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“Crackpot Lawyers”: Mike Pence Blames Trump’s Idiot Legal Team for January 6

Mike Pence, who had a starring role in Trump’s third indictment, had some harsh words for the president.

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Mike Pence has issued his most scathing rebuke yet following Donald Trump’s third indictment, while still somehow failing to explicitly call Trump responsible.

Trump was charged Tuesday for attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election. He faces four counts that include conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to corruptly obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the right to vote.

Pence has a starring role in the indictment, which shows he repeatedly resisted Trump’s attempts to delay certification of votes. Pence, who is trailing badly behind Trump in the Republican presidential polls, has maintained that he was upholding the Constitution above all else.

“The first time I heard in early December somebody suggest that as vice president I might be able to decide which votes to reject and which to accept, I knew that it was false,” Pence said Wednesday at the Indiana state fair. “I dismissed it out of hand. Sadly, the president was surrounded by a group of crackpot lawyers that kept telling him what his itching ears wanted to hear.”

“I really do believe that anyone who puts themself over the Constitution should never be president of the United States,” he said. “And anyone who asks someone else to put themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States again.”

Pence reiterated that he had “no right to overturn the election,” no matter what Trump has said since he lost in 2020. “It’s contrary to what our Constitution and the laws of this country provide,” he said.

These are Pence’s strongest comments to date on Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, but he still couldn’t bring himself to lay blame squarely on Trump’s shoulders. He said that Trump’s lawyers encouraged him, instead of treating Trump as an adult who should have known better the whole time.

Republicans have been hesitant to criticize Trump outright, or have backed him fully. Many members of the GOP are wary of attacking Trump lest they lose the support of his fan base. Others may actually believe that he has done nothing wrong.

Trump Sat Down for Dinner With Fox News Execs Right After Third Indictment

The timing is impeccable, really.

Donald Trump
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Soon after Donald Trump learned he was being indicted for a third time, he sat down for a private dinner with top Fox executives, who begged him to attend the Republican debate.

The New York Times reported that Trump had dinner Tuesday night with Fox News president Jay Wallace and chief executive Suzanne Scott, at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

During the two-hour dinner, the Fox executives tried to convince Trump to attend the first Republican presidential primary debate, scheduled for August 23.

Last week, Trump declared on Truth Social that he had no intention of attending the debate and would instead let the other candidates duke it out. “Let them debate so I can see who I MIGHT consider for Vice President!” he announced.

He has also repeatedly attacked Fox News, which will host the debate, on Truth Social. He has also criticized the network for lenient coverage of Ron DeSantis, Trump’s main 2024 rival.

But during the dinner Tuesday, the Times reported:

The Fox executives made a soft appeal for Mr. Trump to attend the debate, two of the people familiar with the dinner said, telling the former president that he excels on the center stage and that it presents an opportunity for him to show off his debate skills.

Trump told the executives that he hasn’t made up his mind yet on whether he’ll attend.

If he does attend, it’s sure to be a wild affair. Other Republican candidates who have qualified for the first Republican presidential debate are: Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Chris Christie. Christie has been the most vocal Trump critic in the Republican field, rightfully calling him a “coward,” “liar,” and “loser.”

He’s “an Even Stronger Candidate”: Republicans’ Batty Reactions to the Trump Indictment

Republicans are bending over backward to defend Trump after he was indicted a third time.

Donald Trump
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Donald Trump was indicted for a record-breaking third time  on Tuesday and now faces four felony counts for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. But his Republican challengers for president are brushing away the damning 45-page indictment like crumbs from the table.

“A D.C. jury would indict a ham sandwich and convict a ham sandwich if it was a Republican ham sandwich,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said on Fox News Wednesday, without noting any of the substantial allegations in the Trump indictment. He also blasted the indictment on Tuesday evening, before noting he hasn’t actually read it.

“We’re watching Biden’s DOJ continue to hunt Republicans, while protecting Democrats,” said Senator Tim Scott.

Vivek Ramaswamy went even further and announced a lawsuit against the Justice Department to “deliver accountability and transparency.” He also said he would file a Freedom of Information Act records request for more details on Trump’s third indictment. He also pledged once again to pardon Trump if elected. (In 2021, just six days after the insurrection, Ramaswamy declared, “What Trump did last week was wrong. Downright abhorrent. Plain and simple.”)

Other Republicans similarly bent over backward to defend Trump.

Representative Jim Banks may have had the wildest defense of Trump in Congress, claiming that the indictment “makes him an even stronger candidate to defeat Joe Biden next November.”

