It was the mug shot felt around the world. Donald Trump, the former president of the United States, looked dower staring into the camera lens at the Fulton County, Georgia, Sheriff's Office this week. The former president and current GOP presidential frontrunner currently faces 13 pending criminal charges in the state related to election interference. The charges represent a fraction of the total 91 pending criminal charges Trump faces related to election interference, improperly keeping classified documents, as well as charges related hush money payments and fraud in the 2016 election.

Never in our nation's history has a president, former or sitting, faced criminal charges and the kind of public accountability Trump now faces. Flawed as the legal system is in many respects, the fact that a man who previously held the nation's highest elected office would be held legally accountable for his actions is extraordinary.

(For more on the historic day of Trump's surrender, check out this piece from Georgia Recorder.)

There are limits to that accountability, however, and what ought to be a somber and perhaps unifying moment for the nation has become a political one. Unsurprisingly, Trump's base does not care about the alleged criminal activity. More troubling, however, is the fact that the Republican Party still seems beholden to the former president. Rather than jettisoning an embattled candidate, even Trump's 2024 competitors are circling the wagons. Ahead of his surrender in Georgia, his fellow 2020 hopefuls participated in a presidential debate. Asked if they would support the former president should he win the GOP primary, all answered in the affirmative.

For more on the debate and how it signaled that Trump is still top dog of the Republican Party, check out these pieces by The American Prospect, The New Republic, States Newsroom, and Jacobin.

Meanwhile, Trump is predictably has doubled and tripled down, turning his shame into a campaign pitch, signaling to his supporters that he is a persecuted victim of a tyrannical political establishment. The former president returned to Twitter for the first time since Jan. 2021 to advertise his mug shot.

"MUGSHOT – AUGUST 24, 2023," Trump's tweet read in all capital lettets. "ELECTION INTERFERENCE/NEVER SURRENDER! DONALDJTRUMP.COM"

There is cult of personality surrounding Trump that is unpredictable. The end of his presidency saw a mob storm the Capitol, whipped into a frenzy by their defeated leader denying his loss. The mob went looking for politicians and to disrupt the certification of the election results in an unprecedented assault on the foundations of American democracy.

There is no telling what a 2024 Trump campaign or even presidency might inspire.

So, despite our historic step toward the principle that nobody is above the law, we may already be several steps behind. Our justice system may not be up to the challenge presented in this precarious time.

There are compelling arguments for why Trump ought not be allowed to seek or hold public office again. His efforts to subvert and disrupt the peaceful, normal transfer of power are clear from the publicly available evidence already. Moreover, the former president has issued a chilling warning on his social media platform, Truth Social.

“If you go after me, I’m coming after you!” Trump promised.

But without convictions, barring Trump from running again is also fraught–and the wheels of justice turn slowly. OptOut will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds.

With that, please enjoy this week's selection of top news stories from OptOut participating outlets!

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Earlier this month, OptOut co-founder Alex Kotch wrote a critical article about hate group funding from major charitable funds. He recently appeared on Sea Change Radio to discuss the piece. Check it out!

Following the Money: Alex Kotch on Charitable Giving — Sea Change Radio
They say charity is a virtue, but sometimes it’s a little more complicated. The donor advised fund or DAF, has been a financial instrument for charitable giving in the United States for nearly a century – it’s a useful tool for wealthy individuals to make philanthropic donations. But as the inequali…
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Labor Wins

On August 22, UPS Teamsters ratified a tentative agreement on their national labor contract, averting a strike and securing concessions from the company, In These Times reported.

The National Labor Relations Board is expected to issue a new ruling that will make it significantly easier for workers to organize in the workplace. More Perfect Union had the story.

Minneapolis condo workers at River Towers just got a union and better pay. For more on that, check out this piece in Minnesota Reformer.

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COVID-19 Pandemic

With wastewater surveillance indicating COVID is surging again and hospitalizations ticking up, it is important to remain up-to-date on your vaccinations.

States Newsroom reported on the new updated boosters expected for the fall. Check it out.

Meanwhile, the position of the federal government remains that the public health crisis is behind us, leading to a frustrating lack of clarity and messaging from the top. Source NM reported on a controversy that happened recently where patients asked a CDC advisory panel but their comments disappeared. Full story here.

With the federal pandemic protections lapsed, Americans are losing coverage under Medicaid. For example, 14,000 Alaskans have lost their coverage since April. Alaska Beacon reported.

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