If Republican panic about ‘Hunter Biden’ is any clue, a new Trump indictment is about to drop

A rough measure of how close House and Senate Republicans believe Donald Trump is to new criminal charges can be summed up by two words: Hunter Biden. The volume of Republican screeching about "Hunter Biden" seems to reach its peak in the days just before each new Trump indictment. If past is prologue, then House Republicans are currently expecting Trump to be indicted in Georgia for everything from a conspiracy to corruptly overturn the results of an election to a conspiracy to block every McDonald's toilet from Rome to Augusta.

House Republicans are currently freaking the entire hell out, seemingly inventing new Biden conspiracy theories by the hour after the latest of their supposed star witnesses–the one who was to accuse President Joe Biden of a great many things and seize all the news cycles from now until 2025–delivered a big fat zero. Rep. Greg Steube is the latest to go Full Freakout, and it's ... honestly, it's more pathetic than anything else. In a hilariously overhyped Newsmax "exclusive," the Florida congresscritter says he's going to file a new resolution calling for Biden's impeachment for "bribery, for extortion, obstruction of justice, fraud, financial involvement in drugs and prostitution." That there is no evidence of this is at best a side note. Steube promises he'll provide proof in a press release.

Aaah, this takes me back to the days when all the nice respectable Republican lawmakers and pundits super-duper insisted that Bill and Hillary Clinton were running drugs out of an Arkansas airport, but only in their spare time between murdering half of the people on the American East Coast. It's possible the Queen of England was involved, but it depended on which crackpot you asked. And then the same crowd told us President Barack Obama was a changeling, smuggled into a Hawaiian hospital crib in a worldwide plan to make some random day-old infant the future president. From there we went to, "The Russian government is innocent. Actually the Democratic Party hacked itself and Hillary put the evidence of this in Ukraine, in some dude's house or something." Now we're back to Dark Brandon allegedly doing all the crimes Steube was able to spell correctly without help, because it turns out Biden's lifelong political passion promoting better rail transportation was all a front for whatever the fuck

I'm not sure whether Steube realizes that fellow crackpot Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene already beat him to the "impeach Biden" punch literally months ago and keeps re-announcing it every time someone around her so much as sneezes. Greene is even doing Steube one better by demanding that Congress expunge the two impeachments of Donald Trump so as to cleanse Dear Leader's tainted record.

Speaking of Greene, she's currently escalating her rhetoric as well. She was never terribly coherent to begin with, but at this point she's just a puddle of words rippling softly in response to breezes nobody else feels.

Greene: This comes down to consumers like a single mom who can't afford to buy cereal because the price of grain has gone up so much with this war in Ukraine.. and this is why we have to do everything we can to impeach Joe Biden pic.twitter.com/hnC0kr7xZD

— Acyn (@Acyn) August 11, 2023

All right, so in order to save our Lucky Charms we have to let Russia take over Ukraine so that they'll sell us Ukraine's grain for cheap, and Joe Biden's stopping us from doing that so he's got to go. I think that's the message? Maybe?

There were few people in America who even knew who hell Rep. James Comer was before he too became a Newsmax staple and Republicanism's Replacement Devin Nunes. Now he's just another guy who sees conspiracies everywhere, all the time. That is, unless somebody mentions the names "Donald Trump" or "Jared Kushner" to him, at which point his eyes roll back in his head and he pretends he cannot hear you because he is communicating with the spirits.

Comer: I’d vote for impeachment right now. I don’t have to think twice about that… Our president has taken millions— his family has taken pic.twitter.com/NSmGXkJHEo

— Acyn (@Acyn) August 10, 2023

And then there's this performative confederate dumbass.

There's never been an allegation in the history of our country that a President of the United States, or then Vice President in Joe Biden's alleged case, sold official favors for millions of dollars. pic.twitter.com/6EyS9HgM5T

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 11, 2023

Again, if you're looking for an allegation that a president sold official favors for millions of dollars, you need to go back in history only to the hoary old days of exactly now. There are a great many people, many of them quite a bit smarter than Sen. Ted Cruz, who are alleging that Donald Damn Trump and family were running a get-your-official-favors-here carnival booth during his presidency. They’re saying everything from the bookings at Trump's hotels and resorts to the restructuring of foreign alliances to Jared Kushner's $2 billion pile of new Saudi money is all part and parcel of Trump and his family selling out the nation's broader interests so that Trump could forge better ties to filthy rich authoritarians elsewhere.

Cruz is having his very own little meltdown of evidenceless conspiracy-cranking, but since Cruz is an allegedly dignified senator as opposed to a House of Representatives ratscrabbler, he's got to hope his audience skips the massive pockmarked "if" that he's using to preface his newest Rudy Giuliani-level hoax.

