A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.
Chutkan Reimposes Gag Order On Trump
Maybe we should do an office pool?
After U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan reinstated her gag rule in the Jan. 6 case against former President Donald Trump in an order issued Sunday night, it seems like only a matter of time before he violates it.
Chutkan, showing a great deal of restraint and careful consideration (perhaps too much), had paused her gag order while she considered Trump’s argument that she should keep it on pause while he appealed it. While the gag order was stayed, Trump continued to make the kinds of public attacks on witnesses that had given rise to the gag order in the first place, a point Special Counsel Jack Smith had seized on.
In her Sunday night order denying Trump’s request for a ongoing stay of the gag order, Chutkan highlighted a Trump post on Truth Social last week attacking Mark Meadows. “This statement would almost certainly violate the Order under any reasonable definition of ‘targeting,'” Chutkan wrote.
In some respects, the gag orders and the public debate over Trump’s out-of-court conduct are secondary to the prosecutions themselves –- but they’re of particular interest for three reasons:
- Is the rule of law strong enough for Trump to be treated the same as any other criminal defendant?
- Will Trump succeed in creating an environment in which witnesses, judges, prosecutors, and others are too intimidated and fearful to fulfill their responsibilities to the rule of law?
- Will Trump end up in jail or under other harsh sanction because he refuses to abide by the terms of his pre-trial release?
In another sign that any Trump violation won’t lead to his pre-trial release being revoked immediately, Chutkan write in a footnote that she would give the parties a chance to be heard before sanctioning any purported future violations: “Before concluding that any statement violated the Order, the court would afford the parties an opportunity to provide their positions on the statement’s meaning and permissibility.”
2 Disqualification Clause Cases Come To A Head
- Colorado: An evidentiary hearing begins today in the Colorado Disqualification Clause case against Donald Trump. The mini-trial in state court is expected to last a week.
- Minnesota: Oral arguments are scheduled for Thursday before the state Supreme Court over the Disqualification Clause case against Trump.
Fani Willis Is Targeting The Big Fish Duh
This is not a surprise at all, but The Guardian confirms that some of the bigger fish in the Georgia RICO case have not (yet) received offers of plea deals, including Donald Trump, Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman.
As for the small fish, a great Liz Dye treatment of Jenna Ellis’ guilty plea.
Don’t Sleep On The MAL Case!
- A brief rundown on how fast and loose Trump’s lawyers are playing under the protective eye of U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.
- A reminder of how sensitive the MAL docs really are:
Big Week In Trump’s NY Fraud Trial
NYT: Trump’s Children Are Set to Take the Stand at His Fraud Trial This Week
Arizona Republic: Indicted Michigan lawyer pushed false claims of fraud for Arizona ‘audit’ report, texts reveal
- Mike Pence ends his presidential campaign:
- WSJ: The race is on for second place in Iowa
- WaPo: Youngkin ‘purge’ removed nearly 3,400 legal Virginia voters from rolls
- NYT: How Trump’s Verbal Slips Could Weaken His Attacks on Biden’s Age
- On bifurcating aid to Ukraine and Israel:
- WSJ: Israeli Forces Make Major Advance Toward Gaza City
- NYT: Netanyahu Finds Himself at War in Gaza and at Home
- AP: Crowd storms Russian airport to protest flight from Israel
- On the U.S. domestic political front, the big issue is House Republicans wanting to separate Ukraine aid and Israel aid.
- CNN: New Speaker Mike Johnson vows to move standalone $14.5 billion Israel aid package in the House, setting up showdown with Senate
- Politico: McConnell goes all out as Ukraine fight fractures GOP
- An English translation of French diplomat Dominique De Villepin’s assessment of the Israel-Hamas War (warning: it’s a long-ish read):
- Another thoughtful thread from Danny Seidemann, who graciously toured me and a group of journalists through East Jerusalem a decade ago:
A Puzzle For Our Time
I find myself increasingly puzzled over how to weaken this widespread liberal assumption that risk aversion and following the public lead is always wise, even at the expense of the better world they want to build. Even when the underlying issues are salient, failure of the status quo seems likely, and the consequences of failure would be severe.
Matthew Perry, 1969-2023
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