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October 5, 2023 Heather Cox Richardson

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Katherine Faulders, Alexander Mallin, and Mike Levine of ABC News reported today that sources have told them that former president Trump shared information about U.S. nuclear subs with Anthony Pratt, an Australian billionaire who was a member of the Mar-a-Lago club. The sources say Pratt then shared that information with at least 45 others: more than a dozen foreign officials, his own employees, and a few journalists. Trump allegedly shared the exact number of nuclear warheads U.S. submarines carry, and exactly how close they can get to a Russian submarine without being detected. 

Former defense secretary William Cohen explained to CNN’s Anderson Cooper how information about nuclear submarines fit into the larger picture of what’s known as the nuclear triad, the land, sea, and air systems that protect the U.S. “Out of the triad,” he said, “the submarine is the one that is most secure for us because it’s not targetable…. So they’re special. And he is giving away special information on what is protecting us around the world.”

FBI agents and the team overseen by special counsel Jack Smith, looking into Trump’s mishandling of national security documents, have interviewed Pratt at least twice. About a year ago, on November 9, 2022, U.S. Navy nuclear engineer Jonathan Toebbe and his wife, Dianna, were sentenced to more than 19 years in prison for conspiring to sell classified information about nuclear-powered warships to a foreign country.

“Naval nuclear engineer Jonathan Toebbe was entrusted with our nation’s critical secrets and, along with his wife Diana Toebbe, put the security of our country at risk for financial gain,” U.S. Attorney Cindy Chung for the Western District of Pennsylvania said at the time. “Their serious criminal conduct betrayed and endangered the Department of the Navy’s loyal and selfless service members. The seriousness of the offense in this case cannot be overstated.”

Trump today endorsed Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) for the speakership. There is an important history to this endorsement. On January 11, 2021—five days after the attack on the U.S. Capitol and the attempt of some Republican lawmakers to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 presidential election—Trump awarded Jordan the Medal of Freedom without a real explanation of why he deserved it. 

On January 6, 2021, then-Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) told Jordan to get away from her because “You f*ck*ng did this!” 

Yesterday, in a speech at the University of Minnesota, Cheney explained: “Jim Jordan knew more about what Donald Trump had planned for January 6 than any other member of the House of Representatives. Jim Jordan was involved, was part of the conspiracy in which Donald Trump was engaged as he attempted to overturn the election…. There was a handful of people, of which he was the leader, who knew what Donald Trump had planned. Now somebody needs to ask Jim Jordan, ‘Why didn’t you report to the Capitol Police what you knew Donald Trump had planned? You were in those meetings at the White House.’”

She concluded: “If the Republicans decide that Jim Jordan should be the Speaker of the House…there would no longer be any possible way to argue that a group of elected Republicans could be counted on to defend the Constitution.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyers are trying to get the indictments against him for trying to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 election thrown out, arguing that a president has absolute immunity from prosecution for criminal as well as civil prosecutions. If this argument succeeded, it would mean that a president was above the law and could do anything they wanted without fear of prosecution. In her newsletter Civil Discourse, Joyce White Vance suggests this is likely an attempt to delay the trial at least until after the Republican National Convention nominates a presidential candidate and possibly until after the 2024 election itself.  

Trump’s tangles with the law are not going well, and in a sudden flurry today, his lawyers tried to delay or get rid of them. In his coverage of Trump’s fraud trial in New York this week, Daily Beast political investigations reporter Jose Pagliery noted that Trump likely appeared in person because he had cited the trial as the reason he could not give a deposition in his $500 million lawsuit against his former fixer Michael Cohen for talking about him and thus breaking his fiduciary duty to act solely in Trump’s interest. That deposition was rescheduled for Monday. Today, Trump withdrew his case against Cohen, clearly suggesting he was afraid to testify. 

In the New York fraud trial, a document introduced into evidence today undermined the argument that Trump wasn’t involved in the fraudulent valuations at the heart of the case. The Trump Organization’s 2014 statement of financial condition included a note from the organization’s comptroller saying: “DJT TO GET FINAL REVIEW.” 

