Expected Response Is Expected, Redux: Trump, Post-Arraignment

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Two days after a warrant was served on Mar-a-Lago last August, I wrote this:

We could have seen it coming after all this time. They’re reliably predictable, no crystal ball required.

Trump appears to be in trouble: The FBI serves a warrant on Mar-a-Lago, seizing papers.

There’s a moment of hesitation or pause: Trump delivers a ranty statement some time after the FBI leaves.

The coordinated response is generated: Trump’s lawyers make a false claim about evidence being planted by FBI.

The zone is flooded: The right-wing’s proxies and media repeat ad nauseam the same false claim.

The media dutifully picks up and repeats: the zone is further flooded, amplifying the false claim.

This is a cycle we’ve seen repeated over and over again. The only additional step not included here is the final one in which some pundit will opine about this situation being bad for Democrats and Joe Biden though it has nothing to do with them whatsoever.

I noted then that the media responded reflexively to this cycle. Breaking out of their sycophantic role has happened but very rarely, and I say that only because I can’t think of a good example off the top of my head when a media outlet didn’t just regurgitate Trump’s DARVO, thereby poisoning understanding by those who aren’t media literate/skeptical and those who are themselves stuck in the same loop as MAGA GOP.

Trump will once again Deny the Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender, a behavior pattern typical of abusers, and the media will enable it thereby becoming the abuser’s weapon — once again wielded against the public.

After this afternoon’s arraignment, I expect we’ll be swamped once again by the same DARVO cycle. Trump will repeat everything he said after he was told he was a target, after he was told an indictment was imminent. He raged on his own version of Twitter, he raged again on video; he’ll do this all again, perhaps with some additional flourishes in a live venue.

I’m an innocent man,” he claimed over and over, though the timeline of events, the photos taken, the refusal to fully cooperate with the National Archives and the Department of Justice all indicate otherwise.

After his arraignment in Manhattan NY this April for charges of falsified business records, Trump fulminated.

He called Smith a “lunatic,” and also claimed the judge presiding over his case in Manhattan is a “Trump-hating judge.”

… Trump cast the indictment as Democrats’ latest attempt to kneecap him, citing previous “fraudulent investigations” related to Russia and Ukraine, and “impeachment hoax one” and “impeachment hoax two.” Trump said his opponents have “really stepped up their efforts by indicting the 45th president of the United States.”

And of course he claimed he was the victim of an injustice, “I never thought anything like this could happen in America … Never thought it could happen. The only crime that I’ve committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it.”

Defending our nation looks a lot like unlawfully retained classified documents carelessly dumped from a box in a storeroom near a resort’s pool.

Today’s arraignment might produce slightly different results as Trump might not wish to insult Trump-friendly Judge Cannon. However he will surely insult Special Counsel Smith, casting Smith once again as a villain of the deep-state apparatus seeking to harm poor little old Trump.

~ ~ ~

Few to none of the media outlets will note that none of this had to happen. Trump could have turned over everything — presidential records, classified documents, defense information — when NARA asked in May 2021.

He could have tried to comply again in February 2022 when NARA said it was still missing documents.

Trump could have done more to comply between February and June 2022 — heck, up to the search warrant’s execution in August — but instead he and his minions obstructed.

The arraignment today is a choice that Trump made. He has no one to blame but himself.

But because this is his lifelong practice, he will blame everyone else but himself. He will depict himself as a victim.

And the media will likely repeat his bullshit rather than noting the real victim is this nation and its Constitution, because the documents Trump has steadfastly refused to relinquish belong to our executive office.

Watch closely now for the DARVO and media’s complacency. It’s just a matter of time — tick-tock.

~ ~ ~

This is an open thread. Bring all your non-Trump stuff here rather than clutter Marcy’s threads.

174 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    I feel sorry for my dad, who at 89 is only just beginning to realize the GOP is not the party he thought it was. He told my mom Trump was “irresponsible” in his handling of these classified documents; I don’t think he’s fully acknowledged Trump stole the documents, had no intention of giving them up, and has likely used some for personal gain. Not certain I can fully break his bubble at this point in his life; I have a suspicion he’s in denial because he can’t really believe a GOP ex-president would betray the intelligence community and the nation’s defense so egregiously.

    This is yet one more of Trump’s crimes, if not a crime on the books: destroying the faith some of our most senior citizens have had in the office of the president out of narcissistic greed.

    • Fran of the North says:

      Hopefully these charges are serious enough that despite the DARVO, good reporters and media outlets will continue to sound the alarm. If so, more individuals may reconsider what & where their thoughts are on this subject specifically and on Trump in general.

      Unfortunately these revelations come too late for my dad, a career Army officer in Military Intelligence. He passed 4 years ago, but not before he got ensnared in the Fox web of deceit.

      I really think that these indictments would have caused him to rethink; one of his jobs at the Pentagon was making sure that confidential materials were securely locked up, and he told me that on more than one occasion, careers were changed due to carelessness. Trumps acts go far beyond careless to potential malice. We’ll see what the jury thinks.

      • Tom Stickler says:

        One of my responsibilities in Vietnam was to certify proper destruction of old classified codebooks.

      • MWFfromSAT says:

        My father was a former military officer, and also a lifelong republican who was also in the Fox News BS bubble, and an avid Trump supporter—He passed away a year after Trump took office. I’d like to think that if he were alive today, he would have finally seen the light just reading the indictments…but honestly, I’m just not sure.

