What led to Hunter Biden’s indictment on firearms charges and the legal battle ahead

Hunter Biden was indicted Thursday on gun charges, setting up a high-profile legal battle ahead of his father's reelection campaign. The indictment comes days after House Republicans opened an impeachment inquiry into the president and his family's business dealings. A plea deal for Hunter Biden collapsed in federal court in July. Amna Nawaz discussed the latest developments with Devlin Barrett.

Matt Gaetz’s impeachment schtick didn’t fly with CNN anchor

The main reason that Republicans and other conservative elected officials like to appear on Fox News and Newsmax while staying away from traditional media outlets: Their propaganda wilts under the softest pressure. On Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz went on CNN to make his case for impeaching President Joe Biden. It didn’t go so great for the Florida man. This wasn’t anchor Abby Phillip’s first rodeo with a conservative trying to defend the indefensible.

Phillip understands that if she simply asks serious questions that are based in logic, Republicans like Gaetz will flail about helplessly (and sometimes angrily). The Achilles’ heel in the Republicans’ push for an impeachment inquiry is that they have no evidence of any crimes linking President Biden with his son Hunter’s business dealings—none at all. Phillip repeatedly reminded Gaetz of this very easy-to-understand fact, and Gaetz began flailing as expected, blathering about evidence that the Republicans’ own star witness contradicted in testimony.

Acting as if he was flabbergasted with Phillip’s inability to grasp the “evidence,” Gaetz stepped over the line, and Phillip shut down this one-man dog-and-pony show:

First of all, this is not about innuendo. It's not about what I believe. It's a question: Do you have evidence? If you had evidence that Joe Biden was linked to Hunter Biden's business deals in a way that is illegal, we wouldn't be having this conversation. You would probably have the votes for an impeachment inquiry, but you don't, because of people like Ken Buck and people like Don Bacon and many others in your conference.


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Republicans' star witness contradicts Republican claims

House Republican admits he can't find any Biden crimes

When you're defending Clarence Thomas, you know it'll end badly

Pelosi calls Trump indictments ‘exquisite,’ ‘beautiful’

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the federal indictments against former President Trump "exquisite” and “beautiful and intricate” in a new interview published Monday. 

“The indictments against the president are exquisite,” Pelosi said in an interview with New York magazine. “They’re beautiful and intricate, and they probably have a better chance of conviction than anything that I would come up with.”

Pelosi was referring to the two latest indictments against Trump unveiled by special counsel Jack Smith.

Last week, Trump was arraigned on four criminal charges related to his efforts to cling to power after losing the 2020 election. In June, he was indicted over his retention of classified documents after he left the White House.  

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges in both cases.

Pelosi, as Speaker at the time, pushed for an inquiry into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, ultimately creating the Jan. 6 select committee, which many credit with providing the basis for the latest indictment against Trump on related charges.

In the interview, which was conducted Friday afternoon, Pelosi resisted taking credit for any of the work of the committee, apart from appointing its members. She praised the panel for providing a “beautiful balance” in its approach and a “seriousness of purpose.” 

Pelosi warned in the interview about what she saw as the dangers of another Trump term in the White House.

“Don’t even think of that,” she said when asked in the interview. “Don’t think of the world being on fire. It cannot happen, or we will not be the United States of America.”

“If he were to be president,” she added. “It would be a criminal enterprise in the White House.”

Pelosi last week called the latest charges against Trump “heartbreaking,” noting in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, “It’s heartbreaking for our country to have a president of the United States with this list of charges against him.”

Sunday Four-Play: Trump’s lawyers try to spin their incorrigible client’s latest indictment

Well, it’s indictment week. Again. And that must mean it’s time for Sunday Four-Play—a new-ish feature in which we shine a spotlight on some of the Sunday show hijinks.

In last week’s installment, we talked about Donald Trump’s latest indictment. This week, we’ll be talking about Donald Trump’s latest indictment. Next week: An exclusive four-part interview with the first Kardashian to show up at my door with an ounce of OG Kush and a Hefty bag full of crullers. Unless Donald Trump is indicted again—but that’s just common sense.

