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Trump's arraignment was messy. But signs of hope blossom across America.

Plus a very consequential crossing of the aisle, three brave local leaders who took a stand and a special morning routine in this week’s 3 Minute Read from Jen Psaki.
"Inside with Jen Psaki"
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Don’t freak out… 

This week was jarring. A former president of the United States made the bad kind of history when he was arraigned in a New York courthouse on Tuesday. It was a lot to digest. It was messy. And it has the potential to truly test our faith in the integrity and longevity of our founding national principles.

But even while that was going on, voting and activism at the state level should give you some hope that the fundamentals of our democracy are still strong.

In Wisconsin, liberal judge Janet Protasiewicz defeated her conservative opponent by 11 points — because Wisconsin voters turned out in record numbers for an off-cycle spring election. 

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Janet Protasiewicz partakes in a debate on March 21, 2023, in Madison.
Janet Protasiewicz.Morry Gash / AP file

Like so many other elections we’ve watched play out, abortion rights loomed over this race. A poll taken last year showed that 58% of Wisconsin voters were “very concerned” about abortion rights. And they turned out to ensure their voices were heard.  

In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill repealing the state’s 1931 abortion ban

In Tennessee, more than a thousand students in the Nashville area walked out of their classrooms and headed to the state capitol, demanding stricter gun laws after the school shooting that killed three students on March 27. 

So while, yes, the indictment of a former president is upsetting, I’m not freaking out about it. The work that actually keeps our democracy moving is quietly churning on. … 

Keep an eye on: North Carolina Republicans 

North Carolina state Rep. Tricia Cotham announced earlier this week that she would be changing her party affiliation from blue to red.  

Cotham’s party switch gives the GOP a veto-proof supermajority in the North Carolina House, which will no doubt have significant implications for abortion rights, immigration legislation, gun law changes and election rules. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will now have to try to govern without veto power, and with both chambers controlled by Republicans. 

This story is one I’ll be following closely as a slew of hot button topics play out at the state level.  

Some people you should know: Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson

In the wake of the Nashville school shooting, the Republican-controlled Tennessee Legislature expelled state Reps. Justin Pearson and Justin Jones simply for joining a gun violence protest on the House floor. Rep. Gloria Johnson, the only white lawmaker of the three who faced expulsion, survived by a single vote.  

The GOP House speaker, called their decision to peacefully protest “at least equivalent” and “may be worse” than the insurrection. 

Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, seated in white suit, Rep. Justin Pearson, standing top left, D-Memphis, and Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, huddle on the floor of the House chamber in Nashville, Tenn., on April 6, 2023.
Reps. Justin Jones, seated, center, Justin Pearson, standing, top left, and Gloria Johnson huddle on the floor of the House chamber in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday.George Walker IV / AP

Republicans in Tennessee tried desperately to silence these legislators. But the opposite has happened. They may have actually drawn more attention to the issue of gun violence with these outrageous calls for expulsion. Reps. Johnson, Pearson, Jones are three very eloquent leaders to watch closely as the fight for gun reform continues. You can follow them on Twitter @Justinjpearson@brotherjones_, and @VoteGloriaJ.

Andrea Mitchell’s weekend routine:  

What show are you bingeing right now? 

“Succession” on HBO

What’s the last book you read? 

An advance copy of “Look for Me There” by Luke Russert, which comes out on May 2

What time do you wake up on the weekends?

6:30 a.m. for tennis (when my broken foot heals)

How do you take your coffee?

Six shots of black decaf espresso (sometimes I cheat and have caffeine)