What JD Vance’s conversion to Catholicism adds to Trump’s ticket

MSNBC – Opinion

What JD Vance’s conversion to Catholicism adds to Trump’s ticket

Vance ticks boxes with anti-abortion groups upset that the RNC watered down the party platform by removing its long-stated goal of a nationwide abortion ban.

Anthea Butler,  MSNBC Columnist – July 18, 2024

How JD Vance is an example of how people in the GOP will do anything to get close to power.

Sen. JD Vance of Ohio made his prime-time debut on Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention. While a relative newcomer politically, it already seems clear that Vance will be an asset to former President Donald Trump’s third run for president because his hard-line stance against abortioncoupled with his Catholicism, will push back critics of the Republican National Committee’s watered-down platform. Kevin Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation, is “good friends” with Vance and was reportedly elated that Trump had chosen him as his running mate.

Besides running alongside Trump, Vance and former Vice President Mike Pence have one thing in common: both have adult conversion stories. Pence was raised Catholic and converted to evangelical Christianity as an adult. Vance was raised Protestant and was baptized into the Catholic Church in 2019 by Dominicans.

The similarities end there. Pence was of the Republican establishment, but Vance has embraced MAGA and Trump just like he has the Catholic Church. And he may ultimately end up the vanguard of the next MAGA generation.

Vance has the fervor that new converts to religion always have when they want to change the world. In a piece about his conversion, titled “How I joined the Resistance: On Mamaw and becoming Catholic,” Vance says that after his Protestant upbringing, he became an atheist out of a desire for social acceptance among American elites. His conversion to Catholicism came not as a blinding flash of light, he says, but by reading Augustine and being persuaded by a passage from Augustine’s “City of God” on Genesis.

The senator said that another pivotal part of his journey to Catholicism was an encounter he had with Peter Thiel, who gave a talk at Yale Law school when Vance was a student there. Thiel, founder of PayPal, Palantir Industries, one of the first investors in Facebook and a big financial supporter of MAGA, is a venture capitalist with a particular kind of religiously inflected axe to grind. Thiel, a staunch supporter, donated $15 million to Vance’s 2022 Senate campaign. Just last month, Thiel said, “If you hold a gun to my head, I’ll vote for Trump,” but he said he wouldn’t donate to Trump’s super PAC. That may change now that Trump has chosen Vance.

Perhaps most importantly, Vance ticks boxes with anti-abortion groups upset that the RNC watered down the party platform by removing its long-stated goal of a nationwide abortion ban. Vance is strongly opposed to abortion. Although his views on the specifics of how anti-abortion restrictions should work have sometimes shifted — his office declined to tell NBC News what his current abortion stance is — he has previously voiced support for a nationwide ban on abortion and has likened abortion to slavery.

Nicolle Wallace: ‘JD Vance’s extremism is what won him the spot for Trump’s number 2’. 10:54

What’s the need to put a nationwide abortion plan on the platform when the vice presidential pick has been vocal about wanting one? Having Vance on the ticket signals to Republicans who are upset at the way the platform was changed that a national abortion ban is still on the table.

Vance has a story that lends itself to a triumphal American story. His first book, “Hillbilly Elegy,” was a hit, but the second book he was contracted to write, titled “A Relevant Faith, Searching for a Meaningful American Christianity,” was called off with mutual agreement of publisher Harper Collins and Vance before his successful Senate run in 2022.

Vance seems to always be looking for acceptance through belonging to what he perceives to be powerful groups or leaders. By going from faith to atheism to a different faith, and by going from a full-on criticism of Trump to a full-on embrace of Trumpism, Vance keeps remaking himself. His obsequiousness to Trump includes pledging to do what Mike Pence would not do in 2020 and 2021: accept an alternate slate of electors. That fealty has led to Vance becoming the vice presidential candidate despite his withering critiques of Trump in the past.

Vance may be the perfect MAGA candidate, yet some would also squarely place him as a political religious actor. In May 2024, in “First Things,” Matthew Schmitz called Vance a “religious populist” because he’s not only concerned with abortion but also with economic and religious issues, and has shown a willingness to work with senators he disagrees with to achieve his aims. I believe, however, that Vance is more aligned with what is called Catholic integralism, the belief that Christians can use a “soft power” approach to exert influence over society. Wallace Throckmorton talks about the potential for Vance to be an integralist and to use his religious views to influence government. This falls in line with how Vance is not only concerned with curtailing reproductive choices but also with promoting economic prosperity for families.

Vance may not tick every box of what the Republicans wanted as a vice presidential candidate, but he will be able to tap into his Catholicism and his story of poverty to wealth. He is also a much more fervent MAGA believer, someone who can bridge the intellectual and populist wings of the Republican Party. Most importantly, he is the perfect white male candidate because of his antiquated beliefs about women and reproductive rights. It will be instructive to see how Catholics, as well as other religious groups in the party, receive Vance as running mate and if his presence will give absolution to Trump the same way Pence’s did.

Anthea Butler is a professor of religious studies and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her most recent book is “White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America.”

The worst thing about Ted Cruz’s dystopian RNC speech

MSNBC – Opinion

The worst thing about Ted Cruz’s dystopian RNC speech

From immigration to crime to fentanyl, stoking fear mattered a lot more than getting the facts right.

By Radley Balko, investigative journalist – July 18, 2024

Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz on the second day of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee on Tuesday. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last nine years, it’s that when reality proves inconvenient for MAGA, MAGA simply creates its own reality. This was certainly true of Tuesday’s “Make America Safe Once Again” night at the Republican National Convention, at which the speaker’s podium was the rhetorical equivalent of a wrench-opened fire hydrant, as one speaker after another recklessly sprayed lies, fear and demagoguery in every direction. 

Sen. Ted Cruz’s undiluted rage was particularly dishonest, and because it was Ted Cruz, it was as awkward as it was angry. His clumsy attempt to coax the crowd into a refrain of “every damn day” — a reference to how often he claimed that “teenagers, girls and boys” are raped, murdered and “sold into a life of sex slavery” because of “our open border” — mostly fell flat. 

Sen. Ted Cruz’s undiluted rage was particularly dishonest, and because it was Ted Cruz, it was as awkward as it was angry.

