How One New Hampshire Voter and One Politico Journalist Refused to Hold “a Pig … a Womanizer … [an] Arrogant Asshole” Accountable

Politico has an interesting profile of a two-time Obama voter, who will today become a three-time Trump voter, New Hampshire voter Ted Johnson.

It demonstrates that Johnson is driven by the very same false beliefs that Scott Perry is, which I laid out here.

Johnson admits that Trump is a pig. He even admits some concern about Trump’s stolen documents — before he parrots the false claims he learned on Fox News about that investigation.

And the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case in Florida? It’s the one that gives Johnson a modicum of pause. “You don’t f— around with classified material. Whoever advised him he could have that — he should have gave that s— up,” he said. “But he was being the stubborn, arrogant person that he is.” And he added, “I didn’t like the way the FBI did it. The raid was ridiculous. And that just emboldened me.”

But nevertheless Johnson will vote for the pig … womanizer … arrogant asshole today because he believes that Trump will bring accountability.

“And trust me, the guy’s a pig, he’s a womanizer — arrogant a—–e,” Johnson said of Trump. “But I need somebody that’s going to go in and lead, and I need somebody that’s going to take care of the average guy.”

“But is taking care of the average guy and breaking the system the same thing?” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “Because they’re all in it for themselves.”

“And if you break the system, what does that look like?”

“Accountability,” he said.

Go read it. It’s precisely the dynamic that I’m preparing to write about: how Trump trained people like Scott Perry and Ted Johnson to hate rule of law while calling that disdain for rule of law “accountability.”

But while you’re reading it, watch journalist Michael Kruse’s own blindspot. For much of the article, Kruse lets Johnson babble on, voicing his false beliefs about Trump’s legal woes.

Kruse largely lets Johnson spout those false beliefs unchallenged. But he pushes back when Johnson raises Hunter Biden.

Sort of.

Johnson started talking about “Russia-gate” and “Biden’s scandals” and Hunter Biden. What, I wondered, did Hunter Biden have to do with Nikki Haley? “She’s not going to hold anybody accountable for what they’ve done,” Johnson told me. “People need to be held accountable. That’s why you’ve got to break the system to fix the system,” he said. “Because it’s a zero-sum game right now. And to be honest with you, the Democrats are genius. They did anything they could do to win and gain power, even if they lie, cheat, steal. … What they’re doing is they’re destroying the country. Who could bring it back?” He answered his own question: “Trump’s the only one.” [my emphasis]

Rather than contest Johnson’s premise that Joe Biden has scandals, Kruse instead challenges Johnson as to what Hunter has to do with Nikki Haley.

Then later in the story, Kruse himself raises Hunter Biden as the counterpart of accountability to Trump.

“Accountability is accountability. But they’re throwing so much stuff at this guy, and it’s almost like I’m rooting for him,” he told me. “This is a whole system of government going after one man who, probably, I bet, right now, 85 million people want to be president.”

“But accountability is accountability,” I said.

“Accountability is accountability,” he said.

“Whether it’s Hunter Biden or Donald Trump,” I said.

“But do I trust the system?” he said. “I don’t.”

Kruse himself, who has actually been pretty sympathetic to Joe Biden in the past, likens the President’s son’s alleged crimes to Trump’s coup attempt.

Now, perhaps Kruse allowed Johnson to make all these false claims uncontested simply to let him talk. It’s a useful interview. I shouldn’t gripe.

But adopting Hunter Biden as the counterpart of accountability for Trump is itself a false claim. It’s why I spend so much time calling out shoddy dick pic sniffing stenography.

The record shows that even if everything Republicans allege about Hunter Biden were true (and at this point, DOJ has let statutes of limitation on FARA crimes expire without charges, so it seems that in going-on-six-years of looking, DOJ never substantiated FARA crimes), his actions still wouldn’t come close to those of Paul Manafort, whom Trump pardoned with nary a whisper.

Perhaps a better response to Johnson’s complaints about Hunter Biden would be a question about Trump’s decision to pardon Manafort for doing far worse? How is that accountability? Manafort is the quintessential sleazy insider and he gets a pass.

