Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: The important poll question: ‘What if Trump is convicted?’

Joyce Vance/”Civil Discourse” on Substack:

Jack Smith’s Bold Move

The issue comes down to this: Is Trump immune from criminal prosecution for the rest of his life for any acts he committed while president? In other words, is he above the law? Or can he be, as Jack Smith argues, prosecuted once he leaves the White House.

The Supreme Court has never decided this issue before. And it has to be decided, because if it goes in Trump’s favor, the case is dismissed and there will be no trial. I don’t think anyone expects that will be the outcome here, although you never know with the Supreme Court. But Smith is asking them to tell Trump that immunity (and double jeopardy, an argument with even less merit than immunity) is off the table so the case can proceed to trial.

It’s too early to do horse race polling, but if you want to look at a poll, look at the ones that ask about convictions.


NY appeals court hands Trump another defeat over gag order

A New York appellate court rejected Donald Trump’s challenge of the gag order in his civil fraud trial Thursday. Trump’s attorneys petitioned the court over the gag order that bars him and the attorneys from speaking publicly about Judge Arthur Engoron’s court staff.

In rejecting the challenge Thursday, the appeals court said Trump didn’t use the proper legal vehicle to challenge the gag order and sanctions.

The appellate court in another order Thursday also rejected a Trump request to allow his legal team to seek a review of the gag order by the Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court.

Trial testimony ended Wednesday after 11 weeks in court.

The parties are scheduled to file supplemental briefs in the case January 5 and return to court for oral arguments January 11 before Engoron renders a final verdict.

And on that note, keep in mind how often Trump is losing in court, except for some delay moves.


On the “vibes vs. the economy” debate, Nate Cohn/The New York Times:

Recent positive news may put two theories on economic disenchantment to the test.

Yes, voters are upset about high prices, and prices are indeed high. This easily and even completely explains why voters think this economy is mediocre: In the era of consumer sentiment data, inflation has never risen so high without pushing consumer sentiment below average and usually well below average. This part is not complicated.

But it’s harder to argue that voters should believe the economy is outright terrible, even after accounting for inflation. Back in early 2022, I estimated that consumer confidence was running at least 10 to 15 percentage points worse than one would expect historically, after accounting for prices and real disposable income.

In that regard, consider the following headlines:

  • CNN: Dow surges to new record as Fed signals three rate cuts in 2024
  • New York Times: Is Jerome Powell’s Fed Pulling Off a Soft Landing?
  • New York Times: The Markets Are Getting Ahead of the Fed
  • CNBC: Dow rises to fresh record after more strong economic data, falling rates
  • Reuters: US economy still resilient as retail sales beat expectations, layoffs stay low

Consider also that weak Chinese economic growth is likely to depress oil demand for some time.


Jill Lawrence/The Bulwark:

Impeachment Is Just Another Word for Getting Even. Thanks, GOP.

Accountability is on life support and even Jack Smith may not save it.

No facts? No problem. House Republicans plan to launch an official Biden impeachment inquiry this week—if they can wrangle enough votes from their minuscule, divided majority. Greene predicted two months before the 2022 midterms that there would be “a lot of investigations” if the GOP won the House. It’s the Democrats’ fault, she told author Robert Draper, because they started it with their “witch hunts” against Trump. She introduced an impeachment resolution against Biden the day after he took office.


The Associated Press:

The Republican leading the probe of Hunter Biden has his own shell company and complicated friends

Interviews and records reviewed by The Associated Press provide new insights into the financial deal, which risks undercutting the force of some of [GOP Rep. James] Comer’s central arguments in his impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden. For months, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee and his Republican colleagues have been pounding Biden, a Democrat, for how his relatives traded on their famous name to secure business deals.

Expect more stories like this now that the hypocrisy is on full display.


Great point:


He’s right about Leader Jeffries. Then again:


Tony Michaels and Cliff Schecter on a Trump dictatorship:


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