Jul 19, 2023 - Podcasts

Another possible Trump indictment and what sets it apart

Former President Trump announced on Tuesday that he received a target letter from special counsel Jack Smith and expects to be indicted. The former president's legal challenges are mounting, just as the 2024 campaign is heating up. But this latest indictment could hit voters differently.

  • Plus, America’s therapy boom.
  • Historic temperatures hit three continents.
  • And, one year of the 988 hotline.

Guests: Axios' David Lindsey and Erica Pandey.

Credits: Axios Today is produced by Niala Boodhoo, Alexandra Botti, Fonda Mwangi, Lydia McMullen-Laird and Alex Sugiura. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at [email protected]. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

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NIALA: Good morning! Welcome to Axios Today!

It’s Wednesday, July 19th.

I’m Niala Boodhoo.

Here’s what we’re covering today: America’s therapy boom. Plus, historic temperatures hit three continents.

But first, another possible Trump indictment and what sets it apart. That’s today’s One Big Thing.

NIALA: Special counsel Jack Smith looks likely to indict former President Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. That means as soon as next month, Trump could be facing four indictments in four different jurisdictions. Axios's managing editor for politics, David Lindsey, has more.

David, what do we know about these possible new charges against Trump?

DAVID LINDSEY: we don't know exactly what the charges might be, but we do know what they've been looking into, based on, in part, the letter that they sent to Trump and his team. Assembling fake electors, 16 people were charged in Michigan yesterday,over that, fundraising based on false claims of election fraud, Trump's team raised tens of millions of dollars, by claiming fraud, and then Trump's actions on January 6th, 2021, the day of the insurrection.

NIALA: There's been a lot of discussion that these indictments may actually help Trump in his run for president. Could this latest one be different, though?

DAVID: the previous indictments against him, hush bunny to a porn star classified documents were things that we didn't see. Everyone saw January 6th. We saw the speeches. We saw the tweets. We saw the march to the Capitol. We saw police officers being killed. So I think it might resonate, uh, certainly with voters a little differently. With a Republican base, that's hard to say. They're pretty well committed to Trump. I think, each time you might see a little peeling off of support, but not yet.

When we talk about January 6th, are Democrats on Capitol Hill reacting differently to a possible January 6th indictment versus all of these other ones?

DAVID: Yes, and it's because this one is personal. They were in the Capitol, many of them were in the Capitol that day. You saw Hakeem Jeffries, the speaker, with a strong statement out. A representative from California, Jimmy Gomez, said, people feel it when you're the victim. And I think that's how a lot of them see this.

NALA: So, there is this possibility of a D. C. based January 6th case, there is the actual classified documents case in Florida, the election meddling case in Georgia, the hush money case in New York. When do we expect to see movement on any of those?

DAVID: Well, the New York trial for now is scheduled for March, there was a hearing, in Florida court before Judge Eileen Cannon, the Trump appointed judge who's overseeing the classified documents case. No trial date was set and that could be several more months of just reviewing evidence. In the Georgia case, the court personnel has been told to get ready for something to happen in the first two weeks of August. I think it's starting to become clear that we're going to have the possibility of four trials going on, during this election season. And the more indictments we see, the unprecedented nature of this really becomes clear and the test of the system, and our government, our way of doing things, our democracy becomes really clear.

NIALA: David Lindsay is Axios’ managing editor of politics. Thanks, David.

DAVID: Thanks Niala.

NIALA: And blistering heat waves across the world continued yesterday. Heat records were set in three continents North America, Europe and Asia.

—Phoenix, Arizona had 19 straight days of temperatures at or above 110°F – a new record.

—Parts of France and Spain are at all-time highs in an extreme event known as heat wave Cerberus.

—And in Beijing, where climate envoy John Kerry is meeting with Chinese officials to work together on greenhouse gas emissions, the city is enduring a record stretch of 95-degree days.

All signs that climate change is affecting parts of the globe faster than expected.

Coming up: more Americans are in therapy and talking about it.