Plus, the record shows that Trump’s crimes are not a mirror of Hunter’s; rather, Trump’s crimes cannot be dissociated from the charges against Hunter.

The record shows that Trump started pushing Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas to gin up an investigation into Hunter Biden no later than December 2018, at such time as Joseph Ziegler was struggling to come up with some excuse to turn non-payment of taxes into a criminal case.

The record according to Johnathan Buma shows that before DOJ opened a grand jury investigation into Hunter Biden, FBI agents on the investigation enthusiastically accepted dirt on Hunter Biden from two Ukrainians that Buma would acknowledge were part of an influence operation.

The record shows that four days after Joe Biden announced he was running for President, DOJ decided the grand jury investigation into Hunter Biden would be in Delaware, where Joe might one day become a target, rather than Washington DC or Los Angeles, where any tax crimes would have happened. Ziegler first claimed, then backed off a claim, that Bill Barr made this decision personally.

The record shows that the first IRS supervisor on this case documented what he viewed to be problems with the predication of it and ongoing political influence into it.

The record shows that Donald Trump extorted Volodymyr Zelenskyy in an attempt to get an investigation into Hunter  Biden and his father. In that same conversation, he asked Zelenskyy to work with both his personal attorney and with Bill Barr to gin up such an investigation.

The record according to Chuck Grassley shows that even while Trump was claiming to care about Burisma corruption, his DOJ shut down an investigation into Mykola Zlochevsky, one that had been opened while Joe Biden was Vice President and Hunter was on the board of Burisma. Grassley says DOJ shut that investigation down in December 2019.

The record shows that the day after DOJ obtained a warrant to access a laptop obtained from John Paul Mac Isaac, Barr’s chief of staff texted him to say, “laptop on way to you.”

The record shows that days later, Bill Barr set up a dedicated channel by which Rudy Giuliani could share dirt he had obtained, including from a known Russian spy and almost certainly from Burisma, such that it could be laundered into the investigation into Hunter Biden.

The record shows that that process resulted in DOJ obtaining an informant report describing a conversation with Zlochevsky. Remarkably, the FBI neglected to write down what date that conversation happened even though that’s how they validated that it did occur, but it almost certainly dates to the period when DOJ was shutting down an investigation into Zlochevsky. The informant report recorded a claim of bribery of Joe Biden that conflicted with claims Zlochevsky had made just months earlier, when DOJ was (per Chuck Grassley) still investigating him.

The record shows that FBI made Steve Bannon associate Peter Schweizer an informant so he could pitch Hunter Biden dirt leading up to the 2020 election.

The record shows that Trump bitched Bill Barr out about the Hunter Biden investigation shortly after the October 14, 2020 NYPost story on the hard drive from Hunter Biden. Days later, Richard Donoghue ordered the Hunter Biden investigators to accept a briefing about that bribery allegation.

The record shows that, shortly before David Weiss used the FD-1023 obtained during the course of Scott Brady’s effort to launder dirt into the Hunter Biden investigation to justify reneging on the plea deal he had agreed to, Bill Barr described being personally involved in the handling of it.

The record shows that, the day after Trump hosted Tony Bobulinski at a Presidential debate, Bobulinski told the FBI things that conflict with his own communications.

The record according to Cassidy Hutchinson shows that shortly after that Bobulinski interview with the FBI, he had a secret meeting with Mark Meadows at which Trump’s Chief of Staff handed Bobulinski something that might be an envelope.

The record shows that, in the same call where Trump threatened to replace Jeffrey Rosen if he didn’t start endorsing Trump’s claims of voter fraud, he also criticized the handling of the Hunter Biden case.

The record shows that Trump repeatedly, publicly, demanded criminal charges against Hunter Biden, including in the January 6 speech that set off an insurrection.

The record shows that when Trump first learned he’d be indicted, he raised pressure on the Hunter Biden investigation.

The record shows that on the day Hunter’s plea deal was released, Trump complained three times, twice suggesting Joe Biden was implicated in this plea deal.