So before this is all over, will we see more Trump indictment weeks or Trump infrastructure weeks? In other words, is Trump more dangerously criminal or dangerously incompetent? You make the call.

The hits keep coming, and Trump’s not doing himself any favors by continuing to post on social media with all the forbearance and dignity of a howler monkey with his balls caught in a saltwater taffy machine. He really needs to call his old cybersecurity adviser Rudy Giuliani and ask him how to get locked out of his own phone

But remember. They’re not coming after Trump, they’re coming after you. He’s just in the way. Like one of those impenetrable southern border wall sections you can cut through in six minutes with a pair of Play-Doh Fun Factory scissors and a Bic lighter. 

So let’s take a quick peep at all the witchy witch hunts and election interference and whatnot, shall we?


John Lauro is one of the folks Donald Trump hired to represent him after Barry Zuckerkorn refused to take his calls. He’s already—somewhat hilariously—acknowledged Trump’s guilt in one of the charges brought against him. And he did it on national TV, because Trump isn’t trying to hide anything! Even those things that could land him in prison, with limited conjugal visits from whoever’s spanking him with Forbes magazine these days. 

Lauro appeared on “Meet the Press” with host Chuck Todd, who is leaving the show in September. (Not strictly relevant, I know; it just makes me happy.)

Judging from Lauro’s response, it’s fair to question whether he has any control over his client at all. The more Trump talks, the quaggier his legal quagmire gets. We should consider sending him an Adderall gift basket to hasten his trip to the exercise languidly-sitting-in-a-puddle-of-one’s-own-McRib-filth yard. 

WATCH: Fmr. Pres. Trump attacked Special Counsel Jack Smith, saying he's "deranged."@chucktodd: "Do innocent people attack prosectors?" Trump lawyer John Lauro: "My role is not to address anything about prosectors." pic.twitter.com/FhmotHNvi2

— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 6, 2023

TRUMP (CLIP): “Deranged Jack Smith, he’s a deranged human being. You take a look at that face you say, ‘That guy is a sick man, there’s something wrong with him.’”

TODD: “Do you believe he’s deranged?”

LAURO: “President Biden in April of 2022 said he wanted President Trump prosecuted, and he wanted him out of the race. He repeated that in November of 2022. As a result, President Biden has put in motion a political prosecution in the middle of an election season, and obviously everything is open to politics. I’m not involved in politics, I’m just representing a client. I’m ensuring that justice is done in this case. President Trump is entitled to his day in court, and he’ll get it.”

TODD: “Do innocent people attack prosecutors?”

LAURO: “This is a political campaign right now. This prosecution was instituted by President Biden, and in the middle of that campaign, people are going to speak out. My role is not to address anything about prosecutors, but I will say this: There has been a history in the Justice Department of rogue prosecutions. They went after Arthur Andersen, a major accounting firm. Destroyed the company, and the DOJ lost 9-0. They went after the former governor of Virginia in a prosecution—a Republican governor who was convicted unfairly. Reversed 9-0. And now the Justice Department, the Biden Justice Department, is going after a former president for acts that he carried out in fulfillment of his oath and president of the United States.”

You know, when Lauro claimed President Biden said he wanted Trump prosecuted and out of the race, I thought to myself, “Hmm, that doesn’t sound anything like Biden. It sure sounds like something Trump would say, though.”

Well, I was right. And since this claim is at the heart of the Trump team’s public defense of their client—i.e., that this is nothing but a political prosecution launched by Trump’s political opponent—it’s important to take this head-on.

First of all, Trump is the one who continually tried to weaponize the DOJ. He wanted the department to prosecute Hillary Clinton and former FBI director James Comey, whom he corruptly fired in an attempt to stop an investigation. He also tried to use the department to overturn the 2020 election. And he continually attacked former Attorney General Jeff Sessions after Sessions recused himself in the Russian investigation—because he wanted “his” DOJ to act as his personal Roy Cohn. Oh, and he recently said he would seek to prosecute President Biden if he’s reelected

But Biden? He understands the White House’s traditional hands-off posture toward the DOJ in a way that Trump never did. And he’s continually resisted overstepping his authority. 