There are, of course, some documented examples of horrific crimes committed by undocumented people, as there are with any demographic group that numbers in the millions. But on the whole, immigrants both legal and undocumented commit crimes (violent crimes, in particular) at rates lower — often much lower — than the native-born population

The much-maligned “sanctuary cities” have lower crime rates than other cities. Cities that have been hospitable to migrants seeking asylum have seen less crime than other cities. Crime in most of those cities has dropped since they began receiving migrants from the most recent wave of immigration, including the cities where Republican governors have been shipping migrants

If such gruesome crimes were really happening “every damn day,” you’d think Cruz, R-Texas, could find more a recent horror story than, for example, the death of Kate Steinle, who died, as Cruz put it, after a man who “had been deported five times” fired a bullet that “ripped through her heart.” 

If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Donald Trump also mentioned Steinle in his acceptance speech at the 2016 RNC. Steinle died nine years ago, after a man named José Inez García Zárate found a gun wrapped in cloth under a bench on a pier in San Francisco.

Watch highlights from Night 2 of the Republican National Convention in 3 minutes. 03:05

It’s true that Zárate had been deported five times. He was also a felon, though for nonviolent drug crimes. The gun had been stolen from an agent with the Bureau of Land Management, who left it unsecured in his car. Zárate testified at his trial that the gun went off when he picked it up. Ballistics reports confirmed that the bullet ricocheted off a concrete block and struck and killed Steinle, who was 90 feet away. There is no evidence that he intentionally fired the gun, much less that he intended to kill Steinle. A jury acquitted him on all charges but one (being a felon in possession of a firearm), and that charge was later thrown out by a judge. He pleaded guilty to related federal charges in 2022 and was deported this year.

Steinle’s family has repeatedly asked politicians to stop politicizing her death. For politicians like Cruz, a family’s grief is legitimate only when it can be harnessed to hoover up votes. 

Cruz also claimed that “Democrats cynically decided they wanted votes from illegals more than they wanted to protect our children,” reiterating the central claim of conspiracists who push the racist “great replacement theory.” There is, of course, no evidence that undocumented people vote in significant numbers, that there’s some coordinated campaign to get them to the polls or that voting plays any role in the Biden administration’s immigration policy. (There is also evidence that Biden has actually been tougher on illegal border crossers than Trump.)  

Beyond immigration, speaker after speaker attempted to terrify viewers into the voting booth with claims about crime that have been disproven over and over again.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., repeated Trump’s brazen lie about other countries’ “emptying prisons” by sending their felons to the U.S. (Trump often includes “mental institutions” in his claim). There’s no evidence this is true. Ironically, it’s a line first used by Fidel Castro to denigrate refugees fleeing his communist regime and that Republicans today often use to slander Venezuelan migrants fleeing the socialist government of Nicolás Maduro. 

Several speakers also repeated the tired claim that fentanyl has been flowing through the border because of the Biden administration’s lax enforcement. 

According to data compiled by Dan Bier of the Cato Institute, just 2 of every 10,000 people caught trying to enter the country illegally possess any fentanyl at all. Over 90% of fentanyl seizures come at legal points of entry, and 86% of people convicted of smuggling the drug are U.S. citizens. Moreover, smuggling of fentanyl, which is easier to conceal and far more concentrated than other illicit drugs, actually increased during the Covid travel restrictions. The idea that Biden has been lax on border enforcement will come as a surprise to the immigrant advocates who are furious with him.  

There’s also no evidence that progressive or reformist prosecution policies more broadly correlate with an increase in violent crime.

There’s also zero evidence that terrorists are traipsing across the southern border, as several speakers claimed. There has yet to be a single documented case of an American citizen killed or injured by a terrorist who illegally crossed the southern border, and since 1975 there have been only nine documented cases of any person’s ultimately being convicted of terrorism after illegally entering the country. 

Beyond immigration, speaker after speaker attempted to terrify viewers into the voting booth with claims about crime that have been disproven over and over again. We heard much about “Soros-funded” prosecutors’ unleashing a wave of crime and violence on America’s cities. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lamented that these prosecutors “care more about coddling criminals than protecting their own communities” and that they “impose their will on us without our consent.” 

This is a particularly rich accusation to come from DeSantis, who removed two prosecutors overwhelmingly elected (and re-elected) by their constituents and replaced them with the very sort of law-and-order prosecutors those voters had rejected. Though DeSantis accused the prosecutors of being “soft on crime,” there’s little evidence that crime has been higher in their districts than in similar districts around the state. There’s also no evidence that progressive or reformist prosecution policies more broadly correlate with an increase in violent crime. 

Wisconsin GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde claimed the Biden administration has “made us less safe at home with their ‘defund the police’ movement.”  

That statement may be the most impressive lie-to-word-count ratio yet.  

‘Humiliation parade’: DeSantis, Haley speak at RNC after Trump’s relentless attacks. 10:51

Biden didn’t support the “defund” movement; he was openly critical of it. The Biden administration hasn’t cut federal funding to law enforcement; it has increased it (sometimes over the objections of Republicans). In the two years after the George Floyd protests, 8 in 10 departments’ funding increased at least 2%. A handful of departments saw marginal cuts in funding, but no police department was “defunded.” There’s also zero evidence that more police funding corresponds with a reduction in crime or that less funding corresponds with an increase. (Otherwise, Hovde’s claim is accurate!) 

Finally, here’s some context you didn’t hear: When Trump took office in 2017, he inherited the lowest murder rate of any president in half a century. He was then the first president in three decades to finish his term with a higher murder rate than when he started.

Trump isn’t to blame for all of that. He presided over a once-in-a-generation pandemic that disrupted black markets, took witnesses off the streets and brought a wave of desperation and despair. His term also included the largest civil rights protests in U.S. history, which only reinforced the (understandable) antipathy toward police in many marginalized communities. 

Back in 2016, Trump and his surrogates blamed Obama for a surge in crime that never happened.

