Trump Wants A Circus But At Least One Judge Ain’t Putting Up With That

INSIDE: Tanya Chutkan ... Aileen Cannon ... Fani Willis
CASPER, WY - MAY 28: Former President Donald Trump speaks on May 28, 2022 in Casper, Wyoming. The rally is being held to support Harriet Hageman, Rep. Liz Cheneys primary challenger in Wyoming. (Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images)
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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.

Trial By Shitshow

Donald Trump will do everything in his power – including roping in the House GOP, GOP electeds around the country, right-wing media, and MAGA World proxies – to turn his trials into absolute shitshows.

We got another taste of that yesterday, with Trump’s legal team filing a nonsensical scheduling request in the Jan. 6 case (the Trump team’s request is contained in the block quote of this joint notice):

While prosecutors were available any of the three days in the window that U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan gave for the hearing on a protective order (backstory here), Trump’s legal team, well, they had some issues, y’all:

  • Issue #1: Trump wants both of his lawyers to attend any such hearing.
  • Issue #2: Wednesday (today) is not given as an option for no apparent reason.
  • Issue #3: Only one of his two lawyers is available Thursday because the other has to be in Florida for a separate hearing in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago case.
  • Issue #4: For reasons not given, they “lost Friday as an option.”

Given all of that(?), Trump was really hoping that the judge might schedule this hearing early next week – outside the window she laid out for both parties.

Judge Chutkan was having none of it. Later in the day, she set the hearing for Friday, 10 a.m. ET.

Still to be determined: Will Judge Chutkan limit the hearing to the protective order or get into the gratuitous attacks by Trump on the judge herself, prosecutors, and witnesses in apparent violation of the terms of his pre-trial release? Will she come down hard on Trump’s attorneys for turning this protective order into a shitshow? Stay tuned!

Set Your Expectations Accordingly

I am confident of two things:

  • Most judges won’t put up with him turning their proceedings into circuses (U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon is the wild card);
  • Despite the judges’ best efforts, the prosecutions won’t proceed as quickly as you and I would like.

Another Chesebro Memo

The NYT has unearthed another memo by TPM fave Ken Chesebro that serves as an early sketch of the fake electors scheme:

The existence of the Dec. 6, 2020, memo came to light in last week’s indictment of Mr. Trump, though its details remained unclear. But a copy obtained by The New York Times shows for the first time that the lawyer, Kenneth Chesebro, acknowledged from the start that he was proposing “a bold, controversial strategy” that the Supreme Court “likely” would reject in the end.

As we’ve reported at length (here and here and in lots of other instances), the fake electors scheme was the “entry point to Trump’s various efforts to pressure state officials into throwing out Biden’s win and to turn the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress into the denial – and not the certification – of Biden’s win.”

Today In Professional Handwringing

TPM’s Josh Marshall dissects that Jack Goldsmith op-ed in the NYT.

Great Catch

MSNBC’s Steve Benen has a timely reminder that then-President Trump was only too happy to sic his own Justice Department on candidate Joe Biden during the 2020 campaign:

In other words, we’re left with a head-spinning dynamic: The politician who’s now asking, “Can a president order his Department of Justice to indict an opponent just prior to an election?” is the same politician who, as president, pressured his Justice Department to indict his opponent just prior to an election.

But by all means, let the hand-wringers hand-wring about the “precedent” being set by the by-the-book, professional, independent Jack Smith.

Not This Week

Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis isn’t expected to begin presenting the election interference case to a grand jury until next week. Meanwhile:

  • Trump is already attacking Willis – a Black woman – as a “racist” and making scurrilous claims about her sex life.
  • Former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan subpoenaed by Fulton County grand jury in 2020 election probe.

Trump Prosecution Tidbits

  • Special Counsel Jack Smith’s DC federal grand jury reconvened on Tuesday for the first time since handing up an indictment last week against former President Donald Trump related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, CNN reported.
  • Trump signaled he’d be moving to slow down the Jan. 6 case – which is of course part of his larger strategy to delay, delay, delay.
  • Adam Unikowsky goes deep on the troubling order issued by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon in the Mar-a-Lago case.
  • EmptyWheel traces the earliest overt investigative steps taken by DOJ against the six co-conspirators in the Trump Jan. 6 indictment.

2024 Ephemera

  • Ron DeSantis replaces his campaign manager.
  • Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC)’s flip from supposed Trump critic to Trump acolyte is complete. Behold her veep trial balloon: “One prominent critic, Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, has been warming to the idea of supporting Trump and serving alongside him, people familiar with her thinking say.”

Anti-Abortion Measure Fails In Ohio

To quote the sneering Justice Samuel Alito in Dobbs: “Women are not without electoral or political power.”

  • TPM’s Kate Riga: “Ohioans handily rejected Republican lawmakers’ attempt to make it much more difficult for citizens to amend the state constitution Tuesday, an effort that was aimed squarely at undermining an upcoming proposal to codify abortion protections.” 
  • TPM’s Josh Marshall: “Another election night, another resounding victory for abortion rights in a red state. It is yet another confirmation that the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision has created a revolution in American politics, the scope of which is even today only dimly perceived in most national political debates.”
  • Aaron Blake: 4 takeaways from rejection of Issue 1 in the Ohio special election
  • How it played:

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