    • posaune says:

      I heard from an elderly relative yesterday (aunt), and she too is expressing dismay similar to your dad’s. I’m wondering if the realization re all this will start in the oldest generation? Hopefully, it will catch on in the younger ones quickly.

      • Rayne says:

        I hope my dad lives long enough to vote in 2024 for a Democrat.

        My kids are both Democrats though for their independent/right-leaning dad’s benefit they’ll say they’re independent voters, too. Reproductive rights are the crux for them.

    • Old Antarctic Explorer says:

      Yes, I’m interested in seeing how Trump does after he gets out the courtroom, where he was confronted with Jack Smith in person. This is not how he normally operates. He talks about people who he has had no personal contact with or lets his lawyers speak for him when they are present.

      I’m not a psychologist, but the mere presence of Smith may rattle Trump and change his responses today. We’ll see. Maybe in the safety of his club he’ll go DARVO as he usually does.

      • FLwolverine says:

        I’m watching a report on MSNBC from Garrett Haake (sp) who was in the courtroom for the arraignment. He observed that Trump never looked at Smith or the prosecutor’s table or even that side of the courtroom. I wonder if Smith is occupying space in Trump’s head yet.

            • Rayne says:

              I have to admit Trump has some unique inborn talent for selecting descriptors with which to label those he sees as opponents. Smith’s statement about the indictment was so concise, focused, lucid that he appeared the opposite of deranged or lunatic, which is likely why Trump has attacked him using these labels.

              • e.a. foster says:

                The more Trump attacks Smith, the more worried Trump is. When the news had him leaving the vehicle to go start the process, you could see there is something missing from Trump. Same when he speaks. He may actually be starting to see this isn’t the road he ought to have gone down. He’s a little lacklustre these days.
                Trump has gotten away with all sorts of things in his life and now in his senior years he is learning at some point you may have to account for your actions. The prosecutor, Smith, doesn’t look all that “friendly” in some of his pictures. Did read he is very good at his job.
                Now we wait and see what the Trump appointed judge does.

                • Rayne says:

                  The “statement” (read: 25-minute-long rant) he made after his arraignment in Manhattan demonstrated your point. He could have stuck to the topic at hand, addressing the indictment brought by D.A. Bragg, refraining from bringing any other legal problems to his audience’s attention, but no. He dragged in the documents case and attacked Smith at least 3 times. He’s definitely worried about Smith.

        • Faith_dc says:

          One of the main msnbc legal analyst reporters who was in the courtroom said, Jack Smith stared at Trump throughout; and when Trump filed out of the courtroom, he could see Jack Smith continue to watch his every move until he was out of Smith’s sight. The reporter said it was absolutely chilling. And effective.

    • punaise says:

      …he’s in denial because he can’t really believe a GOP ex-president would betray the intelligence community and the nation’s defense so egregiously.

      Remember when good ole rock-ribbed Republicans used to (unjustly in my opinion) own law & order and national defense? What a long and twisted fall into hypocrisy, denial, uncitizenlike “values”.

      • Knox Bronson says:

        “Law and order” has always been a racist dogwhistle. “National defense” has always been a code word for giving billions, if not trillions, to the war machine and silencing the left.
        I’m sure everybody here knows that.
        Today’s “conservatives” would stone William F. Buckley.
        I don’t believe there has ever been any substance to so-called conservative thought. It has always been about creating a plutocracy here and fostering white supremacy.

      • rbba says:

        The south use to be Democratic, so the switch. Time for American values to permeate much more of the country.

        [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Valerie Klyman-Clark says:

      Ai Rayne, My father in law was career-retired NSA, Marine. The GOP lost him with Dubya and in his waning years he caught a load of Trump. He needed us to explain, more than once that the nominee came down a golden escalator.

      In contrast, my family are Democrats-Big D. Both parents worked for the military. They met in Gitmo, late 1950s.

      I just keep marveling at what convolutions it takes to Saaaay one’s a Christian and then comport oneself like most of the GOP. Thankfully, that’s not the whole story. Thank You All-

      • Rayne says:

        My dad was Navy SIGINT, Mormon family (ugh, bloody missionaries) converted to Catholicism (ugh, bloody abusive penguins) in school — all of which created a very conservative dude. This last eight years has done a number on his conservatism which I think he clung to in order to navigate being a brown dude on the spectrum in a white supremacist world.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          Whoa! Tough hand he got dealt.

          The nuns drove me in the opposite direction. Can’t imagine Mormonism being heaped on top of that, or underpinning it I guess.

        • MaggieNC says:

          Think this is the name used previously… Honestly this comment is just for Rayne, not the thread. The bits and pieces you share every so often…and now more about where your Dad developed his life views…helps flesh out some background to your posts… I thank you for that….

          [FYI — You commented last as “Maggie in NC.” Let me know which name you’d prefer to stick with and I’ll make note of it. Thanks. /~Rayne]

          [MaggieNC henceforth – got it. /~Rayne]

          • Rayne says:

            It’s impossible to separate the personal from the political; my dad helped shape who I am and what I write here at emptywheel.

            I don’t think he intentionally set out to create a flaming liberal who disagrees with his politics, but when he made sure I had +10 years of Catholic catechism under my belt, he kind of asked for it. I took the Beatitudes to heart.

            • rbba says:

              “My kids are both Democrats though for their independent/right-leaning dad’s benefit they’ll say they’re independent voters, too”.

