As mentioned yesterday, Trump’s PACs spent about $50 million in legal fees in 2023. Today David Kurtz at TPM asks what Trump might be getting for his money.
Trump using campaign funds to defend himself is one thing, but it’s the use of those dollars to provide criminal defenses to co-defendants, witnesses, and other associates that pushes the political envelope in ways we’ve never really seen before. He’s buying loyalty. He’s paying for adherence to the defense strategy his lawyers are mapping out for him. He’s circling the wagons to protect himself at the expense of others and of the public good. And he’s doing it at the same time he’s running for president again.
Do read the whole thing. Kurtz says that legal feels are eating about a quarter of Trump’s campaign donations. It’s likely that percentage will get higher in 2024.
Regarding the border “crisis”: I found this chart on the Cato Institute web page, of all places.
My goodness! As soon as Trump became POTUS the number of “illegals” who successfully crossed into the U.S. went up and up and up! And here he is going around bragging that while he was POTUS we had the most secure border in history! Clearly it was more secure during the Obama Administration.
Here’s the link to the Cato page. It argues that Trump’s policies made the problem worse.
The Trump border policy had a single??minded focus: keep out asylum seekers. Yet the ability to apply for asylum meant that fewer people tried to sneak in. One border crosser in 2018 told the Wall Street Journal that he had turned himself into the first Border Patrol agent he saw and was seeking “the immigration office.” Rather than direct these crossers to legal crossing points, the Trump administration blocked applicants from applying at ports of entry.
After first separating families and then attempting ban asylum, Trump started returning asylum seekers to Mexico to await hearings in homeless camps on the other side of the border line. This led to a wave of crimes against immigrants. Some were kidnapped, other raped, and some murdered. When the pandemic hit, the government suspended all hearings for those already returned to Mexico and began expelling all others with no hearing all.
It was inevitable that as the opportunity to obtain asylum disappeared or the costs to do so increased (such as through family separation). A greater percentage of people would attempt to sneak around ports of entry.
I’m not hearing this discussed anywhere. It needs to be.
Speaking of other things that need more attention — if you didn’t catch Chris Hayes last night, here is his opening segment. Worth watching.
Finally, the Quinnipiac University poll sees better election odds for Joe Biden.
As signs point to the 2024 presidential election being a repeat of the 2020 race between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, Biden holds a lead over Trump 50 – 44 percent among registered voters in a hypothetical general election matchup, according to a Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pea-ack) University national poll of registered voters released today.
In Quinnipiac University’s December 20, 2023 poll, the same hypothetical 2024 general election matchup was ‘too close to call’ as President Biden received 47 percent support and former President Trump received 46 percent support.
The biggest change was among women voters moving to Biden. Fallout from the E. Jean Carroll trial?