Al’s Afternoon Tea: Trump Found Guilty, a ‘Nuts’ Judge, a Race-Baiting Rant, and a Secretary of Homeland Defense Who Might as Well Be in Oz

History was made just as Al's Afternoon Tea was being published today: The jury in former President Donald Trump's "hush-money" trial found him guilty on all 34 felony counts. We'll have the details of that later today, and commentary in the morning.

By Al Perrotta Published on May 30, 2024

Welcome back in for Al’s Afternoon Tea. 

Bizarre: Jury Wasn’t Given Copy of Jury Instructions

In yet another seemingly deliberate effort by Judge Juan Merchan to muddle up the minds of the jurors in the Donald Trump “hush money” case, he refused to give jurors copies of the 55-page set of instructions that is supposed to govern their deliberations. He can waste millions of taxpayer dollars to put President Joe Biden’s political opponent behind bars, but he won’t spring a few bucks for some Xeroxing? Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley calls the action “nuts” and said it “serves no positive purpose.” Even MSNBC finds it bizarre. Just hours into deliberations, the jury asked to rehear some of the instructions.

Call me kooky, but when you are talking about convicting a former president of multiple felonies (from which jurors can take their pick!), the question for jurors should be, “Did the prosecution prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt?” not “What the heck does any of this mean?”

Turley noted the jurors were interested in the prosecution-friendly “rain” analogy included in the instructions. (Essentially summarized as: You didn’t see it rain, but if you wake up and the ground is wet, you can infer it rained at some point during the night.)

Here, with a biased jury, the idea that Merchan and his prosecution partners are pushing is that even if you’ve been shown no evidence proving that Trump was directly involved in making payments to former stripper Stormy Daniels to not discuss their past sexual encounter, let alone that he knew such payments were somehow criminal and that he willfully intended to commit a criminal act, you can infer his involvement and knowledge of it from the actions of others. If you hate Trump or don’t want to be hated by your liberal neighbors and friends or hunted by Biden’s FBI and IRS, it’s an easy jump to say, “He had to know about it. He’s Trump.”

Think of what we’ve heard the past couple days: Jurors don’t need a particular crime to convict him of, and they don’t need direct evidence of it in order to convict a former president in America. The question is whether enough jurors will see through the smog and manipulations and say, “Not on my watch.” 

The “Freak Out” By the Numbers

We’ve been yapping for the past few days about a Politico article declaring that top Democrats are in full “freak-out” mode over Joe Biden’s chances of being reelected.

They have more reason to be biting their nails now: The first forecast in this presidential cycle from “Decision Desk” is out. Right now, the Decision Desk HQ/The Hill projection gives Trump a 56% chance of winning, with a 280-258 Electoral College victory.

Yet there’s even more trouble for Biden in the polls. Decision Desk has Virginia leaning for Biden. However, a new Roanoke College poll out Wednesday showed Virginia in a dead heat, with each candidate receiving 42% of the vote. Biden won the state by 10 percentage points in 2020.  

Dems want to ditch the Big Guy. A new Rasmussen poll shows 54% of likely Democrats approve of replacing Joe Biden with another candidate.

The (Racial) Freakout by the Candidate

Joe Biden is so freaked out by his dwindling support among black voters that he brought his Dark Brandon demagoguery act to Philly yesterday, accusing Trump (among other things) of “wanting to teargas you as you peacefully protested George Floyd’s murder.” (This echoes his claim years ago that Mitt Romney wanted to “put you back in chains.”) “He’s that landlord who denies housing applications because of the color of your skin. He’s that guy who won’t say black lives matter and invokes neo-Nazi, Third Reich terms.” And a now familiar stand-by, “They are trying to erase black history.”

He also made the bizarre claim that had black people stormed the Capitol on January 6, Donald Trump would not be talking about pardoning them.

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Biden really packed the place in to hear his racially divisive rant.

What? They don’t even have enough people to fill those circles he had in 2020?

While in Philly, Biden also rehashed another debunked tale of how he became active in the Civil Rights Movement in 1969. This was one year after he was shot to death at a Memphis motel by James Earl Ray.

He also bragged about how he’s “rebuilding a sixty zillion-dollar bridge in Baltimore.”

Then again, under his leadership it may well cost that much.

We kid. But Biden displayed his true self in another way Wednesday. A reporter asked a fair question of the oldest president in history. “President Biden, will you be serving your full four-year term or handing over power to Vice President Harris?”

Biden’s response was to insult the reporter. “Did you fall on your head or something?”

Gaslight: Mayorkas Boasts About “Extraordinary Job” Administration’s Done on Immigration

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas must have hit his head during a recent tornado like Dorothy, because he’s living in a fantasy world.

He actually told CBS News in a new interview the Biden administration has “done an extraordinary job to deal with an unprecedented level of migration.” 

On the Stream Menu

Bunni Pounds returns with “Riots or Revival: A Tale of Two Movements.” 

David Kubal has “America Needs Prayer and Intercession.” 


Al Perrotta is The Stream’s Washington bureau chief, coauthor with John Zmirak of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration, and coauthor of the counterterrorism memoir Hostile Intent: Protecting Yourself Against Terrorism.

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