Apparently concerned that Trump would try to move his assets around to hide them, Justice Arthur Engoron today ordered Trump, his older sons, and the two Trump Organization employees in the suit not to move money or open a new business without reporting it to the independent monitor overseeing the businesses. They must also provide a list of each of their businesses and anyone who shares ownership of those businesses. 

Trump has also asked Judge Aileen Cannon to delay his trial for mishandling the national security documents he stashed at Mar-a-Lago until after the 2024 election. 

Notes:

https://abcnews.go.com/US/after-white-house-trump-allegedly-discussed-potentially-sensitive/story?id=103760456

https://abcnews.go.com/US/trump-drops-500-million-lawsuit-former-attorney-michael/story?id=103772572

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/donald-trump-sues-former-lawyer-michael-cohen-500/story?id=98536685

https://trumpwhitehouse.archives.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-award-medal-freedom-jim-jordan/

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/588616-cheney-confirms-she-told-jim-jordan-on-jan-6-get-away-from-me-you-f-did-this/

The Distinguished Carlson Lecture: An Evening with Liz Cheney, October 4, 2023, Humphrey School, UMN, on YouTube.

Civil Discourse with Joyce Vance
Not a quiet Thursday
A surprising number of things happened today for what should have been a quiet Thursday in October. That seems to be true more days than not with a former president, his party’s frontrunner presidential candidate, facing four criminal indictments and mid-trial in a civil fraud case that will end his ability to conduct a real estate business in the state…
Read more

https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.dcd.258149/gov.uscourts.dcd.258149.74.0.pdf

https://www.thedailybeast.com/judge-tries-to-stop-trump-from-hiding-his-money

​​https://www.politico.com/news/2023/10/05/trump-election-case-immunity-motion-00120225

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/maryland-nuclear-engineer-and-wife-sentenced-espionage-related-offenses

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Disenchanted with Democrats: The Black Voters Going for Trump Bari Weiss

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For the past few decades, it’s been conventional wisdom in D.C. that “demographics are destiny.” That the increased share of immigrants, young people, and racial minorities across the country would build a bulletproof coalition for the Democratic Party, swelling their ranks and keeping them in power forever.

Those who deviated from this expectation could expect to be called sellouts, race traitors, and Uncle Toms. Recall Joe Biden’s infamous interview with radio host Charlamagne tha God, when he said: “If you have a problem figuring out if you’re for me or for Trump, then you ain’t black.”

But in the past year, Donald Trump has been winning over more minority voters than any Republican in decades. Recent polls have consistently shown that Trump has reached a shocking 20 percent support among black voters. That’s compared to the 8 percent he got in 2016. And Biden’s polling with black voters has dropped dramatically.

This is a monumental, and to many, unexpected turn. And it was noticeable at the RNC. When Michael Moynihan went to the 2016 Republican Convention in Cleveland, the audience was more monochromatic. While certainly not as racially diverse as the Democratic coalition, the convention in Milwaukee felt younger and less white.

Monday night, Amber Rose opened the proceedings. Tuesday night, Madeline Brame, the mother of a murdered veteran, gave a thunderous speech explaining why she’s supporting Trump. She said: “Our eyes have been opened, just like so many other poor minorities across America. Donald Trump shares our values, love of God and family and country. He’s been a victim of the same corrupt system that I have been and my family has been.”

What’s behind this shift? Why do Biden and the Democratic Party seem to be losing their edge with black voters? And could this end up making a real difference for the 2024 election?

Last night, Michael Moynihan went to an event at the RNC put on by the Black Conservative Federation to ask them why they think that MAGA conservatism is appealing to black voters.

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Abigail Shrier: California’s New Law Lets Schools Keep Secrets from Parents Abigail Shrier

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Protests at a Chino Valley Board of Education meeting on gender policy on July 20, 2023, in Chino, California. (Photo by David McNew via Getty Images)

Child predators follow a common playbook: target the victim, gain their trust, fill a need, and, crucially, isolate the child from her parents. For several years, this has also been standard California state protocol with regard to schoolchildren questioning their gender identities. On Monday, this scheme became law.