“Wow! The corrupt Biden DOJ just cleared up hundreds of years of criminal liability by giving Hunter Biden a mere ‘traffic ticket.’ Our system is BROKEN!

“A ‘SWEETHEART’ DEAL FOR HUNTER (AND JOE), AS THEY CONTINUE THEIR QUEST TO ‘GET’ TRUMP, JOE’S POLITICAL OPPONENT. WE ARE NOW A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY!”

“The Hunter/Joe Biden settlement is a massive COVERUP & FULL SCALE ELECTION INTERFERENCE ‘SCAM’ THE LIKES OF WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN SEEN IN OUR COUNTRY BEFORE. A ‘TRAFFIC TICKET,’ & JOE IS ALL CLEANED UP & READY TO GO INTO THE 2024 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. . . .”

The record shows that, among the other complaints and false claims Trump made about Hunter’s prosecution, one targeted David Weiss and demanded a death sentence.

Weiss is a COWARD, a smaller version of Bill Barr, who never had the courage to do what everyone knows should have been done. He gave out a traffic ticket instead of a death sentence. . . .

The record shows that when Trump attacks people on social media, they get threats, often so bad as to uproot their entire lives.

The record also shows that former President Trump’s words have real-world consequences. Many of those on the receiving end of his attacks pertaining to the 2020 election have been subjected to a torrent of threats and intimidation from his supporters. A day after Mr. Trump’s “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” post, someone called the district court and said: “Hey you stupid slave n[****]r[.] * * * If Trump doesn’t get elected in 2024, we are coming to kill you, so tread lightly b[***]h. * * * You will be targeted personally, publicly, your family, all of it.” Special Counsel Br. 5; see United States v. Shry, No. 4:23-cr-413, ECF 1 at 3 (Criminal Complaint) (S.D. Tex. Aug. 11, 2023). The Special Counsel also has advised that he has received threats, and that a prosecutor in the Special Counsel’s office whom Mr. Trump has singled out for criticism has been “subject to intimidating communications.” Special Counsel Mot. 12.

The record shows that investigators in the Hunter Biden case were, just like prosecutors on Trump’s own cases, threatened in response to manufactured political outrage. That includes David Weiss himself. Here’s how former AUSA Lesley Wolf described those threats.

My desire to serve my community and my country, such a great source of pride, has recently come at significant cost. As a private person, the once routine and mundane details of my life have become the subject of public interest in an invasive and disturbing manner. Far worse, I’ve been threatened and harassed, causing me to fear for my own and my family’s safety.

I mentioned earlier that I recently left the U.S. Attorney’s Office. My decision to do so long predated and was unconnected to the baseless allegations made against me. In fact, I agreed to stay with the office months longer than planned because of my belief that my family and I were safer while I remained an AUSA.

I have no doubt that after today the threats of harassment and my own fear stemming from them will heighten. This not only scares me, but as someone who loves this country, it also breaks my heart.

We are living in a day and age where politics and winning seem to be paramount, and the truth has become collateral damage.

In short, the record shows that Trump was always a part of the Hunter Biden investigation.

I think the record is pretty clear that Hunter Biden owned a gun for 11 days during the worst days of his addiction. The record is pretty clear that as he tried to rebuild his life, it took several years to straighten out his taxes — but less time than it took Roger Stone to straighten out his taxes, even while the rat-fucker was using a shell company to shield his funds from the IRS.

But the story of Hunter Biden’s alleged crimes — the things that Michael Kruse seems to think mirror Trump’s 91 felony charges — is a story that cannot be told (or should not, were journalism engaged in a responsible pursuit), without also telling the story of Trump’s extortion, Rudy’s consorting with Russian spies, Bill Barr’s hijacking of DOJ for partisan purpose, Bobulinski’s seemingly inconsistent story and whatever role the secret meeting with Meadows had in that story, and Trump eliciting dangerous threats against every participant in the legal system who does not bow to his will, including on this case.

