18 People Indicted In Arizona Fake Electors Scheme

INSIDE: Mark Meadows ... Rudy G. ... Boris Epshteyn
Supporters of President Donald Trump hold flags as they demonstrate in front of the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 7, 2020. (Photo by OLIVIER TOURON/AFP via Getty Images)
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Just A Gobsmacking Amount Of Important News

Good lord what a two-day run of news we’re having. Today’s Morning Memo is going to focus on four things: Trump prosecutions, abortion, campus protests, and carbon emissions. A lot of other stuff happened, but we’ll get to that (maybe) in future MMs. Let’s dive in.

Hello, Arizona!

A sweeping state indictment in Trump’s 2020 fake electors scheme targets 11 (presumably all in-state) named defendants and seven as-yet-unnamed (and presumably all out-of-state) defendants who haven’t yet been served.

The case was investigated and is being brought by Attorney General Kris Mayes (D).

The Defendants

The 11 named defendants are:

  • Kelli Ward, former chair of the Arizona Republican Party and Trump fake elector
  • Michael Ward, Kelli Ward’s husband and Trump fake elector
  • Tyler Bowyer, Trump fake elector
  • Jacob Hoffman, Trump fake elector
  • Anthony Kern, Trump fake elector
  • James Lamon, Trump fake elector
  • Greg Safsten, former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party and Trump fake elector
  • Nancy Cottle, Trump fake elector
  • Loraine Pellegrino, Trump fake elector
  • Robert Montgomery, Trump fake elector
  • Samuel Moorhead, Trump fake elector

The seven redacted defendants, based on context and outside reporting, appear to be:

  • Mark Meadows
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • John Eastman
  • Boris Epshteyn
  • Christina Bobb
  • Jenna Ellis
  • Mike Roman

The Epshteyn indictment is a big deal given his central role in organizing Trump’s criminal defense team in the numerous cases against him. Bobb is a highly ironic defendant to have in an election interference case since she was just named the RNC’s new “election integrity” chief.

The Charges

  • Count 1: Conspiracy
  • Counts 2-3: Fraud
  • Counts 4-9: Forgery

Because the names of some of the defendants remain redacted in the indictment, it’s not entirely clear if each defendant is charged with all nine counts, but it appears that way based on the formatting of the redactions.

Among the unindicted conspirators in the case: Trump himself, Kenneth Chesebro, state Sen. Kelly Townsend, former state Rep. Mark Finchem, and former Arizona GOP lawyer Jack Wilenchik.

Trump Is An Unindicted Co-Conspirator In AZ And MI

What a twofer. On the same day Trump emerged as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Arizona fake electors indictment, an investigator in Michigan testified in open court that Trump is also an unindicted co-conspirator in that state’s fake electors scheme, along with Mark Meadows and Rudy Giuliani.

This Shouldn’t Be A Close Call At SCOTUS

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments at 10 a.m. ET today on Trump’s claim of presidential immunity from prosecution.

TPM’s Kate Riga will be live blogging the oral arguments here.

You’ll hear lots today about this being a momentous and historic case, but it really didn’t need to be. The Supreme Court could have kept this narrow and discrete, but by agreeing to take the case it’s looks to be on track to turn this into a more complicated matter than it needs to be. That’s by choice, their choice.

Trump will not be in attendance at the Supreme Court because he must attend his ongoing criminal trial in New York City.

Dueling Live Blogs At TPM!

The Trump criminal trial in the Manhattan hush money case continues this morning, with former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker back on the stand.

TPM’s Josh Kovensky will be at the courthouse live blogging the trial here.

One additional note: Judge Juan Merchan has not yet issued a ruling on whether Trump has violated the gag order imposed on him in the case. I expected the ruling yesterday and it’d be a little surprising if we don’t get it today.

Trump Was A Walking Classified Info Disaster

Important new reporting from ABC News on how Trump’s mishandling of and casual attitude toward classified information well pre-dated his absconding to Mar-a-Lago post-presidency with a trove of classified documents:

In interviews with investigators last year, former aides and national security officials who were close to Trump in the White House described a president who could erupt in anger when presented with intelligence he didn’t want to hear, who routinely reviewed and stored classified information in unsecured locations, and who had what some former officials described as “a cavalier attitude” toward the damage that could be done by its disclosure, according to sources.

Worth a read, both in the context of the Mar-a-Lago case and of Trump’s possible return to the Oval Office.

I Can’t Emphasis Enough How Bad SCOTUS Was Yesterday

The oral arguments over Idaho’s abortion ban and whether it trumps federal law that requires hospitals to give pregnant patients emergency medical case may have marked a new low for this court.

It was so bad that even Justice Amy Coney Barrett said she was “shocked” by the position Idaho was taking. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar (ironically, a former Miss Idaho) is as cool and collected a Supreme Court advocate as has ever argued there, but even she seemed genuinely dismayed by the lengths the conservative justices were willing to go to ignore settled law.

To catch up:

  • TPM’s live blog of the oral arguments
  • Kate Riga: Conservatives Weave Anti-Abortion Fantasyland To Allow Emergency Room Abortion Bans
  • Esther Choo: I’m an E.R. doc. Idaho’s argument to SCOTUS reveals an ignorance of what I do.
  • Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern: The Lawyer Defending Idaho’s Abortion Ban Irritated the One Justice He Needed on His Side

Arizona House Votes To Repeal Civil War-Era Abortion Ban

The third time was the charm. The Arizona House voted to repeal the newly revived Civil War-era abortion ban after three Republicans crossed the aisle and joined with all Democrats to push it over the finish line. (In retaliation for crossing the aisle, one of the Republicans was stripped of his committee assignment.) Two previous repeal efforts had been blocked by state House Republicans. The state Senate is expected to take up the repeal bill next week.

For The Right Wing, Campus Protests Are The New BLM

This week may end up marking the moment when Republicans and the far-right hijacked the campus protest movement and tried to turn it into the same bogeyman they made of Black Lives Matters protests in 2020.

Radical lefties needing to be taken down by force plays to the right’s pre-existing authoritarian tendencies, and is a handy election-year cudgel for Republicans. That’s an explosive combination that has little or nothing to do directly with Israel, Palestine, or the new wave of antisemitism in America.

Speaker Mike Johnson’s exploitive visit to Columbia University yesterday was one indication. Johnson echoed Republican senators who are clamoring for the National Guard to be dispatched Kent State-style to break up the protests at the Ivy league school. Another was Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) crowing about sending in the state police to the University of Texas campus in Austin to remove pro-Palestinian protestors. Nearly three dozen arrests were made there.

The complexities of U.S. policy toward Israel, Israel’s own internal politics, the plight of the Palestinians, and the tit-for-tat violence in the Middle East will be totally drowned out if right-wingers co-opt the issue for themselves as a pre-text for state violence.

Also Really Important!

The Biden administration is unveiling new regulations today to dramatically limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. “Taken together, the regulations could deliver a death blow in the United States to coal, the fuel that powered the country for much of the last century but has caused global environmental damage,” the NYT reports.

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