As North Carolina former Congressman Brad Miller noted this morning, “No one who played inside the lines had Roy Cohn for a lawyer.” I’m guessing historian Steven Beschloss would agree with him, having tweeted something many of us have been thinking today “We have no reason to assume he isn’t still holding stolen documents in other locations.”
When the redacted affidavit was released yesterday, prosecutors noted that “The government has well-founded concerns that steps may be taken to frustrate or otherwise interfere with this investigation if facts in the affidavit were prematurely disclosed [and that there was] probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found at” Mar-a-Lago. The public is most concerned with Trump’s violation of the Espionage Act, but obstruction is what may send Trump to prison for the rest of his life. If the DoJ can prove that he knowingly concealed or destroyed documents with the inttention of impeding the work of a federal agency… that’s 20 years. Crackpots like Marjorie Traitor Greene, Andy Biggs and Matt Gaetz— who political futures are 100% dependent on Trump— are still screaming about the investigation, but other Republicans in Congress have quieted down as details have emerged showing the extent of Trump’s provable criminality. This morning Nebraska state Sen. John McCollister (R) tweeted “The goalpost moving Trump Republicans are doing after the FBI raid is STAGGERING. You all opined about Hillary Clinton emails for years (many of you still do), yet you see no problem with Trump taking 184 classified documents with him to an unsecure private residence? C'mon guys.”
This morning Jonathan Weisman reported that where Republicans didn’t hesitate to denounce what they saw as a blatant abuse of power and outrageous politicization of the Justice Department right after the FBI visit to Mar-a-Lago, “with the release of a redacted affidavit detailing the justification for the search, the former president’s allies were largely silent, a potentially telling reaction with ramifications for his political future.”
And the platform Trump could most count on for a steady flood of (mostly meaningless) support, Truth Social, his pretend-Twitter, is sinking. Writing for the Washington Post this morning, Drew Harwell reported that the “website is facing financial challenges as its traffic remains puny and the company that is scheduled to acquire it expresses fear that his legal troubles could lead to a decline in his popularity. Six months after its high-profile launch, the site— a clone of Twitter, which banned Trump after Jan. 6, 2021— still has no guaranteed source of revenue and a questionable path to growth, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings from Digital World Acquisition, the company planning to take Trump’s start-up, the Trump Media & Technology Group, public. The company warned this week that its business could be damaged if Trump ‘becomes less popular or there are further controversies that damage his credibility.’ The company has seen its stock price plunge nearly 75 percent since its March peak and reported in a filing last week that it had lost $6.5 million in the first half of the year… There are signs that the company’s financial base has begun to erode. The Trump company stopped paying RightForge, a conservative web-hosting service, in March and now owes it more than $1 million, according to Fox Business, which first reported the dispute. The company also has struggled with some basics of corporate operation. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this month denied its application to trademark ‘Truth Social,’ citing the ‘likelihood of confusion’ to other similarly named companies, including an app, ‘VERO— True Social,’ first released in 2015.”
Two people familiar with the dispute between Trump and RightForge, “who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private details, said the lack of payment had fueled anger that Trump could shortchange a champion of his ‘free speech’ mission. The Trump company and RightForge have been communicating with each other exclusively through attorneys in recent weeks, the people said. Digital World Acquisition’s stock slid Friday about 7 percent. Trump’s businesses have faced many similar payment battles over the years. In past SEC filings, Digital World has also noted that ‘a number of companies that were associated with [Trump] have filed for bankruptcy’ and that ‘there can be no assurances that [Trump’s media company] will not also become bankrupt.’ In fact, Digital World’s filings have been consistently downbeat on the likelihood that Truth Social will be a success. Trump’s company ‘may never generate any operating revenues or ever achieve profitable operations,’ it said in May, and if it is ‘unsuccessful in addressing [its] risks, its business will most likely fail.’ In June, Digital World said it had been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury and was facing investigations from both the Justice Department and the SEC that could delay its merger with Trump’s firm. The deal, initially planned for this year, is now indefinitely frozen. Digital World also has said in filings that Trump’s social network will need millions of people to ‘regularly use’ it for the site to achieve commercial success. But Trump, the site’s most popular user, has fewer than 4 million followers, and the site’s most active trending topics, including #DefundTheFBI, have shown only a few thousand people posting to them in recent days, data from the site shows. For comparison, Twitter says it has about 37 million people in the U.S. actively using the site every day.”
[I]n the days since the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, Truth Social’s viewership has slowed, according to traffic estimates from Similarweb, an online analytics firm. Its U.S. audience has tumbled to about 300,000 views a day, down from nearly 1.5 million on the day of its launch.
While the site’s reputation suffered after its February launch was marred by fake accounts, a long wait list and other technical glitches, that time also marked the peak of the site’s online popularity, the estimates show.
Trump faces Justice Department investigations into his role in the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol and into how he handled classified documents after losing the presidency. Civil investigators in New York are digging into the Trump Organization, his longtime real estate and licensing firm.
Even his hiring of former Republican congressman Devin Nunes, a staunch Trump ally, to be the company’s CEO faces scrutiny. Magistrate Judge William Matthewman in West Palm Beach ruled earlier this month that Trump Media must provide information regarding Nunes’ employment to Hearst Magazine Media and journalist Ryan Lizza, whom Nunes has sued for defamation.
Nunes, who assumed his post in January, currently makes $750,000 a year and is scheduled for a raise, after two years, to $1 million, Digital World filings show.