A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
Rudy, Rudy, Rudy
CNN reported earlier this week that Rudy Giuliani had voluntarily met with Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team in recent weeks as part of the Jan. 6 investigation. The NYT took that a couple of steps further in new reporting yesterday:
- The interview happened last week;
- It wasn’t a chit-chat: It was a proffer from Giuliani.
What’s a proffer? In the pre-trial context, it’s when someone wants to provide prosecutors with information in exchange for some kind of leniency.
Here’s how the NYT described this “significant development in the election interference investigation”:
The session with Mr. Giuliani, the people familiar with it said, touched on some of the most important aspects of the special counsel’s inquiry into the ways that Mr. Trump sought to maintain his grip on power after losing the election to Joseph R. Biden Jr.
I want to be clear. This doesn’t mean Giuliani is cooperating with Smith, or is about to. It doesn’t mean he’s flipped on Trump. It could mean those things. It raises the prospect of those things. But it’s not a confirmation that that is what is happening.
Still, it suggests a few things.
It takes a legit level of negotiations just to get to the point of having a proffer session. So safe to say quite a few things have been swirling in the background out of our view.
It also suggests Giuliani is feeling legit pressure from Smith. A proffer session isn’t a casual, routine, or incidental development. It generally means Giuliani is trying to get out from under something coming down the pike. The “something” could be a grand jury subpoena, a potential indictment, or some other forcing mechanism that he is trying to sidestep.
Raffensperger Interviewed By Jack Smith’s Team
No details emerged immediately about the Wednesday interview of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger by Jack Smith’s team. But the Atlanta newspaper reports that Smith has also “reached out” to Chris Harvey, who in 2020 was the elections director in the secretary of state’s office.
Who Did Trump Show The Classified Map To?
Susie Wiles, a top official in Trump’s 2024 campaign who was previously CEO of his Save America PAC, is the unnamed person in the Mar-a-Lago document whom Trump allegedly showed a classified map in the summer of 2021, ABC News reports. The indictment refers to the person as “a representative of his political action committee who did not possess a security clearance.”
Dark Brandon Rises
Republicans in Congress are doing their usual pandering: claiming credit for Biden initiatives they voted against. The latest Biden program to be met with GOP acclaim even though they opposed it in Congress is rural broadband access.
The White House has also noticed:
Quote Of The Week
“What we’ve done in our politics is create a situation where we’re electing idiots.”–Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY)
Our Bizarro Presidential Elections
I’ll be stepping back every once in a while during the 2024 cycle with a gentle reminder that presidential elections in America are all kinds of weird and fucked up. Today’s example:
Yes, DeSantis’ having no opinion on Jan. 6 is notable. But that’s not where I’m focused. What’s so weird about this is the TV ecosystem in which presidential campaigns take place.
Christie, a long shot for the GOP nomination who is primarily running to keep his “best by date” fresh enough to land another TV talking head contract, is on CNN being asked to analyze and interpret remarks by one of the other candidates in his own race. It’s like an audition for a TV job. Christie’s $400,000 a year gig with ABC News was suspended earlier when he got into the 2024 race. TV loves him because he’s good at it; he loves it because he gets attention and it’s lucrative.
I realize that TV was inextricably intertwined with the ascension of the last president, so this is hardly new. And, yes, we’re a few decades into the TV era. I get it. But that makes it even more imperative to remember what a bizarre way this is to go about electing presidents.
- WaPo: “The administration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) steered $92 million last year in leftover federal coronavirus stimulus money to a controversial highway interchange project that directly benefits a top political donor, according to state records.”
- NYT: Democrats to Use $20 Million Equal Rights Push to Aid 2024 N.Y. House Bids
- Politico: Senate Republicans try to stop messy Montana primary
- TPM: “House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) rushed to declare Donald Trump the ‘strongest political opponent’ against President Joe Biden on Tuesday, hours after suggesting the former president might not be the ‘strongest’ candidate to win the 2024 presidential elections.”
For Your Radar …
WSJ: “The FBI is trying to determine the origin of more than 100 suspicious letters containing apparently harmless white powder that have been sent to public officials in at least seven states in recent weeks, some with muddled messages and bearing the return addresses of dead transgender people, law-enforcement officials said.”
On A Roll
Federal judges in Kentucky and Tennessee separately blocked two new state laws that ban gender-transition care for minors.
WSJ: “Mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin planned to capture Russia’s military leadership as part of last weekend’s mutiny, Western officials said, and he accelerated his plans after the country’s domestic intelligence agency became aware of the plot.”
The Goldilocks Zone
New study: “[F]or every 0.1°C of avoided global warming, over 100 million fewer people will be shifted outside the Goldilocks zone and pushed into unprecedented heat exposure.”
Banjo Guy Weighs In On Astrophysics
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