A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.
This Takes The Cake
As we await the imminent indictment of Donald Trump for attempting to overturn the 2020 election, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has secretly promised Trump that the House will vote before the August recess to expunge his two impeachments – including the one for the Jan. 6 attack, Politico is reporting.
It all arises from McCarthy’s effort to stay neutral in the GOP presidential primary and hold off on making an endorsement, which has incensed Trump:
To calm Trump, McCarthy made him a promise, according to a source close to Trump and familiar with the conversation: The House would vote to expunge the two impeachments against the former president. And — as McCarthy would communicate through aides later that same day — they would do so before August recess.
McCarthy, for his part, kinda sorta maybe denies making such a promise:
The speaker has denied that he made such a promise to Trump at all, according to one Hill aide. From McCarthy’s point of view, he merely indicated that he would discuss the matter with his members — putting him and Trump on a collision course.
The whole story is revealing window into the internal divisions and psychology of the House GOP conference. Worth a read while you await Trump’s new indictment.
Some corrective reporting over the last 24 hours about what was actually in the target letter Trump received from Special Counsel Jack Smith. As I mentioned briefly in yesterday’s Morning Memo, Rolling Stone and ABC News offered similar accounts of which federal criminal statutes were cited in the target letter. Neither outlet had seen the letter, and they each relied on source(s) who had.
Subsequent reporting by the NYT and Guardian about the target letter reported one notable difference. This gets weedy quick, but I’ll keep it high level. The initial reporting said the target letter cited 18 U.S.C. 242: Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law. The later reporting said, no, it was 18 U.S.C. 241: Conspiracy Against Rights.
The NYT has the best rundown on the elements of that crime:
Congress enacted that statute after the Civil War to provide a tool for federal agents to go after Southern whites, including Ku Klux Klan members, who engaged in terrorism to prevent formerly enslaved African Americans from voting. But in the modern era, it has been used more broadly, including in cases of voting fraud conspiracies.
There is a historical resonance to a Section 241 charge, since the effort to overturn the 2020 election and the attack on the Capitol were inextricably bound up with racism and white supremacy. But I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves yet.
The indictment will speak for itself. You’ll recall that the Trump World leaks about the Mar-a-Lago indictment suggested it contained only seven counts, not the 30+ counts the grand jury actually indicted on. So be patient.
Trump Quietly Adds New Attorney In Jan. 6 Probe
John Lauro, a former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn who is now a criminal defense attorney in Florida and New York, CNN reports:
Lauro will be solely focused on special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the aftermath of the 2020 election and was part of the team attempting to find out whether others in Trump’s orbit received target letters after Trump did Sunday night.
It appears that Todd Blanche remains Trump’s lead lawyer on the Jan. 6 case.
Yesterday’s Morning Memo was a paean to the vindication of the rule of law that a Jan. 6 indictment of Trump would represent.
Charles Blow is not so moved: Why Trump’s Indictments Don’t Feel Like Part of the Finale.
Cannon Shoots Down DOJ In MAL Case
Not a huge deal yet, but U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon did reject the Justice Department’s request for a protective order under CIPA for classified information in the Mar-a-Lago case. She cited a failure to confer with Trump’s defense team about the protective order. You’ll recall that prosecutors said they tried to confer but were rebuffed. Cannon said that after conferring with Trump’s team, prosecutor can reapply for a protective order.
Still No Trial Date From Cannon
Judge Cannon promised to promptly issue an order setting a trial date for the Mar-a-Lago case. I thought she’d rule within 36 hours hours. Nada so far. Stay tuned.
Anna Bower reports on what it was like inside Tuesday’s Mar-a-Lago hearing.
AJC: Atlanta law enforcement readies for a possible Trump indictment
No Dice, Trump
A federal judge has rejected Donald Trump’s effort to remove the Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s hush money prosecution to federal court.
E. Jean Carroll Just Keeps Winning
A federal judge rejected Donald Trump’s bid for a new trial in the E. Jean Carroll II case.
A New Jersey Ponzi schemer who was freed from prison by then-President Trump in one of last official acts in the White House has been charged by federal prosecutors in a new unrelated scheme.
There’s an emerging pattern here.
Trump Agrees To Return Israeli Antiquities
The WSJ has the story of how Israeli national treasures ended up marooned at Mar-a-Lago.
The Professional Clarence Thomas Stans
WaPo: Influential activist Leonard Leo helped fund media campaign lionizing Clarence Thomas
Oh No …
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) went nuts even by our low standards for her, displaying graphic images of a Hunter Biden sex tape during a House hearing.
Maybe MTG Was Still Smarting From This
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