For the most part, presidents and their policies have little effect on crime. But there is some research suggesting that crime tends to go up when people see the government as corrupt, incompetent or hostile to their interests, particularly among marginalized groups. The theory here is that when people lose faith in government, they’re less likely to cooperate with state institutions like police and the courts. And it seems safe to say that from 2017 to 2021 there was ample reason to see the government as corrupt, incompetent and discriminatory. Immigrants, in particular, were less likely to report crimes and cooperate with police during the Trump years, most likely out of fear that they or their families would be subjected to immigration investigations. 

All of that having been said, most of what drove the surge in crime was beyond Trump’s control. But this isn’t a courtesy Trump has given his opponents. 

Back in 2016, Trump and his surrogates blamed Barack Obama for a surge in crime that never happened. They’re now doing the same thing to Biden. So it only seems fair to point out that the only major surge in crime in 40 years occurred while Trump was in the White House.  

There is at least one class of crimes that has increased exponentially since Biden took office: crimes committed by former presidents. But that probably isn’t a trend the RNC wants to emphasize. 

trump and MAGA world know they can’t will elections honestly: Trump campaign sues Michigan Gov. Whitmer over new voter registration sites

NBC News

Trump campaign sues Michigan Gov. Whitmer over new voter registration sites

Dareh Gregorian and Selina Guevara – July 15, 2024

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee sued Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and others Monday for allowing federal Veterans Affairs and Small Business Administration sites to be used for voter registration efforts.

In papers filed in federal court in Michigan, the campaign and the RNC contend Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson exceeded their authority when they struck agreements to use the VA and SBA offices as “voter registration agencies,” or VRAs.

“Under Michigan law, the authority to make such designations is held solely by the Legislature,” the filing said.

Michigan is a state that Trump won in 2016 and then flipped to back Joe Biden in 2020. It is expected to be a pivotal battleground state in this year’s election.

Trump has long sought to sow the seeds of doubt about elections before they occur, and he leveled unfounded accusations at several states in the lead-up to the 2020 election, which he then repeated as part of baseless claims to overturn the outcome when he lost.

Trump’s campaign echoed complaints that voter integrity was at risk in the suit filed Monday.

“The RNC and its members are concerned that Defendants’ failure to comply with Michigan statutes governing VRA designation undermines the integrity of elections by increasing the opportunity for individuals to register to vote even though they are ineligible to do so, and by sowing confusion regarding whether the agencies purporting to offer assistance in registering voters are doing so in accordance with applicable law,” says the suit, which was first reported by MLive.com.

It also contends that the “SBA and VA’s continued unlawful operation as VRAs have caused economic, financial, and political injury to the Plaintiffs, including by forcing them to allocate additional resources and misallocate their scarce resources in ways they otherwise would not have.”

The suit seeks a judgment declaring the move unlawful, as well as a “permanent injunction barring the State Defendants from designating any VRAs without express authorization from the Michigan Legislature.”

Whitmer’s and Benson’s offices for comment did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Putin and the trump MAGA cult again on the same propaganda page: The Kremlin is pushing a MAGA talking point that Biden’s administration is to blame for the Trump assassination attempt

Business Insider

The Kremlin is pushing a MAGA talking point that Biden’s administration is to blame for the Trump assassination attempt

Kwan Wei Kevin Tan, July 15, 2024

  • Russia says the Biden administration should be blamed for the Trump rally shooting.
  • A Kremlin spokesperson said the Biden administration incited tensions that led to the attack.
  • Trump allies like JD Vance have similarly accused the Biden administration of causing the attack.

The attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump was indirectly caused by President Joe Biden and his administration, a Kremlin spokesperson said on Sunday.

“We don’t think at all and don’t believe that the attempt to eliminate the presidential candidate Trump was organized by the present power,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters, per Russian state media outlet TASS.

“But it is the atmosphere that has been created by this administration during the political struggle, the atmosphere around the candidate Trump, prompted what America is facing today,” he continued.

On Saturday, Trump was left wounded after a gunman tried to shoot him during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania.

“I was shot with a bullet that pierced the upper part of my right ear,” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post on Saturday. “I knew immediately that something was wrong in that I heard a whizzing sound, shots, and immediately felt the bullet ripping through the skin.”

The Secret Service said the attack killed one bystander and left two others critically injured. The rally shooter, a 20-year-old man named Thomas Matthew Crooks, was shot dead by a Secret Service sniper.

But Trump’s life, Peskov said, had long been in danger.

“After numerous attempts to remove candidate Trump from the political arena using legal instruments at first, courts, the prosecutor’s office, attempts to politically discredit and compromise the candidate, it was obvious to all outside observers that his life was in jeopardy,” Peskov said on Sunday, referencing Trump’s conviction in his Manhattan hush money criminal trial on May 30.

The Kremlin’s remarks on Sunday echo that of Trump acolytes like Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Rep. Mike Collins of Georgia.

The trio were quick to point fingers at Biden following Saturday’s failed assassination.

“The Republican District Attorney in Butler County, PA, should immediately file charges against Joseph R. Biden for inciting an assassination,” Collins said in an X post on Saturday.

Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., also ripped the Democratic Party and accused them of inciting tensions before Saturday’s assassination attempt.

“Don’t tell me they didn’t know exactly what they were doing with this crap. Calling my dad a ‘dictator and a ‘threat to Democracy’ wasn’t some one off comment. It has been the MAIN MESSAGE of the Biden-Kamala campaign and Democrats across the country!!!” Trump Jr. wrote on X on Sunday.

This isn’t the first time Russia has sought to paint a picture of a dysfunctional America while weighing in on the country’s political developments.

Last month, Putin said that Trump’s Manhattan felony conviction was politically motivated and that the former president’s rivals were “simply using the judicial system in an internal power struggle.”

“They are burning themselves from the inside, their state, their political system,” Putin told reporters at the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, per Reuters.

Representatives for Russia’s foreign ministry and the Biden administration didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.

Republican’ s finally try to get rid of trump: But then try to blame the Democrats. VP frontrunner JD Vance points finger at Biden for apparent assassination attempt at Trump rally

Independent

VP frontrunner JD Vance points finger at Biden for apparent assassination attempt at Trump rally

John Bowden  – July 14, 2024

The man who could end up being Donald Trump’s running mate was quick to directly blame President Joe Biden for the apparent assassination attempt at the former president’s rally on Saturday in Pennsylvania.