The “SAFETY Act,” AB 1955, signed by California Democratic governor Gavin Newsom, legally forbids schools from adopting any policy that would force them to disclose “any information related to a pupil’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to any other person without the pupil’s consent.” Schools may not, as a matter of policy, inform parents of a child’s new gender identity unless the child volunteers her approval. The law also prohibits schools from punishing any school employee found to have “supported a pupil” hurtling down a path toward risky and irreversible hormones and surgeries.

The law effectively shuts down the local parents’ rights movement in California by eliminating its most important tool: the ability to organize at the community level to stop schools from deceiving them. No longer can families hope to convince their school boards to require schools to notify parents that their daughter, Sophie, has been going by “Sebastian” in class; that her teacher, school counselor, and principal have all been celebrating Sebastian’s transgender identity; that they’ve been letting her use the boys’ bathroom and reifying the sense that she is “really a boy.” 

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the law supports the priming of minor children for a secret life with a new gender identity. This includes having school-aged children participate in sexualized discussions and make identity declarations with school faculty, which are often actively hidden from the child’s parents. Elon Musk called the law “the final straw” for families and announced his intention to move both SpaceX and X, two of California’s most prominent tech companies, out of the state as a result. “The goal [of] this diabolical law,” he tweeted, “is to break the parent-child relationship and put the state in charge of your children.”

While researching my book, Irreversible Damage, and in the four years since its publication, I have talked to hundreds of parents whose daughters suddenly identified as transgender. Many of their daughters were encouraged in this revelation by school counselors and teachers in school districts across America. One parent told me a California school counselor had given her son the address of an LGBTQ youth shelter and suggested he emancipate himself from parents who were loving but skeptical of his sudden transgender identity. Another recent California law, AB 665, would have made reclaiming that young man from the youth center all but impossible because he was over the age of twelve.

In California, instruction in sexual orientation and gender identity has been mandatory for all public school students K–12 since the passage of the Healthy Youth Act in 2016. Because such instruction typically occurs within the required “anti-bullying curriculum” rather than the sex education curriculum, parents cannot elect that their children opt out of what is, in practice, a full-bore indoctrination into gender ideology. 

When a child then predictably decides in class that she too may be nonbinary or transgender, this revelation will often trigger schools’ gender support plan, effectively a school-wide conspiracy to promote the child’s new name and gender identity without tipping off Mom and Dad. Official documents and emails and report cards are sent to parents to preserve the child’s birth name and pronouns, concealing the social transition from parents. 

I have talked to parents who discovered their middle-school daughters had spent the better part of an entire academic year known to the entire school as “Spencer” or “Ethan.” One of these girls had even roomed with the boys on an overnight school trip.

I have investigated many cases in which social transitions were concealed from families. In no case did the girl flourish with this new identity. Maintaining a new, secret identity more often became a weight and burden to the girls. Inexplicably to the parents, their daughters became morose, dropped activities they once loved, wore baggier clothing, and begged to cut their hair shorter. The parents became desperate and unsure of what to do. The hidden transition resulted in children’s alienation from loving parents trying to protect them. 

But in the years since I first reported on this practice, political opposition has grown. Parents whose daughters were socially transitioned behind their backs have filed lawsuits against the school districts in California and Florida and Michigan. California public school teachers have sued school districts to block policies that could result in their firing if they inform parents that their children’s names and identities have been changed behind their backs. And a recent statewide initiative in California to require parental notification before a school changes a child’s gender identity as well as ban puberty blockers and gender surgeries for minors garnered over 400,000 signatures, falling just short of making it onto the ballot. 

