A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.
With reporters clustered at the DC federal courthouse awaiting a possible Trump indictment in the Jan. 6 case, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team dropped a new bombshell in Florida in the Mar-a-Lago case: a superseding indictment that adds new charges against Trump himself, co-defendant Walt Nauta, and a new third defendant.
Let’s run through the top points quickly:
- The number of counts in the indictment swelled from 38 to 42.
- Trump was hit with an additional charge of willful retention of national defense information (now 32 counts on that charge, up from 31) for the Iran war plan document he allegedly flaunted at Bedminster.
- The new defendant, a MAL worker named Carlos De Oliveira was added to the existing conspiracy to obstruct justice count, so now all three defendants are charged in this count. In addition, De Oliveira gets his own false statements count.
- All three men were charged under a new count of altering, destroying, mutilating or concealing an object.
- All three men were charged under a new count of corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating or concealing an object.
The additional charges mostly have to do with a brazen alleged attempt to delete security camera footage at MAL after it was subpoenaed by a DC federal grand jury – and wow! The feds have the goods on Trump.
‘The Boss’ Was Directly Involved … Allegedly
The new evidence presented by prosecutors in the superseding Mar-a-Lago indictment is incredibly damaging for Trump – referred to at times by his employees simply as “the boss,” according to the indictment.
It alleges that Trump was directly in contact with Nauta and De Oliveira about deleting security footage at Mar-a-Lago that had been subpoenaed in the summer of 2022 by a federal grand jury in D.C.
A sample of some of the allegations of Trump’s direct involvement in the security footage deletion scheme (these separate excerpts cover multiple days of communications and aren’t intended as a timeline):
76. On June 23, 2022, at 8:46 p.m., TRUMP called DE OLIVEIRA and they spoke for approximately 24 minutes.
78. … At 3:44 p.m., NAUTA received a text message from a co-worker, Trump Employee 3, indicating that TRUMP wanted to see NAUTA.
87. At 3:55 p.m., TRUMP called DE OLIVEIRA and they spoke for approximately three and a half minutes.
91. … That same day, TRUMP called DE OLIVEIRA and told DE OLIVEIRA that TRUMP would get DE OLIVEIRA an attorney.
114. … TRUMP, NAUTA, and DE OLIVEIRA requested that Trump Employee 4 delete security camera footage at The Mar-a-Lago Club to prevent the footage from being provided to a federal grand jury.
A Straight Up Mob Boss
The choicest allegation, though, is the entirety of paragraph 91:
91. Just over two weeks after the FBI discovered classified documents in the Storage Room and TRUMP’s office, on August 26, 2022, NAUTA called Trump Employee 5 and said words to the effect of, “someone just wants to make sure Carlos is good.” In response, Trump Employee 5 told NAUTA that DE OLIVEIRA was loyal and that DE OLIVEIRA would not do anything to affect his relationship with TRUMP. That same day, at NAUTA’s request, Trump Employee 5 confirmed in a Signal chat group with NAUTA and the PAC Representative that DE OLIVEIRA was loyal. That same day, TRUMP called DE OLIVEIRA and told DE OLIVEIRA that TRUMP would get DE OLIVEIRA an attorney.
Marvel at a former U.S. president being less subtle than a fictional mafia godfather.
What’s Trump Smoking?
The superseding indictment was still fresh late Thursday when Special Counsel Jack Smith made another significant filing in the Mar-a-Lago case. Prosecutors renewed their motion for a protective order for the classified information in the case. You’ll recall U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon denied their initial motion for a protective order and urged the parties to confer.
They have since conferred and get this: Trump’s remaining objection to the protective order is that it prohibits him from discussing classified information with his attorneys outside of a SCIF. Ol’ Trump wants to be able to talk about classified information in his homes!
Smith conceded one point: Trump can have the same access to the classified information in the case as his lawyers. But Smith is not conceding that Trump can openly discuss classified information in unsecured locations. It’ll be up to Cannon whether Trump can just willy nilly discuss classified information where he might be vulnerable to foreign espionage.
We got a new indictment Thursday, but it sure wasn’t the one we expected.
In the Jan. 6 case, we had what is likely the final prelude to a Trump indictment.
Trump lawyers Todd Blanche and John Lauro met Thursday with Special Counsel Jack Smith in Washington to make their pre-indictment pitch for why Trump shouldn’t be held criminally culpable for conspiring to overturn the 2020 election and remain in power unlawfully beyond the end of his constitutional term.
We See You, Michigan!
- Former Michigan GOP co-chair Meshawn Maddock has pleaded not guilty to eight state charges arising from the Trump 2020 fake electors scheme.
- Former Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of entering and remaining on restricted grounds crime in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Don’t Forget About Georgia
The best guess on timing is that Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis will begin presenting an election interference case to a grand jury no earlier than July 31. A glimpse of the new barriers installed around the courthouse in Atlanta:
Fun To Watch …
Even Donald Trump seems to be implicitly conceding that his war on early voting and voting by mail has had the counterproductive effect of suppressing Republican turnout: Now he’s on board with the RNC’s “Bank Your Vote” campaign.
McCarthy’s Impeachment Word Game
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) wants to be really clear that when it comes to impeaching Joe Biden he’s tossing his right flank only a bone – in the form of an “impeachment inquiry” – not the full steak of an actual impeachment. TPM’s Emine Yücel digs into McCarthy’s week of word games.
Thanks to Biden industrial policy, a solar manufacturing boom is taking place in Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Georgia district. The Prospect takes a closer look.
TPM’s Kate Riga: House Republicans Are Quietly Using A Spending Bill To Pick An Extremely Specific DC Abortion Fight
Bucking The Freedom Caucus
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) has in recent months carved out something of a novel profile in the GOP. He’s sharply undercutting some of its central political efforts, and he’s doing so from the very segment of the party that has driven the party in that direction.
Elon Keeps Burnishing His Supervillain Rep
About a decade ago, Tesla rigged the dashboard readouts in its electric cars to provide “rosy” projections of how far owners can drive before needing to recharge, a source told Reuters. The automaker last year became so inundated with driving-range complaints that it created a special team to cancel owners’ service appointments.
Who came up with this deception? “The directive to present the optimistic range estimates came from Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk,” a source told Reuters.
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