Donald Trump is ramping up his political efforts, with a series of planned “policy” speeches and conversations with top GOP donors as he weighs the timing for an expected announcement he is running for president. That announcement could come at any time but some close to the former president believe it will be before the November midterms.
Exactly when is anyone’s guess, unbeknownst to even the prospective candidate himself.
But amid criticism the Dept. of Justice’s investigation has offered no apparent evidence it is planning to indict the former president despite 58% of Americans saying it should, reports state Trump is expected to once again run for president.
“The former president is now eyeing a September announcement, according to two Trump advisers,” The Washington Post reports. “One confidant put the odds at ’70-30 he announces before the midterms.’ And others said he may still decide to announce sooner than September.”
“You can only hold him off so long,” one adviser told The Post. “One day he’ll wake up and say, ‘Put it out.’”
Trump faces many challenges, including news that broke Wednesday night that the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack plans to hold a second series of hearings starting next month. The Committee, whose hearings have drawn huge viewership ratings, originally planned to end its publicly televised hearings on the insurrection it lays at the former president’s feet with a primetime event next week.
Polling shows that the vast majority of Americans (59%) hold Trump responsible for the insurrection, and that same number believe he “misled” them about the results of the 2020 election. Two out of three (67%) also say Trump attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Almost as many, (65%) say Trump claimed that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent without evidence.
GOP strategists and politicians have cautioned Trump to not announce until after the November midterms, on fears over his low approval rating and indications many of his former supporters have moved on and do not want him to run a third time.
“Public and internal party polls in several key states show that Trump rates behind even Biden, who has suffered a historic collapse in public support since taking office. Trump lost a recent hypothetical head-to-head poll against Biden in New Hampshire and trails Biden in favorability in Wisconsin, both sites of marquee Senate contests this fall.”
“Of all the selfish things he does every minute of every day, it would probably be the most,” a “prominent Republican strategist” told The Post.
Trump initially wanted to announce last year in August, but advisors urged him to wait, citing campaign financing rules that would “limit his ability to access funds in his Save America PAC, which has been paying for his staff and events, trigger equal time rules on television and allow Democrats to reframe the election away from Biden’s unpopular presidency,” according to The Post.
More recently, rumors of a July 4 announcement came and went.
“Trump has decided in recent weeks to stage a series of what aides dub policy speeches as he continues to plan the structure of his next campaign. He gave a speech on crime Friday in Las Vegas, where he resurfaced his old idea that drug dealers should be given the death penalty.”
Trump “will return to Washington on July 26 to deliver what’s being billed as a major policy speech,” CNN adds, noting it will be his first time back in D.C. since he left office, refusing to attend his successor’s inauguration. “Trump will deliver remarks at the America First Agenda Summit, a conference hosted by one of the MAGA-aligned outside groups that formed after his presidency.”
Axios reports that July 26 event will be attended by a huge number of his former aides, advisors, and cabinet officials. Among them, eight former cabinet-level officials, eight former administration officials, 13 GOP House members, 10 GOP Senators, three former GOP governors, and Newt Gingrich.
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‘He Was Going to Sacrifice You’: Pence Mocked for Rushing to Support Trump After FBI Mar-a-Lago Raid
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who was by Donald Trump‘s side constantly promoting and defending him when he was President, and who was subjected to Trump’s support of rioters and insurrectionists calling to “hang Mike Pence,” is being highly criticized and mocked for again rushing to defend Trump in the wake of the FBI’s raid at Mar-a-Lago.
Experts have made clear they believe FBI’s execution of a lawful federal search warrant is most likely in connection with a national security and counterintelligence operation, not a casual stroll into the private estate of a former U.S. president.
But not according to Pence, who is strongly believed to be organizing a 2024 presidential run.
“I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump. No former President of the United States has ever been subject to a raid of their personal residence in American history,” he writes.
“After years where FBI agents were found to be acting on political motivation during our administration, the appearance of continued partisanship by the Justice Department must be addressed,” he claims, which is at best a twisting of facts. No FBI agent was found to have taken official action based on personal political beliefs.
“Yesterday’s action undermines public confidence in our system of justice and Attorney General Garland must give a full accounting to the American people as to why this action was taken and he must do so immediately,” Pence demanded.
Pence could have made the exact same demand of Donald Trump, who has a copy of the lawfully executed search warrant and inventory of the likely hundreds or thousands of documents that are the rightful property of the U.S. government, and recovered by the FBI from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
Meanwhile, Pence was singing a very different tune int he weeks before he was elected Vice President.
“We call on the FBI to immediately release all emails pertinent to their investigation,” he tweeted about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on October 28, 2016. “Americans have the right to know before Election Day.”
Trump “and I commend the FBI for reopening an investigation into Clinton’s personal email server because no one is above the law,” Pence added just hours later.
Responses to Pence’s remarks on Tuesday were strong.
“Mike he was going to sacrifice you,” tweeted Daily Kos staff writer Gabe Ortíz.
“No President has ever attempted to have an armed mob assassinate his Vice President either,” wrote journalist Marcy Wheeler.
Trump sent a “violent mob to murder you so he could end [the] republic,” tweeted economist David Rothschild. “Trump took boxes of classified documents from White House & is known to destroy documents.”
