The Slatest for Sept. 13: Why Trump Is Trying So Hard to Disqualify Judge Tanya Chutkan

Donald Trump speaks at a rally.
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Trump’s legal team has been mounting a campaign to disqualify the judge in his Jan. 6 case—but it seems like there’s no way it’s actually going to work. “This play is so poorly conceived and executed that it is difficult to believe the former president’s lawyers actually want to succeed,” Mark Joseph Stern writes. That might be because the former president is targeting something else. Stern explains his theory about what Trump’s real motives might be.

Plus: Dahlia Lithwick examines the cost of Republicans’ anti-democracy platform.

And ICYMI: Ben Mathis-Lilley has some thoughts on how Trump’s defenses in the Georgia case also double as persuasive arguments against him being president again.

Two views of a map of Brooklyn: one with many green and red dots, another with dramatically fewer dots altogether.
Inside Airbnb

What has become of Airbnb in New York City? Heather Tal Murphy looks at the new rules that have ousted the hotel alternative, and what might happen next.

An unexpected scandal might cost Virginia Democrats control of the state Legislature. Christina Cauterucci explains why the stakes are so high.

Comer, Steube, and McCarthy Photoshopped side by side, the former two speaking and the latter grimacing with his lips tight.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images, Greg Nash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images, and Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Wait, why is Kevin McCarthy launching an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden now? Molly Olmstead digs into the real reasons behind it—and the actual dangers.

A collage of Ginni Thomas, Leonard Leo, and others amid headlines and dollar bills.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Kenny Eliason/Unsplash, Unsplash, NikolayN/iStock/Getty Images Plus, Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images, Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images, Supreme Court of the United States/Steve Petteway, and Wall Street Journal.

If you’re wondering why Supreme Court ethics are such a mess, Ginni Thomas said something back in 2017 about Leonard Leo—the “dark-money kingpin and judicial impresario,” as Dahlia Lithwick puts it—that gets at the heart of the problem. “He has many hats,” Thomas said. “That isn’t even all he does. He doesn’t really tell all that he does.”

Lithwick takes apart just how much this idea of “too many hats” reveals about the court’s problems today.

If you can’t stage an environmental protest in the woods without being indicted, where can you go? Nitish Pahwa takes a close look at how the same legal weapon that prosecutors used to indict Donald Trump is being turned against political activists, and all its troubling implications.

Rows of reddish medicine in clear dosage cups against a light blue background.
Photo illustration by Slate

We all knew it! Ben Mathis-Lilley unpacks the news that cold medicine doesn’t work.

… much like Rebecca Onion’s daughter was when she was a toddler! Onion shares some comforting words in the wake of the New York magazine article about how friendship-destroying having children can supposedly be.

Thanks so much for reading! We’ll see you tomorrow.