And if Ted Cruz roamed the countryside kidnapping hundreds of children and sold them to an evil factory owner, he should be thrown in prison. https://t.co/MIFnHJafFg

— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) August 11, 2023

I can't imagine being part of the conservative movement. It just seems so tiring. You've got to keep track of Greene's latest broadcasts from inside what appears to be a lightly haunted New England hotel. You've got Cruz telling you that the stuff rattling around in his own head like the ball in a spray paint can is the most outrageous outrage in all of history. Then you've got to stare and nod your head like you know who the f--k Greg Steube is when he starts talking.

What's clear here is that Republicans in the last week have sharply ramped up the urgency with which they are saying Hunter Biden things, and that generally tends to coincide with times in which Trump is believed to be in brand new legal peril—after which Fox News and other conservative circles suggest that whichever new Trump indictment has dropped is only meant to distract from the super-important new not-evidence those Republicans are now announcing they still don't have.

Based on the urgency of these new Biden theories, Republicans appear to believe that Trump is about to be indicted for attempting to sell off American children as his newest self-branded mail order product. You might want to make sure you've got popcorn ready, because it appears something big is about to drop.

Sign the petition: No to shutdowns. No to Biden impeachment. No to Republicans.

Take that, GOP schemes to rig ballot measures! On this week's episode of "The Downballot," co-hosts David Nir and David Beard gleefully dive into the failure of Issue 1, which was designed to thwart a November vote to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. The Davids discuss why Republican efforts to sneak their amendment through during a summertime election were doomed to fail; how many conservative counties swung sharply toward the "no" side; and what the results mean both for Sherrod Brown's reelection hopes and a future measure to institute true redistricting reform.


‘No need to defend me’: Read Fani Willis’s message to staff ahead of expected Trump attack ads

The New York Times helpfully proves just how far the right has fallen

Trump's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day made worse by goats

Morning Digest: Why we won’t know the winner of New York’s mayoral primaries for weeks

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

New York City, NY Mayor: A final poll from Ipsos ahead of Tuesday's instant-runoff Democratic primary in New York City shows Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams in a strong position to secure his party's nomination, in contrast with other recent polls that have shown one of his top rivals, former city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, prevailing in the end. But regardless of who's leading, it may not be until mid-July until we know who's actually won—more on that in a bit.

First, the new survey, which gives Adams the lead with 28% when it comes to voters' first-choice preferences, while 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang edges out Garcia 20-15 for second. This is the strongest performance in some time for Yang, the one-time frontrunner, but it's not good enough: Ipsos shows Adams beating him by a wide 56-44 spread in the seventh and final round of ranked-choice tabulations.

We've seen a few other polls in the last few weeks, and while they all agree that Adams is in striking distance to take the nomination, they're not united in designating him as the undisputed frontrunner. The best recent numbers for Adams prior to Ipsos' new data came from a Marist College poll conducted in early June that had him defeating Garcia 56-44 in the last round of tabulations.

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But those contrasted with Public Opinion Strategies' survey for the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, that found Garcia narrowly beating Adams 52-48 after ranked-choice tabulations were complete. The Democratic pollster Change Research, on behalf of a pro-Garcia super PAC, showed something very similar, with Garcia triumphing over Adams in the end by a slim 51-49 margin.

One big challenge for pollsters is that New York City will be the largest jurisdiction in America to ever hold an instant-runoff election, and no one, including the candidates, is quite sure what to expect. Vividly illustrating the terra incognita this new system is uncovering, Yang and Garcia made news over the weekend by campaigning together, an alliance that would never come about in a traditional primary.

The accord however, didn't quite amount to a formal coalition: While Yang implored his voters, "Rank me No. 1 and then rank Kathryn Garcia No. 2," Garcia didn't ask her supporters to make Yang their second choice. (It's not clear why Yang assented to such a one-sided arrangement, but Garcia says his team "absolutely knew what I was gonna say.")

The joint appearances drew a furious response from Adams, who spent his final days accusing his rivals of banding together to stop New York City from electing its second-ever Black mayor. Attorney Maya Wiley, who is also Black, had a very different response, expressing her support for ranked-choice voting and condemning Adams' description of the alliance as a form of "voter suppression."

No matter what, though, we're very unlikely to know for sure who's won the Democratic nomination until mid-July. While votes will be tabulated Tuesday after polls close at 9 PM ET for ballots cast in-person during the early voting period and on Election Day, mail-in votes will not be counted until the week of July 12. The New York City Board of Elections said last month that the delay is a result of a state law that allows absentee votes to be received for up to two weeks after Election Day, and for voters to fix any minor errors.