I get that journalists believe that the story of Hunter Biden is a story of DOJ holding Biden’s family member accountable for what they gleefully report are real crimes.

But it is, no less than that, a story of Trump crimes, including, possibly, under two statutes that prohibit this kind of pressure explicitly, 26 USC 7217 and 26 USC 7212. The story of Hunter Biden’s prosecution is the story of Trump’s successful going-on-six-year effort to hijack rule of law to target Joe Biden, an effort that builds on years of similar conduct targeting Hillary Clinton.

I’m grateful that Kruse has depicted Johnson’s nonsensical beliefs in all their absurdity. It’s an absolutely critical step in underestanding how Trump taught Republicans to hate rule of law.

But another step is in unpacking how journalists have come to reflexively equate Hunter Biden with Donald Trump, how journalists have come to simply ignore the five years of corruption that Trump and his lawyers engaged in to get us here, how journalists are not remotely curious about details in the public record about this case.

The reflexive equation of Hunter Biden with the President who targeted him for over five years is an equation every bit as manufactured by Donald Trump as Ted Johnson’s pathetic belief that Trump brings accountability rather than the opposite.

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51 replies
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  2. Badger Robert says:

    So he has defenses and no reason to accept a pardon unless, heaven forbid, he is convicted of a crime?
    Thanks. Great work. Good writing.

    • emptywheel says:

      The things in this post aren’t defenses. They are challenges to the indictment(s) on vindictive and selective grounds, which are already being argued in DE and have yet to be in LA. If those fail, all this evidence goes away.

      • Badger Robert says:

        Defenses was imprecise. To be more precise he has facts that support the fact since Mr. Biden has no previous record and committed no violent crimes, he would normally be offered a diversion of some sort.
        And furthermore the facts will be used by the President if he has to grant a pardon to his son.

        • John Paul Jones says:

          As to pardons, my sense of it was always that part of the long game of the GOP rat-fuckers was hopefully to put Biden in a position where he would have to consider such for Hunter. I doubt very much Biden would ever do that; he’d just say – we love him and support him, but the court has spoken.

          • HdudeNaz says:

            IMO – Little chance that Hunter will be tried, convicted and sent to jail before the elections are over. Then Joe Biden will have little political repercussions for pardoning him then.

              • BobBobCon says:

                He’s definitively said he would not.

                That hasn’t stopped reporters from speculating, in part because they keep being told by their GOP sources that it’s an issue.

                Even after ruling it out,
                ABC reporter John Parkinson yelled at Biden about it at the cemetery where his son Beau, first wife Neilia, and daughter Naomi are buried, and then tweeted that Biden didn’t answer.

                It shows the basic asymmetry of the press. Republicans will shrug off an initial question on any major issue – Trump’s crimes, abortion, Ukraine, mass shootings – claiming they haven’t studied the issue, and the press will drop it. Definitive statements by Democrats directly answering questions are never respected, though.

              • emptywheel says:

                I agree that discussing it is rancid. But I don’t entirely rule it out if this thing gets much more politicized.

          • Spencer Dawkins says:

            I must lead a sheltered life. When I wondered what the right-wing fascination was with HUNTER Biden, I foolishly assumed the goal was to splash lurid headlines about “Biden crimes and corruption” everywhere, hoping for a Pavlovian response against JOE Biden every time the word “Biden” was mentioned.

            Your explanation is much more twisted, and with the opposition we’re looking at, “twisted” means it’s likely to be correct. 😡

            [Moderator’s note: please avoid emojis as they are not searchable text. /~Rayne]

  3. Cheez Whiz says:

    Thanks for the pointer to that interview. Ted wants Trump to make the fantasy world built by Fox and branded by Trump real, to justify his fear and anger. There’s probably a lot more to unpack in that word “accountability” and how Trump’s promise of vengeance maps into it and chaos.