JD Vance, who is just days away from potentially being announced as the nominee for vice president at the Republican National Convention, pointed the finger at Democrats and the president after Trump was shot at during his campaign event in Butler, Pennsylvania.

He was led away clutching the side of his bloody head.

One spectator was killed and two others were left in critical condition in the surreal shooting that sent shockwaves through the crowd.

The suspected gunman was shot dead by a Secret Service agent at the scene.

On Sunday morning, the FBI identified the suspect as Thomas Matthew Crooks – a 20-year-old Pennsylvania resident who was a registered Republican voter, according to online records.

Vance, a freshman Republican senator from Ohio, quickly used the incident to attack Biden

In a post on Saturday evening, he wrote: “Today is not just some isolated incident. The central premise of the Biden campaign is that President Donald Trump is an authoritarian fascist who must be stopped at all costs. That rhetoric led directly to President Trump’s attempted assassination.”

He was not the only Republican to take their response to the tragedy as far.

Without offering a shred of evidence, Rep Mike Collins, a right-wing conservative from Georgia, made the wild assertion that the local district attorney in the district of Pennsylvania where the rally took place should bring the incumbent president up on charges for “inciting” the assassination of his political rival, an allegation Trump himself has not made in his own social media posting following the shooting.

“Joe Biden sent the orders,” tweeted the congressman.

“The Republican District Attorney in Butler County, PA, should immediately file charges against Joseph R. Biden for inciting an assassination,” added Collins.

The Independent has reached out to the Biden campaign for comment on Vance and Collins’ remarks.

Vance’s statement is notable given that he’s one of just a few lawmakers still in the running to serve as Trump’s vice presidential nominee on the Republican 2024 ticket. He and the two other top contenders, Sen Marco Rubio and Gov Doug Burgum, all met with the former president within the last day; the Republican National Convention is only days away, with the first official events beginning on Monday.

Republicans from across the country are meeting in Milwaukee for their party’s nominating convention, where Trump is set to be nominated to run for the White House a third time. He won this year’s presidential primary by a commanding margin, only losing one state.

The Ohio senator is coming up on the second anniversary of his election to the Senate; just a year and seven months into his first term in the upper chamber. His contention for the role of vice president follows his come-from-behind victory in the Ohio Republican Senate primary in 2022, thanks to Trump’s endorsement, and his subsequent defeat of then-Congressman Tim Ryan for the seat in the general election.

Meanwhile, Rubio’s X feed was full of retweets about the shooting. He also attacked early media coverage of the apparent assassination attempt, when it still remained unclear what had transpired.

“Praying for President Trump and all those attending the rally in Pennsylvania today,” he wrote.

Burgum’s statements were more limited, and expressed support for the former president, whom the governor claimed was “stronger” than his political foes.

Trump himself shared a graphic statement about the shooting, saying a bullet had pierced his right ear.

“Nothing is known at this time about the shooter, who is now dead. I was shot with a bullet that pierced the upper part of my right ear,” he said. “I knew immediately that something was wrong in that I heard a whizzing sound, shots, and immediately felt the bullet ripping through the skin. Much bleeding took place, so I realized then what was happening. GOD BLESS AMERICA!”

In a new statement on Sunday morning, the former president called on the US to “stand united” as he thanked God for preventing the “unthinkable from happening”.

JD Vance needs to look at himself, his party’s rhetoric before blaming Democrats | Letters

Cincinnati.con – Enquirer – Opinion

JD Vance needs to look at himself, his party’s rhetoric before blaming Democrats | Letters

Letters to the editor – July 15, 2024

Violence has no place in politics. This is quite true, but I find it necessary to point out a few things after Ohio Senator J.D. Vance decided to place the blame for the assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump on Democrats.

Political rhetoric has increased on both sides. The reason the rhetoric is necessary, however, is because Trump would not accept the fact that he lost the 2020 election because We the People decided we didn’t want anymore of the leadership, or lack of leadership, he provided. The reason the rhetoric is necessary is because Trump decided to try to protect himself from jail as he knew he was more than likely to be convicted by a jury of his peers for crimes they proved he committed. Finally, I believe Trump is trying to move our country to autocracy with the Project 2025 plan once he is reelected.

Sen. JD Vance (R-OH) gestures while speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill on May 22, 2024 in Washington, DC.
Sen. JD Vance (R-OH) gestures while speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill on May 22, 2024 in Washington, DC.

Democrats are furious and are hard-charging at Trump and his party because we fear for replacing all the men and women in our justice system, who have kept this country safe since the Department of Justice’s inception with the exception of 9/11, with Trump loyalists as Project 2025 espouses. We are afraid of Trump using our service members as the police to “put down” any rioting, especially if the rioters are Black Lives Matter or any other person/persons of color as Project 2025 espouses. We are afraid of Trump eliminating the Department of Education and using his cohorts in the U.S. Supreme Court who want to force all of us to be Christians, as that is what they claim to be, and want to force women back to the 1960s, as one Republican representative stated recently, where we stay at home, have babies and take care of our men.

No, Sen. Vance, look closer to your own party and yourself for the “rhetoric” (lies) that you and your party project.  As Democrats, we will lower the political rhetoric as long as Sen. Vance’s party does. Oh I forgot, Sen. Vance already started right back into blaming Democrats instead of looking closer at himself and the people he supports.

Felicia Duncan, Sharonville

Judge tosses Trump documents case, ruling prosecutor was unlawfully appointed

Reuters

Judge tosses Trump documents case, ruling prosecutor was unlawfully appointed

Andrew Goudsward and Sarah N. Lynch – July 15, 2024

Former U.S. President Donald Trump and Special Counsel Jack Smith

(Reuters) -A U.S. judge in Florida on Monday dismissed the criminal case accusing Donald Trump of illegally keeping classified documents after leaving office, handing the Republican former president another major legal victory as he seeks a return to the White House.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed to the bench by Trump, ruled that Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the prosecution, was unlawfully appointed to his role and did not have the authority to bring the case.

The judge found that U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, who named Smith in 2022 to oversee investigations involving Trump, did not have the authority “to appoint a federal officer with the kind of prosecutorial power wielded by Special Counsel Smith.”

