Passing the buck
Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to testify on Monday in New York’s civil fraud case against the Trump family and businesses. And if past Trump defenses are any prediction (and often they are), buckle up for a whole lot of gaslighting.
Remember, in the past Trump has argued that if anything, his properties are worth more than he said, not less.
He also has claimed the Trump brand adds “billions and billions” of dollars to his net worth.
And what do appraisers know, anyways? “You know, people come up with numbers,” he said. “Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong.”
Trump’s lawyers are no better. In his opening statement in New York, attorney Christopher Kise said, “There was no nefarious intent” and that any difference in valuation “simply reflects the change in a complex, sophisticated real estate development corporation.”
In other words, the rest of us are just too dumb to understand the complexities of the New York real estate business.
Passing blame and gaslighting might work in boardrooms or on the campaign trail. But it’s unlikely to work in a court of law.
Meanwhile, in the Senate
It took the apparent heart attack of a top Marine Corps officer and a war in the Middle East to get here, but a growing number of Republicans are now challenging Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s military blockade. That’s a good thing.
For months, Tuberville has held up President Joe Biden’s military nominees. And for months, the overwhelming majority of Republicans have stayed silent.
But for nearly five hours on Wednesday night, a group of Tuberville’s GOP colleagues publicly denounced Tuberville’s holdup and urged Senate leaders to take action.
“Xi Jinping is loving this,” claimed Alaska Sen.Senator Dan Sullivan. “So is Putin. How dumb can we be, man?”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham concurred, noting, “This is doing great damage to our military.”
There is not yet a fix to end this impasse — but now that Republicans are speaking up, Tuberville’s bizarre attempts to make a name for himself may be ending.
A story you should be following: Abortion rights on Election Day
Ohio voters will decide whether abortion rights will be enshrined in the state’s constitution next week. After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a six-week abortion ban briefly went into effect in Ohio before courts blocked it. Now, the fate of reproductive rights is in the hands of voters. Ohio has trended deep red in recent years. But Democrats have reportedly outraised anti-abortion opponents ahead of Election Day. Can abortion rights still motivate and engage voters like they did in 2022? We’re about to find out.
Virginia Democrats won every statewide election between 2012 and 2020. But after Republicans won the races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in 2021, Democrats were left with only control of the state Senate. Now that is also up for grabs. If Republicans manage to flip the Senate on Tuesday while holding on to control of the House of Delegates, Gov. Glenn Youngkin may finally be able to pass his proposed 15-week abortion ban.
Pennsylvanians are voting on a key state Supreme Court race, with abortion rights once again playing a major role. This election won’t tip the balance of the court, but it could have a big impact in the near future. Democrats currently hold a 4-2 majority in the state, but three out of the four Democratic justices are up for reelection in 2025. Running on the Democratic ticket is Judge Daniel McCaffery, who was endorsed by Planned Parenthood. On the Republican ticket is Judge Carolyn Carluccio, who was endorsed by at least two anti-abortion groups. If the Republican wins, the court balance narrows to 4-3 and puts Republicans closer to taking control when Democratic justices are up for re-election in just a few years. Abortion rights was a winning issue for Pennsylvania Democrats in 2022, and they hope to capitalize again on Tuesday.
Alex Witt’s weekend routine
What show are you bingeing right now?
I highly recommend a lesser known but fabulous one-season series, “Drops of God,” which I recently finished. Before that I binged through “Jack Ryan,” “The Lincoln Lawyer” and “Daisy Jones and the Six.” I loved them all. Now I’m looking for something new, any suggestions? Everyone keeps telling me I should watch “The Morning Show,” but I know Jennifer Aniston’s character is named “Alex.” Am I going to like that?!
What’s the last book you read?
I just finished “Romney: A Reckoning” ahead of interviewing author McKay Coppins. It’s a real page-turner, and McKay somehow is able to take sobering recollections and scenarios Sen. Romney experienced, and write in a way that prompted me to laugh at Romney’s sharp — and surprising — humor. One musing I can’t shake after reading it: Would Donald Trump have been elected president if Mitt Romney had first gotten in the White House? Would Romney’s more pragmatic brand of Republican politics have quelled the surge in the extreme and baseless narratives that dominate Trump’s GOP today?
What time do you wake up on the weekends?
5 a.m. I have to prepare for my Saturday and Sunday shows! It makes Friday nights really tame in pursuit of a good night’s sleep. But Saturday nights? Let’s just say I’m open to being a little less disciplined.
How do you take your coffee?
In abundance! Espresso shots over ice with a splash of flavored creamer, even in the middle of winter. I always have a tumbler full on set with me out of view of the camera. But on vacation, I have time to linger over a hot latte or a cappuccino. That’s one of life’s simple pleasures.