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August 02, 2023

Hello, Wednesday. Smart Brevity™ count: 1,179 words ... 4½ mins. Edited by Emma Loop.

⚖️ 1 big thing: The most indicted president in the history of America

Yesterday's indictment, Trump's third. Photo: Jon Elswick/AP

Yesterday's 45-page indictment, the United States of America v. Donald J. Trump, charges that conspiracies by the former president "built on the widespread mistrust the Defendant was creating through pervasive and destabilizing lies about election fraud."

  • Here are all the criminal charges faced by Trump — who is the first former president to be indicted on criminal charges ... the first former president to be indicted twice ... and the first former president to be indicted three times.

Manhattan district attorney's hush-money case:

Justice Department's classified-files case in Miami (37 felony counts):

  • 31 counts under the Espionage Act of "willful retention" of classified records.
  • Conspiracy to obstruct justice.
  • Withholding a document or record.
  • Corruptly concealing a document or record.
  • Concealing a document in a federal investigation.
  • Scheme to conceal.
  • False statements and representations.

New documents charges added in the revised indictment last week, bringing that case to 40 counts:

  1. Attempting to "alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal evidence."
  2. Inducing someone else to do so.
  3. A count under the Espionage Act relating to a classified document he allegedly showed visitors at his club in Bedminster, N.J.

Yesterday's federal charges, stemming from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol:

  1. Conspiracy to defraud the United States.
  2. Conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding.
  3. Obstruction of, and attempt to obstruct, an official proceeding.
  4. Conspiracy against rights — "the right to vote and to have one's vote counted," a civil-rights law once used to prosecute KKK violence.

🔮 What's next: Trump is due in court in Washington tomorrow at 4 p.m.

2. 🏛️ Attack "fueled by lies"

Special counsel Jack Smith, after speaking at the Justice Department yesterday. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Special counsel Jack Smith said in brief remarks after the indictment was unsealed: "The attack on our nation's capital on January 6, 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy."

  • "As described in the indictment, it was fueled by lies — lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. government, the nation's process of collecting, counting, and certifying the results of the presidential election." Read the statement.

🥊 Trump's planned defense: On CNN, Trump lawyer John Lauro said the former president's defense will focus "on the fact that what we have now is an administration that has criminalized the free speech and advocacy of a prior administration."

  • "So literally," Lauro added, "what we have is an attack — and really an effort to not only criminalize, but also censor free speech."

Video: Lauro on Fox News.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan. Photo: Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts via AP

U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, selected by a random process to oversee Trump's case, was appointed by President Obama in 2014, Axios' Sareen Habeshian reports.

  • Born in Jamaica, Chutkan received her bachelor's degree in economics from George Washington University and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Chutkan has previously dealt with Trump, denying his 2021 motion to halt records from being turned over to the Jan. 6 committee, writing: "Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not president."

  • She has been one of the toughest punishers of Jan 6. rioters, repeatedly setting longer sentences than requested by the Justice Department.
  • Chutkan has sentenced at least 38 people convicted of Jan. 6-related crimes. All 38 got prison terms, ranging from 10 days to over five years. (AP.)

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3. 📜 Living history

Screenshot: ABC News

Above: Epic scene as ABC News anchor David Muir and his panel read the indictment while they're live on air.

📺 Two Americas:

  • Chris Hayes on MSNBC: "This is the gravest political crime since [Civil War] secession."
  • Fox News, same time: "BIDEN'S DOJ TRIES TO JAIL TRUMP FOR LIFE."
TV news crews outside the federal courthouse in Washington yesterday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AP

🔭 The very long view, by the N.Y. Times' Peter Baker:

"For all of the many, many allegations made against him on all sorts of subjects during his time on the public stage, everything else feels small by comparison. Unlike the indictment by New York State for allegedly covering up a payment to a porn actress and Mr. Smith's previous indictment for allegedly jeopardizing national secrets after leaving the White House, the new charges are the first to deal with actions taken by a president while in office."

"The former president will argue that this is all politics and that he should be returned to office in next year's election, and so far millions of Americans have taken his side," Baker concludes.

  • "Now the justice system and the electoral system will engage in a 15-month race to see which will decide his fate first — and the country's. The real verdict on the Trump presidency is still to come."
Cover: N.Y. Post

Stat du jour: Trump is roughly the 1,097th person charged with offenses related to U.S. Capitol siege.

4. 🌡️ 81% of world was hotter last month

Map showing daily average Climate Shift Index readings averaged from July 1-31. Image: Climate Central

81% of humanity experienced unusually hot temperatures during July that were attributable in large part to human-caused climate change, Axios' Andrew Freedman writes from a report out this morning.

  • Why it matters: The analysis shows the extraordinary reach of climate change, and its influence on temperature extremes.

The report, by Climate Central scientist Andrew Pershing, uses the nonprofit group's daily Climate Shift Index.

  • The analysis found that during July, nearly 7 billion people experienced at least one day that was amplified threefold by climate change.

🌐 The study identified several hotspots for climate change influence, including the Caribbean, Central America, northern Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Canada.

5. 📊 Dems pan Supreme Court

Share who say they approve of the U.S. Supreme Court, by party
Data: Gallup. Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans' approval of the U.S. Supreme Court is tied for a record low — 40%, Axios' Stef Kight writes from Gallup polling out this morning.

  • Why it matters: Republicans used to hate the Supreme Court. Now Democrats do.

🔬 Zoom in: Look at that 45-point gap between GOP and Democratic approval.

  • It's a flip from eight years ago, after the court legalized same-sex marriage.
  • Back then, three-quarters of Democrats approved of the court — but just 18% of Republicans did.

6. 🛒 Walmart = world's largest company

Cover: Fortune

For the 10th year running, Walmart is No. 1 on Fortune's Global 500, which ranks the world's largest corporations by revenue for fiscal 2022. The top 10:

  1. Walmart (U.S.)
  2. Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia)
  3. State Grid (China)
  4. Amazon (U.S.)
  5. China National Petroleum (China)
  6. Sinopec (China)
  7. ExxonMobil (U.S.)
  8. Apple (U.S.)
  9. Shell (Britain)
  10. UnitedHealth Group (U.S.)

Go deeper.

7. 😷 COVID business wanes

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Pfizer said it's eyeing possible cost-cutting measures to manage potential losses from low uptake of its COVID vaccine and antibody treatment, Tina Reed writes for Axios Vitals.

  • Why it matters: The pharmaceutical giant's disclosure on a quarterly earnings call is a sign of how the market for COVID products has weakened, even as hospitalizations and cases tick up again.

What's happening: That reflects both the public's apathy for booster shots, and declining support from governments for COVID products.

  • It also could call into question the demand for producing more effective COVID treatments and vaccines as we continue to live with the virus.

Keep reading.

8. 📷 Parting shot

Photo: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

The full sturgeon supermoon rises behind the skyline of lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center last night, as seen from Jersey City, N.J.

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