Why It Matters That Trump Is Leading The 2024 Primary Field In Endorsements

“Historically, endorsements have proven pretty predictive of who wins presidential nominating contests. Since the modern primary era began in 1972, there have been 17 Democratic or Republican primary fights that did not feature an incumbent president. The candidate with the most endorsement points3 on the day before the Iowa caucuses won 11. That’s a better track record than polls have at the same point in the election: Since 1972, the leader in national polls4 on the day before Iowa has won the nomination just 10 out of 17 times.

Twelve of those 17 times, the same candidate led in both endorsements and polls. And of those 12, nine times the candidate won. But the five times that the endorsements and polls disagreed, the endorsement leader won twice, and the polling leader won only once. The other two times, a third candidate won.

It’s a small sample size, but endorsements have an even stronger track record when you filter out the years when the endorsement leader didn’t have all that many endorsements. For example, when the endorsement leader has earned at least 15 percent of the total estimated available endorsement points by the day before the Iowa caucuses,5 that candidate has won their party’s nomination nine out of 10 times. Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton in 2008 is the only exception.”

Enough With the Bellyaching Over CNN’s Trump Town Hall

“in principle, a Trump interview was a good idea because it’s never a mistake for the press to confront newsmakers, even if the newsmaker lies about the integrity of the 2020 election, which Trump did. Even if he mocks the justice system because it has held against him, which Trump did. Even if he uses the rhetorical devises of ad hominem, ad populum, ad baculum to savage his foes, as Trump did. Even if he insults the interviewer, which Trump did (“You’re a nasty person,” he said to Collins). Even if he refuses to answer simple questions about his stand on abortion, which Trump repeatedly did. And even if he offers his self-serving hallucinations about the events of January 6 as the truth, which Trump did.”

“Trump, after all, leads the Republican presidential polls by a wide margin. A genuine news outlet can’t avert its eyes during a campaign just because a candidate is malevolent, duplicitous, cruel and deceitful.”

Trump appeals verdict finding him liable for sexual assault

“Former President Donald Trump is appealing a jury’s verdict finding him liable for sexually abusing and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll. Trump’s lawyers filed a notice of appeal in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, two days after the nine-person jury ordered

The far left and far right agree on Donald Trump’s foreign policy legacy. They’re both wrong.

“This is a president who pardoned convicted war criminals, assassinated Iran’s top general, and deployed troops to seize Syria’s oil deposits — openly admitting he wanted to hand them over to ExxonMobil. A second term promises more of the same: He has already asked advisers for “battle plans” to invade Mexico in an effort to combat drug cartels.”

“The strongest argument for Trump’s dovish credentials, in all of these accounts, is that Trump did not start any new wars. While Bush invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, and Obama toppled Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, Trump kept the peace.”

“It’s certainly true that nothing Trump did compares in scope to the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. But few presidents in history ordered anything of that magnitude; the brief 2011 US intervention in Libya doesn’t come close. And when you compare Trump’s record to those of other post-Cold War US presidents, the evidence is clear: Trump is no less willing to use military force, and arguably more so.”

“Trump did a lot more than order “few missile and drone strikes”: In Iraq and Syria alone, drone strikes launched against ISIS and other terrorist groups killed an estimated 13,400 civilians, per data from Airwars, a nonprofit watchdog affiliated with the University of London. That’s roughly three times as many as were killed by American bombs in the 1991 Gulf War, the 1998-1999 Kosovo intervention, and the Libya war combined.

It’s relatively easy to show Trump’s culpability here: His administration relaxed Obama-era rules of engagement designed to protect civilians. And once swampy Joe Biden became president, drone strikes in Syria and Iraq virtually ended.”

“In 2017, Trump became the first US president to order an attack on the Syrian government, bombing an airfield in retaliation for chemical weapons strikes, something Obama famously refused to do. In 2018, he pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and bombed Syrian government positions again. In 2019, Trump approved airstrikes on Iranian soil, only to call the planes back literally while they were in the air. And in 2020, he had General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds force, assassinated while the Iranian leader was near the Baghdad airport.

Similarly, Trump dramatically increased US airstrikes on Islamist groups in Somalia over Obama levels, and approved the sale of unguided “dumb” bombs to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen (something the Obama administration blocked). Though Trump frequently stated his opposition to the war in Afghanistan, and eventually did negotiate a withdrawal agreement, he began his presidency by escalating it — sending 3,000 new troops to fight the Taliban, a more than 25 percent increase from the pre-Trump presence. He also openly bragged about relaxing rules of engagement for bombings in Afghanistan, a policy that nearly doubled civilian casualties per year over the Bush- and Obama-era average.”

“In 2018, Trump threatened to invade Venezuela to topple leftist dictator Nicolás Maduro. In 2019, he launched a broad-based sanction policy explicitly designed to collapse the Maduro government — an open regime change operation.

During that same time, Trump significantly escalated tensions with China over Taiwan — taking provocative actions deliberately designed to send a message of US commitment to the island’s defense. “In the past nine months, U.S. ships have sailed through the Taiwan Strait six times. During the Obama administration, passages were far less frequent, at just one to three times per year,” the Council on Foreign Relations’ Lindsay Maizland wrote in April 2019.”