              Are you the same Rayne who wrote what is quoted? Independent right-leaning and now a ‘liberal’? Sorry if I got confused.

              • Rayne says:

                I’m a liberal, have been since I was a child. My kids are liberal though they have to say they’re indie for their dad’s benefit. He’s afraid I’ve brainwashed them, as if conditions *waves around at the flames* didn’t convince them. Hope that makes sense.

            • HikaakiH says:

              Dare I presume you are familiar with Philip Larkin’s “This Be The Verse”? Its last stanza is quite dark, but the first usually brings a smile to those who have lived long enough in proximity to their parents.
              https://www .poetryfoundation .org/poems/48419/this-be-the-verse

            • ToldainDarkwater says:

              This perfectly mirrors the reason why I am liberal. Though I wasn’t Catholic, I came up as a Protestant. But yeah, that’s why.

        • Knowatall says:

          Thanks for the penguin reference! My brother used to say:
          Not all penguins are Popes, but all Popes are penguins.

    • LaMissy! says:

      I’m reminded of friends of my grandmother, lifelong Republicans, who never recovered from Nixon’s betrayal. They just never spoke of him again. When one of their sons, who served in Vietnam, was diagnosed as having been poisoned by Agent Orange they were devastated. If there’s an afterlife, I hope they have first go at Roger Stone.

    • Rand Careaga says:

      My old man died at 93 just a couple of months before Trump announced in 2015. I’m afraid he would have been full MAGA: for one thing, he’d previously opined, more than once, that Sarah Palin, and not McCain, should have headed up the GOP ticket in 2008.

      For the rest, he would almost certainly jumped aboard the QAnon train: from the 1970s forward he never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like. I miss der Alte, but I’m grateful that we never once had to talk about Donald Trump, because unlike that of Rayne’s father, his faith would have remained unshaken.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Why is MSNBC giving a former lawyer for Trump, Tim Parlatore, a live opportunity to do his PR and repeat dozens of times: prosecutorial misconduct! The pushback is milquetoast. FFS, is this the “coverage” we’ll have to put up with in a court that does not allow cameras or live coverage itself.

    Jimmy Buffett noted the obvious: there’s a huge gap between what people do on Saturday night vs. Sunday morning. There’s an equally huge gap between what a Trump rep will say on tv vs. what he’ll say under oath.

    Tim Parlatore claims that Donald Trump never lied to him, followed by, he needs to know everything. Is that why he’s no longer Trump’s lawyer? LOL.

    • emptywheel says:

      I actually watched CNN. They had three former Trumpsters on who were all pretty sober.

        • Tech Support says:

          It’s not clear to me that any network (and I’m including NPR in this as well) is trustworthy at the “acronym” level. The general practice of “pandering for eyeballs” supersedes whatever ideological lane the organization has chosen to focus on.

          The part about MSNBC that confuses me in particular is that you’d think their flavor of pandering would compel them to do more arm twisting of guys like Parlatore. It seems like when people gripe about MSNBC, it always comes down to some version of “why did they let them get away with that?” Maybe they’ve made the editorial decision that it’s better for their ratings to let their audience get emotionally hijacked?

      • loveyourstuff says:

        Is the GJ transcript to which Parlatore refers as proof of prosecutorial misconduct available? Excuse my lack of legal expertise.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          I haven’t heard of it being released; pretty sure it would be a news item if it had been. It was “in camera” (if that’s the way to use that phrase) for all of its tenure, right? And just the charging documents are all we have to go on concerning the proceedings (other than self serving PR from Trump hacks?

          This sounds like it is of a piece with Trump’s claiming the Iran attack plan would absolve him of something something, and then it, shazam!, goes missing.

      • bgThenNow says:

        I heard someone on CNN say “This was entirely avoidable,” then listed all the opportunities he had to avoid this.

      • USMA1986 says:

        I watched CNN also. I don’t remember who was hosting but at one point a Trumper could be heard yelling, “FUCK CNN! FUCK CNN! FUCK CNN!”

        The host smiled and said something like, “clearly a person in the crowd who is not a CNN fan.”


      • Rayne says:

        Who were the former Trumpsters?

        I may have to watch post-Licht CNN a bit, caught the interview Kaitlan Collins did with Trusty about the indictment and was surprised she pushed back at all given her background with Daily Caller.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Each host who has Parlatore on allows him to repeat the same shpiel, then afterwards declares the hit was “newsworthy.” What they seem to consider “news” is merely having a Trump advocate on MSNBC.

      The only one who’s squeezed actual news out of MAGA folks is Ari Melber, who’s a trained lawyer and not afraid to challenge them. Melber often annoys me with his cutesy jokes and forced hip-hop references, but he does a good job in these interviews.

    • holdingsteady says:

      I watched that segment too – thought Andrew Weissmann was weak in his response about how Parlatore was able to be in the grand jury room (observing?) and Weissmann hadn’t seemed to do his homework.

      Later, Harry Litman said the prosecutorial misconduct allegation was going nowhere, so wish he’d been on in response to Tim P.

      I enjoyed when they had Jon Sale on, he made sense to me.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Weismann was off his game. (Bmaz might say, what game?) He couldn’t even explain what CIPA means.

        Later, someone correctly pointed out that Parlatore was attempting to relitigate in public claims of prosecutorial abuse and the allegedly wrongful piercing of A-C privilege that team Trump lost in DC federal court – without explaining he was doing that to the viewer. He was lying again. But MSNBC knew what it was getting when it interviewed him.