Cannon also found that Smith’s investigation has been improperly funded through a permanent and unlimited fund Congress set aside in the 1980s for independent investigations.

It marked another blockbuster legal triumph for Trump.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on July 1 that Trump cannot be prosecuted for actions that were within his constitutional powers as president – a landmark decision recognizing for the first time any form of presidential immunity from prosecution. That ruling involved charges pursued by Smith in a separate case against Trump in Washington involving his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss.

Cannon’s ruling came two days after Trump was the target of an assassination attempt at a campaign rally in western Pennsylvania. Trump is set to be formally named the Republican presidential nominee in Milwaukee this week, challenging Democratic President Joe Biden in the Nov. 5 U.S. election.

Prosecutors are likely to appeal Cannon’s ruling. Courts in other cases have repeatedly upheld the ability of the U.S. Justice Department to appoint special counsels to handle certain politically sensitive investigations.

Trump, in a social media post, said Cannon’s ruling should be a “just the first step” and called for the dismissal of all four criminal cases against him.

“Let us come together to END all Weaponization of our Justice System,” Trump wrote.

Trump was convicted in May on New York state felony charges involving hush money paid to a porn star to avert a sex scandal before the 2016 election. Trump had pleaded not guilty in the documents case and in Smith’s other case, as well as to election-related charges in state court in Georgia.

A spokesperson for Smith did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the documents case, Trump was indicted on charges that he willfully retained sensitive national security documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after leaving office in 2021 and obstructed government efforts to retrieve the material. Prosecutors have said the documents related to U.S. military and intelligence matters, including details about the American nuclear program.

Two others, Trump personal aide Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Olivera, were also charged with obstructing the investigation.

‘BREATHTAKINGLY MISGUIDED’

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said in a statement: “This breathtakingly misguided ruling flies in the face of long-accepted practice and repetitive judicial precedence. It is wrong on the law and must be appealed immediately. This is further evidence that Judge Cannon cannot handle this case impartially and must be reassigned.”

At the very least, Cannon’s ruling throws the future of the case into doubt. Trump’s lawyers have not made a similar challenge to the special counsel in Smith’s election-related case.

Trump’s lawyers challenged the legal authority for Garland’s 2022 decision to appoint Smith to lead investigations into Trump. They argued that the appointment violated the U.S. Constitution because Smith’s office was not created by Congress and the special counsel was not confirmed by the Senate.

Lawyers in Smith’s office disputed Trump’s claims, arguing that there was a well-settled practice of using special counsels to manage politically sensitive investigations.

“This ruling flies in the face of about 20 years of institutional precedent, conflicts with rulings issued in both the Mueller investigation and in D.C. with respect to Jack Smith himself,” said Bradley Moss, an attorney who specializes in national security, referring to an investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller during Trump’s presidency.

Moss also said the ruling raises the question of whether Smith will seek to have Cannon removed from the case.

Cannon’s ruling is the most consequential in a series of decisions she has made favoring Trump and expressing skepticism about the conduct of prosecutors. The judge previously delayed a trial indefinitely while considering a flurry of Trump legal challenges.

In an unusual move, she allowed three outside lawyers, including two who sided with Trump, to argue during a court hearing focused on Trump’s challenge to Smith’s appointment.

Conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas provided a boost to Trump’s challenge to the special counsel. In an opinion agreeing with the court’s decision to grant Trump broad immunity, Thomas questioned whether Smith’s appointment was lawful, using similar arguments to those made by Trump’s lawyers.

Garland appointed Smith, a public corruption and international war crimes prosecutor, to give investigations into Trump a degree of independence from the Justice Department under Biden’s administration.

(Reporting by Andrew Goudsward and Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Scott Malone, Daniel Wallis and Will Dunham)

The Republican Party platform has an audience of one

MSNBC – Opinion

The Republican Party platform has an audience of one

By Michael Steele, co-host of “The Weekend” – July 12, 2024

The 16-page document reflects the obsessions and quirks of Donald Trump, not the Grand Old Party.

‘Project 2025 has Trump’s revolting DNA all over it’: Why Dems’ infighting over Biden must end

In a matter of days, former President Donald Trump’s anti-democracy agenda will most likely be met with thunderous applause as he officially accepts the Republican nomination for president at the party’s national convention. 

The picture of a lawless America mired in poverty and perversion that Trump will paint isn’t backed up by reality, but it is set to be backed up by the official Republican Party platform.

On Monday, the Republican platform committee advanced a draft of the so-called principles that will guide the Republican Party for the next four years. But this platform isn’t a road map to prosperity for the American people. It doesn’t offer a framework for unity in a fractured country.

Instead, it is a manifesto for one man: Trump.

The 16-page document is written to appeal to Trump’s sensibilities — emotionally, rhetorically and even grammatically (the erratic capitalization reads like one of his unhinged social media rants).

The 16-page document is written to appeal to his sensibilities — emotionally, rhetorically and even grammatically (the erratic capitalization reads like one of his unhinged social media rants).

And because it’s tailor-made for the convicted figurehead of this once-great party, it’s riddled with lies and belligerence designed to divide us further.

Some tenets reflect the heartlessness Trump has ushered in.

For instance, the platform promises to “CARRY OUT THE LARGEST DEPORTATION OPERATION IN AMERICAN HISTORY” — a policy that Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts also backed in his recent interview with “The Weekend” about Project 2025.

Let’s put the logistics of deporting millions of people — many of whom have built lives and started families in this country — and kneecapping the economy aside for a moment. Let’s focus instead on the morality of breaking those families up, of devaluing human lives to the point of boasting about it.

The position flies in the face of President Ronald Reagan’s more measured stance.

After noting that “our strength comes from our own immigrant heritage and our capacity to welcome those from other lands,” Reagan said:

“Illegal immigrants in considerable numbers have become productive members of our society and are a basic part of our work force. Those who have established equities in the United States should be recognized and accorded legal status. At the same time, in so doing, we must not encourage illegal immigration.”

Reagan later signed substantial immigration reform into law with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. That bill banned the hiring of undocumented immigrants while still ensuring a pathway to lawful permanent residence and eventual citizenship for some 2.7 million undocumented immigrants who entered the country before 1982.