So what is Lauro talking about here?

Well, in April 2022, according to media reports, Biden privately mentioned to his inner circle that he thought Trump was a threat to democracy and should be prosecuted, but he never mentioned this personal preference to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

And in November of last year, responding to a reporter’s question about how to reassure world leaders that the poo-flinging Putin puppet would never resume his tirade, Biden said, “Well, we just have to demonstrate that he will not take power by—if we—if he does run. I’m making sure he, under legitimate efforts of our Constitution, does not become the next president again.” 

In other words, he’s going to campaign against him.

But hey, why let facts and context get in the way of a fun narrative!?


Oh, hey, Lauro was on “Face the Nation,” too! And “ABC This Week”! Not to mention “Fox News Sunday”! He may have appeared in hologram form on at least one of them. 

Here he was with CBS’ Major Garrett talking about the Trump team’s desire for a change of venue:

Trump lawyer John Lauro on CBS: "We would like a diverse venue, a diverse jury ... I think West Virginia will be an excellent venue to try this case. Close to DC and a much more diverse--" pic.twitter.com/ib6S2Mdd7l

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 6, 2023

GARRETT: “You’re still going to pursue a change of venue?”

LAURO: “Absolutely. We would like a diverse venue, a diverse jury ...”

GARRETT: “Do you have any expectation that will be granted?”

LAURO: “… that reflects the characteristics of the American people. It’s up to the judge. I think West Virginia would be an excellent venue to try this case.”

Yes, the famously diverse state of West Virginia, whose residents represent every color of the rainbow, from alabaster to ecru. Its population is 92.8% white and 3.7% Black. Maybe we could make the jury even more diverse by drawing its members exclusively from meth-fueled brawls in Charleston Cracker Barrel parking lots.

Hey, here’s a tip: If you don’t want to be tried in Washington, D.C., don’t commit crimes in Washington, D.C. It works every time!


Alina Habba, another Trump attorney and apologist, appeared on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo. And this happened:

Habba: I think that realistically you have to remember that a lot of these cases deal with classified documents which mean that all the lawyers now have to apply for special clearance, right? You can’t just take a classified document and review it. You have to have scifs. pic.twitter.com/HDzaQzRgJS

— Acyn (@Acyn) August 6, 2023

BARTIROMO: “Let me ask you this, because typically when you have a case as complicated as the one we’re talking about, there is deposition, there is discovery—a whole discovery process where Trump’s lawyers will have to get access to the other side’s information, and vice versa. How long do you expect that process to take, because Jack Smith says he wants a speedy trial. We’re about a year away from an election. Obviously we’re just two weeks away from the first GOP primary debate, two months away from the Iowa Caucuses. Are you expecting to have a trial before election 2024?”

HABBA: “I think that that’s their goal. I think that realistically you have to remember that a lot of these cases deal with classified documents and classified records, which mean that all the lawyers now have to apply for special clearance, right? So it’s not a normal situation. You can’t just take a classified document and review it. You have to have SCIFs. You have to have certain procedures put in place. So while I appreciate Jack Smith trying to bleed us all dry and trying to have a speedy trial, perhaps he should have taken a case that didn’t involve classified documents that he now possesses, that we have to now repossess and review for discovery. It’s a poorly planned attack, frankly, because that’s what it is, it’s political lawfare, and he didn’t think it through. So I think these are going to take a lot longer. I think that once the judges get a [unintelligible] for how many years they’ve had this discovery—look at [Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney] Fani [Willis], two years. But she’s bringing this case now. Why? Because of election interference. They want to keep him tied up in trials, keep his lawyers tied up so that we’re distracted and not focused. It’s not going to work. He is a machine and he knows what he’s doing in a campaign. You know, he’s done this rodeo before.”