    • loveyourstuff says:

      I’m with you, Earl. I quit MSNBC today because of Parlatore. So, not being an attorney, I wondered if that GJ transcript Parlatore confidently claimed was proof of prosecutorial misconduct would be available to media, and I came across Rule 6, E:The court may authorize disclosure—at a time, in a manner, and subject to any other conditions that it directs—of a grand-jury matter:

      (i) preliminarily to or in connection with a judicial proceeding;

      (ii) at the request of a defendant who shows that a ground may exist to dismiss the indictment because of a matter that occurred before the grand jury.

      My conclusion: if the evidence that Parlatore claims is available in the GJ transcript, which is secret, exists, Team Trump would have marched it out already.

      • Allagashed says:

        Jack smith looks like he has a dead squirrel stapled to his face. I hope he continues to act accordingly.

  3. USMA1986 says:

    I’m surprised, actually. When I watch today’s news, I don’t feel schadenfreude, but rather sadness and heartache. Our nation’s highest office was besmirched by a freely elected occupant who prioritized ego and greed over duty and service.

    Just kidding. Inject it directly into my bloodstream. It’s not just a historical record, but a testament to the resilience and adaptability of democratic systems.

    Side note. Over the next few days, my goal is to take the higher road and to avoid vulgarity when discussing that fuck-faced diseased cockmuppet.

    • David Brooks says:

      What saddens me most of all is that we seem unable to face up to the fact that the Founding Fathers were so naive as to believe that an informed electorate, taking their responsibilities seriously, and the filter of the wise men (men at the time, anyway) of the College, who would solemnly debate and blunt some of the wilder passions of the voters, could never come up with a diseased cockmuppet in the Presidency. Maybe Ben Franklin saw through the delusion.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Blaming an intellectual elite two hundred years dead for today’s problems? LOL. That they did not rely on an “informed electorate,” to decide much is inherent in the Constitution. There are more worthwhile candidates much closer to this time and place.

        • bmaz says:

          The US Constitution is the worst governing document in the world except pretty much all the others. None of the others have to deal with the rote ignorance present in the US. And all the guns. No system can withstand 50% of the population, and maybe more of elected representatives uninterested in actually governing in good faith.

            • bmaz says:

              Yes, indeed. Think this was discussed in threads before, likely by Ed Walker, but it is darn near impossible to see substantive amendments to the Constitution being made anytime in the foreseeable future. And the last thing in the world anybody should want is a “Constitutional Convention”, that would be a disaster. The problem is less the document than the good faith of the people elected to uphold it. No framework can survive that any better.

  4. punaise says:

    Here’s a quote by Tom Nichols via Digby that should resonate with bmaz:

    …naming lunatics and shaming poltroons is essential to a healthy democracy. But the prodemocracy movement must fight with the confidence and maturity of adults:

    Ditch all the coy, immature, and too-precious language about former President Donald Trump and the Republicans. No more GQP, no more Qevin McCarthy, no more Rethuglicans and Repuglicans. No more Drumpf. No more Orange Menace … Be the adult alternative to the bedlam around you.

    Juvenile nicknames too easily blur the distinction between prodemocracy voters and the people they’re trying to defeat. If you’ve ever had to endure friends or family who parrot Fox-popular terms like Demonrats and Killary and other such nonsense, think for a moment how they instantly communicated to you that you never had to take them seriously again.

    Works for me.

    • USMA1986 says:

      I agree, though I’m hazy as to whether “fuck-faced diseased cockmuppet” is acceptable. 😂
      Juvenile, certainly. Precious? Even Mr. Nichols would say no.

      • punaise says:

        Funny, I wasn’t even posting in reply to your vent, whose sentiments I share. Now tell us how you really feel; go on: don’t hold back.

        As you probably know, if you ever want to get under bmaz’s skin there are at least these sure-fire approaches:

        – tout RICO prosecutions
        – use almost any variant of cutesy nicknames

        and a wild card:

        – talk up GA prosecutor Fani Willis

      • Rayne says:

        But overkill, IMO. One modifier too many. Examples of restraint: “Fuck-faced cockmuppet” or “diseased bawbag” or “tangerine hellbeast.”

        And fuck Nichols. He can’t make like an arbiter of righteous now after his help creating the conditions which allowed Trump into the White House.

        • MrBeagles says:

          IMO trump is ‘trump’ nine times out ten when we need to talk about somber reality.
          Today, seeing your post, I think I’ve settled on calling him ‘The DARVOnator’ whenever I might find myself discussing trump with a supporter/ apologizer. Give em the map to suffer the territory

          The one and only DARVOnator, if you’re deep in the [house] cut

    • Rayne says:

      Nah. That message may ring true to bmaz but it doesn’t work. There are fundamental differences between right-wing and left which cannot be bridged — like the right-wing’s inability to create genuine comedy. They punch down and find it humorous because cruelty is acceptable, even necessary to them.

      I also don’t take advice from the right-wing. Nichols helped get us into this mess by refusing to check his own kind when they skewed into excess. Fuck him and his desperate need to tone police the left while seeking approval from them for his legacy of right-wing bullshit.

    • bmaz says:

      Tom Nichols is a full of shit Naval War College monger. Nichols is as much a current anti-Trump hero as John Bolton and John Yoo. Fuck him.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      I’m never sure whether to be amused or depressed by comments like Nichols’. This stuff is context sensitive. Ridicule is a potent political weapon when it’s deployed appropriately. You just need to know when.