“In 2017, Trump sent a full armored brigade to NATO allies on Russia’s border. In 2018, he provided Ukraine with lethal military assistance in its conflict with Russia in Eastern Ukraine (something Obama refused to do, and that Trump would later try to use to extort Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy).

In 2019, he withdrew from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement designed to tamp down on nuclear tensions. In 2020, he backed out of the Open Skies Treaty, which created rules for reconnaissance overflights designed to tamp down on military tensions.”

“the question here is not whether Trump’s foreign policy was good, but rather whether it can be accurately characterized as “dovish” or “anti-imperialist.” A full review shows that it cannot: that Trump was more than willing to use deadly force and impose America’s will on foreign countries.”

“This is a president who proposed the largest inflation-adjusted defense budget since World War II and declared “we have to have, by far, the strongest military in the world.””

“Trump’s version of hawkishness is far less moralized, but no less aggressive. He sees himself not as protecting the global order but as putting “America First” — defending the country’s honor and pecuniary interests. This makes him less inclined to launch wars to protect foreign civilians, but more inclined to kill foreign civilians while attempting to target terrorists. Instead of fighting to promote democracy, he is willing to send US troops to take the oil in Syria.”

Trump Commuted His Sentence. Now the Justice Department Is Going To Prosecute Him Again.

“Esformes was not convicted of the most serious charges leveled against him. The government failed to convince a jury, for example, that he committed conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud. So his 20-year sentence—handed down by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola of the Southern District of Florida—may appear grossly disproportionate to his convictions.
Until you realize the judge explicitly punished Esformes for charges on which the jury hung.

That is not an error. “When somebody gets sentenced [at the federal level]…they get sentenced on all charges, even the ones they’re acquitted on, [as long as] they get convicted on one count,” says Brett Tolman, the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah who is now the executive director of Right on Crime. It is a little-known, jaw-dropping part of the legal system: Federal judges are, in effect, not obligated to abide by a jury’s verdict at sentencing. They can, and do, sentence defendants for conduct on which they were not convicted. In this case, Esformes was already sentenced—and had that sentence commuted—for the crimes that the DOJ now wants to retry.

“This defendant, as much as you might not like him…do you think he should be punished two or three times for the same conduct?” asks Tolman. “I don’t find anybody who thinks that’s fair.””

Trump’s tariff time bomb threatens to blow up transatlantic trade

“Negotiators from Brussels and Washington are scrambling to solve a five-year dispute over steel and aluminum dating back to former U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on European imports. They have until October to get a deal but are still so far apart that European officials now fear the chances of an agreement are slim.
Without a deal, both sides could reimpose billions of dollars worth of trade tariffs on each other’s goods — potentially spreading well beyond steel to hit products including French wines, U.S. rum, vodka and denim jeans.”

“Officials in Brussels see the ongoing negotiations as just another push from the U.S. to force them into taking a harder line against China. “The language just seems written to tackle one country specifically,” said one of the European officials.

Discussions only recently picked up pace through the exchange of a U.S. concept paper and then an EU response. Those texts showed how far apart the two sides are on key issues, the officials said.

Washington wants to impose tariffs on imported steel or aluminum products, which would increase progressively based on how carbon-intensive the manufacturing process is, according to the proposal seen by POLITICO. Countries that join the agreement, which would be open to nations outside the EU, would face lower tariffs, or none at all, compared to those that do not.

The EU’s response — also seen by POLITICO — does not include any form of tariffs, according to the officials. Brussels fears the American plan for tariffs goes against the rules of the World Trade Organization, which is a no-go for the EU.

But a senior Biden administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing negotiations, told POLITICO that tariffs should not be off the table.

“That’s a pretty powerful tool for driving the market both to reduce carbon intensity as well as to reset the playing field to counteract non-market practices and excess capacity,” the U.S. official said. “What we’ve been trying to understand and respond to, in part, is what are those reasons that the EU has to have concerns about a tariff-type structure.””

“Several officials said Washington is also seeking an exemption from the EU’s carbon border tax, which imposes a tax on some imported goods to make sure European businesses are not undercut by cheaper products made in countries with weaker environmental rules.

Such an exemption for the U.S. is another no-go for Brussels. A European Commission spokesperson said giving the U.S. a pass on the carbon border tax would constitute a breach of WTO rules and “cannot be compared with” the U.S. steel and aluminum measures.”

Yes, Alvin Bragg’s indictment of Trump is political

“the core violation here is, basically, that the Trump Organization logged hush money repayments improperly. The more small-scale charges like this after a long investigation seem, the more they suggest prosecutors landed on them because they tried to make a bigger case that didn’t pan out.
Does it resemble previous prosecutions? In some ways yes, in some ways no. Business records charges are common in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The New York Times called this charge “the bread and butter” of the office’s white-collar practice, pointing out that during Bragg’s tenure of a little over a year, 29 individuals and companies were charged with such offenses before Trump. “The charge of creating false financial records is constantly brought,” Agnifilo and Eisen write.

Still, there is some dispute about how the charge is being applied in this case. Fordham law professor Jed Shugerman points out that these false records were just internal company documents, and that Bragg has not yet specifically alleged they were used to deceive anyone. Shugerman asked whether there’s ever been a conviction in such a case. Various former prosecutors in the Manhattan DA’s office have argued that they can and did file such charges based on internal documents, but it’s unclear whether the legality of that theory has been directly tested in court.”