go forward or not.” That’s the grand jury’s job. Then under questioning, Buck suggested that grand juries only know what prosecutors tell them–which sounds an awful lot like an attack on the grand jury’s credibility? Acosta saved his question about the grand jury until after Buck had gone so far to impugn the indictment process that he couldn’t take it back, and as a result Buck’s whole argument fell apart in a heap.

    It’s not the first time we’ve marveled at Ken Buck wrecking his own side’s case in the process of trying to defend his fellow Republicans. Acosta walked Buck right into this rhetorical trap, but it was a trap of Buck’s own making.

    Once again, Ken Buck managed to do more collateral damage than he would by simply keeping quiet.

    BREAKING: Trump Indicted In Porn Star Hush Money Case

    UPDATE #2: Former President Donald Trump confirms via TruthSocial that he has been “indicated.”

    Remember, Trump doesn’t fix typos, he “covfefes” them! We have to call being indicted “getting indicated” now.

    We don’t make these rules.


    UPDATE: Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver is understandably stoked:

    While Rep. Jason Crow reminds us of the historic sadness of this moment:


    As the New York Times reports, Stormy Daniels will have her revenge:

    Donald J. Trump was indicted in Manhattan on Thursday for his role in paying hush money to a porn star, according to five people with knowledge of the matter, a historic development that will shake up the 2024 presidential race and forever mark him as the nation’s first former president to face criminal charges. [Pols emphasis]

    In the coming days, prosecutors working for the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, will likely ask Mr. Trump to surrender and to face arraignment. The specific charges will be announced when he is arraigned…

    Donald J. Trump responded to the news that he had been indicted in a statement, calling the Manhattan grand jury vote “political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history.”

    Mr. Trump’s statement echoed what has been an extraordinary and blistering effort to try to prevent the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, from indicting him.

    Rep. Lauren Boebert shrieks at the heavens:

    It’s the moment former President Donald Trump warned would result in “death and destruction,” calling on his supporters to “PROTEST PROTEST PROTEST.” It’s since been explained to us that these two statements were not expressly related, and Trump attorney Joseph Tacopina conceded Trump was “ill-advised” to have threatened violence.

    We’ll update with reactions from all sides as they come in.

    Trump Indictment Roundup: Probably Not This Week

    There was a lot of buzz earlier this week that former President Donald Trump would be indicted within days on charges related to using campaign funds to make a hush money payment to a porn star with whom he allegedly had an affair years earlier.

    As The New York Times reports, that indictment probably won’t happen until next week at the earliest:

    It now appears that any indictment of former President Donald J. Trump would not come until next week at the earliest.

    The grand jury hearing evidence about Mr. Trump’s role in a hush-money payment to a porn star typically does not consider the case on Thursdays and does not meet on Fridays, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

    The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg has been questioning witnesses about the role Mr. Trump played in the payment to the porn star, Stormy Daniels, and there have been several signals that the prosecutors are nearing an indictment. Still, the exact timing of any charges remains unknown.

    Although the special grand jury hearing evidence about Mr. Trump meets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, it typically does not hear evidence about the Trump case on Thursdays, according to the person with knowledge of the matter. Special grand juries, which unlike regular grand juries sit for months at a time and hear complex cases, routinely consider several cases simultaneously.

    Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg

    Bragg isn’t staying completely quiet, however. From The Washington Post:

    Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Thursday emphatically rebuffed a House Republican demand for documents and testimony related to his office’s investigation of former president Donald Trump, saying the request was “an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution.” 

    On Tuesday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Bragg demanding materials related to his investigation into alleged hush-money payments from Trump to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign. Jordan also accused Bragg of an “unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority,” an escalation of the standoff between the district attorney’s office and Trump’s House Republican allies… [Pols emphasis]

    …On his Truth Social platform, Trump has kept up a steady stream of attacks on Bragg in all-caps-heavy posts, calling him an “animal” and demanding his removal from office.