The SAFETY Act would significantly stymie, if not eliminate, this local pushback to the increasingly unpopular practice of schools playing adoptive parents with other people’s children. (Although already, the Chino Valley Unified School District has filed suit against Newsom over this act.) The plain text of the California law claims that it merely prevents schools from adopting policies that “forcibly out” trans kids—as if confused fifth-grade girls are in the same position as closeted gay adults in decades past who risked arrest and firing for being outed. 

The law’s clever sponsors are typically quiet on the subject of “outing” to whom. The entire school already knows that Lily is now “Tyler.” Teachers will cheerfully share that information with each other, school mental health staff, administrators, and other students. The only ones who don’t get to know are the parents.

A favorite talking point of activists on the left is that with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity, schools must keep secrets with young children to protect them from transphobic and homophobic parents. Even in the most progressive of states, the claim that parents who discover that their child is transgender might abuse or kick her out is used to justify a policy that would otherwise be difficult to understand and impossible to justify.

Aurora Regino is a single mother in California who last year sued the Chico Unified School District for secretly pushing social transition on her then–11-year-old daughter. Regino told me that the “phobia” rationale seemed “ridiculous.” She added, “How is it not outing a kid if you’re telling an entire school that they’re a different sex? That’s outing right there. So everybody knows except the parents? That doesn’t really make any sense to me.”

Erin Friday, a California attorney and author of bills in several states requiring parental notification for any change in a child’s gender identity at school, vented exasperation at the idea that California parents are so homophobic or transphobic they cannot be trusted. “This is California, for crying out loud.”

Regino agreed. “Both my girls are very active. We do swimming, theater, soccer, softball. We are in connection with I don’t know how many families. And there’s not one family that I can think of that we are around that would kick out their kid because they thought that they were ‘nonbinary’ or trans or gay,” she said. “I mean, to me, that’s an extreme statement that these kids are going to get kicked out. Are we saying one in ten thousand? So we’re going to risk the rest of the children and separate them from their parents during the time that they need them the most?” Her now–13-year-old daughter no longer wants to be a boy.

One might think Newsom would realize that a policy this unpopular for Democrats could easily become a political albatross in an election year. Perhaps realizing this, the governor—who is frequently mentioned as a possible 2024 presidential candidate if Biden drops out—when defending the bill resorts to dissembling. On Wednesday, the governor’s press office declared on X that the bill “protects the child-parent relationship by PREVENTING politicians & school staff from inappropriately intervening in family matters & attempting to control if, when & how families have deeply personal conversations.” The bill only “protects” the parent-child relationship if you assume that relationship depends on the parents’ being entirely ignorant of their child’s growing attachment to this new, secret identity.

Governor Newsom also declared: “Under California law, minors CANNOT legally change their name or gender WITHOUT parental consent.” That’s placing a lot of weight on the word legally. The obscurantist governor is correct only in the most technical sense: yes, a child’s legal name can be changed only on official records with parental approval. But in the world of the SAFETY Act, the parents may be the only ones in a child’s life who use that name. 

In the past few years, moderates across the American political spectrum have awakened to the pernicious effects of gender ideology on children. England, Finland, Norway, and Sweden have, in recent years, warned the public of the risks of pediatric gender medicine, banned the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones in children, or restricted their use to research settings. The Cass Review, published this year by one of England’s premier physicians, noted the serious risks and specious benefits of pediatric gender transition. My own investigation, published four years earlier, reached the same conclusions. The Cass Review also acknowledged that social transition is an active intervention that puts many children on an inexorable path to medical transition. 

Recent polling shows that voters across the political spectrum believe that schools should be required to inform parents if their children are using different gender pronouns at school than they are at home.

But California Democrats appear ready to drag their party down with them. Parents’ best hope may be federal legislation mandating parental notification before a school can reassign a child’s name and gender. Candidates for president and vice president ought to be asked whether they would support such a bill.

Until her daughter was socially transitioned behind her back, Regino had been a lifelong progressive Democrat. “Now, I’m a registered Republican,” she said.

Abigail Shrier is the New York Times bestselling author of Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren’t Growing Up

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July 17, 2024 Heather Cox Richardson

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