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Speaker of the House says legal proceedings against Trump are sham show trials

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A fine Christian gentleman, one of so very many in our midst:

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is expected to attend the Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday for former President Trump’s ongoing New York criminal trial, the latest high-profile GOP lawmaker to flock to New York.

Why it matters: The courtroom has become the new venue for displays of Trump loyalty, as well as the high-profile audition to be Trump’s running mate.

  • North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a Trump VP contender, is also expected in court on Tuesday, Axios has learned.
  • So is fellow VP contender Vivek Ramaswamy, his spokesperson confirmed to Axios on Monday.

Driving the news: Johnson, who has been taking on a more visible role as one of Trump’s leading defenders, argued Tuesday that it was a “sham trial” designed to keep Trump off the campaign trail.

  • The Louisiana Republican alleged that the hush-money trial was being conducted by partisans and asserted that congressional Republicans were taking action to “rein in” Special Counsel Jack Smith in the classified documents case.
  • The speaker did not take questions from reporters.

A couple of things worth noting:

(1) If a major presidential candidate were actually being subjected to sham trials by a corrupt legal system for the purpose of destroying him politically, that would be a political crisis that ought to trigger at least the serious possibility of an imminent collapse of the political order.

(2) Mike Johnson doesn’t actually believe that’s what’s going on, because while he’s in a cult, it’s not the same one you have to be part of to believe something that delusional about the legal proceedings involving Donald Trump.

(3) None of the other GOP bigwigs making pilgrimages to the NYC court room believe this either, but they say they do because they have to pretend to be in the cult to hold onto their current sinecures, and to maintain hope for further advancement.

(4) A very large number of Americans — tens of millions certainly — do believe that what these people are saying is true, and that is a very serious problem.

(5) I think this country is going to break up at some point over the next ten to forty years. Your mileage may vary, but Houston (heard about Detroit, heard about Pittsburgh PA?) we have a problem.

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