    As The Washington Post details in a separate story, Trump is plainly terrified about a pending indictment:

    With his potential indictment looming in Manhattan, the former president on Thursday criticized those who have called for his supporters to remain peaceful.


    While not explicitly urging his supporters to get violent, the seeming message here is that a peaceful response might be insufficient. To label it a dog whistle would be an understatement. Trump is standing next to a tinderbox and casually lighting a match.

    House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has called for “peaceful” demonstrations while also encouraging his caucus to do everything it can to muck up the gears of justice where Trump is concerned. But as Jonathan V. Last writes for Bulwark, this is all very odd considering that the former President faces numerous legal problems:

    Having made their deal with the devil to elect and protect the most corrupt man to ever serve as president, Republicans are now outraged that his corruptions have resulted in multiple criminal investigations. [Pols emphasis]




    Trump’s pending indictment(s) will have a direct impact on Colorado Republicans as well. Congressperson Lauren Boebert has thrown down hard on Trump’s behalf, as has new State Party Chairperson Dave Williams. As Williams said on March 11 after being elected GOP Chair:

    “We are the party that elected Donald J. Trump, and we are not going to apologize for that anymore.”

    Williams may find out next week just what those words taste like when he is forced to eat them.

    Trump Indictment Watch Schadenfreude Thread

    Politico is reporting that the long, long wait for ex-President Donald Trump to finally face criminal charges in one of the many investigations proceeding against him may end today–or at least this week:

    Law enforcement officials are meeting at NYPD headquarters in lower Manhattan on Monday afternoon to plan for a possible indictment of former President Donald Trump on charges stemming from payments to a porn star, a person involved in the planning told POLITICO.

    An indictment by a grand jury is expected late Monday or Wednesday, according to three people involved in the deliberations.

    “We’ll be discussing how we bring Trump in,” the person involved in the planning said, adding, “No decisions have been made yet.”

    On Saturday, Trump announced that his “arrest” on charges stemming from the hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels was imminent, and called for his supporters to “PROTEST PROTEST PROTEST” the “killing of our nation” such an indictment would represent. Republicans from Speaker Kevin McCarthy on down have rallied to Trump’s defense–even including Trump’s likely 2024 primary opponent Ron DeSantis, who blasted the New York DA while still managing to sideswipe Trump over “paying hush money to a porn star.”

    Rep. Lauren Boebert, unsurprisingly, is ready to man the barricades:

    It’s true that Ms. Daniels’ account of her encounter with President Trump could be called obscene, at least in parts–though that’s probably not what Boebert was trying to say. But either way, we’ve finally arrived at the moment when Trump faces the criminal justice system for something, anything–and just like Al Capone seeing justice on tax charges or O.J. Simpson going down for stealing his own memorabilia back, the means matter less than the ends.

    Watch this space for local reactions and updates with whatever happens next.

    Jenna Ellis Pathologically Defiant Following Censure For 2020 Lies

    UPDATE: The New York Times takes note of Jenna Ellis’ lack of contrition:

    In a message posted on Twitter Thursday morning, Ms. Ellis sought to split hairs concerning her agreement with officials in Colorado, saying that she never admitted to lying about election fraud, which she asserted “requires INTENTIONALLY making a false statement.”

    But in her stipulation with bar officials, she agreed that censure was merited when lawyers “knowingly engage” in any “conduct that involves dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.”

    “It appears that Ms. Ellis is continuing in her pattern of knowing misrepresentations and falsehoods,” Michael Teter, the managing director of the 65 Project, said on Thursday. “If she continues down this path, it will not be long before she is subject to further disciplinary action.”


    Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis during the December 2020 campaign to overturn the presidential election.

    Colorado Newsline’s Quentin Young broke the major news just after 5:00pm yesterday that former couptorney for ex-President Donald Trump, Jenna Ellis, has been formally censured by the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel for her many false statements about the 2020 presidential election leading up to the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021:

    The public censure order was signed Wednesday by Presiding Disciplinary Judge Bryon M. Large, who oversees lawyer discipline cases in Colorado.

