A New Front Is Opening In The Battle To Save The Republic From Trump

INSIDE: Peter Navarro ... E. Jean Carroll ... Mitch McConnell
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - FEBRUARY 20: President Donald J. Trump speaks to supporters at the Broadmoor World Arena on Thursday, February 20, 2020. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.

Disqualification Clause Effort Heats Up

The 14th Amendment obstacle to Trump winning back the presidency is untested, uncertain, and yet a fascinating – even tantalizing – development in the historic effort to hold him to account for attempting to unlawfully seize power.

The newest developments include:

  • Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold confirms “there have been conversations among secretaries” about the application of the Disqualification Clause to Trump.
  • A CREW-backed lawsuit filed yesterday in Colorado against Griswold to try to enforce the Disqualification Clause and keep Trump off the ballot in that state.
  • Increasing media coverage of the Disqualification Clause (welcome, WSJ). If you missed TPM’s weekend series, check it out here, here and here.

Yet, there remains, even after eight years of Trump on the national political stage, a squeamishness about using all the tools at our disposal to protect the Republic from his authoritarian zeal. You saw it for years among elected Democrats, especially on the Hill. The hesitancy spawned its own long-running and divisive debate among the anti-Trump forces. And this argument from David Frum suggests we’re not over it yet:

Of course, it wouldn’t work as Frum suggests. The decisions of election officials would be challenged by Trump and perhaps others in court, and the courts would hear arguments, in some instances consider evidence, and rule on the legal and factual merits. The Supreme Court would have a chance to weigh in. This wouldn’t be contrary to the rule of law but an effort to enforce it.

Put me in the camp of throwing every potentially viable legal means into the effort to uphold the rule of law and not getting bogged down in strategizing the precise sequencing of tools to use, let alone handwringing over the blowback, the threat of revenge, the fear of Trump later using the same tactics.

With everything cooking right now – four indictments in four jurisdictions, civil lawsuits against Trump and his core business, etc – there is finally a concerted, broad-based, unrelenting effort to meet the historic moment. Unilaterally disarming on the Disqualification Clause would be surrendering before the battle is even joined.

First Georgia RICO Trial Set To Start NEXT MONTH

It’s remarkable how quickly things are moving in Georgia, at least for now.

In the first significant hearing in the RICO case, the judge overseeing the case ruled yesterday that Ken Chesebro and Sidney Powell will be tried together on the fast track they requested, denying their motions for separate trials from each other.

No ruling yet on the whether the other 17 defendants, including Donald Trump, will be forced onto the expedited trial schedule, but the judge expressed skepticism that that would be workable.

Georgia Miscellany

  • Mark Meadows is seeking to sever his trial from the other Georgia co-defendants and to delay it until after federal courts have resolved the question of whether he can remove his case from state to federal court.
  • Former Georgia GOP chair David Shafer is making a similar bid to sever and delay.

Navarro Jury Could Get Case As Soon As Today

Closing arguments are expected today in Peter Navarro’s trial on contempt of Congress charges for failing to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee.

Wednesday’s trial was brisk: Opening statements, a brief case in chief by prosecutors, and no defense witnesses.

It’s a pretty open and shut case but you never know with a jury.

Poor John Eastman

While everything else is going on, Georgia RICO defendant John Eastman is testifying to try to save his law license in California, potentially setting himself up for even more criminal exposure.

One interesting nugget from yesterday’s proceedings:

John Eastman, testifying at his own disbarment trial, sidestepped a question Wednesday about whether he and others in former President Donald Trump’s orbit discussed the possibility that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) — rather than Mike Pence — would preside over the Jan. 6, 2021, session of Congress.

Maybe we’ll eventually get to the bottom of the Jan. 6 mystery surrounding Chuck Grassley.

Where In The World Is Katherine Friess?

Politico: The Giuliani aide who ‘vanished’

All But Eisenhower?

Every presidential library/center from Hoover to Obama (except one) has released a vague, anodyne joint statement in support of democracy. Eisenhower is the odd man out in the thinly veiled, gentle pushback against Donald Trump.

This Was Pretty Obvious Already

We have additional confirmation that Mar-a-Lago IT worker Yuscil Taveras struck a cooperation deal with Special Counsel Jack Smith in the classified docs case.

I Got A Bridge In Brooklyn To Sell Ya

Trump improbably claims that he will testify in his own defense in the Mar-a-Lago trial:

Never going to happen.

E. Jean Carroll Turns Trump Into A Piñata

Another win for E. Jean Carroll.

A federal judge ruled that the jury verdict she won against Donald Trump for defamation precludes him from arguing that he’s not liable in her upcoming second defamation trial.

All that leaves for the jury to decide is the amount of damages, and since Trump immediately defamed her again after the earlier verdict, he could be facing astronomical punitive damages.

The OTHER Trump Trial

The New York attorney general’s civil lawsuit against Donald Trump and three two of his adult children (correction: an appeals court threw out the case against Ivanka) remain on track for an Oct. 4 trial date after the judge in the case summarily rejected another delay tactic by Trump:

2024 Ephemera

The also-rans covering themselves in glory:

  • Vivek Ramaswamy:
  • Ron DeSantis:

Hunter Biden Indictment Imminent

Special Counsel David Weiss will seek an indictment of Hunter Biden no later than Sept. 29, he told a federal court Wednesday. The looming indictment comes after a plea agreement fell apart in court over the summer. But that’s the narrow way of looking at this. In truth, the long play by Bill Barr and others in Trump world to use Hunter Biden as a weapon against his father is playing out better than they could have imagined.

Great Headline

Wisconsin’s gerrymandering rides to the rescue of its gerrymandering

Abbott Loses Fight Over Border Buoy Barrier

A federal judge sided with the Biden administration in ruling against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s floating border barrier in the Rio Grande. It’s all part of Abbott’s performative spectacle of pretending Texas is under invasion by migrants and must take over protection of its own border because of Biden’s feeble efforts. Abbott lost in court but immediately appealed and will continue to play out the string here because it’s politically useful to him.

McConnell Presser Doesn’t Last Long

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