[Emphasis added]

Wait, Trump is a machine? Someone alert Mike Lindell!

Mike Lindell's speech announcing a class action lawsuit against all machines set over the Terminator 2 intro. pic.twitter.com/RUTylylbVv

— Matthew Highton (@MattHighton) March 6, 2022

But never mind Pillow Man. Here’s the real takeaway: “You can’t just take a classified document and review it. You have to have SCIFs. You have to have certain procedures put in place.”

Say, Alina. Go back to the transcript and read that part over again. Then ask yourself if it was appropriate for Trump to (allegedly!) wave classified battle plans around in front of a gaggle of randos. This is an easy one. We’ll progress to the alphabet song in next week’s lesson—and colors and shapes, if there’s still time. 


Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead manager for Trump’s second impeachment, appeared on “Meet the Press” after Lauro spewed his pabulum all over Chuck Todd’s neatly pressed suit. 

It went a little something like this:

WATCH: Rep. Raskin (D-Md.) says Trump's lawyer claiming a "technical violation of the Constitution is not a violation of criminal law" is "deranged." "There are people who are in jail for several years for counterfeiting one vote. ... He tried to steal the entire election." pic.twitter.com/mdCsksjkY4

— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 6, 2023

TODD: “Let me first start with a couple of things we heard from Mr. Lauro. You spent 25 years as a constitutional law professor, so I kind of want to get Professor Raskin’s take on this. Let me play one quick clip of something he said to me about the Constitution.”

LAURO (CLIP): “A technical violation of the Constitution is not a violation of criminal law. That’s just plain wrong.”

TODD: “Now, he added the word ‘criminal law’ there, but it was my understanding if you violated the Constitution, you’ve violated the law.”

RASKIN: “Well, first of all, a technical violation of the Constitution is a violation of the Constitution. The Constitution in six different places opposes insurrection. It makes that a grievous constitutional offense. So our Constitution is designed to stop people from trying to overthrow elections and trying to overthrow the government. But in any event, there’s a whole apparatus of criminal law which is in place to enforce this constitutional principle. That’s what Donald Trump is charged with violating. He conspired to defraud the American people out of our right to an honest election by substituting the real legal process we have under federal and state law with counterfeit electors. I mean, there are people who are in jail for several years for counterfeiting one vote, if they try to vote illegally once. He tried to steal the entire election, and his lawyer’s up there saying, oh, that’s just a matter of him expressing his First Amendment rights. That’s deranged. That is a deranged argument.”

Yes. Yes, it is. But with a client like this, a deranged argument is probably the best you can do, now isn’t it?

But wait! There’s more!

Some additional Sunday clips to help ease you into your week:

That’s all for now, friends. See you next week!

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.  

No, Republicans, Trump’s indictment isn’t about free speech

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell might not be commenting on the former president’s latest indictment, but those Republicans who have spoken up are dismissing Donald Trump’s alleged conspiracy to overthrow an election by claiming that it was merely “free speech.”

Apparently it is now a crime to make statements challenging election results if a prosecutor decides those statements aren’t true. So when should we expect indictments of the democrat politicians who falsely claimed Russia hacked the 2016 election?

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 2, 2023

“Apparently it is now a crime to make statements challenging election results if a prosecutor decides those statements aren’t true,” Sen. Marco Rubio asserted, knowing full well that this is not about Trump’s statements, but about his actions.

Bogus “free speech” arguments are a tried-and-true Republican favorite, and Trump’s legal team is no exception. “[O]ur focus is on the fact that this is an attack on free speech, and political advocacy,” said Trump lawyer John Lauro on CNN. “And there’s nothing that’s more protected, under the First Amendment, than political speech.” (Lauro might want to do a quick review of how that defense has been working for Jan. 6 defendants, including the Proud Boys.)