      For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.

      My assessment is that now is the right time to ridicule Trump and other prominent fascists. Get creative. The best insults are those that strike at your opponents’ insecurities.

  5. joel fisher says:

    So he’s been arraigned; now’s–actually 6 months ago–the time to start to consider who’s the judge and who the likely potential jury might be. As the Wizard of Oz might say–or not, but it’s fun to quote wizards–“pay no attention” in this case pay no attention to the TV folk and newscribes, who keep talking about “evidence” and other irrelevancies, and think how can this case be won? Simple math: MAGA Judge + MAGA jury = acquital. Sure, he could still be charged with the most obvious crime: fraudulently taking money* via Stop the Steal, but that could have been done 2 years ago and in a better district, and it doesn’t look like much has changed. Smith doesn’t seem impressed by those facts. Besides future cases have to get in line at least behind the SDFL prosecution which won’t be finished by next November.
    And another thing: the GOP slime running against Trump will pretty soon demand “the pledge” no, not agreeing to support the nominee, but rather, swearing to pardon Trump if elected.
    Pass the Scotch.

    *Not that I don’t enjoy MAGA scum being victimized by Trump.

    • Rayne says:

      Apparently you’ve forgotten Trump was indicted by a grand jury seated in Florida, which says something about the actual math.

      • bmaz says:

        If and when a jury in SDFL convicts Trump, that will say a lot. A mere indictment, not so much.

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah, but the doomsayers generally ignore the odds are much better conviction will happen than if a grand jury of Floridians hadn’t voted to indict Trump.

          • BobBobCon says:

            I agree with the skepticism over doomsayers — I think it’s fair to think about juror bias but way too early to worry that would mean acquittal on all counts, and he’s facing a lot of counts

            There is a ton of pressure on jurors to be careful and thoughtful, and even people with some bias tend to pay attention to the case before them and the arguments of other jurors during deliberation. It’s harder than a lot of people say to shut all of that out on every count.

            And it’s worth noting Trump’s support in Miami may be lower than he wants. Reports are only a couple hundred supporters showed up at the courthouse and a lot were with the “Blacks for Trump” group affilliated with the Nation of Yahweh.

            It’s just speculation to treat this as a lost cause based on guesses about the eventual jury.

              • BobBobCon says:

                I think fear of a hung jury is fair, but I also think that’s far from certain.

                The Manafort jury had one hardcore pro-acquittal juror, plus at least one other very sympathetic pro-Trump juror, but they still ended up voting to convict on eight of the most obvious charges and had a mistrial on ten.

                I’m not saying this is how it will turn out for Trump — tons of differences in the cases — just that it shouldn’t be assumed he gets a hung jury on all charges, at least until we have a better idea of the jury (if it gets that far).

            • Rayne says:

              Huh. That’s interesting. I wonder if Blacks for Trump and Nation of Yahweh have been influenced the way African People’s Socialist Party has been by Russian money.

      • joel fisher says:

        Remind me about grand jury math; unanimous result required? A trial jury? Of course, I hope you’re right and we will see.

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah, critical mass of a Floridian grand jury indicted, which doesn’t bode well once Trump’s flavor-of-the-day attorney attempts to guide his client and their witnesses through the same rough waters. That’s the math, babe.

    • Rayne says:

      Yeah. That. I’ve seen I don’t know how many pieces since the last indictment + arraignment going on about Biden and Democrats and the left though they’re not the ones getting fingerprinted and shopping for lawyers. NYT has been among the worst in this respect.

  6. Raven Eye says:

    The thing that almost blew out the O-rings in my brain container was Jim Jordan on CNN the other day.

    Hardly a surprise that he was hammering home that the President has the ultimate authority to classify, declassify, store information by any method he felt appropriate, etc, etc.

    But consider the context of the “interview” was the indictment — all counts based on the post-presidential doings of Trump. What Jordan was establishing (in his mind and for the MAGA crowd) is that those authorities are perpetual (lifetime, not limited by term of office). That would include Obama.

    • timbozone says:

      No. What Jordan and the other seditionists are trying to strongly imply here is that >TRUMP NEVER LOST THE ELECTION AND IS THE LAWFUL PRESIDENT STILLlegally<. If there are going to be sedition charges against folks like Trump and Jordan, they need to come soon, not after the sedition is actively rolling strongly again. The danger of having Cannon in charge of this trial is that might start allowing such testimony as a defense. Let's hope none of this gets that far down the rabbit-hole to the fascist authoritarianism folks like Trump and Jordan crave…

  7. oldtulsadude says:

    Marcy linked to a Lawfare article that bolstered my spirits that Jack Smith may still bring document charges in New Jersey or elsewhere.

    • bmaz says:

      It is fascinating how many people are thrilled at the prospect of Smith stringing out his resources and time in NJ. How many other jurisdictions should he attack with his rag tag small office so people can get all of their possible jollies?

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        I don’t know why the possibility of charging somewhere else creates a problem for the DOJ. But then, I am not a lawyer and have never worked for the DOJ.

  8. Badger Robert says:

    The DARVO sequence is interesting. It didn’t work for the fictional Harvey Weinstein in She Said. The real Weinstein was eventually convicted.
    Rayne points out that the media repeats the DARVO propaganda. Powerful men mostly, like the idea of the powerful being immune from consequences, or something like that.
    But what if the powerful people turn on Trump and decide, he is not in their gang any longer? Does Trump go down like Weinstein?