    • HikaakiH says:

      A couple of months ago Robert Reich’s YouTube channel posted a 9 minute clip of a speech he gave in November 1994 (yep, 29 years ago now) in which he discussed the impact technology could have on working lives and how, if US business chose the wrong path and crushed the middle class by crushing the American Dream of building a decent life by hard work and following the rules, they would create a large pool of disaffected people ripe for exploitation by dangerous demagogues.
      In it he says, “If American business continues to pursue short term profits at the price of insecurity and falling living standards for a large portion of our society, it will sooner or later reap the bitter harvest of popular rage.”
      About two years later, Fox News commenced to service this growing segment of the ‘information market’.
      And here we are now.
      [The clip is easily found by searching for: Youtube Robert Reich 1994 Warning Two-Tiered Society]

      • Rayne says:

        …he discussed the impact technology could have on working lives and how, if US business chose the wrong path and crushed the middle class by crushing the American Dream of building a decent life…

        That, in a nutshell, is what happened to the US auto industry between the late 1990s-early 2000s. US automation companies helped build new automotive plants offshore where labor was cheaper, and then the automotive plants in the US were rolled up. By 2007-2008 automotive workers were so undercut by offshored production they had little leverage to negotiate better wages. It wasn’t until the pandemic and a generational shift in average workers’ age that this changed.

        Now instead of physical automation affecting blue collar jobs it’s digital automation affecting white collar jobs and more. And unlike the automation shipped overseas, the digital automation may produce absolute shit without detection until it’s too late to stop it.

      • Ravenous hoarde says:

        The gentleman in the story joined the military 2 years prior in 1992? And 9/11 further cements the military as one of the quickest/only remaining ways to achieve a stable paycheck and middle class standard of living.

        It was a one two punch of deregulated economics and xenophobic militant paranoia turned inwards on our own countrymen.

        This guy’s inner monologue doesn’t surprise me.

  4. Upisdown says:

    Seven Days In May (2018)

    May 7, 2018 Ivanka gets more trademarks approved…

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/asia-pacific/ivanka-trump-s-firm-gets-chinese-trademarks-days-before-zte-reversal-1.3512932

    May 11, 2018 Don Jr and Eric land a $500 Million loan for their Indonesia project from Chinese banks.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-zte-order-after-china-gave-millions-to-trump-organization-tied-project-2018-5

    May 13, 2018 Trump Sr lifts sanctions against ZTE for installing spyware on phones.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/05/13/trump-pledges-to-help-chinese-phone-maker-zte-get-back-into-business/

    Imagine if the names were changed to “Biden”.

  5. Tburgler says:

    Kudos for being able to make it through that interview. Having talked to enough Trumpers both online and IRL, I stopped after the problem-with-Haley-is-Hunter-Biden para. I’ve seen the contortions Trump supporters will go through to justify themselves and still count themselves as good people. Back when Prigozhen was marching toward the capital of a nuclear-armed state, a friend opined that it was likely a set-up, a distraction from Hunter Biden. I’ve heard enough.

    What I’d like to see is an interview where every little untruth is challenged. Believe me, Trumpers would volunteer for a grilling.

    • Ravenous hoarde says:

      I made a comment above with some assumptions about the guy from headlines. I too feel unable to read the rantings of mad men anymore. The comment section of National Review was overtaken by these men circa first impeachment. They doubled down after 1/6. And those were the most “reasonable” conservative conservations I had access to.

      At what point, do we chalk that lunacy as a loss and speak to people actually capable of listening? Haley voters might be reachable? Idk. But Trump voters are devotees. Not truth seekers imo.

      • Bruce Olsen says:

        Some Haley voters say they’ll vote Biden rather than Trump.

        MAGA voters need to be deprogrammed. I’m sure many are irredeemable, especially before the election.

        • Bruce Olsen says:

          In an interesting bit of synchronicity, Thom Hartmann’s latest post suggests ways to deprogram your MAGA friends and family.

          https: //hartmannreport.com/p/can-you-deprogram-your-trump-cultist-067

      • yydennek says:

        “speak to people,” Ravenous wrote.
        Harvard Constitutional law professor Adrian Vermuele solved the immigration crisis in 3 short paragraphs posted at a legal theory blog attached to a major, private, midwest university, “Mirror of Justice”, “A Principle of Immigration Policy.”

