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One week of Trump: He’s still pushing false claims and conspiracies

First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.
Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Casper, Wyo., on May 28, 2022.
Donald Trump speaks at a rally Saturday in Casper, Wyo. David Stubbs for NBC News

WASHINGTON —  If it’s Thursday ... A gunman kills four, injures others in Tulsa hospital shooting. ... Senate negotiators say they have a bipartisan framework for gun legislation in response to Uvalde shooting. ... President Biden meets at White House with NATO secretary general to discuss the upcoming NATO summit. ... A Michigan appeals court keeps Republican gubernatorial candidates off ballot in the state. ... And NBC’s Natasha Korecki and Adam Edelman report on the shakeup in the GOP’s Nevada Senate . 

But first: In case you don’t subscribe to Donald Trump’s Truth Social platform, or get his news releases, or read the Substacks of MAGA journalists, here’s what the former president has been up to over the past week: 

He’s recycled conspiracies that somehow Georgia’s Republican primaries were fraudulent:

“On Primary Day in Georgia, Kemp gets 74% and Perdue gets 22%. Nobody in any election in America gets 74% of the votes. Ever. It doesn’t happen.

“Obvious fraud,” wrote former Newsmax correspondent Emerald Robinson in her Substack newsletter, which Trump passed around on Tuesday.

He’s accused the U.S. legal system of being “corrupt,” because a jury didn’t find Dem lawyer Michael Sussman guilty: 

“Our Legal System is CORRUPT, our Judges (and Justices!) are highly partisan, compromised or just plain scared, our Borders are OPEN, our Elections are Rigged, Inflation is RAMPANT, gas prices and food costs are “through the roof,” our Military “Leadership” is Woke, our Country is going to HELL, and Michael Sussmann is not guilty. How’s everything else doing? Enjoy your day!!!” Trump posted on Truth Social. 

He’s celebrated how Reps. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., have introduced a House resolution to expunge Trump’s second impeachment:

“Thank you, Elise and Markwayne — was a total Hoax!”

And ahead of next week’s Jan. 6 hearings, he invited a man who was on restricted grounds during the attack on the U.S. Capitol — and who also happens to be the chair of Wyoming’s Republican Party — to speak at the former president’s rally last weekend. 

After the last seven years, it’s easy to become numb to Trump’s conspiracies and baseless allegations, which end up eroding trust in American institutions. 

After being kicked off Twitter and Facebook, it’s also a little harder for the political world to find his postings. 

But he hasn’t changed. 

And polls like our recent NBC News survey find that a majority of Republican voters want him to remain the GOP’s leader. 

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 15,000

That’s how many signatures were needed to secure a spot on the primary ballot in Michigan. But multiple Republican candidates for governor are being barred from the ballot for submitting fraudulent signatures. 

On Wednesday the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that two GOP candidates — businessman Perry Johnson and investment adviser Michael Markey — should not be allowed on the primary ballot. Two other candidates, including top contender James Craig, the former Detroit police chief, were also blocked from the primary ballot last week for allegedly submitting false signatures.

While the appeals court hasn’t specifically ruled in Craig’s case, yesterday’s ruling is seen as a bad sign for his chances. The Associated Press reported that there is no evidence that the candidates themselves were aware that the paid petition circulators were submitting fraudulent signatures.

The ballot drama has shaken up the race to take on Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is a top GOP target. The Cook Political Report rates her re-election race a Toss Up.

Other numbers you need to know:  

4: The number of people killed in a shooting inside a Tulsa hospital Wednesday.

$5.8 billion: The amount of student loans the Education Department is canceling for students who attended certain for-profit colleges. 

2: The age of the young Afghan boy who has been reunited with his parents after the toddler wasn’t able to fly with his parents when they fled Kabul last summer because he didn’t have an Afghan passport. 

96,798: The seven-day average of daily Covid cases in America, down 3 percent over the last two weeks, but double where things were about six weeks ago. 

Midterm roundup: Upping the ante in Nevada

Something’s afoot in Nevada, a state where longshots can sometime win. Retired Army Capt. Sam Brown is running a stronger-than-expected race against former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt. He’s surprised in fundraising; edged out Laxalt among small dollar donations; has outspent Laxalt on TV; and has cut a once massive lead to 15 percentage points in a recent poll. 

And he’s done it in part by attacking Laxalt, former President Trump’s state campaign co-chair in 2020 and his pick for Senate now, for not acting fast enough to protest the 2020 election result. (Laxalt has repeatedly questioned the result of the election, despite there being no proof of widespread fraud.)

NBC’s Natasha Korecki and Adam Edelman have more reporting on about Brown’s rise. But the big question remains: Will Brown serve as a brief speed bump on Laxalt’s path to the nomination, or can he pull off the upset?  

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Georgia Senate: Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is out with what appears to be his first negative TV ad aimed at Republican Herschel Walker tracked by AdImpact, playing footage of an interview where Walker pushes a body spray, claiming it can kill the Covid-19 virus.

Kentucky Senate: Democratic nominee Charles Booker is out with a new video criticizing GOP Sen. Rand Paul for delaying the passage of the federal anti-lynching law. The ad features Booker with a noose around his neck. 

Illinois Governor: new ad from Republican Richard Irvin seeks to turn the repeated Democratic attack ads against him into proof that he’ll be the toughest candidate for Democrats to beat in the fall. 

Michigan Governor: Businessman Kevin Rinke just announced a “seven-figure statewide ad buy” kicked off by a new ad criticizing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on voter fraud and promising to create an Election Integrity Unit.

Pennsylvania Governor: GOP nominee Doug Mastriano sent documents to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and will sit for an interview, Politico reports.

Texas-34: Politico reports on the GOP bullishness, and Democratic nervousness, in the special election in this South Texas district. 

South Carolina-01: Republican Rep. Nancy Mace is out with a new ad that ticks off national security crises like the war in Ukraine, the “rise” of China and the threat of Iran building a nuclear weapon to attack her primary opponent, Trump-backed Katie Arrington, about an investigation into her security clearance (the AP wrote about the complicated issue last month). 

South Carolina-07: Former House Speaker Paul Ryan campaigned with Republican Rep, Tom Rice, who is looking to overcome a primary challenger endorsed by Trump. 

Ad watch: Democrats’ dilemma

Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto, D-Nev., is out with a new ad touting her work on a bill capping insulin prices. The problem is: That bill hasn’t become law.

The TV spot features a young woman with diabetes, who says she needs insulin to survive, costing her family thousands of dollars a year. 

“Catherine Cortez Masto understands what that means to us and she’s fighting to cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month,” the young woman says in the ad, referencing the Affordable Insulin Now Act, which passed the House in March but has stalled in the Senate. 

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world  

Florida’s legislature has been working in lock step with GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, helping him rack up policy wins on key culture-war issues ahead of a potential presidential bid.  

NBC’s County to County project peeks at how one county in Georgia helps show how Trump’s picks in last week’s Republican primary faltered. 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she “was wrong” when she said last year that there was a small risk of inflation and that it would be manageable. 

Adm. Linda Fagan was sworn in as the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, becoming the first woman to lead a branch of the armed forces.