    • Rayne says:

      Weinstein never had a fanbase like Trump’s to provide a massive chorus echoing his DARVO. More than a decade of slickly produced image for The Apprentice, a history of kayfabe for WWE, and a sanitized campaign extended into the White House helped Trump create a reflexive call-and-response system.

      Didn’t help that Weinstein was as physically repulsive outside as he was inside, and the “audience” he built over his years of abuse was an anti-audience.

      Trump will go down when the stronger old-school GOP believe themselves to be free of Trump’s extortive reach, and that will happen when their constituents likewise begin to move on because they don’t like losers.

      • Badger Robert says:

        The distinctions are worth noting. Trump’s audience, and dedicated voter base, does not have to shrink very much for him to become a mathematical loser, as well as a rhetorical loser. That’s when the end may parallel Weinstein’s end. Trump would get placed out of the power structure. And Trump shares with Weinstein the physical repulsiveness you note.

      • joel fisher says:

        “Old school” GOP=scum. Also, “new school GOP” = scum. They already sold their souls to the devil and you expect some sort of Damascus Road event where they throw off their blinders? Not gonna happen.

          • P J Evans says:

            I suspect if my father had lived longer he’d have become a Fox geezer. He died in 1994, though. (His siblings were all over the political map, from left to right.)

            • Rayne says:

              My dad’s been something more like a hybrid between George Romney, Gerald Ford, and Michigan’s Bill Milliken. Not really a Reaganite, but sold on the idea of small government. He’s watched too much Fox News but he also watches the other networks so he’s not been completely sucked in. Dad’s just not politically engaged enough to understand the GOP has drifted ever rightward toward fascism. I don’t know how much of this narrow vision is how he keeps his shit together. I may never fully understand it.

              He voted for Biden so I know there’s a faction which has a limit. I imagine my mom going off loudly and frequently about the threat to reproductive rights and Trump’s treatment of women may have been the last straw.

        • ExRacerX says:

          Aaaargh! Not the “tact” attack again so soon?

          I’ll cut you some slack if next time you use “tack”—or just take a Tic Tac, and leave the grammar intact.

  9. ExRacerX says:

    “Bring all your non-Trump stuff here rather than clutter Marcy’s threads.”

    So far the posts seem to be about Trump, Trump, and Trump (which is understandable given the news du jour).

    I’ll bite, though—my wife & I recently moved to a community in the mountains outside Albuquerque, NM after many years living in the city. Well, apparently we have landed somewhere in Texas: our town council just voted an anti-abortion provision into the local ordinance. Invoking some arcane law against mailing or shipping abortion pills, they’ve just enacted an (unconstitutional) atrocity that will almost surely be struck down in court after they are sued by the state. Until that happens, women’s rights over their bodies will be at risk here.

    Luckily some locals have launched a recall effort (signed the petition), but this whole development has thrown us for a loop, and we’re definitely seeing our neighbors in a new light. Then again, the property down the hill flying the upside-down American flag just above another reading, “Impeach Biden” probably should have clued us in.

    • Rayne says:

      Super. When you have a local electorate which feels this strongly about human rights — and reproductive rights are human rights — it’s a sign change is coming. Thanks for sharing.

        • ExRacerX says:

          Thanks, Rayne. And bmaz (autocorrect keeps insisting on “blaze”), hopefully the ski area will open this season, but 2022-23 was a bust—zero inches. We’ll have to wait & see what these crazy new weather patterns bring. We are getting an unusually wet El Niño effect here, which gives some hope. Also, the Rio Grande is so swollen, it’s banking.

          • bmaz says:

            Believe it or not, I’ve skied Sandia before. Taos it ain’t, but had a really nice day there.

            And I have been done in by “blaze” before, so know the feeling.

            • ExRacerX says:

              I don’t ski, but I’ve raced mountain bikes there more times than I can count—eve won the “King of the Mountain” hillclimb for my age group one year!

        • Lit_eray says:

          Sandia didn’t open this year for lack of snow, I think. And it is not very challenging. Now 40-50 miles north we have a surfeit of liberals and a seriously good, but little known, ski hill run by the same people who run Sandia. Lots of varied terrain, from easy to extreme. Opens every year, although dry winters can limit terrain. Across the valley there is the former Los Alamos Ski Club on a small but very challenging mountain. Best not to introduce yourself to a tree while on a snowboard – don’t ask. I can see some runs of all three from my house.

  10. loveyourstuff says:


    Speaking of Trump’s DARVO, it’s gonna cost him even more: E. Jean Carroll is permitted to amend her defamation suit to include Trump’s Town Hall defamatory diatribe!

  11. RitaRita says:

    John Sale, interviewed on MSNBC today, mentioned that he thinks the jury would like to hear the prosecution explain why Trump retained the highly classified information. Even though motive is not an element of willful retention, a jury would still like to hear why Trump fought so hard to retain the documents. I think the motive is part monetary – Trump knew the documents were worth something to someone. He hadn’t had time to monetize them before the feds came knocking. But he also wants those documents because he thinks they are his. Maybe the prosecution will ask for a psychiatric evaluation.

    • Peterr says:

      I think the jury would like *Donald Trump* to explain why he retained the highly classified information, in contradiction to all manner of laws, regulations, and practices.

      The jury might be curious about the prosecution’s thinking on that, but that’s not central to their job as jurors.

