5 min read

Inmate No. P01135809

The first mugshot in American presidential history is here.
Inmate No. P01135809
(Fulton County Sheriff’s Office)

Good morning! It’s Friday, August 25, 2023. The 2024 elections are 438 days away. If this newsletter was forwarded to you, subscribe here. If you want to contribute to support my work, donate here.

Donald Trump was arrested on Thursday for the fourth time in five months as he surrendered to authorities in Fulton County, Georgia.

Unlike in the other jurisdictions that indicted him, a mugshot of Trump was taken (seen above), making it the first presidential mugshot in American history.

In total, Trump spent about 20 minutes at the Fulton County jail, being booked — as Inmate No. P01135809 — on 13 felony charges tied to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. He was then released on a $200,000 bond, also the first time Trump has been required to pay cash bail across his four indictments. (Under Georgia law, defendants only have to pay 10% of the amount up-front. Trump used an Atlanta bonding company to help cover the cost.)

The Georgia case also involves 18 other co-defendants, including former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and former Trump lawyers John Eastman and Sidney Powell. Most of the defendants have turned themselves in and had their mugshots taken; they have until noon today to do so.

Trump’s mugshot was not only instantly historic. It was also quickly turned into a campaign symbol.

The former president returned to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, for the first time in 2+ years, in order to share the mugshot with his 86 million followers. Trump’s post also linked to a fundraising appeal on his website, which featured the mugshot and decried his arrest as a “travesty of justice.”

“NEVER SURRENDER!” the post added.

If recent history is any guide, the mugshot will likely only boost Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign. As seen below, Trump’s first indictment in New York — on March 30 — almost perfectly coincided with his lead against Ron DeSantis expanding. Subsequent indictments have also led to similar polling and fundraising bumps.

Trump’s leading rivals for the Republican nomination squared off in their first debate in Milwaukee this week, an event that appeared unlikely to shake his significant polling lead, despite (or perhaps because of) the indictments.

When asked on Wednesday night, six out of the eight candidates on stage said they would still support Trump as the Republican nominee if he is convicted.

It is unclear if any of Trump’s trials will be held before a nominee is crowned, although prosecutors are pushing to try the ex-president as soon as possible. Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis filed court papers Thursday requesting that Trump’s Georgia trial begin on October 23.

One more thing: Instead of attending Wednesday night’s debate, Trump released an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Early in the interview, Carlson asked Trump about whether he believed Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide. Trump initially pivoted to reciting his false claims about the 2020 election — but when Carlson repeated the question, Trump answered that he thought Epstein probably did.

In his answer, it was hard not to wonder if Trump was considering the darkness that could be coming in his own future: “He had a life with beautiful homes and beautiful everything,” Trump said, “and all the sudden, he’s incarcerated and not doing very well.”

What Washington did this week.

Every Friday, I round up the policy developments from the previous week. This was a quiet week in official Washington, so I have an abridged version for you today. Because Congress is on recess, there will only be news from the executive branch.

  • Student loans

The Education Department unveiled a new income-driven repayment plan for federal student loan borrowers. Under the plan, starting in July 2024, monthly student loan payments will be reduced from 10% to 5% of a borrower’s discretionary income, which will be defined as any income above 225% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Borrowers who make less than 225% of the federal poverty guidelines — $32,800/year for individuals and $67,500/year for a family of four — will not be required to make any monthly payments.

The White House estimates that the plan will save the average borrower around $1,000 a year, while also bringing down loan payments to $0/month for about 1 million borrowers.

  • Rural broadband infrastructure

The Agriculture Department announced $667 million in new grants and loans for projects to increase access to broadband infrastructure in rural areas. The Biden administration has set a goal of connecting all Americans to high-speed internet by 2030.

The new grants and loans cover 22 states and the Marshall Islands. Here’s a breakdown of the distribution, via the Associated Press:

  • Cancer research

The Advanced Research Project Agency for Health (ARPA-H), the new Biden administration agency created to spur medical breakthroughs, announced its first research grant.

The $24 million award will go to Curing the Uncurable via RNA-Encoded Immunogene Tuning (CUREIT), a project out of Emory University that “aims to train the immune system to better fight cancer and other diseases with the goal of developing generalizable mRNA platforms to treat diverse diseases and save lives.”

The award is part of the Biden administration’s “Cancer Moonshot” initiative.

More news to know.

Wednesday night’s debate on Fox News averaged 12.8 milion viewers, an audience that was larger than expected but smaller than some past presidential showdowns. For context, 24 million viewers watched the first GOP debate in 2016, which was attended by Donald Trump.

Preliminary assessments by U.S. intelligence agencies suggest that the plane carrying Russian mercenary Yevgeny Prigozhin wasn’t shot down by a surface-to-air missile — but that the crash was the result of an assassination plot, using a bomb that exploded on the aircraft or some other form of sabotage. The Kremlin denied involvement this morning; Russian leader Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Prigozhin, who led a brief coup attempt against him earlier this year, was a “talented” man who made “serious mistakes.”

388 people are still missing in Maui, Hawaii, two weeks after deadly wildfires devastated the island. At least 115 people have been confirmed dead in the fires, already making them the deadliest in modern American history.

The day ahead.

White House: President Biden is on vacation in Lake Tahoe. VP Harris will host the Las Vegas Aces at the White House to celebrate their 2022 WNBA championship.

Congress: Both chambers of Congress are on recess.

Supreme Court: The court is out until October.

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