(A)Political Newsletter - 1st Edition

U.S. Political News & Election Updates

Friday, July 21st, 2023

Good morning everyone,

Welcome to the very first week of the (A)Political Newsletter! We are extremely excited to expand the scope of what we bring to you every week. The primary focus of this newsletter will be a weekly, unbiased retelling of all the major points following the political landscape of the United States, with a specific emphasis on the 2024 elections. This being the first edition, we will likely have some kinks to work out, so we urge you to provide feedback at the end of this newsletter! As always, thank you for your support. Atlas would not be where it is without readers like you. Now, to the news.

In today’s edition:

  • Donald Trump Faces Further Federal Indictment

  • The Senate Reviews Supreme Court Ethics

  • Almost Half of Registered voters could vote 3rd party


(Polling data via RealClearPolitics)

Biden Remains in Narrow Lead as Republican Primary Becomes One-sided

President Biden holds a narrow lead against former President Trump, with an RCP average of 0.5 percent. Republicans have been gaining ground in unity amid what Republican voters see as politically charged investigations. Reinforcing this is the dramatic lead Donald Trump now has over the rest of the Republican candidates, including a stagnating campaign from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. However, independent voters remain less favorable of Trump, giving Biden a slight edge.

Trump Likely to be Indicted over Attempts to Overturn 2020 election

(PHOTO - Win McNamee/Getty Images)

July 18, 2023: Former President Donald Trump announced on his social media that he was sent a letter by Special Prosecutor Jack Smith declaring that he is a "target" of a grand jury investigation. Trump has been known to announce he will be indicted without any word from prosecutors, and this seems to be the case again. However, The Independent learned from sources that a possible indictment could be handed down either Thursday or Friday of this week.

The letter itself, obtained by multiple news agencies, found that the likely charges include at least three: conspiracy to defraud the government, obstruction of an official proceeding, and election fraud. The initial two charges are nothing new to Trump, as the House Jan. 6 Committee recommended them in its criminal referral against him. However, those were recommendations, these would be actual charges.

The third charge, however, is one Trump has not faced before but applies to alleged election fraud cases: Section 241 of Title 18 of the United States Code. The law was used in election ballot cases where there was fraud, either after the fact in tabulation or if there was ballot stuffing during the initial vote. Jack Smith could be using the law to charge Donald Trump for his efforts to overturn the election that are not related to January 6.

Such alleged cases include the December 18, 2020, meeting in the Oval Office, where Trump was told to use the powers of the government to seize Dominion voting machines across the country. Another example would be when the Trump campaign tried to have false electors who would vote for Trump when they officially cast their tallies, or the call Trump made to Georgia’s secretary of state to "find" 11,780 votes to switch his loss into a win.


The indictments were welcomed by Democratic politicians who were personally affected by the January 6 riot, many of whom had to run for safety and put gas masks on in response to the initial breakthrough. Rep. Dean Philip (D-Minn.) told Axios that "I believe that Trump committed high crimes against our country. He'll have his day in court, but I'll always believe that he incited that mob." Even though polling for this specific indictment has not been completed yet, Democratic voters nearly universally place blame on Trump for January 6, with 88% of Democratic voters supporting criminal charges.


Republican primary opponents could only tacitly condemn Trump while mainly focusing on the weaponization of the government. Florida Gov. Ron Desantis, Trump’s biggest challenger, said that Trump "should have come out more forcefully" on Jan. 6. Once news of the indictment came, he attacked the investigation, saying it "would not be good for the country". Strong Trump allies condemned the indictment, with 4th-ranking Republican House member Elise Stefanik (R-NY) telling reporters of "Joe Biden’s weaponized Department of Justice."

Senate Panel Votes on Supreme Court Ethics Reform

(Photo - John Brighenti / FLICKR)

July 20th, 2023: The Senate Judiciary Committee successfully pushed through an ethical reform bill aimed at the Supreme Court in an 11-10 vote along party lines.

The bill, proposed by Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, aims to establish fresh guidelines for financial disclosures and the recusal process within the highest U.S. judicial entity. Justices would be obliged to follow a code of conduct and facilitate a process to probe any alleged conflicts of interest.

In contrast to other federal judiciary members, the justices of the Supreme Court do not have a mandatory ethics code of conduct. However, they are subjected to disclosure laws, like many high-level federal officials, which necessitate reporting outside income and certain gifts.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor: "Holding Supreme Court justices to high ethical standards should not be a partisan issue. On the contrary, both sides should leap at the opportunity to do whatever we can to protect the public's trust in our system of justice."

The measure, however, faced Republican opposition in the Committee and will need some Republican backing if it is to pass in the full Senate. The bill faces a heavy uphill fight in the House as well.

Republican Senator Lindsay Graham stated, "This is a bill not designed to make the court stronger or more ethical. This is a bill to destroy a conservative court."


Several outlets have released reports detailing ties between several Conservative members of the Supreme Court and unreported deals or unethical agreements. According to ProPublica, conservative Justice Samuel Alito did not disclose receiving a private flight to Alaska provided by a billionaire hedge fund manager who’s interests have recently been brought before the court. There have also been long-standing arrangements between Justice Clarence Thomas and billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow, which encompass real estate acquisitions and extravagant travel. Politico reported that Justice Neil Gorsuch failed to notify that the buyer of his Colorado property was the chief executive of a major law firm whose attorneys have been involved in various Supreme Court cases.


Republican senators have attempted to depict the push for ethics reform as a strategy employed by the opposition Democrats to tarnish the court's image, particularly because of its current 6-3 conservative majority, which is said to be actively influencing legal decisions in a conservative direction. These senators argue that the court should be entrusted to establish its own rules, raising doubts about whether lawmakers have the authority to enforce ethics standards on the court. They base this concern on an overreach of the Legislative branch and the need for a balance in the division of powers as outlined in the United States Constitution.

Nearly Half of Registered Voters Would Consider Voting Third-Party in 2024

(PHOTO - John Tully/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Polling data released by Quinnipiac shows that 47 percent of polled Americans say they would consider voting for a third party other than the Republican or Democratic nominee. Polling data released by Quinnipiac shows that 47 percent of polled Americans say they would consider voting for a third party other than the Republican or Democratic nominee. With the deeply unpopular leading candidates for their respective parties, a current President and a former President, voters are considering an alternative to both, scrambling the electoral calculus for both parties in the runup to the 2024 election.

Registered independents are even more likely to consider voting for a third-party candidate, with 64 percent saying they would consider it.

Third parties are scrambling to take advantage of the political landscape, especially the Democratic backlash. The political unity ticket No Labels has 75 million dollars in political funding and may be recruiting a moderate Democratic Senator as its presidential pick. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) scheduled a town hall at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, a key early primary state. Manchin faces a tough re-election fight in West Virginia against popular Republican governor Jim Justice and might want to switch to running as a presidential candidate to avoid the political fight. No Labels’ leader stated in an interview that if it seems that No Labels could spoil the election for Biden, they will stop the ticket altogether.

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