Ranked-choice tabulations will not occur on election night but will instead start June 29. You'll notice that this date is long before the count of mail ballots will begin, raising the obvious question of why anyone would bother tabulating any instant-runoff scenarios before all votes are counted, since they won't be representative of the full electorate. (If there's a good explanation, we haven't heard it.)

Instant-runoff voting is also being used in other city primaries, including races for comptroller, borough president, and City Council, many of which are open due to term limits. A big exception, though, is the crowded race for Manhattan district attorney: Because the post is a state-level office, the ballot measure New York City voters approved in 2019 to establish ranked-choice voting doesn't apply, so the victor only needs a plurality to prevail.

Key elections in the rest of the state, including the Democratic primary for mayor of Buffalo, are also being conducted with plurality rules, so there's a better chance we'll know the winners of these races somewhat earlier, though delays in processing mail ballots still apply.


AK-Sen: Donald Trump has endorsed former Alaska cabinet official Kelly Tshibaka in her quest to dethrone Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, whom Trump has long despised for her insufficient fealty. Tshibaka once wrote approvingly of "conversion therapy" and hasn't answered questions as to whether she still believes in the discredited practice herself. On a now-defunct personal blog, she also warned that the "Twilight" series of vampire books and movies "is evil and we should not read or watch it" because it "leaves us open to the enemy's attacks."

MO-Sen: Attorney Mark McCloskey, who is seeking the Republican nomination for Senate, pleaded guilty late last week to a misdemeanor assault charge after he and his wife brandished firearms at a group of Black Lives Matter demonstrators. McCloskey paid a $750 fine and surrendered the weapon he pointed at protestors last year, but he said immediately after his sentencing that "I'd do it again" and quickly purchased a new rifle that he proudly showed off on social media.

Meanwhile, it looks like we can rule out Republican Rep. Blaine Leutkemeyer for this race: A spokesperson told The Missourian that the congressman "has no interest in pursuing other offices."

NC-Sen: File this one under endorsements you don't want—if you're running in a GOP primary: Retiring Sen. Richard Burr, who was one of seven Republicans who voted to convict Donald Trump at his second impeachment trial, just described former Gov. Pat McCrory as "the only one in the race that can win the general election" in next year's Senate race in North Carolina. It's not clear whether McCrory actually considers Burr's comments to be a formal statement of support, but the surest sign we can look for is whether rival campaigns try to use this against him at some point.

PA-Sen: Montgomery County Commission Chair Val Arkoosh earned an endorsement on Monday from EMILY's List ahead of next year's Democratic primary for this open seat. Arkoosh is the only woman running a serious campaign for Team Blue's nomination, and that looks unlikely to change now that Reps. Madeleine Dean and Chrissy Houlahan have both taken their names out of contention.


AL-Gov: State Auditor Jim Zeigler said Monday that he was forming an exploratory committee for a potential Republican primary campaign against Gov. Kay Ivey, but don't mark him down as a candidate yet. Zeigler took this very action back in 2018, but he ended up staying out of that contest for governor. The auditor said later that year that he'd formed an exploratory committee for a 2020 Senate race, but he never so much as filed FEC paperwork afterwards.

AZ-Gov: Former Rep. Matt Salmon unveiled an endorsement Monday from extremist Rep. Andy Biggs for next year's Republican primary. It's hardly a surprise that Biggs decided to back his predecessor in Congress: Back in 2016, Salmon issued a retirement announcement that caught almost everyone off guard except Biggs, who immediately entered the House race with Salmon's endorsement.

CA-Gov: Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is out with a trio of TV ads as part of what Politico says is a $3 million opening reservation ahead of the unscheduled recall vote, and while the first spot touts his accomplishments, the other two take aim at his many far-right enemies.

One commercial begins, "The same Trump Republicans who refuse to accept the presidential election are back, passing voter suppression laws across the country. Now, they've set their sights on California." As footage of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol plays, the narrator declares, "Different tactics, same assault on democracy."

The final ad, which is running in Spanish, makes many of the same arguments while also focusing on a figure closer to home. The narrator reminds viewers that a recall organizer named Orrin Heatlie wrote that his allies "supported tracking immigrants with microchips."

ID-Gov: Far-right anti-government militant Ammon Bundy, who unsuccessfully tried to file paperwork for a gubernatorial bid last month, has now officially kicked off his campaign for the GOP nomination. (For what it's worth, that filing snafu appears to be have been resolved, since Bundy's campaign is now listed as "Active" on the Idaho secretary of state's website.)