Special counsel Jack Smith knew this would be a key argument from Trump, and quickly debunked it on page 2 of the indictment. “The Defendant had a right, like every American, to speak publicly about the election and even to claim, falsely, that there had been outcome-determinative fraud during the election and that he had won,” the indictment says. “He was also entitled to formally challenge the results of the election through lawful and appropriate means …. [I]n many cases, the Defendant did pursue these methods of contesting the election results. His efforts … were uniformly unsuccessful.

“Shortly after Election Day, the Defendant also pursued unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election results.” That’s what Trump is being indicted for: his actions.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the Jan. 6 committee and lead manager of Trump’s second impeachment, explained all of this during a appearance on MSNBC, poking a big hole in Republican arguments with a simple analogy. “[Y]ou can say ‘I think the currency is phony and everybody should be allowed to make up their own money … but the minute that you start printing your own money, now you run afoul of the counterfeit laws, and it’s the exact same thing with the Electoral College,” the Maryland Democrat said.

Here’s the full transcript:

We know that our friends across the aisle are trying to mobilize some big free speech defense of Donald Trump here, which is just comical. Of course you have a right to say for example, “I think that the meeting of the House and the Senate in joint session to count Electoral College votes is a fraud or is taking away Donald Trump’s presidency.” You can say whatever you want, but the minute you actually try to obstruct the meeting of Congress, you crossed over from speech to conduct.

It’s like you can say, “I think the currency is phony and everybody should be allowed to make up their own money.” You can say that, but the minute that you start printing your own money, now you run afoul of the counterfeit laws, and it’s the exact same thing with the Electoral College. They can say, “Well, we don’t think that Joe Biden really won in these states,” even though every federal and state court rejected all of their claims of electoral fraud and corruption. The minute that they start manufacturing counterfeit electors and trying to have them substitute for the real electors that came through the federal and state legal process, at that point, they’ve crossed over from speech to conduct. I think the indictment is really tight in focusing just on the conduct.

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Conservatives cried about how the “woke” (whatever that means) “Barbie” movie would fail. It didn’t. In fact, the film has struck a chord with American and international audiences. Daily Kos writer Laura Clawson joins Markos to talk about the film and the implications of the Republican Party’s fixation on mythical culture wars, which is failing them in bigger and bigger ways every day.

Comer jokes special counsel ‘plagiarized’ notes on Biden but put in Trump’s name

In an interview on Fox News in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s third indictment, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) said he feels like the charges Trump is now facing mirror his committee’s own observations about President Joe Biden.

“I feel like someone broke into our notes on the Oversight Committee and plagiarized them, only they put them down for Donald Trump instead of Joe Biden,” the Kentucky congressman said. 

Comer went on to say Biden has damaged the American “system of government” and is causing a loss of trust in multiple government institutions like the FBI and Department of Justice. He said Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland are using the investigations for their own “self-preservation,”

“That's the ultimate goal for the deep state bureaucracy in Washington D.C.,” Comer said. 

House Democrat: ‘Overwhelmingly devastating’ Trump indictment is of ‘serious importance’ to national security

Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) on Sunday characterized the federal indictment of former President Trump in connection with the handling of classified documents as "overwhelmingly devastating" and "of serious importance" to national security.

"This is an overwhelmingly devastating indictment that demonstrated Donald Trump believed the law does not apply to him, and that he would do anything he could to conceal and maintain possession of highly, highly classified national security information that would jeopardize our national security and would jeopardize the good men and women of the United States intelligence community who risked their lives to gather that information," Goldman said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"This is of serious, serious importance to our national security," Goldman, an attorney who served as the lead counsel in the first impeachment trial against Trump, stressed.

Trump was indicted last week on 37 counts in connection with his alleged mishandling of records at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. Federal authorities also said the former president tried s to prevent the government from recovering the documents after the end of his White House term.

Goldman on Sunday also countered comments from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a Trump supporter who appeared earlier on the program and sparred with host Dana Bash over whether the former president had declassified the material at the heart of the investigation.

"He says, 'Yeah, we'll have to try to declassify it. As president, I could have declassified it. Now I can't, but this is still a secret,'" Goldman said, referring to Trump while paraphrasing a line from a transcript of an audio recording obtained by CNN.

