1/ Special counsel Jack Smith accused Trump of a pattern of lying about electoral fraud since at least 2012 and “encouragement of violence,” saying Trump “sent” his supporters on Jan. 6 to criminally block the election results. In a new court filing, prosecutors said “evidence of [Trump’s] post-conspiracy embrace of particularly violent and notorious rioters is admissible to establish [Trump’s] motive and intent on January 6 — that he sent supporters, including groups like the Proud Boys, whom he knew were angry, and whom he now calls ‘patriots,’ to the Capitol to achieve the criminal objective of obstructing the congressional certification.” Prosecutors added that Trump’s lies about election fraud from the 2012 and 2016 elections show his “motive, intent, and plan to obstruct the certification of the 2020 election results and illegitimately retain power,” and that the baseless claims “demonstrate [Trump’s] common plan of falsely blaming fraud for election results he does not like.” Biden, meanwhile, said that “if Trump wasn’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running.” He added: “We cannot let him win for the sake of our country.” (Washington Post / Axios / CNN)

  • 💡 Defending his 2020 fraud claims, Trump turns to fringe Jan. 6 theories. “Ever since he was indicted on charges of interfering in the 2020 election results, Donald Trump has relished the chance to use the case in Washington as a venue to air his baseless claims of fraud. Now he is using it to circulate a new set of falsehoods: that the federal government staged or incited violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to discredit Trump and his supporters.” (Washington Post)
  • 💡 The fear of a looming Trump dictatorship. “This isn’t mere hyperbole. As my colleagues have reported over the past year, Trump has made clear his stark, authoritarian vision for a potential second term. He would embark on a wholesale purge of the federal bureaucracy, weaponize the Justice Department to explicitly go after his political opponents (something he claims is being done to him), stack government agencies across the board with political appointees prescreened as ideological Trump loyalists, and dole out pardons to myriad officials and apparatchiks as incentives to do his bidding or stay loyal.” (Washington Post)
  • 💡 Americans are sleepwalking into a Trump dictatorship. “Trump’s devolution into an American dictator who believes that he is on a mission from God as some type of chosen one continues. This is mentally pathological behavior on a massive level. His Hitler-like behavior is only going to get worse as next year’s presidential election approaches and the pressure from his criminal and civil trials increases.” (Salon)
  • 💡 Trump poses the biggest danger to the world in 2024. “Because maga Republicans have been planning his second term for months, Trump 2 would be more organised than Trump 1. True believers would occupy the most important positions. Mr Trump would be unbound in his pursuit of retribution, economic protectionism and theatrically extravagant deals. No wonder the prospect of a second Trump term fills the world’s parliaments and boardrooms with despair. But despair is not a plan. It is past time to impose order on anxiety.” (The Economist)
  • 💡 A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending. “If Trump does win the election, he will immediately become the most powerful person ever to hold that office. Not only will he wield the awesome powers of the American executive — powers that, as conservatives used to complain, have grown over the decades — but he will do so with the fewest constraints of any president, fewer even than in his own first term.” (Washington Post)

2/ House Republicans are blurring surveillance footage from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol because they don’t want the rioters to be charged with crimes. Mike Johnson, who was involved in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election based on false claims of mass election fraud, promised to release more than 44,000 hours of surveillance footage from Jan. 6 to the public after becoming speaker in October. “We have to blur some of the faces of persons who participated in events of that day because we don’t want them to be retaliated against and to be charged by the DOJ and to have other, you know, concerns and problems,” Johnson said. He added that House Republicans “want the American people to draw their own conclusions. I don’t think partisan elected officials in Washington should present a narrative and expect that it should be seen as the ultimate truth.” (NBC News / ABC News / CNN / The Hill)

3/ Tommy Tuberville dropped his one-man blockade of more than 450 military promotions, ending his nearly 10-month protest to an unrelated Pentagon policy that ensures abortion access for service members. Tuberville, however, said he will continue to block the promotion of all senior military positions that are four stars or higher. The reversal came amid mounting pressure from Tuberville’s fellow Republicans, who had criticized the blockade because it damaged military readiness and threatened national security, as well as Democrats threats to temporarily change Senate rules to bypass the hold and advance all the promotions in bulk. “We didnt get the win that we wanted,” Tuberville said. (NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / Axios / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)

4/ The Israel Defense Forces advanced deeper into Gaza in what the military called “the most intense day since the beginning of the ground operation.” IDF troops said they were “in the heart of” Khan Younis – Gaza’s second largest city – and that Israeli forces have “completed the encirclement” of the Jabalya refugee camp in the northern part of the enclave. Southern Gaza’s main hospital is “grossly overcrowded with patients and displaced people,” according to the World Health Organization, which described the situation at the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis as “catastrophic.” A U.N. humanitarian coordinator warned that “an even more hellish scenario is about to unfold” in southern Gaza as Israel expands its evacuation orders ahead of an expected ground invasion in the south. As a result, Palestinians are now being warned to evacuate, but “there is nowhere safe to go and very little to survive on,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said. The U.N.’s top emergency relief official, Martin Griffiths, added: “Every time we think things cannot get any more apocalyptic in Gaza, they do. People are being ordered to move again, with little to survive on, forced to make one impossible choice after another. Such blatant disregard for basic humanity must stop.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, rejected the idea that an international force could be responsible for security in the Gaza Strip post-war. “Gaza must be demilitarized and the only country that can do this and ensure it lasts is Israel,” Netanyahu said. “I’m not ready to close my eyes and accept any other arrangement […] the only way for the war to end quickly is by applying sheer force.” (NBC News / CNN / ABC News / Washington Post / Associated Press / New York Times)

poll/ 49% of Americans between 18 and 29 years old “definitely” plan to vote in 2024 – down from 57% relative to this point in the 2020 election cycle. Among young Democrats, 66% plan to vote – nearly identical to four years ago – while 56% of young Republicans plan to vote – down 10 percentage points. And among young independents, 31% plan to vote – also a 10-point drop. (Harvard Youth Poll)