Chapo Trap House
740 - Crank About Creeping feat. Ben Terris (6/12/23)
Tue Jun 13 2023
"The Big Break" and Trump's Legal Troubles
- Ben Terrace discusses his book, "The Big Break."
- Donald Trump and his lawyer have been indicted for mishandling classified documents.
- The severity of the charges surprises the hosts, who speculate that Trump may not be able to escape this time.
- Trump has been indicted twice, which is 200% more than any other president.
- Trump gets in trouble for Eastern Europe-related issues and criminal behavior related to being president.
American Actions Towards Ukraine and Russia
- American actions towards Ukraine and Russia can go unnoticed.
- Prosecuting a president for illegal actions can limit their ability to make deals in the future.
- Trump's behavior regarding Ukraine was buffoonish and less subtle than other presidents.
- The boxes incident is reminiscent of drug testing in MMA, it's an intelligence test.
- Defenders of Trump are making different moves, such as pointing out that Hillary did similar things or questioning what the law is.
- The DC media is focused on this scandal because it's hilarious and hard to ignore.
Mar-a-Lago Bathrooms and Conservative Media
- The podcast discusses various aspects of the bathrooms at Mar-a-Lago, including a low toilet and shower curtains from 1985.
- There is mention of Trump's alleged golden toilet and his lawyer being included in an indictment.
- The hosts speculate on how conservative media and potential 2024 presidential candidates are handling Trump's legal troubles.
- They also discuss a statement made by Trump on his social media platform, Truth Social.
Indictment Against Trump, GOP Field, and Ron DeSantis
- Donald Trump claims to have been indicted by the corrupt Biden administration over the boxes hoax.
- The podcast hosts discuss the Chinatown boxes and university papers found in Biden's garage.
- They criticize the GOP field for trying to take advantage of the situation, with some candidates making principled stands while others support leaking national security secrets.
- Ron DeSantis' supporters defend him sweating through his shirt during a speech in Oklahoma.
Reactions to Ron DeSantis and Differentiation Between Norms and Laws
- Discussion about people's reactions to Ron DeSantis, including his sweaty appearance and odd behavior on a flight to Tel Aviv.
- Comparison of DeSantis' relatability to Bernie Sanders' sweatiness on the campaign trail.
- Mention of an indictment against Donald Trump and his lawyer regarding classified documents.
- Speculation that legal proceedings may have more consequences than previous scandals during Trump's presidency.
- Differentiation between breaking norms and breaking the law in regards to political actions.
The Impeachment Trial and Sideshow Characters
- The impeachment trial is a depoliticized process that even Republicans in Washington would like to see happen.
- Normal Republicans can make hay about the trial and use it as an opportunity to fight back against the system.
- Speculations about making a deal with Trump to drop charges in exchange for him dropping out of the presidential race are unlikely and not a great deal for him.
- The boxes in the bathroom during the Capitol riot are a perfect manifestation of America's government, culture, and people in charge.
- Ben's book, The Big Break, focuses on the sideshow characters who now become the big story.
Washington's Social Scene and Backroom Deals
- Side show characters have become the big story in politics, as seen with Trump and his inner circle.
- Washington is like a big college campus where everyone has the same gossip and information.
- Many people pretend to hate DC but secretly love it because it's a game that can lead to more money and influence.
- The Schlapp Christmas party is an example of the backroom deals that happen in DC.
- Despite its flaws, there are parts of Washington that are enjoyable to live in, such as music venues and restaurants.
DC Social Scene and Leah Hunt Hendrix
- The podcast discusses the DC social scene and how it provides a more telling portrait of the contemporary Democrat and Republican party.
- The book being discussed in the podcast begins with portraits of two competing parties, one of which is represented by Leah Hunt Hendrix, a progressive fundraiser who hosts fundraisers and parties to bring in money for progressive causes and candidates.
- Leah Hunt Hendrix is the granddaughter of H.L. Hunt, an oil tycoon from Texas who was reported to be the richest man in the world when he died. He was a right-wing populist type who helped fund the John Birch Society and loved Joseph McCarthy.
- H.L. Hunt had three families in total, two of which were secret.
- Leah Hunt Hendrix is from one of H.L. Hunt's secret families that became not so secret after his first wife died.
Parties, Masks, and Matt Schlapp
- The speakers discuss two parties, the Schlap party and the Lea Hunt party, that occurred around the same time.
- At the Lea Hunt party, there was a lot of discussion about whether it was okay to be indoors without masks due to the recent outbreak of Omicron.
- The speakers joke about how DC liberals are incapable of having fun and how they feel superior for attending exclusive events.
