Why Trump’s Hush Money Matters
Plus: Jim Jordan’s Bogus Justification for Attacking the Manhattan D.A.
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AMANDA CARPENTER: Why Trump’s Hush Money Matters.
Donald Trump’s defenders would love for people to believe that the former president entered into totally normal, by-the-book, run-of-the-mill legal agreements with adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal to purchase their silence, and that he did so in a way that was agreeable and beneficial to all parties.
But that’s not what happened.
Trump risks indictment because, allegedly at his behest, an illegal scheme was undertaken to deceive the public at a critical moment before the 2016 election. That was the purpose of the “hush money” payments—not to enrich the women or settle a personal matter, but, in the words of the man who went to prison for arranging the deals, “for the principal purpose of influencing the election.”
Ron DeSantis threw a couple of very small rocks at Trump this week, and he’s angling to get to the right of Trump on Covid, and perhaps on abortion as well. Plus, the right-wing influencers voters are listening to. Semafor’s Shelby Talcott joins Charlie Sykes today.
Eric flies solo in this episode and hosts guest Paul D. Miller, Professor of Practice in International Affairs at Georgetown University and former NSC Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Bush 43 Administration.
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KIMBERLY WEHLE: Jim Jordan’s Bogus Justification for Attacking the Manhattan D.A.
As the country awaits an anticipated criminal indictment of former President Donald Trump, Republican members of Congress have tried to get out ahead of the news by trashing Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney expected to bring the charges. The rhetoric of Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) went the furthest; he said that Bragg, an elected official, should land “in jail” for “a disgusting abuse of power.” Never mind that these GOP critics have been responding to nothing but a hypothetical, because no indictment thus far exists. And grand juries are secret, so unless there’s a public trial, we might never know all of the evidence Bragg’s team has collected.
The lack of any authoritative information about an indictment has not deterred three chairmen of House committees from already charging, trying, and convicting Bragg of egregious misconduct. Reps. Jim Jordan (who chairs both the Judiciary Committee and its “weaponization of government” subcommittee), James Comer (who heads the Oversight Committee), and Bryan Steil (chairman of the House Administration Committee) sent Bragg a letter on Monday accusing him of “reportedly” being
about to engage in an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority: the indictment of a former President of the United States and current declared candidate for that office.
They claim that Bragg has “settl[ed] on a novel legal theory untested anywhere in the country and one that federal authorities declined to pursue.”
Happy Cherry Blossom season! Driving to the store today, I heard that people were stuck for two hours on Ohio Drive seeing the cherry blossoms. Yikes. Don’t get me wrong, they’re beautiful. But like going up in the Saint Louis Arch, it’s something you do… once. Unless you live nearby and take public transportation. Naturally, the gawkers back up traffic for those trying to escape the swamp. I’m lucky I rarely go in.
Get a brain! Morans! Happy 20th anniversary to one of the first big internet memes. Which took place in Saint Louis. Naturally.
Also in Missouri… Republicans are trying to defund libraries for daring to fight back against their draconian book bans.
Rob Manfred continues to ruin baseball… Yes, having the MLB pay extra special attention to the bat boys and girls. That’ll do it.
You can’t do that, Senator… Try and raise campaign funds from an official facility. That’s a no-no, Lindsay!
A baseball family, a haunting tragedy… and a son keeping his father’s story alive.
Meanwhile, in the “Free State of Florida…” Republicans are proposing that Ron DeSantis’s travel records, which is currently public information, become a state secret. Retroactively.
A look at Florida’s love/hate relationship… with Phosphorus, the “Devil’s element.”
A dispatch from the conspiracy convention… Reason’s Jesse Walker reports.
The beef industry slaughters the rainforest… And they seemingly do not care.
Canadian town apologizes for sexually themed tourism campaign… Can you guess which city? They say ‘it rhymes with fun.’ As Jim Gaffigan observes: “They’re all perverts!”
How smart people… Can stop being miserable, according to Arthur Brooks. (I’m not optimistic about this, fwiw.)
Jordan Klepper meets with the Trump arrest protesters… All few of them.
Corncob pizza? Doesn’t Little Caesars know that April Fools is still a ways away? Or are we seeing previews?
The high court must do its doody… In handling a case where a liquor company faces a poop-themed dog toy manufacturer.
Donald Trump is using fake AI generated pictures of him… Did he not notice the fingers? Speaking of AI generation, you can pretty much do anything with Midjourney these days. We’re gonna have to do something about it.
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