      • P J Evans says:

        I would think all his talk about them being *his* papers, like they’re his personal property and no one is supposed to even touch a box without permission, would be enough to explain it.

    • timbozone says:

      I think the jury and the judge are going to be curious as to why Nauta lied to the FBI about the boxes and his involvement in moving them around. The theory is that Nauta lied to help Trump in some way. But why lie to help Trump if everything is on the up-and-up? What was the point of lying at that point? Is Nauta going to try to testify that he didn’t lie and he somehow just forgot about all the boxes he’d helped move around for months, including forgetting about the one’s he had just moved on Trump’s behalf? It’s going to be an interesting needle to thread for the defense here as to why Nauta should get a free pass for lying to the FBI Counter Intelligence investigators trying to ascertain the scope of the NDI breach that may have occurred by Trump hoarding all these national secrets on the stage at Mar-a-Lago…

      • timbozone says:

        Note I didn’t see one MSM pundit today ask the obvious question: “Why did Nauta lie?” If they know why he lied, I wish they’d come out and tell us. And “Loyalty to Trump!” is not the correct answer unless one believes that lying to Counter Intelligence investigators is something that’s awesome to do… but only if one is a Trump supporter or…?

  12. Lit_eray says:

    “He hadn’t had time to monetize them before the feds came knocking.”
    How would you know this?

      • P J Evans says:

        RitaRita at 7:40pm [https://www.emptywheel.net/2023/06/13/expected-response-is-expected-redux-trump-post-arraignment/#comment-996932].

    • RitaRita says:

      You are right. We do not yet know whether Trump has monetized the state secrets he holds. DOJ did subpoena records from the Trump Organization.

      • timbozone says:

        We do not know if others who had access to these unsecured government secrets may have monetized them >independently of Trumpanyone who had incidental access to these sensitive governmental secret records might have sold or given them to any number of foreign actors<. These records were sitting on a stage, in a bathroom, who knows elsewhere, ever since Trump absconded with them from the White House grounds back in January 21, 2021. The government thinks it has a pretty good idea where some of the boxes that some of these records might have been stored in were at some specific periods of time. But what about all the rest of the time, the months and months where it appears there is no clear understanding of where any particular national defense document, in Trump's mystical hoard of US secrets, might have been and who might have had access to it?

        • JanAnderson says:

          Talking about them is monetizing them, whether for an ego boost or otherwise. It elevates one’s status (although not one’s reputation) in circles where info is king and rewarding.
          A dumbarse needs paper reminders.
          No, it’s not say that Trump did this, only that a dumbarse needs paper reminders.

  13. Vicks says:

    At some point Trump’s staff knew the difference between a presidential record and a personal one, what happened to the people who used to follow him around pulling papers out of the toilet and trash and taping them back together?

  14. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:


    I agree completely that you can’t separate the personal stuff from politics. My politics were forged in intra-family discussions involving me and my immediate family (parents and siblings) and my extended family on both sides of my family. Everyone in those discussions was LDS or at least nominally LDS. The range of opinions was always quite wide. Discussions were very heated at times.

    And at the end of the day everyone hugged each other and sat down to eat together, no matter how strenuous the disagreements were. And you were still loved even if you had major disagreements with the LDS Church.

    I didn’t realize until later how lucky I was to grow up in that type of environment. To this day I’m able to communicate effectively with people who hold wildly divergent political views.

  15. Franktoo says:

    I presume the judge supervising the grand jury investigation ruled that several of his attorneys had been involved in a conspiracy to lie to the government and ruled those attorneys were no longer protected by attorney client privilege. Can Judge Cannon review this decision, find that Trump was improperly deprived of the protection of attorney-client privilege, and then throw out much or all of the case against Trump?

  16. Seashell says:

    I have a question. Judge Cannon is normally assigned to the Fort Pierce division of SDFL. The actual crime of willful retention took place in the West Palm Beach division. Yet Smith created a grand jury in the Miami division, which really didn’t have any dogs in the fight, and filed the indictment there. And then Cannon of FtP ended up in Miami as the judge because the computer matched them or something. Was there some reason for Miami to be involved in this at all?

    • Georgia Girl says:

      IANAL, but I’m thinking logistics and possibly camouflage. It’s easier to empanel a grand jury in Miami without the media noticing because SDFL is very busy. Think of all the purported criminal activity in SDFL that could bring federal indictments. Think of how many people pass through the Miami federal building in a single day.

      Jack Smith convened a grand jury right under Trump’s nose. That alone would terrify me if I were Trump. It would also give me pause if I were Judge Cannon. We’ve only seen the evidence the Special Counsel’s office outlined in the indictment. There’s so much more we don’t know.

      Tim Parlatore may be spinning “prosecutorial misconduct” to keep in with his preferred client base, but as a good lawyer, he probably bailed because he saw what was coming and took the closest exit ramp. He’ll get a lot mileage doing TV interviews.

      Jack Smith. When I was growing up, my parents gave me a “Jack in the Box” toy for Christmas. I hated it. Could be there’s a “Jack in the Box” legal strategy for dealing with Trump and Judge Cannon.

  17. JanAnderson says:

    Republicans, the party at least, have been furiously digging their own grave for 7 years. Along the way they’ve taken a wrecking ball to institutions and norms. “The system.”
    They have a presumptive candidate that cannot win a general election. Trump’s run-ins with the Law appear to be, grotesquely, all they have to rally around. What happens when he loses on both fronts? Where does that leave the GOP? These are existential questions, I guess.