    As part of an agreement in the case, Ellis admits that multiple statements she made in late 2020 about the presidential election being stolen were “misrepresentations.”

    Those statements were part of an effort by Trump to reverse President Joe Biden’s victory, and they helped fuel the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. A majority of Republicans, including those running to chair the Colorado Republican Party, continue to doubt the 2020 election results…

    In an opinion accepting a censure agreement between Yates and Ellis, Large noted that Ellis has agreed that her statements about the election being stolen were misrepresentations, which he said were made “with at least a reckless state of mind.” Ellis also agreed that she, “through her conduct, undermined the American public’s confidence in the presidential election, violating her duty of candor to the public,” Large wrote, adding that “a selfish motive” and “a pattern of misconduct” were aggravating factors in the case.

    Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog:

    Ellis acknowledged in the agreement released on Wednesday that she violated a professional rule that prohibits attorneys from making “reckless, knowing, or intentional misrepresentations.” Large wrote in his opinion that she did so “with a mental state that was ‘at least reckless,'” describing a legal standard for assessing disciplinary options.

    A longtime luminary in Colorado’s conservative political circles, Ellis shot to national prominence as part of the team of Trump’s lawyers and legal advisors who attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including by filing dozens of failed lawsuits alleging election fraud.

    Ellis taught classes for several years at Lakewood-based Colorado Christian University and is currently a fellow in constitutional law and policy at the school’s Centennial Institute.

    Here is the heart of the censure agreement between the state and Ellis. The precise language is important:

    Respondent and the People agree that Respondent made ten misrepresentations on Twitter and to nationally televised audiences in her capacity as personal counsel to the then-President of the United States and as counsel for his reelection campaign. The parties agree that Respondent made these statements, which violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c), with at least a reckless state of mind. [Pols emphasis] The parties agree that Respondent was not counsel of record in any lawsuits challenging the 2020 election results. The parties agree that Respondent, through her conduct, undermined the American public’s confidence in the presidential election, violating her duty of candor to the public. Finally, the parties agree that two aggravators apply—Respondent had a selfish motive and she engaged in a pattern of misconduct [Pols emphasis]—while one factor, her lack of prior discipline, mitigates her misconduct.

    Make no mistake, this is a major development: one of Trump’s closest attorneys admitted in court documents that Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud in 2020 were false. That’s at least as significant as the recent revelations stemming from court filings in the libel suit from Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems that the prime-time hosts at FOX News were all aware that Trump’s election fraud claims were garbage–yet continued to push them for political and financial motives. When you consider how pervasive and widespread the “Big Lie” has become, with a majority of Republicans still convinced two years later that Donald Trump should be President, these admissions that everybody involved either knew or should have known it was a lie are incredibly damning.

    After a disgrace of this magnitude, most people would take a step back and re-evaluate their life choices. But in a defiant extended Twitter screed early this morning, Jenna Ellis made it clear that she is…well, not most people:

    The politically-motivated Left failed miserably in their attempt to destroy me. They’re now trying to falsely discredit me by saying I admitted I lied.

    That is FALSE. I would NEVER lie. Lying requires INTENTIONALLY making a false statement.

    I never did that, nor did I stipulate to or admit that…

    Ellis goes on to make a load-bearing distinction between “deceit” and “misrepresentation.”

    As has become sadly typical, the opposition-controlled media is intentionally twisting the truth, conflating the full RPC standard with the actual stipulation. The standard reads, “dishonesty, fraud, deceit, OR misrepresentation.”

    Now for starters, just like Rupert Murdoch in the FOX News defamation trial we’re way past arguing over whether the 2020 presidential election was actually stolen from Donald Trump. All parties concede it was not. What we’re arguing about apparently is whether Ellis knowingly made the numerous false statements attributed to her while she was working for Trump. The language of this censure was negotiated between regulators and Ellis’ attorneys, and it looks like the kindest interpretation Ellis could get the court to agree to was “at least a reckless state of mind.”