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy dismissed the indictment as an attempt to distract from the Hunter Biden probe (which to date, has uncovered very little evidence).

“Just yesterday a new poll showed President Trump is without a doubt Biden’s leading political opponent,” McCarthy said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Everyone in America could see what was going to come next: DOJ’s attempt to distract from the news and attack the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, President Trump.”

In 2021, McCarthy said Trump “bears responsibility” for the riot at the Capitol.

“We’ve entered banana republic territory,” said Senator Ted Cruz, repeating one of his favorite talking points. In 2021, Cruz called the January 6 insurrection a “terrorist attack.”

Very few Republicans have publicly criticized Trump following the indictment, despite the gravity of the charges.

Murkowski Urges America: Read the Indictment. Will Any Other GOP Senators Join Her?

Lisa Murkowski has some words of advice for the rest of her party, and America.

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Republicans have repeatedly insisted that Donald Trump has done nothing wrong, even in the face of his record third indictment for trying to overturn the 2020 election. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski has a message for them: Just read the indictment.

Murkowski is one of Trump’s few Republican critics in Congress and one of just seven GOP senators who voted to convict him during his second impeachment trial. After the third indictment was unsealed Tuesday, Murkowski took to Twitter to explain that the charges just reinforce her conviction that she did the right thing in 2021.

“I encourage everyone to read the indictment, to understand the very serious allegations being made in this case,” she said.

An alarming number of Republican lawmakers have not read the indictment yet (or pretended they haven’t), often making illogical excuses as to why not. It’s a sign that the GOP continues to bend its knee to Trump, no matter what.

Rudy Giuliani Is the Biggest Creep Ever, New Legal Documents Say

Giuliani regularly made disturbing comments to his former assistant, like “I want to own you.”

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New documents in a sexual abuse lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani reveal that the former New York mayor frequently made misogynistic, antisemitic, and homophobic comments—meaning that he’s an even more disgusting creep than previously thought.

Giuliani’s former associate Noelle Dunphy sued him in May, accusing him of promising to pay her a $1 million annual salary but instead raping and sexually abusing her over the course of two years. Her lawsuit alleges that Giuliani was constantly drunk, talked openly about trying to overturn the 2020 election, and even plotted to sell pardons with Donald Trump at the low, low price of $2 million each.

Giuliani has denied all of the accusations, but Dunphy reportedly has a wealth of recorded conversations to back herself up. Her lawyer filed transcripts of some of those recordings from 2019 late Tuesday, and they are truly horrifying.

In multiple different conversations, Giuliani made aggressively lewd and possessive comments to Dunphy, at one point saying, “I want to own you, officially.”

“Legally, with a document,” he added.

He also said he gets “hard” when he thinks about her and how smart she is, even though normally, “I’d never think about a girl being smart. If you told me a girl was smart, I would often think she’s not attractive.”

Giuliani also admitted to having a two-year affair with his now-girlfriend, Maria Ryan, despite previously denying an illicit relationship.

He claimed that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and actor Matt Damon were both gay, despite there being no evidence of that. Both Bloomberg and Damon have been in relationships with women for the past 20 years.

Giuliani said that Jewish men have smaller penises than Italian men (Giuliani is Italian) and complained about Jewish holidays. He was particularly steamed about Passover and said that Jewish people should “get over the Passover.”

Yet Another Trump “Indictment”: Fitch Blames Jan. 6 for U.S. Credit Downgrade

“It just is a reflection of the deterioration in governance.”

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Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.

In a weird stroke of irony, the U.S. government’s credit rating was downgraded the same day that Donald Trump was indicted for a historic third time. A top official confirmed Wednesday that part of the reason for the downgrade was increased political divisions, as evidenced by the January 6 insurrection.

Credit ratings agency Fitch downgraded the United States to AA+ from AAA on Tuesday, a move that surprised investors but was nearly lost in the flurry of Trump getting indicted for attempting to overturn the 2020 election. Fitch predicted the U.S. would see fiscal deterioration over the next three years and cited “the erosion of governance … over the last two decades that has manifested in repeated debt limit standoffs and last-minute resolutions.”

But another major reason for the downgrade was the dramatic increase in political polarization, seen in the January 6 attack, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing Fitch senior director Richard Francis. The ratings agency met with Treasury officials ahead of the downgrade and highlighted the implications of the riot for America’s credit rating.

