A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
You Have To Listen Yourself
CNN has obtained the audio recording of former President Donald Trump at Bedminster in the summer of 2021 apparently showing off classified documents to people without proper security clearances. It’s everything you could have imagined, plus a little more.
The cavalier tone, the cheap and tawdry pettiness, the jocular atmosphere, the fawning supplicants eager to be used by Trump, Trump’s own disingenuousness. And all of it built on the faulty premise that if the Pentagon had produced a war plan contingency for Iran then that proved that Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Milley was in fact a supporter of military action against Iran.
The audio recording, a central element of the indictment against Trump in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, was made by a Trump aide in the course of Trump being interview for a Mark Meadows autobiography, a comedic touch if ever there was one.
Do listen though. The audio pops more than a transcript or isolated quotations:
Walt Nauta To Be Arraigned
Former President Trump’s co-defendant, Diet Coke-retrieving body man Walt Nauta, is scheduled to be arraigned this morning in federal court in Miami. You’ll recall that Nauta’s arraignment was postponed because he didn’t have local counsel. As of this morning, still no sign of a lawyer entering an appearance on Nauta’s behalf. None of this is particularly remarkable or unusual, but delays on Nauta’s end could ultimately slow the overall process, which Special Counsel Jack Smith is trying to fast-track. Nothing to worry about yet though.
About That Aileen Cannon Order …
A slightly weird ruling from U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon yesterday in the Mar-a-Lago case. She rejected Special Counsel Jack Smith’s motion to file under seal with the court the list of 84 witnesses who Trump may not discuss the case with under the terms of his pretrial release. Recall, though, that the` magistrate judge imposed that requirement as a special condition of Trump’s release at his arraignment. It wasn’t at the government’s request. The government and Trump had agreed to two very modest conditions of release, but the magistrate judge wasn’t satisfied. He didn’t order the list filed under seal; Smith requested that on his own, and Cannon was within her right to deny it. But keep in mind the impetus for this came from the magistrate, not from the government.
I Know YOU Know, But …
Maybe you have friends of family who need to see this: 703 Ways Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Conduct Bears No Resemblance to Hillary Clinton’s Emails
How Deep Do You Want To Go?
Morning Memo tries to maintain a bird’s-eye view of the Trump prosecutions, but for those who really want to get granular, Marcy Wheeler has you covered:
The Status Of Jack Smith’s Jan. 6 Probe
As I mentioned yesterday, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Jan. 6 probe is now moving to centerstage while the Mar-a-Lago case spends the next few months in pre-trial CIPA wrangling.
New reporting overnight from the WaPo reiterates that the Smith probe seems to be on at least two distinct tracks: (i) the fake electors scheme; and (ii) fraudulent fundraising activity. A few tidbits:
- Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is scheduled to be interviewed by Jack Smith’s investigators Wednesday in Atlanta;
- Among the evidence Smith has gathered that Trump’s own campaign people didn’t believe the claims of massive election fraud is this email gem from Jason Miller:
“The campaign’s own legal team and data experts cannot verify the bullshit being beamed down from the mothership.”
- “Investigators have sought to determine to what degree these lawyers — particularly Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, John Eastman, Kurt Olsen and Kenneth Chesebro*, as well as then-Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark — were following specific instructions from Trump or others, and what those instructions were, according to the people familiar with the matter …”
*I should note that one of the few and maybe the only major interview Kenneth Chesebro has given since Jan. 6 was to TPM’s Josh Kovensky one year ago.
Secret Service Agents Testify To Jan. 6 Grand Jury
Some half dozen Secret Service agents have testified before Special Counsel Jack Smith’s federal grand jury in DC investigating the higher-ups in the conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election, NBC News reports.
All In The Family
TPM alum Ryan Reilly: “The trial of a Jan. 6 defendant turned into a kind of family therapy session last week, as a Capitol attack defendant representing himself questioned one of his own sons, who was one of several tipsters who turned him into the FBI.”
Planned In Plain Sight
Laura Ingraham’s Angle
Fox News host Laura Ingraham went on an on-air rant last week against the accusations Justice Samuel Alito is facing that he failed to disclose a lux Alaska fishing trip with a conservative billionaire. What Ingraham didn’t disclose, TPM can now report: She went to the same Alaska fishing lodge as Alito and was buddies with the lodge owner at the time, who was another big conservative donor. Hilarity ensued:
After TPM initially reached out to Fox News on Monday, Ingraham called TPM, apparently mistaking this reporter’s phone number for that of the Fox News spokesperson who would later forward her statement to TPM. She hung up when asked to comment directly for the story. Her statement arrived by email three hours later.
That’s an all-timer.
The Wagner Mutiny Aftermath
Picking through the rubble of the Prigozhin coverage:
- Russia’s Federal Security Service said Tuesday it has closed the criminal case against the Wagner mutineers;
- Russia’s MoD claims Wagner is preparing to hand over its heavy weapons;
- An Embraer Legacy 600 jet affiliated with Wagner was spotted Tuesday by flight-monitoring services leaving Rostov and landing near Minsk.
Quote Of The Day
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who brokered an apparent end to the nascent Russian civil war:
Don’t make a hero out of me, out of Putin, or out of Prigozhin, because we have let the situation spin out of control, we thought that it would dissipate on its own, and it didn’t. There are no heroes in this matter.
Mutiny On The Don
Josh Kovensky, TPM’s in-house Russia and Ukraine expert, on the Wagner mutiny.
Spox Hall Of Fame
A Dem Pickup Opportunity In Louisiana
The Supreme Court wants Louisiana to go read its recent decision in the Alabama redistricting case. I joke, but only a little. The high court punted a Louisiana redistricting case back to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which should abide by the Alabama decision and redraw the state’s congressional district map with an additional majority-black district. Given the 5th Circuit’s recent history, however, there’s a good chance it won’t and that this case will come back to the Supreme Court in one form or another.
TPM’s Emine Yücel: “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) was duped by a satirical news article about country singer Garth Brooks getting booed off stage for being too “woke” at a non-existent festival hosted in a non-existent Texas city.”
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