Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Rudy Giuliani is out of luck, and the courts are sending a message

The Rudy Giuliani defamation trial is now over.

NBC News:

Rudy Giuliani hit with $148M verdict for defaming two Georgia election workers

An attorney for Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, had urged the eight-person jury to “send a message” with its verdict.

It was a unanimous decision by an eight-person jury. Giuliani deserved punitive damages, and the plaintiffs—Fulton County, Georgia, election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss—deserve to be compensated.

The courts are saying that lying can be expensive. And Donald Trump’s fraud trial in New York is still yet to resolve (and it might send the same message).

In other news:

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Neil Irwin/Axios:

What the Fed’s rate policy pivot means for the economy

Why it matters: The end of the war on inflation is in sight. Barring some unpleasant economic surprises, the central bank is now prepared to take its foot off the brakes and move to a stance in which it is no longer actively trying to slow growth.

  • Importantly, the majority of policymakers are now envisioning significant rate cuts in 2024, while also envisioning the economy remaining basically solid, with low unemployment and steady growth.
  • In other words, rates will probably be coming down next year even in the absence of a severe downturn. That’s a sweet spot both for financial markets and for families and businesses.
  • The cycle of monetary tightening that has whipsawed markets and the economy for the last two years is, for all intents and purposes, over.

John Stoehr/The Editorial Board:

House Republicans ‘will regret’ voting for impeachment inquiry

An interview with the peerless Jill Lawrence.

Biden’s impeachment, which is imminent, is part of Trump’s vengeance movement. Fortunately, it’s being seen that way. Stories about it seem to have two critical features. One, that there’s no evidence linking Joe Biden to Hunter Biden’s businesses. Two, that beneath all the innuendo and conspiracy theory is an obsessive, driving force – a disgraced former president who’s still stinging from being impeached twice.

Since these impeachment proceedings are going to be based on nothing, one could say nothing will come of them – meaninglessness has no meaning. But that overlooks something important about the House GOP’s smear campaign. It represents fundamental weakness.

Craig Mauger/Detroit News:

In court, Michigan Republicans tie false elector effort to Donald Trump’s campaign

While the Trump campaign has previously been tied to the overall strategy of crafting electoral certificates in seven battleground states, the testimony Thursday described campaign staffers as being involved in recruiting attendees and running the meeting of the false electors in Lansing on Dec. 14, 2020. During that gathering, 16 Republican activists signed a document that was used to claim the then-incumbent Republican president won Michigan’s 16 electoral votes.

The revelations came on the second day of preliminary examinations for six of the Republican electors as Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office pursues criminal forgery charges against those whose names appeared on the false certificate.

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Bolts magazine:

The Thousands of Local Elections That Will Shape Criminal Justice Policy in 2024

Counties across the nation are electing DAs and sheriffs next year. Bolts guides you through the early hotspots.

Local DAs like [Georgia’s Fani] Willis have become a key GOP target this year, as Republicans go after prosecutors who they think are standing in the way of their political or policy ambitions. New laws in Georgia and Texas give courts and state officials more authority to discipline DAs. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is challenging Trump for the GOP’s presidential nomination, has over the last 18 months removed two Democratic prosecutors from office, angry over their policies like not prosecuting abortion.

The presidential election is also pulling sheriffs into its orbit. Far-right sheriffs have allied with election deniers, using local law enforcement to amplify Trump’s lies about 2020, ramp up investigations, and even threaten election officials. One such sheriff, Pinal County’s Mark Lamb, is now running for the U.S. Senate in Arizona, leaving his office open. Over in Texas, Tarrant County (Fort Worth) Sheriff Bill Waybourn inspired a new task force that will be policing how people vote while he runs for reelection next year.

With roughly 2,200 prosecutors and sheriffs on the 2024 ballot, voters will weigh in on county offices throughout the nation next year, settling confrontations over the shape of local criminal legal systems while also choosing the president and Congress.

Bolts today is launching its coverage with our annual overview of which counties will hold such races and when: Find our full list here.

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Bloomberg:

Mike Johnson May Be the Next House Speaker to Lose His Job

  • Conservatives warn Johnson against deals on Ukraine, shutdown
  • Lawmakers due back just 10 days before next US funding lapse

House Speaker Mike Johnson is ending 2023 with an ominous preview of what to expect in the new year: dissension in his ranks that threatens to hamstring deals on US government funding, Ukraine war aid and border policy.

It could also cost him his job.

The Louisiana Republican, elected speaker in October after GOP hardliners ousted his predecessor for making deals with Democrats, sent the House home for the holidays on Thursday after passing a bipartisan defense policy bill over strong objections from 73 ultra-conservatives.

This YouTube lecture from New York Times analyst Nate Cohn on the state of polling is excellent:

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