That’s a far cry from today’s Republican Party, which paints an apocalyptic picture of a so-called invasion at the southern border while tanking solutions to the issue at Trump’s direction.

The platform is also riddled with contradictions.

The platform is also riddled with these kinds of contradictions. 

The document highlights the importance of free speech multiple times throughout its pages, pledging to “ban the Federal Government from colluding with anyone to censor Lawful Speech.” In the same document, it vows “to keep foreign Christian-hating Communists, Marxists, and Socialists out of America.” 

Exactly how do you do that? I fervently disagree with communism, Marxism and socialism, but like the views that animate this MAGA platform, they aren’t unlawful, and, as long as their expression doesn’t put people in physical danger, I believe that even views I disagree with shouldn’t be regulated by the government. 0 seconds of 9 minutes, 11 secondsVolume 90% 

Trump’s fatal weakness suddenly exposed

If the government can begin sanctioning everyday people for their political views alone, it sets a dangerous precedent. The platform acknowledges this with the pledge to “hold accountable those who have misused the power of Government to unjustly prosecute their Political Opponents.”

Then, there’s a tapestry of issues that the Republican Party under Trump has proven ineffective at addressing.

“Republicans will reassert greater Federal Control over Washington, DC to restore Law and Order in our Capital City, and ensure Federal Buildings and Monuments are well-maintained.”

The irony is palpable. On Jan. 6, 2021, a mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol, where they shattered windows, ransacked offices and trashed the emblem of American democracy. Federal authorities estimate that Trump’s foot soldiers wreaked $2.73 million in damage.

Now, Republicans claiming to support law and order have largely backed Trump’s promise to pardon the rioters who desecrated a building paid for by U.S. taxpayers while also threatening to undermine the self-governance of our capital city. 

Then there’s the platform’s vow to “END INFLATION,” a problem already under control.

Just this Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that year-over-year inflation rose only 3% last month — a sharper decrease than expected, continuing a steady reduction from a peak of 9% two years prior.

Or maybe Trump means the inflation that he will kick off with his other campaign pledges, as economists have warned that the drastic increases in tariffs he has endorsed would decimate that progress and worsen inflation.

The current Republican platform is incoherent, hate-filled and ham-fisted, but that should come as no surprise. It was made in the image of the man who will accept the party’s nomination in just a few days.

A famous speech in “Macbeth” compares life to “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing,” as the Scottish king’s empire implodes.

The platform of this once-great party has “sound and fury” in spades and is being told by no shortage of idiots, but unfortunately, it doesn’t signify “nothing.” It signifies what will guide the MAGA party if it is given the chance to write laws that govern your life.

Vote accordingly.

For more thought-provoking insights from Michael Steele, Alicia Menendez and Symone Sanders-Townsend, watch “The Weekend” every Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m. ET on MSNBC.

Michael Steele is a co-host of “The Weekend,” which airs Saturdays and Sundays at 8 a.m. ET on MSNBC. He is a former lieutenant governor of Maryland and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee. 

Omnipotent SCOTUS bows to the Court of King Donald

Omnipotent SCOTUS bows to the Court of King Donald

John Hanno – July 4, 2024

I’m astonished, on this Independence Day 2024, the near 250th anniversary, of America’s Founding Father delegates of the Second Continental Congress declaring the original Thirteen Colonies emancipated from the Monarch of Great Britain, King George III., at having to rationalize SCOTUS’s irrational political proclamation, returning subordination of America’s Democratic experiment back to a now unfettered, kleptocratic, facist minded, autocratic King.

The Mighty Oz has spoken. Six extreme right justices of the highest court in the land have shown their true colors. They clearly believe 250 years of American jurisprudence is suspect, and that our elected legislative branch’s of government can’t be trusted to fashion unbiased laws, that large segments of our judicial branch’s of government can’t be trusted to rule fairly and without favor, that the Democratic Institutions which have served us dependably for many decades, can’t be trusted to dispense scientific and reasoned judgments, that the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees Freedom of the Press, is just more proof of a deep state conspiracy, that disaffected members of the Rockefeller, Eisenhower, Regan conservative Grand Old Party can’t be trusted to engage in bipartisan governance, and that pro choice women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ folks, environmentalists, gun rights and labor advocates, teachers and librarians, the secular and non christians, all can’t be trusted on anything, and that large majorities of We The People, who are at loggerheads on dozens of critical issues, with this new trump conscripted MAGA cult, with the rich and powerful, and with SCOTUS itself, can’t be trusted.

The uncompromising SCOTUS answer to litigants who seek justice and reasoned deliberation from the Court, and who sometimes kneel in prayer on the steps of the Supreme Court building, begging for help, is:

“You’ve no power here! Begone, before someone drops a house on you too!” Wizard of Oz

This Court’s rulings; sometimes applying originalist or textualist interpretations, sometimes not, sometimes narrow, sometimes expansive, sometimes quick, sometimes slow, sometimes follow The Doctrine of Stare Decisis, but only if it suits them. These consequential decisions, more often than not, render unprecedented and confusing views of the U.S. Constitution, and are befuddling to common folks and legal scholars of every stripe alike.

They might advocate for Fundamental Rights, for corporations yes, but seldom for the less powerful. It’s almost as if they’re taking directives from wealthy, fawning benefactors expecting quid pro quo from justices, or from powerful political party leaders and operatives bent on undermining both the Constitution and our Democracy. Pandering to the rich and powerful, no matter how convoluted in reasoning and no matter how demented or suspect the litigant, is not beyond the courts ability to excuse the un-American and un-Democratic conduct of a demented citizen suffering a boggled mind. One would think that judges who aren’t accountable to anyone, or to any set of rules, who have lifetime jobs, would not be intimidated by the person who hired them.

“As for you, my fine friend, you’re a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate delusion that simply because you run away from danger, you have no courage. You’re confusing courage with wisdom.” — The Wizard of Oz

The 6 far right Supreme Court Jesters (SCJOTUS) have now putinized the Presidency of the United States. trump was always envious of putin and Kim Jong’s luxury of ruling as Kingly monarchs unconstrained by rules, laws, precedent, integrity, equity, honesty, human decency, and above all, the truth. Toss in the express ability to break any of our mortal laws, including retribution and exacting revenge on any perceived member of one’s enemy’s list, and having been granted the capability of disappearing a political rival, and America’s Democracy is no longer the model for the world to aspire to.

