Aileen Cannon Gifts Trump Bogus New Fodder For His Disinformation Campaign

INSIDE: Rudy G ... Doug Emhoff ... Sam Alito
Donald Trump, Aileen Cannon
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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.

How The Bogosity Feedback Loop Works

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has screwed up the Mar-a-Lago case in so many ways it defies easy categorization. Her slow rolling of the trial is obviously her single gravest sin. But there’s another layer of malfeasance going on here that came more clearly into view yesterday.

Over the objection of Special Counsel Jack Smith, Cannon ordered the unsealing of previous filings in the case. In some of those filings, it’s becoming apparent, Trump has tucked in information about the case that he wants to seed in the public imagination and use as fodder for his presidential campaign and for fighting the criminal charges outside of court.

Cannon has given him a green light to do so, and the results became apparent yesterday.

In one of the filings, Trump drew attention to the FBI’s deadly force policy, which was in effect during the search of Mar-a-Lago, as it is in every FBI field operation. As soon as the filing was unsealed, right-wing news outlets seized on it and accused Biden of being responsible for gunning for Trump.

Trump himself later in the day amplified these bogus attacks on social media:


It became a campaign fundraising email, too:  “BIDEN’S DOJ WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHOOT ME!”

Of course none of this is true. The same deadly force policy that is in effect for every FBI operation was in effect for the Mar-a-Lago search. The FBI doesn’t need special authority to use deadly force; it has standing authority to use deadly force when circumstances warrant it. This is a standard operating policy, and Biden had nothing to do with its promulgation in general or its application in the Mar-a-Lago search in particular.

But you can see the dynamic plainly from what I just had to do to explain this to you: Trump wants to use the criminal justice process to generate more disinformation, Cannon facilitates him doing so with her rulings, right-wing media go apeshit, Trump gooses the reaction some more, and then a day later I come along and try to unpack it all for you, including the underlying falsity, with a put-the-toothpaste-back-in-the-tube futility. The FBI issued an unusual statement in similarly futile fashion.

This is all bad enough, but there’s another even darker layer here: It feeds the right-wing animosity toward federal law enforcement that has already led to two attacks on FBI field offices in the past two years. As former FBI agent Asha Rangappa points out:

Not All Of It Was Good For Trump

Cannon’s unsealing of court filings in the Mar-a-Lago case is a blunt instrument, and that means it’s doesn’t yield only good things for Trump.

Among the new revelations yesterday was a dramatic March 17, 2023 decision from U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell that came during the investigative phase of the Mar-a-Lago case. The 87-page decision, attached as an exhibit to one of Trump’s motions, offered new evidence of Trump’s obstruction of the effort to retrieve the classified documents that he unlawfully withheld and stowed at Mar-a-Lago.

So along with the bogus FBI deadly force headlines, Trump got these headlines, too:

  • ABC News: Special counsel suspected additional obstruction effort by Trump in classified docs case
  • Politico: Lawyers found classified docs in Trump’s bedroom 4 months after Mar-a-Lago search
  • WaPo: Unsealed motions in Trump’s Fla. case suggest new evidence of possible obstruction

Trump Wimped Out On Testifying In His Own Trial

The jury is not supposed to draw any inference from the defendant not testifying in their own defense, but that doesn’t mean we can’t – especially when the defendant is running for president.

From a legal strategy point of view, testifying would have been a disaster. But from a political point of view, not testifying should by all rights be its own disaster.

Trump bragged that he would testify, but we knew he wouldn’t and he didn’t and now the question is whether he will be held to account for it.

I hate the framing of “imagine what the reaction would be if [insert name of prior, usually Democratic, president] did this thing Trump did.” But his failure to testify is exactly the kind of thing that would rightly be hung around the neck of any other presidential candidate from now until Election Day.

In the meantime, closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday.

Rudy G Arraigned In Arizona

An unrepresented Rudy Giuliani appeared via video at his arraignment in the Arizona fake electors scheme and pleaded not guilty. Because he had dodged service of the indictment for weeks, Giuliani was required to post a cash bond of $10,000, the only defendant in the case forced to do so.

Rudy G Agrees To Stop Defaming Georgia Election Workers

In a new filing in Rudy Giuliani’s bankruptcy case, he has reached an agreement with Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss to cease serially defaming them even after they won a $148 million defamation judgment against him, forcing him into bankruptcy.

President For Life

Bloomberg’s Josh Green:

As far-fetched as it may sound, the prospect of Trump overriding or simply ignoring the constitutional provision that limits a president to serving two terms seems to be pushing some undecided voters toward Biden, despite significant reservations about the incumbent’s age, turmoil in the Middle East and high inflation. Now strategists in both parties are probing to see how widely this sentiment has spread, particularly among the undecided voters likely to sway the election.

Biden Campaign Goes Hard On Trump’s Antisemitism

  • The Biden campaign released a video of Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff calling Donald Trump a “known antisemite.”
  • It was also touting a video of President Biden connecting that Trump ad about a “unified reich” to Hitler.

All Alito All The Time

Law Dork Chris Geidner found an interesting detail in Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s Federal Judicial Financial Disclosure report: Last August, at the peak of the Bud Light faux controversy ginned up by the right wing over a trans influencer touting the watery beer, Alito sold some of his Anheuser-Busch stock and on the same day bought Molson Coors stock:

Was that Alito’s personal participation in the Bud Light boycott? It’s not clear, but it is curious.

Contraception Watch

  • Donald Trump touted to a Pittsburgh TV station his forthcoming position on restricting contraception – but before day’s end had completely backtracked and scuttled any talk of restricting contraception. Which Trump do you believe?
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) plans to force an election-year vote on a bill protecting contraception nationwide – which Senate Republicans are expected to filibuster.
  • Related: The Louisiana House passed a bill that Gov. Jeff Landry (R) is expected to sign making abortion pills controlled substances.

Multi-Vortex Tornado In HD

Among the best, most-detailed videos of a tornado ever captured. This was yesterday afternoon in Iowa via a drone. This tornado went on to cause severe damage in Greenfield, where there were an unconfirmed number of casualties.

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Notable Replies

  1. I think I like Judge Beryl Howell better than the Florida lady.

  2. Is there even 1 regular commenter on TPM who thought Mr. Trump was ever actually going to testify?

  3. MM: “Donald Trump touted to a Pittsburgh TV station his forthcoming position on restricting contraception – but before day’s end had completely backtracked and scuttled any talk of restricting contraception. Which Trump do you believe?”

    I’m supposed to believe ANY of them?

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