Tuesday was a bad day for Donald Trump.
First off, Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Herschel Walker in the Georgia Senate runoff, giving the Democrats a welcome 51-49 margin in the US senate. Walker was the candidate promoted by Trump despite the fact that he was utterly unsuited for the position and party insiders knew that he had many skeletons in his closet that came out during the campaign. What is depressing is that there were over 1.7 million people willing to vote for a cartoon candidate like Walker, which is astounding to me. Warnock won by a margin of 51.4% to 48.6%, or by about 95,000 votes, a margin close to what pre-election polls indicated. When added to losses by Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and Blake Master in Arizona, this one just adds to Trump’s image as a loser who also backs losers and will provide ammunition to those in the party who want to avoid having him as the party’s presidential nominee in 2024.
Then there was yesterday’s unanimous verdict by a Manhattan jury that the Trump Organization was guilty of all 17 counts of criminal tax fraud. I was surprised that the fine involved is just $1.6 million, but I suppose that it is because it is calculated on the amount of tax that was not paid (plus interest) because of the off-the-books payments made to people like CEO Allen Weisselberg. However, there seems to be more to come.
The case does not bring to a close the legal challenges facing Trump and his businesses – far from it. Bragg has said that a related investigation he inherited from his predecessor, district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr, is “ongoing”. In that case, investigators are reportedly focused on assessing the integrity of the Trump Organization’s financial statements.
And finally Bennie Thompson, the chair of House committee investigating the events of January 6th, said that the committee will be making at least one criminal referral to the justice department, though he did not give any details as to who the charges will be about or what they would be.
Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said the committee has not narrowed down the universe of individuals who may be referred.
Asked whether Thompson believed any witnesses perjured themselves, he said, “that’s part of the discussion.”
When the panel makes referrals, Thompson said it will be a separate document from the panel’s final report that will be sent to DOJ.
The decision of whether to issue criminal referrals has loomed large over the committee. Members on the panel have been in wide agreement that former President Donald Trump and some of his closest allies have committed a crime when he pushed a conspiracy to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, as they’ve laid out in their hearings. But they have long been split over what to do about it, including whether to make a criminal referral of Trump to the Justice Department.
In the past, the question has led to a vigorous, at times contentious, debate among committee members, sources have said. Those who previously said criminal referrals are not necessary to close out the panel’s investigation say the committee lacks prosecutorial powers, and that the Justice Department does not need Congress to investigate crimes as it has its own criminal investigations into the Capitol attack that are ongoing.
The justice department is also apparently investigating Trump’s role on January 6th as well as his taking of classified documents when he left the White House, an action that I still find utterly mystifying, even by the low standards set by Trump’s erratic and irrational behavior.
I am waiting to see what Trump says about all these things. I expect a rant for the ages.