(A)Political Newsletter - Volume 39

(A)Political Newsletter - Volume 39

Good morning everyone,

This week has been eventful in politics. Former President Trump is officially on trial for alleged hush money payments to former pornstar Stormy Daniels. Next, President Biden’s political campaign is trying to fend off a third-party challenge from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Many members of the Kennedy family appeared with Biden at a campaign event to endorse Biden over Kennedy. Finally, House Speaker Mike Johnson is having to balance much-needed aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, with the more isolationist right-wing members of his caucus. Let’s get right in it.

In today’s edition:

  • Stock Watching

  • Jury Selected for Trump’s Stormy Daniels Trial

  • Kennedy Family Endorses President Biden over RFK Jr.

  • Speaker Johnson Doing a Balancing Act for Speakership


  • BREAKING: Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has cosponsored legislation to overturn new climate disclosure rules.

    • Worth noting that Manchin has a ~$5M dollar stake in his family’s coal business.

    • We estimate that he has a total net worth of $9M, so it's a significant position.

  • Senator Bob Menendez reportedly may blame alleged crimes on his wife in his corruption trial.

    • Menendez has been accused of accepting bribes.

    • Before the indictment, we caught him selling up to $400K worth of solid gold bars.

  • BREAKING: Representative Thomas Massie is co-sponsoring Marjorie Taylor Greene's motion to vacate Speaker Mike Johnson.

  • Wild. Representative Kevin Hern just disclosed a purchase of stock in the defense contractor Raytheon.

    • Surely politicians know that trades like this look awful.

    • Apparently we still aren't drawing enough attention towards it for them to care.

  • BREAKING: Representative Virginia Foxx has bought stock in a small company called Ardmore Shipping, $ASC.

    • The company has a market cap of just $672M. Foxx is the only politician we have seen trading it.

  • BREAKING: Representative Tim Burchett just announced that he is voting against the FISA spying bill.

    • Republican Representatives Matt Gaetz and Anna Paulina Luna have also said they are opposed.

    • Provided that House Democrats are no votes, it looks likely to fail.

Jury Selected for Trump’s Stormy Daniels Trial

(Photo - Dave Sanders/NYT)

April 18, 2024 - Former President Trump’s hush-money trial will officially go into effect this week, as twelve jurors have been chosen. There have been two days of constant back-and-forth between the prosecution and defense over which jurors should be included in the jury pool. The problem is compounded by the notoriety of the case and that President Trump and his allies are actively trying to discredit the prosecution, regularly condemning the opposition. That has led to possible instances of witness intimidation in other cases from Trump followers. Judge Juan Merchan has now directed news agencies to stop reporting the physical details of jurors because some jurors have received questions and harassment from family and friends after their details were released. Trump has to attend the trial every day of his prosecution, preventing him from campaigning every day except for Wednesday and severely limiting his ability to travel. Trump also appeared to doze off during the court proceedings, which the Biden campaign made heavy use of in its fundraising emails as an optics win.

Trump continued to condemn the trial, visiting a bodega to highlight crime in New York City. He wanted to highlight how DA Alvin Bragg, who is overseeing the case, is possibly using resources on him instead of on other, more violent crimes. New York voters responded positively to the tough-on-crime message in the 2022 midterms, which could be why Trump is using the strategy. Trump is trying to show possible voters that the prosecution is just another “witch hunt” as a way to prevent him from winning the 2024 election. District Attorney Bragg has also received criticism for his motivations, with some perceiving this push against Trump as a way to obtain a career boost. The trial will hinge on testimony from former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen, who reportedly paid the money to Stormy Daniels.

Kennedy Family Endorses Biden over JFK Jr.

(Photo - Doug Mills/NYT)

April 18, 2024 - Many members of the Kennedy family have announced their support for President Biden over one of their own, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Many of his own siblings even endorsed Biden, including Joseph, Kerry, Rory, Kathleen, Maxwell, and Christopher. The family has expressed frustration over RFK Jr.’s candidacy and his wading into conspiracy theories, such as anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. One of the Kennedy siblings even called RFK Jr.’s candidacy as “dangerous”. The family also expressed disappointment over RFK Jr.’s usage of an advertisement mimicking one that President Kennedy used in his candidacy during the Super Bowl.

Both candidates are putting their focus on beating this independent challenger. Former President Trump is either trying to attack him or, depending on the source, even co-opt him into the campaign. RFK Jr. stated that a Trump ally offered for him to be Trump’s running mate, which he declined. Trump is reportedly interested in the sound of a Trump-Kennedy ticket. However, Trump has also critiqued Kennedy, knowing that he could possibly pull voters away from him. President Biden is thinking the same, where he has taken the unprecedented move and hired an entire staff to find opposition research and other ways to undermine RFK Jr.’s campaign. Both Trump and Biden understand how close this election could be and are not taking any chances with a third party.

Speaker Johnson Doing a Balancing Act for Speakership

(Photo - Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)

April 19, 2024 - U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson is poised to advance a $95 billion aid bill for Kyiv, Israel, and other allies, despite facing opposition from a hardline faction of Republicans, risking an attempt to oust him. Johnson's tenure as speaker has been marked by bipartisan cooperation, overseeing the passage of crucial legislation, including significant spending bills and the reauthorization of federal surveillance programs. Despite criticism, his leadership has garnered praise from centrist Republicans concerned about maintaining U.S. influence globally.

Johnson's ability to navigate a narrow House majority and rely on Democratic support has been crucial in passing legislation. While facing threats of ousting from hardline Republicans, Johnson has received support from some senior Democrats and even former President Donald Trump. However, opposition from members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, poses a persistent challenge. Despite these tensions, Johnson remains steadfast in his commitment to providing aid to Ukraine and fulfilling his duties as speaker, emphasizing the importance of historical judgment over political fear.

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