A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
Damn, They’re Moving Fast
Special Counsel Jack Smith is operating at lightning speed in the Mar-a-Lago case. TPM’s Josh Kovensky has a rundown of the latest filing in the case, but beyond the specifics of the blistering arguments over trial dates, classified information, and other pretrial matters, the overwhelming impression left by Smith’s filing is that prosecutors are operating at breakneck speed.
“The government really did have this prosecution all prepped to go,” Marcy Wheeler notes.
Smith’s team is turning over discovery quickly, it’s indexing discovery to make it easier for the defense team to analyze and assess, it’s expediting the process of obtaining security clearances for defense counsel, it’s turning over materials it doesn’t have to provide. The list goes on.
I realize that this is impression Smith’s filings are intended to create with the judge and the public, including me. But both things can be true: Smith wants to look like he’s moving with dispatch and being accommodating of the former president, and the best way to do that is to actually move with dispatch and be accommodating.
Two things jump out: 1) For those of us used to seeing relatively slow-moving, plodding, bureaucratic prosecutions, this is noticeably different; and 2) it shows that Smith gets that time is of the essence to get this case to trial before the 2024 election.
Special Counsel Jack Smith has sent a target letter to a Trump Org employee at Mar-a-Lago who prosecutors suspect perjured himself before the grand jury in May, ABC News reports:
Investigators have been scrutinizing the employee’s role in the handling of surveillance footage at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate that was sought by federal prosecutors last summer, sources said.
Investigators are also interested in any subsequent conversations he had with other Trump Organization employees, including Walt Nauta, who was indicted alongside Trump in June on charges related to his own alleged efforts to obstruct the investigation.
New Jan. 6 Grand Jury Witnesses Confirmed
In the past 24 hours, we’ve had new confirmation of witnesses who have testified in recent days to Special Counsel Jack Smith’s DC grand jury investigating the higher-ups in Trump’s 2020 election subversion effort:
Hate To See The Screws Put To Jared Kushner
Federal prosecutors investigating former President Donald J. Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election have questioned multiple witnesses in recent weeks — including Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner — about whether Mr. Trump had privately acknowledged in the days after the 2020 election that he had lost, according to four people briefed on the matter.
A quick note: The NYT reporting on motive and intent in the Jan. 6 realm has been a little off. Not wrong exactly, but striking a few off keys along the way. For instance, private acknowledgements that Trump knew he lost would be most helpful for prosecutors not in the Jan, 6 case-in-chief but in the financial crimes aspect of the investigation. Here’s an explanation on that:
Judge Comes Down Hard On Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani is flirting with disaster in the defamation case against him by Georgia poll workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell:
- Noted that Giuliani had blown the July 7 deadline for paying the plaintiffs $90,000 in attorneys fees for an earlier discovery dispute in the case and gave him until July 25 to pay up;
- threatened him with severe sanctions up to and including contempt of court or a default judgment against him if he persisted in not complying with his discovery obligations.
Arizona Launches Its Own Fake Electors Probe
Since May, newly elected Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) has had a team of prosecutors looking at Trump’s fake elector scheme in the state, the WaPo reports.
Put Up Or Shut Up
The Georgia State Election Board is suing an old TPM fave: True the Vote. At issue are unproven claims made by the Texas-based voter fraud bamboozler org about ballot harvesting in the 2020 election. Georgia has subpoenaed the group for evidence substantiating its claims, and the group has refused to comply, leading to the lawsuit.
“Allegations of election irregularities need to be accompanied by evidence,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “I encourage anyone with such evidence to turn it over and it will be fully investigated. But if you don’t have the evidence, don’t come into Georgia and make far-fetched and hyperbolic claims. It’s long past time to put up or shut up.”
U.S. v. Trump, Part II
The good people at Just Security have produced a model prosecution memo for Trump’s attempts to subvert the 2020 election. If diving deep into the case against Trump for everything leading up to and including the Jan. 6 attack is your jam (hello, fellow traveler!) – and you don’t have real work to do this morning – have at it.
Cassidy Hutchinson Snags a Book Deal
The former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows who became a blockbuster witness for the Jan. 6 House select committee has a book deal with Simon & Schuster. “Enough” is due out Sept. 26.
Crap, Where Did I Leave My Cocaine?!?
The Secret Service released a statement Thursday confirming most of the reporting around the cocaine found near a public entryway to the White House:
- It was confirmed to be cocaine by an FBI lab.
- No other physical evidence – neither fingerprints nor DNA – could be obtained from the cocaine or its packaging.
- Video surveillance footage did not provide any leads or other information to help identify suspects among the hundreds of people who had passed through that area of the White House.
- Without physical evidence to compare against the pool of known people who were in that area of the White House, the Secret Service has closed the investigation.
Someone out there has an amazing story to tell.
He Sure Does!
The Messenger: Former CIA Director Jim Woolsey Keeps Popping Up in Trump-Tied Cases of Illicit Foreign Intrigue
Synagogue Gunman Eligible For Death Penalty
The federal jury in Pittsburgh that previously found Robert Bowers guilty of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre has now determined that he is eligible for the death penalty.
Capital cases are usually bifurcated into a guilt phase and a penalty phase. But in this case, the penalty phase was further bifurcated. In the first portion of the penalty phase, the defense spent the last two and half weeks arguing that the gunman was too mentally ill to form the necessary intent to kill his victims. The jury found otherwise and will now turn to the question of whether to impose a death sentence.
On The Reproductive Rights Front …
- The FDA approved for the first time an over-the-counter birth control pill.
- The GOP-controlled House passed an amendment to the defense authorization bill limiting abortion access for military personnel.
- Planned Parenthood has already sued to block Iowa’s new six-week abortion ban, even before Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed it into law, which she promised to do today.
Pickup Opportunity For Dems?
A state appeals court in New York has ordered the state’s congressional district map to be redrawn, potentially giving Democrats an opening to do some partisan gerrymandering in their own favor. The congressional districts were redrawn after the 2020 census, but the map ultimately used in the 2022 midterms was not nearly as favorable to Democrats as it could have been, which was significant in a year Republicans won the House with a miniscule four-seat majority. As many as half a dozen House seats could be in play here.
No He Didn’t!
Like Morning Memo? Let us know!