“It was something that we highlighted because it just is a reflection of the deterioration in governance, it’s one of many,” Francis told Reuters. “You have the debt ceiling, you have Jan. 6. Clearly, if you look at the polarization with both parties … the Democrats have gone further left and Republicans further right, so the middle is kind of falling apart.”

The fact that the downgrade was announced the same day Trump was indicted is likely a coincidence, but the connection between the two events is still significant. Trump faces four counts that include conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to corruptly obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the right to vote.

Hundreds of people who descended on Washington to try to stop the certification of votes have said they were responding to a call from Trump. Nearly 200 people who were charged in the January 6 insurrection said they were answering a Trump tweet urging people to attend a “big protest” in the nation’s capital. Almost 100 more specifically said Trump’s speech to the crowd that day prompted them to storm the Capitol.

So it turns out that Trump, who promised a strong economy, has actually cost the U.S. standing in the global market.

Trump’s Legal Team Just Blew a Big Hole in His Third Indictment Defense

Trump lawyer John Lauro responded to the indictment news by admitting the crimes that Trump is charged with.

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Donald Trump’s lawyer has apparently decided that the best response to the former president’s historic third indictment is to just admit that he committed crimes.

Trump was charged Tuesday for attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election. He faces four counts that include conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to corruptly obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the right to vote.

Part of the indictment hinges on the allegation that Trump knew full well he had lost the election but continued to urge his supporters to subvert it via unlawful means. This included demanding that Vice President Mike Pence delay certifying the nation’s votes and send in fake electors to falsely certify Trump had won certain states. Trump’s lawyer John Lauro admitted as much on CNN.

The final ask that Mr. Trump made to Vice President Pence was simply, ‘Pause the voting.’ There’s nothing inherently unconstitutional or illegal about that,” Lauro told CNN’s Kaitlin Collins Tuesday night. “In fact, he had an opinion from a very well-known constitutional scholar that said that’s fine; that that’s legal.”

Except it was not fine: Under the Electoral Count Act, the vice president’s job is more ceremonial than anything else, and Pence did not have the right to delay certification. What’s more, Team Trump knew it.

According to the indictment, one of the unnamed co-conspirators, suspected to be Trump lawyer John Eastman, pressed Pence to violate the ECA. “I implore you to consider one more relatively minor violation [of the ECA] and adjourn for 10 days to allow the legislatures to finish their investigations, as well as to allow a full forensic audit of the massive amount of illegal activity that has occurred here,” the co-conspirator said in an email.

Lauro also admitted on national television that Trump tried to use a slate of fake electors.

“What’s the unlawful means? There was an effort to get alternate electors, which is a protocol that was used in 1960 by John Kennedy. And it was a protocol that was constitutionally accepted,” he insisted. “So there’s nothing wrong about that.”

Lauro is referring to the 1960 election between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Kennedy had clearly won, but Hawaii’s results, which showed Nixon won by just 140 votes, were in doubt. The state’s vote underwent a recount, which was still going by December 19 that year, when presidential electors were legally required to cast their ballots. Three electors cast their votes for Nixon, and three alternate electors cast their votes for Kennedy.

Trump’s allies have often cited this instance in arguing there was nothing wrong with the fake electors, but the difference is that the Hawaii recount legitimately flipped the state’s results to Kennedy. A judge ruled that the Kennedy electors were legitimate, and, moreover, it was important they had already cast their votes because it ensured the votes could be counted.

Trump, on the other hand, was trying to flip states he had unequivocally lost—not to mention trying to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters. And now his legal team is basically admitting it.

Team Trump Was Prepared to Use the Military to Stay in Power

Trump’s third indictment spells out how his team considered using the Insurrection Act to quash protests after a stolen election.

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Jeffrey Clark, a top Justice Department official under then-President Donald Trump, suggested using military power to keep Trump in power despite his loss in the 2020 election.

Trump’s third indictment on Tuesday cites a January 3, 2021, exchange between Clark, who is referred to as “Co-Conspirator 4,” and White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin. A month earlier, Philbin had warned Trump that “there is no world, there is no option in which you do not leave the White House on January 20th.”

Philbin also warned Clark that there was no fraud in the 2020 election, and if Trump tried to remain in office anyway, there would be “riots in every major city in the United States.”

To that, Clark simply responded: “Well … that’s why there’s an Insurrection Act.”

The Insurrection Act, which has been used only a handful of times in the last century, authorizes the U.S. president to deploy the military domestically to quell a rebellion or uprising.