“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Dorothy

Justice Sotomayor Dissented:

“Looking beyond the fate of this particular prosecution, the long-term consequences of today’s decision are stark. The court effectively creates a law-free zone around the president, upsetting the status quo that has existed since the founding. This new official-acts immunity now ‘lies about like a loaded weapon’ for any president that wishes to place his own interests, his own political survival, or his own financial gain, above the interests of the nation.

“Sotomayor said that the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, invents “an atextual, ahistorical, and unjustifiable immunity that puts the President above the law.””

“Their ruling, she went on, makes three moves that she said “completely insulate Presidents from criminal liability.” Sotomayor said the court creates absolute immunity for the president’s exercise of “core constitutional powers,” creates “expansive immunity for all ‘official acts,'” and “declares that evidence concerning acts for which the President is immune can play no role in any criminal prosecution against him.””

“Orders are nobody can see the Great Oz! Not nobody, not nohow!”— Doorman

Sotomayor warned that the ruling “will have disastrous consequences for the Presidency and for our democracy” and that it sends the message: “Let the President violate the law, let him exploit the trappings of his office for personal gain, let him use his official power for evil ends.”

She added, “Even if these nightmare scenarios never play out, and I pray they never do, the damage has been done. The relationship between the President and the people he serves has shifted irrevocably. In every use of official power, the President is now a king above the law.”

In her own written dissent, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson said that the majority’s ruling “breaks new and dangerous ground.

“Departing from the traditional model of individual accountability, the majority has concocted something entirely different: a Presidential accountability model that creates immunity—an exemption from criminal law — applicable only to the most powerful official in our Government,” she wrote.

“These things must be done delicately, or you hurt the spell.” Wicked Witch of the West

Jackson warned that under the majority’s “new Presidential accountability mode,” a hypothetical president “who admits to having ordered the assassinations of his political rivals or critics…or one who indisputably instigates an unsuccessful coup…has a fair shot at getting immunity.”

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” — The Wizard of Oz

Chief Justice Roberts rebukes the 3 liberals on the court, suggesting that his three liberal colleagues had misinterpreted the majority’s opinion and were engaging in “fear mongering.” Roberts argued that they “strike a tone of chilling doom that is wholly disproportionate to what the Court actually does today.” He wrote that “like everyone else, the President is subject to prosecution in his unofficial capacity.”

“My goodness, what a fuss you’re making! Well naturally, when you go around picking on things weaker than you are. Why, you’re nothing but a great big coward!” Dorothy

A Biden campaign adviser, on the other hand, said that the ruling doesn’t change what happened on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Donald Trump snapped after he lost the 2020 election and encouraged a mob to overthrow the results of a free and fair election,” the adviser said. “Trump is already running for president as a convicted felon for the very same reason he sat idly by while the mob violently attacked the Capitol: he thinks he’s above the law and is willing to do anything to gain and hold onto power for himself.”

The twice impeached ex president trump, four times indicted by grand juries, convicted on 34 felony counts, awaiting 3 additional trials on scores more felonies for attempting to overturn the 2020 election and overthrow our government, and for stealing top secret confidential documents, was found guilty of rampant fraud personally and in his business, was also found guilty of sexual assault and libel, has so far escaped being held accountable for his 6 years long crime spree. Because he’s been able to spend more than $100 million dollars of other people’s money on legal fees, in order to delay all of his pending cases, that accounting probably won’t happen before the 2024 presidential election.

“Lions, and tigers and bears! Oh my!” “Lions, and tigers and bears! Oh my!” “Lions, and tigers and bears! Oh my!” Dorothy, Tim Man and Scarecrow.

Soon after the court issued the ruling, Trump celebrated the decision on his Truth Social account, writing in all caps: “Big win for our Constitution and democracy. Proud to be an American!”

“Some people without brains do an *awful* lot of talking, don’t they?” The Scarecrow

trump’s conspirators are numerous, starting with the republi-cons in the U.S. Senate, who could have stopped him long ago. Minority Leader McConnell said the former president was “practically and morally responsible” for the attack on the Capitol on January 6. But after voting to acquit, McConnell argued that he believed it was unconstitutional to convict a president who was no longer in office.

“For 23 years, I’ve been dying to tell you what I thought of you, and now… well, being a Christian woman (Senator), I can’t say it!” — Auntie Em

All of the members of the MAGA republi-con congress could have held trump accountable by not condoning or endorsing every hair-brained scheme, criminal conduct, grift and assault on our Democratic institutions, our courts, the independent press and the American voters.

“Back where I come from there are men who do nothing all day but good deeds. They are called phila… er, phila… er, yes, er, Good Deed Doers.” — The Wizard of Oz

The embarrassing and comical parade of U.S. Congress men and women, dressed in their cult leader’s blue suit and red tie costume, who pontificated outside the New York court about the injustice of the American system of justice’s attempts to hold trump accountable for his one man crime wave, will be remembered in history for their un-American and treasonous butt kissing of an angry, demented megalomaniac bent on retribution and revenge.

“You’re right, I am a coward! I haven’t any courage at all. I even scare myself.” The Cowardly Lion

The U.S. Constitution establishes 3 equal branches of government. The partisan deadlocked legislative branch has proved powerless to hold trump and many of his cowardly conspirators accountable. The many courts who have ruled against and prosecuted trump for his crimes, in spite of scores of trump lawyers filing hundreds of frivolous, obfuscating briefings aimed primarily at delaying accountability until after the election, have been mostly neutered by this unjustifiable Supreme Court ruling on immunity. This rogue court has attempted to not only usurp and strip legislatures, the lower courts and our Democratic institutions of their Constitutional powers, they have empowered the executive branch and the president with a broad immunity contrary to the founding fathers intensions.

There are some hero’s in this American tragedy. Although the U.S. Senate voted 57-43 to acquit trump at his impeachment trial, for his role in inciting the horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol, the largest number of senators in history, voted to find a president of their own party guilty of an impeachment charge. Voting to find Trump guilty were GOP Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.