    It’s just gobsmacking to us that after conceding that the entire basis of her campaign of lies “misrepresentations” was false, Ellis still thinks there’s value in arguing whether her actions were intentional or merely “at least reckless.” After admitting that the 2020 presidential election was not stolen from Donald Trump, and that her repeated claims to the contrary amounted to a “pattern of misconduct,” nobody cares whether Ellis “intentionally” lied or not. Ellis has no credibility either way. Ellis was a bit player in a much larger conspiracy to undermine American democracy, and that’s the only reason we’re talking about her at all.

    All the same, let the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel know that Ellis isn’t exactly repentant.

    Boebert Goes All In On January 6th Historical Revisionism

    Last night, FOX News host Tucker Carlson released a few select bits of the thousands of hours of video collected during the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol his “research team” was controversially given access to by GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, in an attempt to recast the violent attack that day to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory as “mostly peaceful chaos.” CNN reports that the U.S. Capitol Police are leading the pushback against this audacious attempt to rewrite the history painstakingly reconstructed last year by the House Select Committee:

    US Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger on Tuesday ripped into Fox News host Tucker Carlson over his commentary about footage from the January 6, 2021, insurrection that he aired Monday night, saying the host “cherry-picked” from the footage to present “offensive” and “misleading” conclusions about the attack.

    “Last night an opinion program aired commentary that was filled with offensive and misleading conclusions about the January 6 attack,” Manger wrote in an internal department memo obtained by CNN, adding that Carlson’s show didn’t reach out to the police department “to provide accurate context.”

    “The program conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video. The commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments,” Manger said.

    It’s not just the Capitol Police and Democrats denouncing Tucker Carlson’s mischaracterization of the events of January 6th. As NBC News reports, a number of Republican U.S. Senators are not willing to participate:

    “I think it’s bullshit,” [Sen. Thom] Tillis told reporters in the Capitol. [Pols emphasis]

    “I was here. I was down there and I saw maybe a few tourists, a few people who got caught up in things,” he added. “But when you see police barricades breached, when you see police officers assaulted, all of that … if you were just a tourist you should’ve probably lined up at the visitors’ center and came in on an orderly basis.”

    …Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota conservative, said he was in the Capitol on Jan. 6 and firmly rejected Carlson’s portrayal of that day as “some rowdy peaceful protest of Boy Scouts.”

    “I think that breaking through glass windows and doors to get into the United States Capitol against the borders of police is a crime. I think particularly when you come into the chambers, when you start opening the members’ desks, when you stand up in their balcony — to somehow put that in the same category as, you know, permitted peaceful protest is just a lie,” Cramer said.

    Sen. Mitt Romney was, as he tends to be, even more blunt:

    “It’s a very dangerous thing to do, to suggest that attacking the Capitol of the United States is in any way acceptable and it’s anything other than a serious crime, against democracy and against our country,” Romney said. “And people saw that it was violent and destructive and should never happen again. But trying to normalize that behavior is dangerous and disgusting.” [Pols emphasis]

    The best rebuttal to Carlson’s selectively edited clips we can think of is the original Select Committee compilation of video from the insurrection:


    Watch this video again, and tell us how Carlson can get away with calling what happened “sightseeing.” A few edited moments of relative calm highlighted by Carlson do not negate the violence and destruction documented exhaustively by the Select Committee. The swift rebuttal from Senate Republicans is a possible sign that Carlson, whose popularity has increasingly hinged on his embrace of the fringe right–including Colorado’s own election conspiracy theorist and indicted ex-county clerk Tina Peters–has finally gone too far.

    But the bipartisan chorus of outrage over this attempt to rewrite the history of an event we all watched unfold live just over two years ago does not include…you guessed it, Colorado’s intractable sophomore mayhem multiplier Rep. Lauren Boebert:

    In response to Carlson’s report last night, Rep. Boebert exploded in pent-up glee this morning over what she clearly believes is vindication–for the January 6th insurrectionists, and also Republican politicians like herself and Donald Trump who incited the violence by refusing to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election. On January 6th, Boebert threateningly referred to her constituents “outside the building right now” moments before they smashed their way into the Capitol, after announcing “Today is 1776” to her hundreds of thousands of followers that morning. Boebert has every interest today in downplaying the violence on January 6th she helped bring to pass, even as she continues to defend the underlying “Big Lie” that Trump won.