“Trump won in 2016 because FBI intervened on his behalf over ‘concern’ about Clinton’s document retention & security,” he continued. “Not investigating & prosecuting former president who flaunts breaking law, including leading coup against US, undermines rule-of-law for all of US.”
“You don’t know what the FBI’s warrant said or what evidence was presented to the judge who authorized it,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). “Your suggestion that Trump should be beyond accountability to the law, like your silence when Trump called for imprisonment of his opponents as president, harms our country.”
Talking Points memo editor and founder Josh Marshall writes, “this is a good reminder of who Mike Pence is. None of this happened. The FBI never plotted against Trump. To the extent it has org bias it’s toward the right. Everyone knows this. Pence is just repeating anti-‘deep state’ propaganda invented to give Trump cover for his crimes.”
“The pervasive rightwing lie and conspiracy theory that the FBI is controlled by Biden for political purposes is based on the assumption that everyone in the Biden admin, the FBI, the department of justice, the media and secret service is corrupt and abusing power—and trump is not,” wrote Condé Nast legal affairs editor Luke Zaleski.
Vox’s legal expert, Ian Millhiser asks, “Is there anyone on earth more pathetic than Mike Pence? Donald Trump egged on a lynch mob that wanted Pence hanged, and Pence is still Trump’s toady.”
‘This Is a National Security Issue’: Former FBI Agents Note Key Details About ‘Raid’ on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago
Two former FBI agents are weighing in on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s execution of a search warrant Monday at the Florida residence of Donald Trump, the former President, which he called a “raid.”
“This is a nat sec/CI issue,” tweeted Asha Rangappa Tuesday morning, meaning national security and counterintelligence. Rangappa is an attorney, former FBI special agent, senior lecturer at Yale, and CNN commentator.
She was pointing to a tweet by another former FBI special agent, James Harris.
Harris has an extensive bio, highlights of which include his role at FBI HQ Cyber Division as a Program Manager and then Unit Chief (Acting), FBI Senior Liaison Officer to DHS Cybersecurity and Communications, and FBI Assistant Section Chief of the Counterterrorism Internet Operations Section. Earlier in his FBI career he says he “built up the largest Federal Cybercrime Task Force in the US.”
Harris points to this section of a CNN article published Tuesday morning, written by seven CNN reporters:
“In early June, a handful of investigators made a rare visit to the property seeking more information about potentially classified material from Trump’s time in the White House that had been taken to Florida. The four investigators, including Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section at the Justice Department, sat down with two of Trump’s attorneys, Bobb and Evan Corcoran, according to a source present for the meeting.”
Harris on Twitter highlights this sentence: “The four investigators, including Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section at the Justice Department…”
He tweets: “All you ‘outraged’ GOPers better cool your jets. You might be walking your rhetoric back really fast when you figure out what this seems to be. The devil is in the details.”
In January the National Archives was forced to transport from Mar-a-Lago 15 cartons of documents and other items that, according to the Presidential Records Act and the National Archives, should have been turned over to the Archives.
The FBI’s execution of the search warrant and reports that they left with a large quantity of documents suggests Trump might not have turned over everything taken from the White House.
Rangappa earlier Tuesday tweeted: “Ask yourself: What kind of info makes its way to the WH, and specifically to the president? —> HIGH LEVEL SECRETS. PDB stuff. Defense info. These aren’t low-level diplomatic cables or overclassified State Dept. correspondence. Just saying.”
‘I’d Be Advising My Client to Tell Their Family I’m Looking at Jail Time’: Mueller Prosecutor on the FBI’s Trump Raid
Former Justice Department prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, explained on MSNBC that if he was advising a client facing what former President Donald Trump is, there would be a strong warning.
“If I were Donald Trump’s lawyer right now, thank God I’m not, I would be advising my client to be telling [their] family, ‘I am looking at jail time, and we should make plans accordingly.'”
After House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) threatened Attorney General Merrick Garland, Weissmann said that he should just keep his head down and keep doing his job.
“That is such a palpably false statement, the comment from Mr. McCarthy that he has seen enough,” said Weissmann. “One of the things that none of us has seen is the warrant, an application to the court. It’s very important to remember this was not a break-in, this was not a raid, this was not the attorney general of the United States deciding willy-nilly on his own that he was going to do the search. A court had to approve the search here based on, as you point out Lawrence, evidence. The evidence had to show that there was probable cause of a crime. That is the way our judicial system works, and that is what happened here.”
While McCarthy may want to hold a public hearing of Garland and demand documents, what the Republicans might ultimately end up doing is drawing additional attention to what Trump stole or attempted to destroy.
“I think the thing that I found the most remarkable and I think it’s really worth people really taking a step back, is this does mean the attorney general of the United States did not trust the former president to simply produce the documents voluntarily pursuant to a subpoena,” said Weissmann. “And it was necessary to go via search warrant. Normally, you think that if you order a subpoena to any reputable person they will produce documents. When you issue and obtain a search warrant, it is because you do not trust that the person will actually produce the documents. That means if they had to have evidence of that that led Merrick Garland to take this step. It was bold but certainly approved by the courts.”
He went on to joke that the irony is that, all of a sudden, Kevin McCarthy cares about document preservation.
“The Trump administration pioneered all these different ways of doing it from flushing it down the toilet, to burning it in the White House fireplace,” recalled Weissmann. “Points for creativity, but, all in all, I don’t think I expect a statement from the Justice Department about [McCarthy’s threats].”
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