Bundy is best known for leading an armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016, in protest of federal land management policies. While other militants were convicted of charges in relation to the occupation, Bundy himself was acquitted. Yet despite his reputation, Bundy may not be the most extreme candidate in the race, since he's competing with Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin for the title. Both are challenging incumbent Gov. Brad Little, who has yet to declare for re-election.

MD-Gov: Nonprofit executive Jon Baron announced Monday that he was joining the crowded Democratic primary for this open seat. Baron, who formed an exploratory committee back in March, is a former official in the Clinton-era Department of Defense who went on to serve on boards and commissions during the Bush and Obama administrations, though this is his first run for office.

Baron later worked as vice president of Arnold Ventures, a group supported by a billionaire couple that describes its mission as "invest[ing] in evidence-based solutions that maximize opportunity and minimize injustice." The nonprofit was in the headlines last year after it launched a program where it attempted to reduce crime by flying drones over Baltimore; Baron says he had nothing to do with this controversial initiative, which ended after six months.

NJ-Gov: Farleigh Dickinson University has put out the first poll of New Jersey's gubernatorial race conducted after the June 8 primary and finds Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy up 48-33 on former Republican Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. A poll taken by Rutgers shortly before the primary had Murphy ahead 52-26.

OR-Gov: On Friday, Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla became the first elected official to announce a campaign for the Democratic nomination for this open seat. Kulla, who works as a farmer, won his first campaign in 2018 in his county, which is located southwest of Portland.

WI-Gov: Despite (or perhaps because of) her caginess, Wisconsin political observers have been quite certain for some time that former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch would challenge Democratic Gov. Tony Evers next year, and new remarks she made over the weekend have them more convinced than ever. At a gathering on Saturday night, Kleefisch referred to a slew of Republican voter suppression bills and said that, with a different governor in office, "I can tell you she will sign them on day one"—with an emphasis on the word "she," according to the Journal Times' Adam Rogan. Still, there's no word on when she might announce.


FL-07: A trio of Florida Republican congressmen have endorsed Army veteran Cory Mills' bid against Democratic incumbent Stephanie Murphy: Neal Dunn, Brian Mast, and Greg Steube.

GA-06: Republican Jake Evans announced Monday that he was resigning as chair of the Georgia ethics commission ahead of what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says is his anticipated campaign against Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath.

MO-04: On Thursday, Cass County Commissioner Ryan Johnson became the second Republican to enter the race to succeed incumbent Vicky Hartzler, who is giving up this safely red seat in the west-central part of the state to run for the Senate. Johnson joins former state Sen. Ed Emery in what could be a crowded contest.

Johnson, who is a veteran of the Army and Coast Guard, previously worked for another Missouri Republican congressman, Sam Graves, before he helmed the dark money group Missouri Alliance for Freedom. Johnson won elected office for the first time last year when he narrowly unseated an incumbent in the primary.

NM-02, Where Are They Now?: President Joe Biden announced Friday that he was nominating former Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small for a position at the Department of Agriculture, a move that ends speculation that she could instead try to retake her old seat from Republican incumbent Yvette Herrell. The current version of the 2nd District in southern New Mexico backed Donald Trump 55-43, but Democrats could shift it to the left now that they're in charge of the redistricting process for the first time in decades.

Attorneys General

TX-AG: Former state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman announced Monday that she would take on scandal-plagued incumbent Ken Paxton in next year's Republican primary for attorney general.

Guzman, who was the first Latina to serve on the body, joins a nomination fight that also includes Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who has a terrible relationship with the party's nativist base. She refrained from going after Bush on his attempts to renovate the Alamo, though, and instead argued that she's the only Paxton challenger who has the experience and credibility to hold this post.

Guzman almost certainly lacks the name recognition of both her foes, though she did enter the race with an endorsement from Texans for Lawsuit Reform, which the Texas Tribune describes as "the powerful tort reform group that supported Paxton for attorney general in the 2014 and 2018 general elections." A primary runoff would take place if no one earns a majority of the vote in the first round.

Other Races

Staten Island, NY Borough President: Former Rep. Vito Fossella's lethargic comeback campaign picked up an endorsement over the weekend from Donald Trump ahead of Tuesday's instant-runoff Republican primary.

Fossella, who retired from Congress in 2009 after the public learned about his second family, faces two intra-party opponents: New York City Councilman Steven Matteo, who has the backing of the borough's Republican Party and a number of police unions, and former borough party chair Leticia Remauro, who has the Conservative Party in her corner. Four Democrats are also competing for an office that has been in GOP hands since the 1989 election.