    But this isn’t vindication. Too many of Boebert’s fellow Republicans who were shaken to the core by the events of January 6th are refusing to let the truth of what happened that day be whitewashed. It’s a falsehood too far, and Boebert is on the wrong side of bipartisan disgust.

    Boebert Politely Tells DeSantis To Wait His Turn

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

    Last November, Colorado’s most Ultra MAGA of-them-all Rep. Lauren Boebert raised eyebrows when she extolled the virtues of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as a potential candidate for President in 2024:

    “I love Governor Ron DeSantis. He is America’s governor, and he has the same policies,” she said, adding that 2024 remains “in the far future.”

    Yes, Boebert also effusively praised former President Donald Trump in the same November interview, which came just after Trump announced his 2024 re-election campaign. But by allowing for even the possibility of someone other than Trump as the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2024 — after Trump was in the race — Boebert was treading dangerously close to MAGA disloyalty. That disloyalty was further underlined at the beginning of January when Boebert defied Trump’s pleas to end the drama over Kevin McCarthy’s speakership.

    In the intervening months, Trump has plowed ahead with his campaign while DeSantis has delayed getting in the race, and Trump seems to be consolidating his position once again as the favorite to win the GOP nomination in 2024. For evidence of this, we turn once again to Rep. Lauren Boebert at this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC):

    Though still effusive with praise for Gov. DeSantis, Boebert announced at this weekend’s CPAC conference that she is “backing Trump all the way.”

    I want [DeSantis] to be President someday. He’s an amazing man with a lot of strength and a lot of character, but right now we need President Trump back in the White House. [Pols emphasis]

    This years’s CPAC was by all accounts dominated by supporters of the former President, and Trump easily won this year’s straw poll of CPAC attendees. As one of the clearest endorsements of Trump over DeSantis by name offered by any nationally prominent Republican so far, Boebert’s public reaffirmation of loyalty to Trump is a big deal that will carry considerable weight with the Republican base.

    It may be the last thing “Never Trump” Republicans want to hear, but the stars are aligning for Trump to walk away with the GOP nomination once again. Whatever that means for America’s future, and that of Colorado Republicans at the brink of total political annihilation, in Colorado you have Lauren Boebert to thank for it.

    Why Jamie Raskin’s Dismantlement of Lauren Boebert Matters

    Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) and the former occupant of the White House.

    Some of the most-viewed clips of video from this week in Congress feature a running exchange between Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin and Colorado’s maven of misinformation Rep. Lauren Boebert, beginning when Boebert seized on the “low confidence” assessment by the Energy Department that the COVID-19 pandemic originated in a Chinese lab leak, and proceeded to fictionalize the response by former President Donald Trump to both the pandemic and Chinese leadership. Newsweek’s Ewan Palmer:

    In a series of videos that have gained millions of views on Twitter, Raskin used his time during a meeting of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which both lawmakers are part of, as well as the House floor on Tuesday to launch a series of attacks against Boebert…

    Boebert, the indefatigable Donald Trump stan, tried to make the case that Trump had blamed the Chinese for the virus’ still-unknown origin from the beginning. But Rep. Raskin wasn’t having Boebert’s historical revisionism:

    Raskin said there are two facts that she “should be alerted to” before trying to defend Trump with regards to how COVID broke out.

    “One is that Donald Trump, on more than 20 different occasions defended the performance of Chinese government and specifically President Xi in terms of his treatment of COVID-19 and said he was doing a wonderful job and a great job and they were working closely and they were constantly in touch,” Raskin said. [Pols emphasis]

    “So if there’s a problem with the Chinese government unleashing the virus—which has not been proven anywhere, but it certainly could be true—You would have to pin that on your favorite President Donald Trump, not on Joe Biden.”