    • RipNoLonger says:

      I believe it leaves democracy in tatters, as planned. I’m hoping it can be sewn back together in finer form. Whoever has taken over the GOP has done so burning the bridges – not expecting to go back to our democratic republic.

  18. e.a. foster says:

    Always liked that song, I will survive, by yes, Gloria Gaynor. Still play it from time to time.
    As a buddy of mine told me almost 50 years ago: The best revenge in life is living well. Took that advice.

    A number of years ago it was voted the best revenge song ever.

  19. Michael J Monett says:

    Most people probably have forgotten that when this particular long string of DARVO began, in August, 2022, immediately after the FBI raid, it produced one terrorist right away, here in southwest Ohio where I live, and he was shot and killed after an hours long standoff that shut down I-71 for many hours.

    Here is the story link again, as my reminder that DARVO gets people killed too:

    “Armed man killed after trying to breach Cincinnati FBI office”:

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. “Michael J Monett” is your second user name; you’ve commented previously as “Michael Monett.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      Yup, DARVO can kill in more than one way but the case you note is an obvious, sad example of its toll.

      Before they inflict direct injury or death, many abusers often manage to convince others they are innocent, ex. abusive spouses who persuade law enforcement their partner was the real problem and they’re completely blameless.

  20. RitaRita says:

    Last night in Trump’s Bedminster harangue, he said that someone tipped over the boxes in the storage room. In one of his earlier rants, he accused the FBI of knocking over the boxes (which could have happened if the FBI had developed time travel).. The indictment doesn’t say anything about someone tipping over the boxes, just that the boxes had fallen. Perhaps Trump suspects that someone tipped over those boxes, rather than falling of their own accord. But, at a minimum, his statements suggest to me that he knew the boxes were not so securely stored.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A below-grade storage room in a coastal property in Florida? One would think dampness might have made the boxes vulnerable to collapse. What with moving so many in and out so frequently, it’s not hard to imagine a mover incidentally giving one the final nudge onto the floor. But absent video evidence or testimony, we don’t know, which leaves Trump free to throw around unsupported accusations that it couldn’t have been him or his people, but someone out to get him. I can see I’ll need a new pair of Wellies for this trial.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          At least you know what Wellington boots are. You’re right, they’re not high enough for wading into this muck. (Is that link a photo of your family at play with fly fishing rods in the UP?)

          • Rayne says:

            Nope, that’s Wikipedia. My spouse has chest waders here but I’ve never gotten a photo of him in them.

            I have polka dotted Wellies for sloppy work like cleaning flooded basements. Not sharing a photo of those, either. They’re definitely not enough protection for Trumpian floods of bullshit.

      • RitaRita says:

        The Mar a Lago wine cellar would probably have been more secure than the storage room and it would have been temperature and humidity controlled.

        How did that someone whom Trump would like to accuse of tipping over those boxes get access to the carefully locked storage room? (I’ve probably watched too many British mystery series on t.v.)

        I can’t see Trump running a campaign, part of which should address national security, without self-incrimination being a frequent occurrence.

  21. tinao says:

    At this disgusting point, I would like to see a reputable news agency ask every single republican in office if they would vote for trump on record. Then mount a campaign to vote every single one of them OUT! Do it completely up and down the ballot. This shit has to stop. A vote for trump is a vote for self destruction.

    • tinao says:

      Amend that question from would you vote for trump to two questions. Would you vote for trump? If elected would you pardon trump?

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. SECOND REQUEST: Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Thanks. (FYI: you’re now at 425 comments published here to date, didn’t make the 1000-comment threshold for username grandfathering, sorry. /~Rayne]

  22. CovariantTensor says:

    The extent to which the GOP will circle its wagons around Trump continues to astound me. This is a very different party from the one that disowned Nixon after his complicity in Watergate became obvious and undeniable. Since they won’t hold him to account for anything–including, apparently, shooting someone on Fifth Avenue–and if anyone remotely associated with the Democratic party tries it’s by definition a political persecution, it stands to reason Trump really is above the law, in their eyes.

  23. Molly Pitcher says:

    According to Daily Beast:

    “PGA Tour Commissioner Takes Medical Leave Amid LIV Golf Merger”

    “Amid a highly controversial agreement to merge with Saudi-backed LIV Golf, PGA Tour announced Tuesday night that Commissioner Jay Monahan is “recuperating from a medical situation” and stepping back from management of the league. Two other PGA executives will take over the day-to-day operations for an unspecified period of time, according to the joint statement from Monahan and the policy board.”


    Gee, I hope a chainsaw or a high window wasn’t involved.

    • bmaz says:

      Welp, if the Saudi assholes are going to control the PGA, they had to address this. It is still sports washing of galactic proportion. Tiger turned down $800 million, how much does he get?

  24. ExRacerX says:

    I went home with my papers just like I planned to do
    To reinflate my ego & for future grifting, too

    Stashed some docs at Mar a Lago, I took a little risk
    But lawyers, lies and money will get me outta this

    I’m the innocent bystander
    Somehow I got stuck between the rock and a hard place
    And I’m down on my luck, yes I’m down on my luck
    Well, I’m down on my luck

    Now I’m hiding in Bedminster, I’m a desperate man
    Where the hell’s my Roy Cohn? Jack Smith has hit the fan

    Lawyers, lies and money—HA!

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