        • Bruce Olsen says:

          Post a link so we can read it; the search on that site is broken.

          Of course, my point was that treating a MAGA person as if they’re receptive to an argument ignores their cult-like behavior. They need deprogramming, not an argument, and it’s too late for this cycle (if it’s possible at all).

          From here to the election it’s best to let them rant and expose the full extent of their madness to the many people who don’t fully realize how deep the MAGA rot goes.

          btw–why be cagey about the fact that the site is affiliated with Notre Dame? Philip Mirowski is there, and he understands neoliberalism more completely than anyone. So ND can’t be all bad ;-)

        • Hume Vance says:

          Adrian Vermeule.
          yydennek–Vermeule seems to seriously propose immigration “priority to confirmed Catholics.” Do you mean to suggest that Vermeule has such a following that to “speak to people” is pointless? Or do you mean something else, since Vermeule’s position would seem to be deeply obscure, and where not obscure, profoundly disfavored.

        • Bruce Olsen says:

          It’s worth reading that short essay that Hume linked. I clicked around a little more, and I would be hard-pressed to create a more unconstitutional foundation for immigration policy than Vermule proposes. Here’s the first paragraph:

          “I want to suggest a principle of immigration priority that should, I hope, be broadly acceptable or at least intriguing for all right-thinking persons concerned that current American immigration policy is racist and classist, explicitly or implicitly, de jure or de facto. The principle is to give lexical priority to confirmed Catholics, all of whom will jump immediately to the head of the queue. Yes, some will convert in order to gain admission; this is a feature, not a bug.”

          He goes on to mention that “… the Irish will be almost totally excluded” so I guess none of the Irish kids I grew up with on Staten Island were ersatz Roman Catholics.

  6. bloopie2 says:

    “Journalists” don’t give a hoot, that’s apparent from your reporting, thank you.

    Along those lines, and only partly OT, I note that the ESPN website highlights all of its columnists’ articles; not really news articles, per se. The Google News home page (my browser landing page), in the Sports section, shows a bunch of blurbs; as often as not the ones from ESPN are headlining (in ALL CAPS often) someone’s reaction to what other people are saying about a sports event. That’s third-hand gossip; who cares about the news?

    But maybe that’s the only way for a new organization to survive, financially, these days; I see that Sports Illustrated, with its long tradition of A-1 reporting, is gone. Kaput. And maybe that’s the way of the world any more, especially with social media being around — people, celebrities, who’s saying what, who’s doing what … not reporting on events of significance.

    Sorry for the griping, tough Monday here. Very much appreciate all the good reporting and commenting, it’s my main source of intelligent life on the Internet these days.

  7. Barringer says:

    Great analysis, Dr. Wheeler. When I read the word “accountability”, my first thought was “what about all of the pardons?”. Mr. Johnson blurs the distinction between accountability and payback. That interview performs second-hand brainwashing. People in the throes of dissociative rage (like Mr. Johnson) read that interview and interpret Mr. Johnson’s perceptions as logical and well formed.

    • Bruce Olsen says:

      And just how many Politico readers do you think are MAGA types? Or even on the slippery slope to MAGAhood? As a practical matter it won’t influence anyone.

      Reporters need to start pushing back in their written articles, but these MAGA interviewees are cult members and cannot be turned by a reporter’s pushback. Better to let their ranting be exposed to more people.

  8. JeoparDiva says:

    Thank you for the wonderful closing-argument-style write up of this! I’ve been following all your posts about HB, and it’s so helpful to have this summation of the known facts. How many MAGAts have no idea that Trump’s pressuring the DOJ is illegal? In fact, they probably celebrate that as part and parcel of how Trump “gets the job done.”

    • ButteredToast says:

      I think many of them know at some level that Trump’s pressure on DoJ was illegal (or at the very least, an abuse of power), because they project onto Biden the exact things Trump did/pledges to do and accuse Biden of “weaponizing” government. Whether they realize the logical inconsistency and hypocrisy probably varies by person.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Hard to imagine any reporter equating accountability and Donald Trump. He built his persona on the premise that he could wave it away with his tiny fingers, as if he were Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood, laughing in the face of Nottingham.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Imagine the dirty tricks pardoned ratfucker Roger Stone is planning to implement for Trump this time around.