    “The second thing is President Trump’s own special adviser on COVID-19, Deborah Birx, said that the lethal recklessness of Donald Trump’s policies about COVID-19 cost Americans hundreds of thousands of lives.

    During the State of the Union address last month, Rep. Boebert Tweeted in all caps “YOU CLOSED THEM” in response to Biden mentioning the closure of schools during the pandemic. The problem was of course that Trump was President when schools were ordered closed during the early vaccineless phase of the pandemic, and it was state officials who made those decisions in any event. Similarly, to praise Trump for blaming China for the pandemic ignores the long period in which he not only refused to do so but extolled Chinese authorities for their cooperation. Only later on the campaign trail did Trump begin to refer to COVID-19 as the “China virus” as a way of shirking blame for his own administration’s mishandling of the crisis.

    After Raskin’s effortless dunking on Boebert in committee, the action moved to the House floor the next day, where Raskin schooled Boebert on her impish insistence on dropping the -ic from “Democratic,” and embraced Boebert’s expressed preference to be called “Ultra MAGA” over “MAGA extremist” with a smile–since either work fine for Democratic branding purposes. With Boebert’s higher profile this session resulting from her plum committee assignments–and above all, vulnerability that no one could count on until Boebert almost lost her seat last year–we expect to see Democrats crank up the pressure, publicly challenging Boebert’s easily-disproven falsehoods and forcing her to squirm under the bright lights. That’s the best way to turn Boebert’s higher profile within the GOP caucus into a liability ahead of her next election.

    At some point, Boebert might even have to admit who was in charge when all that bad stuff happened.

    Legal Experts: Dominion Defamation Suit Should Succeed

    “I think that Dominion both will and should prevail.”

         — Laurence Tribe, former Harvard law professor

    We wrote last week about internal communications made public as a result of a defamation lawsuit filed by Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News Corporation.

    One of the key points in any successful defamation claim is proving that there was an intention to defame the victim. Dominion has long claimed that Fox News deliberately amplified false claims of voter fraud and provided a platform for guests to make similar accusations; internal communications from some of the top names at Fox News seems to make clear that the network knew damn well that it was promoting nonsense claims of voter fraud in order to appease its rabid right-wing audience.

    As The Washington Post reports today, legal experts were stunned by the extent of evidence against Fox News and are now of the opinion that Dominion will ultimately prevail in its defamation lawsuit:

    “You just don’t often get smoking-gun evidence of a news organization saying internally, ‘We know this is patently false, but let’s forge ahead with it,’” said RonNell Andersen Jones, a University of Utah professor who specializes in media law. [Pols emphasis]

    Under New York Times v. Sullivan, a 1964 Supreme Court ruling that has guided libel and defamation claims for nearly 60 years, a plaintiff like Dominion must show that a defendant like Fox published false statements with “actual malice” — meaning that it was done “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”

    Based on the messages revealed last week, “I think that Dominion both will and should prevail,” said Laurence Tribe, a former Harvard law professor. “If anything, the landmark this case is likely to establish will help show that New York Times v. Sullivan” is not an impossible legal hurdle to clear, as some critics have claimed. [Pols emphasis]

    “While it’s true that the Supreme Court [in Sullivan] has set a high bar for plaintiffs, a high bar doesn’t mean no bar,” said Sonja R. West, a First Amendment scholar at the University of Georgia law school “What we’re seeing in this case looks an awful lot like the exception that proves the rule. The First Amendment often protects speakers who make innocent or even negligent mistakes, but this does not mean they can knowingly tell lies that damage the reputation of others.”

    Even if Dominion does succeed in its defamation suit, there are some questions about how much Fox News Corporation will ultimately be required to pay up (or whether it will attempt to play a corporate shell game that includes some form of bankruptcy).

    Regardless of the financial impacts, a victory by Dominion would be a big win for things like “truth” and “facts” in the overall media landscape. That’s the kind of outcome in which everyone wins.

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