Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Focus on Trump trials from Liz Cheney and Nikki Haley

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup is a long-running series published every morning that collects essential political discussion and analysis around the internet.

Greg Sargent/The New Republic:

Liz Cheney Nukes the Supreme Court Over Trump Delay—and Hands Dems a Weapon

What percentage of voters know that Trump can cancel prosecutions of himself if he wins back the White House?

The court’s decision is terrible news, to be sure, but it gives Democrats an opportunity to clarify a few crucial points, and they should seize it.

First, Democrats should stress that voters need to know before the election whether Trump committed crimes—and this is due to them as a matter of right. Second, Trump is seeking these delays to end all prosecutions of himself if he regains the White House—to corruptly place himself above the law by pardoning himself or having his handpicked lickspittle attorney general do it. Democrats must say clearly that if the court helps delay the trial until after the election, it will be enabling him to do that.

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Steven T Dennis/X via Threadreader:

One way to look at McConnell is that he has often had the role of editor of Congress. Empowered by the filibuster and his conference, he had a key veto point in Washington; spending, taxing and legislating had to pass through his filter.

McConnell said no so often for so long that when he would on those fairly rare occasions say yes, things could happen lightning fast. Like that time he decided to raise the age for buying tobacco products to 21 *and it just happened.* Don’t even remember any real debate. 

McConnell started saying yes more often under Biden: Bipartisan infrastructure, chips, and so on created a burst of legislating. (That dealmaking also had another effect: They helped preserve filibuster for future and stalling BBB by bolstering Manchinema-ism). 

This Congress McConnell is no longer the filter. The House has been paralyzed. 

McConnell two years ago was able to wave a wand and double the size of Ukraine aid packages. Now… 

Tyler Pager/Washington Post:

The private chats and chance encounters that shape Joe Biden’s thinking

After conversations with his grandchildren, fellow churchgoers and Delaware neighbors, the president brings their worries to the Oval Office

As president of the United States, Biden has access to practically unlimited information. He receives a daily classified briefing from the world’s most powerful intelligence apparatus. He can mobilize the vast machinery of the U.S. government to deliver data on various topics. He can convene meetings with world leaders, Cabinet officials or experts in any field — and often does.

But to a remarkable degree, Biden relies on direct personal interaction for information: catch-up chats with his children and grandchildren; talks with fellow parishioners after Mass; exchanges with workers on his property in Wilmington, Del; spontaneous calls to former colleagues. From consumer prices to masking guidelines to loneliness, the president brings their worries to the Oval Office.

Better regular people than donors, fat cats and the Davos elite.

Molly Hennessy-Fiske/Washington Post:

Conservative Christian women in red states are rising up to defend IVF

Late last Saturday, after she’d put her two toddlers to bed in central North Carolina, Hannah Nelson spotted a troubling post in her Instagram feed: “The Alabama ruling & a Christian consideration of IVF.”

“Being pro-life does not mean ‘have babies through whatever means necessary’,” a Christian influencer had written of the recent ruling by Alabama’s Supreme Court that frozen embryos are children — a decision invoking God that quickly upended IVF treatment in the state, panicked many women there and elsewhere and sent legislators scrambling to respond.

Nelson, who conceived her son through IVF, is not normally political online. Her Instagram profile reads “Jesus follower. Wife. Mama. Optimist. School counselor.” But that post by Allie Beth Stuckey, who has more than a half-million followers, shocked and saddened her, and she felt compelled to push back.

They’ve sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind.

This is not a “let’s move on to the next issue” issue.

Bolts magazine:

As Kim Foxx Exits, Chicago Is Choosing the Next “Gatekeeper” of Its Bail Reform

Many Illinois prosecutors are undermining the law that ended cash bail, but the Cook County state’s attorney’s office under Foxx has been a strong ally—for now.

Illinois last fall became the first state to end the use of cash bail, banning the practice of making defendants pay money in exchange for staying out of jail before a trial. The landmark reform came out of heavy organizing in Chicago and wide support from city politicians. Even the chief prosecutor of Cook County, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, championed the law, breaking with many of her downstate peers who sued to block it and are now railing against it.

Foxx’s presence in Cook County has reassured advocates for bail reform. While prosecutors often undermine the implementation of criminal justice reforms, she has staunchly defended the law against its critics. First elected in 2016 on progressive promises, Foxx reduced her office’s use of cash bail well before the Pretrial Fairness Act took effect last year, even as local defense attorneys pressed her to make even bolder changes.

But Foxx chose to retire this year rather than seek reelection, leaving the nation’s second biggest prosecutor’s office open for the taking. Voters will now decide who oversees the abolition of cash bail in Chicago for years to come.

Alexander Bolton/The Hill:

GOP senators face Trump civil war with McConnell retiring

But Republicans are divided over how aligned their next leader should be with Trump.

Some, such as Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) want to elect a new leader who will be a cheerleader for Trump, flying with the former president to rallies around the country.

“It’s an imperative,” he said. “We got to get somebody now who’s going to energize our base all across the country for Senate Republicans and also going to be able to get on that airplane with Trump and stand up at a rally and say, ‘Listen, we need President Trump to win,’ and be very truthful about it.”

Other Republicans, who point to what they view as Trump’s spotty record endorsing Republican candidates who can actually win Senate seats in November — not to mention Trump’s failure to win re-election in 2020 — want to keep a healthy distance from Trump.

In that regard, note that Lisa Murkowski becomes the first senator to openly endorse Nikki Haley, while Susan Collins says she voted for Haley in Maine.

The Haley candidacy may be doomed, but it can’t hurt for her to repeatedly hit Trump on the trail.

Jonathan V Last/ The Bulwark:

Nikki Haley Hates Her Voters and It’s Weird

She keeps pretending that she’s the choice of True Republicans, when her coalition is made up of Dems, independents, Never Trumpers, and “the elites.”

You know the old adage about dancing with the one that brung you?

Politicians live by that rule. They may set out to capture one demographic, but find that they do better with another. And so they’ll shift their pitch and get right with the people who are actually voting for them.1

Nikki Haley is living by the opposite ethos: She’s constantly dissing her actual voters and pretending that her “real” supporters are the people lining up to vote for Trump.

You saw that Nikki Haley didn’t do so hot in Michigan this week, yes? That’s because she wasn’t able to turn Democrats and Independents out to vote for her When only Republicans vote, Haley lives around the 25 percent mark.

Her best showings—in New Hampshire and South Carolina—are powered by independents and crossover Democrats. When you look at the exit polling you see that she does best with moderates, urbanites, and people with college or graduate degrees.

And yet Haley spends most of her time trashing this voting coalition. She’s not a Never Trumper! She hates the Democrats! She’s fighting against the elites in her high heels because it hurts more when you curb-stomp the socialists or whatever!

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Cliff Schecter on Mitch McConnell:

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