    • gertibird says:

      Thank goodness we have a Democrat in the WH. Hopefully the DOJ will have lots of lawyers at the purple state voting and counting areas because I have no doubt there will be some Trumpers that are going to try to game the system to give Trump the win. In 2020 as I recall the voter fraud, although not enough to change the results, was done by people trying to help Trump.

  11. JMNY-CLKT says:

    In his angry rant about accountability, Johnson also manages to overlook the fact that Hunter Biden has been indicted, by the very DOJ his dad allegedly mind-controls into victimizing Trump. Convenient.

    • Bay State Lurker 23 says:

      Ah, but you see, his DOJ indictment is a “sweetheart deal” that’s protecting him from the real, true charges he allegedly deserves. If pressed, they probably wouldn’t think his imdictments are sufficient until the counts number 92.

      The narcissistic injury of Trump being charged when he insists all his opponents are what he is, plus the RVO of DARVO. Every accusation is a confession.

  12. SteveBev says:

    The MAGA believers have been and are being groomed to reject the rule of law as the basis for accountability, in favour of a populist patriotic form of justice ultimately dispensed by the true embodiment of the faith of the true patriots, Their President.

    What they are groomed to expect and demand is ‘accountability’ delivered as a secular form of auto da fe – public exhibitions of retribution against those who fall outside ‘Great Americanism’- in which populist sentiment is the core standard of truth and ‘many people believe’ is the basic unit of evidence.

    Lines may need to be crossed in delivering such justice, and righting the wrongs done to them, but that is justified as both necessary and desirable to bring about the project to ‘MakeAmericaGreatAgain’.

    • Peterr says:

      Trump: “Bog standard my ass. I am backed by only the greatest, most wonderful, top-of-the-class Deplorable folks.”

  13. freebird says:

    Comparing what Trump did to what Hunter Biden is accused of doing is like equating a grave and mortal sin to a venial sin. A voter equating the two is a rationalization.

  14. Error Prone says:

    New Hampshire seems a different population cross section than Iowa. Less ag dependent. But people are people and when uneasy, they listen to law and order, accountability, new sheriff in town, here’s how you fix things, outside in.

    In 2020 Trump was the insider. Now he can play outsider again. Plus victim. It was easier in 2020 to say time for change. Now it is steady the course, we’re going well.

    The Alito abortion opinion is an issue this cycle as with last midterms. In the Atlanta RICO case the outside drama will be outside of the courtroom. Witnesses who have turned will testify, and whatever the background noise over trial counsel, we hope it’s done well because the choices have been made.

    When I was little I took an alarm clock and a vacuum tube radio apart. They did not go back together better. They never worked right again. But I was accountable about it. Not necessarily accountable for all the parts, everything fitting, but it was more or less a learning effort. Learning I should not aim to be a doctor.

  15. CaptainCondorcet says:

    AP called New Hampshire for TFG one minute after last polls closed. The only question will be how close. I presume Haley will stay in even if trounced simply to force the primary season to go to completion. In some ways that makes DeSantis the clever one. The way he suspended his campaign he can “resurrect it” if things go sideways for Trump in March. Doesn’t have to raise or spend money, but under RNC rules involving their (far fewer than Dems) superdelegates could conceivably be a competitive candidate if Trump is kicked out.

    • Henry the Horse says:

      To paraphrase a well known member of the Corleone family, “we have guys at the papers right? Maybe they would like a story about a crooked cop…a cop who sells drugs ”

      Trump knows, as does a certain world leader from St. Petersburg you just need to plant the story. True or false? It doesn’t matter once the story is out.

      Breitbart is like a story farm. If Trump says Space Force should destroy Omicron Perseus 5, Breitbart will have a story the next describing OP5 as a haven for brown LGBTQ people.