"So there is no question based on his private recorded conversations that he did not declassify these documents. Mr. Jordan and Donald Trump and his defense team can try to spin this any way they want. But the evidence, based on his own recording, his own voice, says to the contrary," the House Democrat said.

Schiff suggests DOJ’s detailed indictment proves Trump’s ‘maligned intent’

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said the Justice Department’s detailed indictment proves former President Trump had a “maligned intent” in keeping the documents that were taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after his presidency ended. 

Schiff told MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace in an interview on Friday that the indictment is “stunning” in the amount of detail that was included and the extent to which it demonstrates that Trump was not acting in good faith concerning the documents. 

“First of all, it’s stunning in its detail and in the degree to which it shows so clearly Donald Trump’s malign intent,” the lawmaker said. “The most difficult element, often, to prove is what did the defendant intend.” 

“But here Donald Trump has made so crystal clear in the conversations that are recorded, instructions that he gives to his aide to move the boxes, in his deceitfulness with his own attorneys, it’s just so graphic,” he added. 

Schiff, who served as an impeachment manager during Trump’s first impeachment trial, said the decision about whether Trump should be charged was not a difficult one for special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the investigation. He said the evidence included in the indictment is “so powerful that I don’t think special counsel had any choice but to go forward.” 

The indictment, which was unsealed on Friday, includes several examples of Trump allegedly trying to prevent federal authorities from obtaining the documents that were taken to Mar-a-Lago. On one occasion, he reportedly had an aide — who was also indicted in the case — move boxes of documents out of one room without informing his attorney who was looking for documents that needed to be turned over to comply with a subpoena that was issued. 

The document also includes a transcript of a conversation Trump had in which he asks his attorneys if they could just ignore the subpoena. 

Schiff said he was also “stunned” that the documents include information on military plans, the nuclear capabilities of U.S. enemies and the country’s vulnerabilities. 

“But I think this is the way of special counsel and a speaking indictment, letting all the American people know that this isn’t a paperwork violation,” he said. “These are national secrets that present real national security risks to the country.” 

The California Democrat said after Trump announced on Thursday that he had been indicted that the charges were “another affirmation of the rule of law.” 

“For four years, he acted like he was above the law. But he should be treated like any other lawbreaker. And today, he has been,” Schiff said.

Democratic lawmakers claim indictment news shows Trump ‘not above the law’

Democratic lawmakers on Thursday weighed in on former President Trump’s indictment in connection with an investigation into his handling of classified documents, with many arguing that the news shows the former president and current 2024 candidate isn’t above the law.

“Trump’s apparent indictment on multiple charges arising from his retention of classified materials is another affirmation of the rule of law,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who played a central role in Trump's first impeachment. 

Trump, who is running for president in 2024, said on Thursday that his legal team had been told he was indicted and summoned to appear in federal court in Miami on Tuesday. 

“For four years, he acted like he was above the law. But he should be treated like any other lawbreaker. And today, he has been,” Schiff said of Trump.

The California Democrat was also among the lawmakers who sat on the last congressional session’s House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riots, which criminally referred Trump to the Justice Department.

“The former twice-impeached president is now twice-indicted,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

“Twice impeached. Twice indicted. The only former president in history to face federal charges. This man is a national embarrassment,” wrote Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) 

Trump was also indicted by a grand jury in Manhattan earlier this year on criminal charges.

Democrats on Thursday took to Twitter to echo sentiments that the former president’s federal indictment proves the rule of law.

“No one is above the law,” wrote Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). 

“Never before has a former president been indicted for a federal crime," Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) tweeted. "By indicting Trump & holding him accountable for his actions, America’s justice system is once again showing its strength & reminding us all: No one is above the law in this country, not even former presidents."

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Trump will "have his day in court, in Miami and Manhattan and Atlanta too if it comes to it," celebrating the indictment from the Justice Department's special counsel.