The Republicans in the House censured and forced out Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of my home state of Illinois, for their courageous role in the January 6th Committee hearings and for referring trump’s conduct to the Justice Department. Liz Cheney has more balls than all the MAGA republi-con men in congress combined.

On September 17, 1787: Benjamin Franklin presided over the first day of the Constitutional Convention, in his home town of Philadelphia.

The day began with a prepared speech from Ben Franklin (PA) who, eighty-one years old and painfully afflicted with gout and kidney stone, was unable to read the speech himself and delegated that task to Wilson (PA).

On September 18, 1787, the final day of the Convention, this now famous quote of Benjamin Franklin was recorded in a journal kept by James McHenry, a Maryland delegate to the Constitutional Convention. 

Elizabeth Willing Powel of Philadelphia, asked Dr. Franklin: “Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy – A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.”

Oblique view of Powel house, looking southwest
Elizabeth and Samuel Powel’s house at 244 South Third Street, Philadelphia, where the conversation between Elizabeth Powel and Benjamin Franklin might have taken place. Historic American Buildings Survey. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

It appears we must rely on another 81 year old patriot to help preserve our Democratic Republic. Although not as eloquent as Benjamin Franklin, and in spite of his word fumbles and stutters, President Joseph Biden believes he’s up to the task. I also believe he is. One very important advantage, is Joe Biden’s ability to bring people together to solve America’s and the world’s monumental problems. With the highly qualified and diverse people he’s brought into his administration (none of them indicted, resigned, fired or in prison), to the 50 countries he’s help assembled to defend Ukraine against trump’s brother from another mother, the Biden administration has more than risen to the task over the last 3 1/2 years. But Uncle Joe can’t do it himself, everyone in his administration must step up. And the voters must award the President with a big D Democratic House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. Joe Biden is remarkably adept at overcoming trying times.

Frightened? Child, you’re talking to a man who’s laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom, and chuckled at catastrophe. I was petrified.” — The Wizard of Oz

trump, on the other hand, hires people not for their expertise at governing or solving problems, but for their ability to dismantle the critical Democratic institutions they’re tasked with running, for their talent at ignoring laws and regulations, for engaging in self-serving financial enrichment, and for turning a blind eye to trump’s chaotic reign of terror. During his administration, the media had flow charts of the dozens of trump appointees who were fired, resigned, indicted, tried, convicted and sent to prison. And all of them had to hire lawyers, and their lawyers had to hire lawyers, and their lawyers, lawyers had to hire lawyers.

And a Final Word From the Library of Congress Blog:

“Another source of Elizabeth Willing Powel’s influence was her own social and political dexterity, which she deployed to make her home a gathering place for the city’s political elite from the revolutionary period through George Washington’s presidency. Among the regulars at Powel’s dinners and parties were George and Martha Washington, with whom the Powel’s became close friends. Letters exchanged between the couples are in the George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress. One of these, from Elizabeth Powel to George Washington, dates from the third year of Washington’s first term as president, a time when he was hoping he would be able to resign the presidency and go home.

Detail of letter from Elizabeth Willing Powel to George Washington
“May you, till the extremest old age, enjoy the pure Felicity of having employed your whole Faculties for the Prosperity of the People for whose Happiness you are responsible, for to you their Happiness is intrusted.” Elizabeth Willing Powel to George Washington, November 17, 1792, George Washington Papers, Manuscript Division.

In his 1789 inaugural address, and in many private letters as well, Washington made clear that he was longing to return to his retirement at Mount Vernon. Less than a week after his inauguration, he wrote to former military officer and South Carolina legislator Edward Rutledge that when he accepted his “duty to embark” on the presidency, which he described as “the tempestuous and uncertain Ocean of public life,” he “gave up all expectations of private happiness in this world.” In the fall of 1792, seeing the end of his first term in sight, Washington began planning his exit. Elizabeth Willing Powel was among the friends who convinced him to stay. In her letter she warned him that his political opponents would see his resignation as a sign that he believed the republican experiment had failed and, fearing for his own reputation, had “withdrawn from it that you might not be crushed under its Ruins.” She pleaded with him: “For Gods sake do not yield . . . to a Love of Ease, Retirement, rural Pursuits.”

Please don’t retire Joe !

Trump plans to Dismantle American Democracy: What is Project 2025? The conservative road map is raising a lot of eyebrows, on both sides of the aisle.

Business Insider

What is Project 2025? The conservative road map is raising a lot of eyebrows, on both sides of the aisle.

Katie Balevic – July 6, 2024

  • Project 2025 is a road map for the next Republican president.
  • The Heritage Foundation, a prominent conservative think tank, authored the plan.
  • It calls for eliminating the Education Department, among some other surprising things.

Well before the disastrous presidential debate during which President Joe Biden may have handed the keys to the White House back to former President Donald Trump, conservative thinkers were assembling a game plan.

In January 2023, The Heritage Foundation began promoting Project 2025, a 922-page “playbook” assembled with input from dozens of other conservative organizations to guide the next Republican administration.

“The time is short, and conservatives need a plan,” reads the website for the right-wing presidential transition plan. “The project will create a playbook of actions to be taken in the first 180 days of the new Administration to bring quick relief to Americans suffering from the Left’s devastating policies.”

Some of Project 2025’s priorities include:

  • Slashing employment in the federal government and muzzling “woke propaganda at every level of government”
  • Eliminating the Department of Education and its “woke-dominated system of public schools”
  • Prohibiting the FBI from fighting misinformation and disinformation
  • Ending the “war on fossil fuels” and allowing further development on Native American lands
  • Ending active FBI investigations that are “contrary to the national interest”

The plan is so extreme that even Trump has distanced himself from it, writing on Truth Social this week that he knows “nothing about Project 2025.”

“I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they’re saying and some of the things they’re saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them,” Trump wrote.

A spokesperson from Project 2025 told Business Insider that the playbook “does not speak for any candidate or campaign.”

“We are a coalition of more than 110 conservative groups advocating policy and personnel recommendations for the next conservative president. But it is ultimately up to that president, who we believe will be President Trump, to decide which recommendations to implement,” the spokesperson said.