      Trump used to use the National Enquirer the same way. Mob and KGB tactics all the way.

      The reporting here is beyond substantive, keep up the great work!!!

  16. Rick Jones says:

    Thanks Marcie for posting about this. I also read the Political article and….c’mon this guy was always gonna vote for Trump. He’s LARPing around as an independent to show that he “does his own research” but only Mr. T will give him the irrational vengeance he so transparently craves.
    We seem to be in a situation where a significant proportion of people (30%?) seem to have been seduced by political nihilism. I’m hopeful that the other 70% will hold the line and that Trumpism will politically perish along with Trump but I’m very pretty worried.

  17. Spencer Dawkins says:

    I love reading posts on this site, and try to limit my comments to saying things I hope will encourage authors and commenters, but when I read this part

    Now, perhaps Kruse allowed Johnson to make all these false claims uncontested simply to let him talk. It’s a useful interview. I shouldn’t gripe.

    My heart leapt with joy.

    “You don’t have to gripe about reporters who practice stenography. Just point that out, and we’ll do all the griping for you!”

  18. Konny_2022 says:

    Re

    […] For much of the article, Kruse lets Johnson babble on, voicing his false beliefs about Trump’s legal woes.
    Kruse largely lets Johnson spout those false beliefs unchallenged. […]

    Thanks for the careful analysis. I’ve found many more articles, opinions etc. on the media where ‘Kruse’ could be replaced by any writer and ‘Johnson’ by any Trump-voter (or, for that matter, Biden-critical) interviewee. Hence this EW post might be taken as almost pars pro toto, unfortunately.

  19. earthworm says:

    I echo, endorse, recommend all up-thread comments praising Dr EW’s analysis, but that doesn’t change the narrative in the news and other media that constantly, woe-fully, amplifies the trumpian message.
    The “case against HB,” as laid out by Dr EW, needs to be exposed for the influence operation it is and has been, and its centrality to the trumpian manuevers.
    But who else, in addition to this site, reports on this and reveals the strategy?
    Are there no other journalists to enlist in creating a drumbeat of pushback narrative?

  20. Greg Hunter says:

    The bitter, clueless, double dipping, right wing socialist “telephone” Colonel is what the military churns out. I would love to see his service record and find out what decision stopped his career advancement? Divorce used to be a career killer, so maybe that did it, but I wonder.

    The US Government has absolutely done itself no favors when it gives a preference to ex-military as it tends to proliferate that right wing thinking across all agencies and it drives out good people that do not have that preference.

  21. bgThenNow says:

    It may be a waste of time to try to interject any truth into these interviews. Pushing back on the cult/members is futile, but of course a conversation that interjects any facts might be the only potential illustration to those who might be able to hear something different. It remains a worrisome time. I hear plenty of people saying there will be election violence upcoming.

  22. yydennek says:

    Speaking of Ted’s average guy, 16 prestigious, private colleges faced a lawsuit in 2022 for allegedly operating a cartel that limited financial aid. Some of them have settled for a combined $104.5 mil. while claiming no wrongdoing. It appears that the flagship Catholic universities named in the lawsuit, Notre Dame and Georgetown haven’t settled.

  23. SteveBev says:

    The story of Ted Johnson related in this article is part 2 of the story begun in an article by Micheal Kruse https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/09/29/nikki-haley-profile-trump-gop-00118794
    23/09/29
    Which begins with Ted asking Haley a question about how she was going to bring people together.
    At that time Ted appeared satisfied with what Haley had to say. It seemed he had personal reasons to see divisions healed.

    Ted aged 58 and a Trump supporter had seriously fallen out with his brother Fred (61) over politics in particular Trump and had not spoken in over 2 years, even though they had been best friends all their lives. Both had careers in the military.

    ‘[Fred] said their father had been an early and avid listener of Rush Limbaugh. “Ted kind of gravitated toward it, and I went the other way,” he said.

    Trump, though, ripped open the rupture. “He is a Trump kind of person,” he told me. “I am not a Trump kind of person.”’

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