The law has been criticized as being “dangerously vague” and “ripe for abuse.” (You may recall a New York Times op-ed in 2020 from Senator Tom Cotton, encouraging Trump to use the Insurrection Act to stop the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the country.) Because of the way the law is written, Americans basically have to trust that the president will not abuse the powers of the Insurrection Act.

As we can see in Trump’s third indictment, he could not be trusted in that regard. His advisers were planning to stage a coup, and also preparing to use the military to quash protests if that coup failed.

Top Trump Adviser Warned About “Conspiracy Shit Beamed Down From the Mothership”

Trump knew he was lying in 2020—and his third indictment has all the receipts.

Donald Trump
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Donald Trump

Donald Trump knew that the 2020 election was legitimate, but he tried to overturn the vote results anyway. And his record-breaking third indictment has all the proof.

In fact, a top adviser warned about the efforts to overturn the election quite clearly: “I’ll obviously hustle to help on all fronts, but it’s tough to own any of this when it’s all just conspiracy shit beamed down from the mothership,” an unnamed senior campaign adviser wrote in an email on December 8, 2020, referring to Trump’s “Elite Strike Task Force” led by Rudy Giuliani.

Trump was charged for his role in the January 6 insurrection and other attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. He faces four counts that include conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to corruptly obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the right to vote.

The indictment hinges on the fact that Trump allegedly knew the whole time that there was no fraud in the election but continued to insist that there was. This wasn’t just some innocent slipup, and multiple people around Trump repeatedly tried to warn him.

Still, Trump insisted that fraudulent ballots had been cast and that electronic voting machines were switching votes to Democratic.

“These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false,” the indictment said. “In fact, the Defendant was notified repeatedly that his claims were untrue—often by the people on whom he relied for candid advice on important matters, and who were best positioned to know the facts—and he deliberately disregarded the truth.”

People including then–Vice President Mike Pence and senior Justice Department officials, whom Trump had appointed, repeatedly told him there was no evidence of fraud, according to the indictment. So did the director of national intelligence, another Trump appointee, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which Trump signed into existence in 2018.

Senior White House attorneys, whom Trump had picked, said there was no fraud, while staffers on his reelection campaign had already warned him he stood very little chance of winning. State-level allies repeatedly told him there was no evidence of fraud, and state and federal courts rejected every lawsuit that Trump and his allies filed to try to overturn the election results, informing him the suits were baseless.

Ignoring the truth for his preferred reality is becoming something of a habit for Trump. Special counsel Jack Smith had already indicted Trump for mishandling classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate. But Trump has repeatedly insisted that all the material he brought to Florida was already declassified, and anyway, being president enabled him to declassify documents at will, including “just by thinking about it.”

But a president can’t do that, and Trump knew it. In an audio recording of a July 2021 meeting, Trump admits that he had classified material and could not declassify it because he no longer holds office. In another leaked recording of the same meeting, Trump says he has a classified Pentagon document but he can’t show it to the people there. His acknowledgment that he couldn’t show the document to others demonstrates that he knew full well that he wasn’t able to declassify documents at whim.

Trump Whines About Being in Nazi Germany After Third Indictment

Trump was charged with trying to overthrow an election, but sure.

Donald Trump
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Donald Trump was indicted Tuesday for a record third time, and you could say he seems to be taking it very well. If by “well,” you mean “comparing being held accountable to the Holocaust.”

Trump was charged for his role in the January 6 insurrection and other attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. He faces four counts that include conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to corruptly obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the right to vote.

“This is nothing more than the latest corrupt chapter in the continued pathetic attempt by the Biden Crime Family and their weaponized Department of Justice to interfere with the 2024 Presidential Election,” his campaign said in a statement on Truth Social.

“But why did they wait two and a half years to bring these fake charges, right in the middle of President Trump’s winning campaign for 2024?” the statement continued.

“The answer is, election interference! The lawlessness of these persecutions of President Trump and his supporters is reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, the former Soviet Union, and other authoritarian, dictatorial regimes. President Trump has always followed the law and the Constitution, with advice from many highly accomplished attorneys.”

But if Trump has always “followed the law and the Constitution,” then explain his ever-growing pile of legal troubles. The twice-impeached president has been charged with business fraud in New York for his alleged role in making hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels. He also has been charged with keeping national defense information without authorization, making false statements, and conspiring to obstruct justice.

Trump is likely to be indicted in Georgia in the next few weeks for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election—despite a failed attempt to block that probe. And he has been found liable of sexual abuse and defamation, and sued for defamation again.