- They discuss a scene from a book involving a restaurant incident with Matt Schlapp where he had an argument with a waiter over his food order and did not want broccolini on his plate.
Matt Schlapp's Behavior and Frank Luntz's House
- The podcast discusses Matt Schlapp's behavior and quirks, including his lack of knowledge about non-steak items on menus.
- The hosts mention a trend among DC residents to order steak well-done with ketchup as a way to appear more relatable.
- Details are shared about Schlapp's appreciation for creature comforts, such as his preference for a specific brand of dishwasher and his serious approach to party planning.
- A contrast is drawn between Schlapp's home and Frank Luntz's house.
Frank Luntz's House and Relationship with Trump
- The contrast between the Schlap residence and Frank Luntz's house is a funny detail in the book.
- Frank Luntz's home is decorated with the zeal of a child who had lucked into a large sum of money.
- He filled his kitchen cabinets with shoeboxes full of baseball cards, installed a Riverboat gambler pinball machine in the basement, placed a life-size mannequin of the Terminator by his back door, and had Ronald McDonald and Big Boy restaurant mascots on display.
- Frank Luntz seems like a character who doesn't recognize or vocalize how big of a part he played in paving the way for Donald Trump's presidency.
- He worked with Newt Gingrich on the contract for America and helped Rudy Giuliani get elected, which are steps that led to Trump's presidency.
- Despite claiming that Donald Trump is the worst thing that ever happened to the world and caused him to have a stroke, he tried to work with him and even wrote on Air Force One.
Frank Luntz's Living Arrangements and Kevin McCarthy
- Frank Luntz claims to be moving out of his Virginia house, but he has a penthouse in D.C. that he lives in.
- He knocked down four penthouse units to make one giant penthouse unit and sometimes lives there with Kevin McCarthy.
- Frank Luntz says he's so sick from Trump that he needs medicine, but he's afraid to inject himself, so Kevin McCarthy sometimes injects him.
- The hosts joke about Kevin McCarthy and Frank Luntz being like the mere universe version of Sean McElwee and David Chor's Hot Boy Summer.
- Tim Scott claimed to be abstinent when he was a 30-year-old town councilman in Charleston, South Carolina, but when asked if he had gotten laid yet as a presidential candidate, his official answer was yes.
Politician's Response to Sex Life Question and Disclosure of Sexual History
- The podcast discusses a politician's response to a question about his sex life and abortion policy.
- The politician gave a strange answer and abruptly left the room to go to the bathroom.
- He later returned and admitted he hasn't been as good about abstinence as he would have liked, but wouldn't discuss his own story in schools.
- The hosts suggest that candidates for president should be required to disclose their sexual history under oath.
- They also joke about politicians going to the bathroom in front of them and the possibility of writing a book titled "Can the Senator's Penis Be Off the Record?"
Sean McElwee and His Bets
- The speakers did not see Sean do anything well.
- Sean invited the speaker to his happy hours and poker nights while knowing that the speaker was writing a book about him.
- Sean bragged about his bets at the table, wanting the speaker to write it all down as proof of his skills.
- Sean lost most of his bets, including those related to Democrats losing seats and Federman losing.
- Sean had over $20,000 put into predicted and was making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year consulting for Gabe Bankman-Free's organization guarding against pandemic.
- Despite having insider information, Sean still lost money on betting.
- Sean admitted to betting on his own games and bragged about betting against Nina Turner's congressional campaign.
- The Federman team did not like when Sean said he thinks they are "fucked."
- The speaker found Sean to be the most interesting and amusing character in DC.
Sean McElwee's Rise and Reviled Status
- Sean McElwee has become a national figure in the past two years, but he is also reviled.
- He had climber characteristics and was always at a bar where he worked his way up.
- His motivation was unclear, but he built an organization that used data for progress.
- Sean's ex-girlfriend said that she could never tell if he did things to do good or for personal gain.
- People in Washington come to do good, but they get caught up in the bullshit of it all.
Moral Implications of Politics and Trauma of Losing
- The podcast discusses the moral implications of politics and how it can affect individuals differently.
- Losing in politics can be traumatic for some people, causing them to become disillusioned with the system.
- Those who work in politics must decide whether to prioritize their own well-being or try to make a difference despite the grind and potential loss of self.
- The hosts admire a Republican candidate named Scott Pressler for his positivity and enthusiasm despite repeated failures.
- Charlie Kirk is mentioned as someone who seems miserable all the time, possibly due to legal restrictions on smiling.
- The episode ends with thanks to guest Ben Terris for his book and programming contributions.