NIALA: Welcome back to Axios Today. I'm Niala Boodhoo

Therapy is in high demand and Americans are seeking it now more than they did just two decades ago. Last year, 23% of adults visited a mental health professional. In 2004, it was at 13%. That's according to Gallup. Axios’ Erica Pandey is here with why we're seeing a boom in mental health treatment.

Hi, Erica.


NIALA: Are we seeing this boom in therapy in a specific age group or gender?

ERICA: It's happening across all genders and all ages and all races. And I mean, there is kind of especially a larger tick among younger adults, but we are really seeing it across the board.

NIALA: With so many more people seeking therapy, I imagine that's also a sign that people are not feeling their best?

ERICA: A lot of healthcare experts came forward during COVID saying that we're experiencing kind of two pandemics, one with COVID and one with mental health. And that's really true. Pandemic isolation drove up rates of depression and anxiety among Americans from all walks of life. And also the substance abuse crisis in America really got out of hand during the pandemic, fentanyl became such a big issue. And then on top of that, we're in this moment where more and more studies are coming out that are linking the rise of social media to just deteriorating mental health among especially young people.

One study that I looked at for this story that really caught my eye was published in the American Economic Review. And researchers went way back to when Facebook first launched on college campuses. And they were able to isolate its effect on college students’ mental health by looking at what happened as it hit every campus. And they actually found that college-wide access to Facebook led to a 7% rise in severe depression and a 20% rise in anxiety disorder among the students there.

NIALA: We've already talked about social media's role in creating more depression and anxiety, but is it also spreading misinformation around mental health?

ERICA: So a lot of therapists I spoke to were worried about people getting maybe not the best advice from social media. Because, you know, the term psychologist and psychiatrist, those are protected terms that mean specific things, but anybody can claim to be kind of a life coach or anybody can claim to be a counselor and give people advice on social media, particularly TikTok and Instagram that may not be backed by real science or real medical expertise. And then on top of that, there is, you know, concern about people weaponizing therapy-speak. You know, there's a discussion of boundaries are something that you discuss a lot in therapy. What if someone used that term in a more manipulative way?

NIALA: Given that the demand for mental health help is so high, are people able to access this?

ERICA: Therapists in every state are being overwhelmed by therapy requests. They're saying that they're having to turn people away. There are a lot of barriers to access, you know, the main one being, therapy is expensive, it can cost hundreds of dollars per session, a lot of therapists don't accept insurance, and then on top of that just 28% of Americans live in areas that have enough therapists to meet the needs of the population. That's according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. So there's barriers of access in terms of cost, and in terms of just the number of therapists there are, and that's leading to a rise in scams or frauds.

NIALA: Almost 90% of American adults agreed that having a mental health disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. That's according to a recent APA survey. Is that maybe part of a silver lining here? that mental health disorders and seeking help, that all of that's being destigmatized?

ERICA: Absolutely. I mean, we've had a pretty sobering conversation here. One, about how mental health in this country is reaching epidemic levels. Two, about how people are seeking help and maybe not getting it. But like you said, people are overwhelmingly thinking that it's okay to seek help. It's okay to have a mental health issue and be open about it. One of the most interesting stats was that 91% of Hinge users, according to a Hinge survey, say that they prefer to date someone in therapy. So for young people, it's becoming a plus. It's becoming something that you talk about over cocktails.

NIALA: Erica Pandey co-writes the Axios Finish Line newsletter. Thanks Erica.

ERICA: Thanks Niala.

NIALA: Next week, we’ll continue our look at therapy in America – zooming in on so-called “therapy-speak” and its effect in our everyday lives.

NIALA: But one last mental health story before we go today:

It’s been a little over a year since 988 – the national suicide and crisis hotline – launched.

The lifeline has been contacted nearly 5 million times since it started and that number is expected to jump to about 9 million next year.

But very few states have established long-term funding to keep it going. So far, only six have passed legislation to create monthly fees to support the hotline, similar to how 911 is funded.

Axios’ Sabrina Moreno reports that 988 has the potential to be an alternative to police intervention but that the hotline is running up against issues like workforce shortages and challenges connecting people to resources when they call.

That’s it for us today.

I’m Niala Boodhoo - thanks for listening - stay safe and we’ll see you back here tomorrow morning.

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