He was referring to the latest federal indictment, the Manhattan indictment and a district attorney's probe in Georgia into 2020 election interference.

"But I am grateful to live in a nation where no man is above the law," he said.

Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) also called Trump "a con man who damaged our institutions, turned us against each other, and who will be finally held accountable by the country he tried to destroy."

Trump’s big mouth is finally getting him in (legal) trouble

Donald Trump's charmed stretch defying legal gravity in spite of his penchant for self-incrimination finally came to an end last month, when he sunk himself in the E. Jean Carroll rape case deposition.

He claimed he had never seen Carroll before in his life and even if he had, she most certainly wasn't his type. Those twin defenses were hilariously blown apart when he was shown a picture of himself interacting with Carroll—and mistook her for his ex-wife Marla Maples.

Ultimately, the jury found Trump had sexually abused and defamed Carroll and awarded her $5 million.

Although the case was civil, not criminal, it marked the beginning of the end of Trump's luck evading the law. During his tenure at the White House, Trump successfully used his chief bulldog at the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr, to run interference on pesky inquiries ranging from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election to the impeachment probe of Trump's efforts to extort Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, not to mention Carroll’s rape case.

But without his White House shield, Trump's publicly incessant blathering, blustering, and bullying is poised to cost him dearly.

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In special counsel Jack Smith's federal probe of Trump's classified document scandal, the emergence of a 2021 recording revealing that Trump clearly knew he had classified information and was contemplating sharing it has provided prosecutors with a rare legal gem: proof of Trump's state of mind.

"The import of the new Trump audio is not that it eviscerates his defense that he declassified everything,” tweeted Justice Department veteran Andrew Weissmann, who served as a prosecutor during the Mueller special counsel investigation. “That was never a legal defense (nor factually plausible). The import is that he is caught lying to the public to gain support when he’s indicted."

Weissmann added that such a recording would be an "admission” that Trump "intentionally and knowingly" possessed a classified document, which is a crime if the document actually exists and Trump wasn't simply bragging to people about a document that didn’t exist.

Given the damning nature of that recording, Weissmann predicted an indictment is "days, not months" away. But either way, he firmly believes it's a matter of when, not if.

As if that weren't enough, now there appears to be a mad hunt for the document in question, which no one seems able to locate. Its apparent disappearance raises the specter that Trump might have followed through on his stated desire (in the recording) to share the classified information. Good thing Trump’s blathering gave the game away!

This week also brought news that the Georgia election fraud probe—built around Trump's recorded demand that the Republican secretary of state "find" the votes to beat Joe Biden—is reportedly expanding into examining Trump's activities in other states and the District of Columbia.

The Washington Post calls the news a "fresh sign" that Fulton County prosecutors and District Attorney Fani Willis could be building an expansive racketeering case against Trump.

[Georgia’s] RICO statute is among the most expansive in the nation, allowing prosecutors to build racketeering cases around violations of both state and federal laws — and even activities in other states. If Willis does allege a multistate racketeering scheme with Trump at its center, the case could test the bounds of the controversial law and make history in the process.

Trump is already facing more than 30 criminal counts of falsifying business records in the hush-money-scheme case brought by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.

And Smith's probe of Trump's role in inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection is ongoing. Fortunately, there's no shortage of taped material there either, including Trump's post-insurrection assertion that he didn't want to admit the election was over.

“I don’t want to say the election’s over. I just want to say Congress has certified the results without saying the election’s over, okay?” Trump insisted on Jan. 7, 2021, while filming outtakes for a video intended to help calm a roiled nation.

Trump remains the undeniable frontrunner for the Republican nomination. The initial Bragg indictment arguably gave him a small bump with Republican voters, but a gusher of criminal scandals awaits him in the coming months—or days, depending on who you ask.

We have Rural Organizing’s Aftyn Behn. Markos and Aftyn talk about what has been happening in rural communities across the country and progressives’ efforts to engage those voters. Behn also gives the podcast a breakdown of which issues will make the difference in the coming elections.

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