Oh Look, Aileen Cannon Has Delayed The MAL Case Yet Again

INSIDE: Stormy Daniels ... Juan Merchan ... Geoff Duncan
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.

It’s Happening Right Before Our Eyes

I’ve lost track of how many Morning Memos have led with the latest delay allowed, imposed, or facilitated by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. But it’s a lot!

In her latest move yesterday, she suspended this week’s deadline for Donald Trump to make a crucial filing in the pretrial wrangling over what classified information will be allowed at trial.

True to form, Cannon didn’t set a new deadline; instead, she’ll let things float along again for some indeterminate amount of time. The trial is still set to begin May 20, but that date became unrealistic months ago due to her delays, and she has resisted setting a new trial date.

The specific deadline Cannon suspended was for Trump to declare which classified information he intends to use at trial, which would then set off a back and forth between the two sides under the Classified Information Procedures Act. That’s typically a fairly involved and often lengthy process that trial judges engage in as reasonably early as possible to clear the way for trial. Special Counsel Jack Smith has been pushing for months to get the CIPA process rolling; Trump of course has objected; and Cannon has played along.

The May 20 trial date is no more in jeopardy after Cannon’s latest (unexplained, by the way) decision than it was before. It was definitely not happening because of Cannon’s prior inertia. But whatever narrow window remained for trying this case before the election closed a little more.

The bottom line is this: Cannon has turned the flame under the water up so slowly and incrementally that there has been no concerted national outrage about her wildly inappropriate handling of the case. Not that it would matter; she seems indifferent to the public criticism. At the same time, she has continued to punt actual decisions that could potentially create grounds for appeal. It’s a one-two punch that leaves Smith in an impossible bind.

Forecast: Stormy Daniels To Testify Today

Big day ahead as the Trump hush-money trial shifts from the necessary grinding through financial records yesterday to the expected testimony today of porn star Stormy Daniels, another of Louisiana’s many great contributions to our national politics. You’re welcome. TPM’s Josh Kovensky is at the courthouse and will be liveblogging today’s proceedings here.

What Happened In The Hush Money Trial Yesterday

A quick recap:

  • Trump was found in violation of the gag order in the case and fined another $1,000, but more importantly the judge gave what sure sounded like his final warning to Trump: Do it again and I will put you in jail.
  • Later in the day, Trump struck the pose that he would happily go to jail for violating the gag order. No one believes him, of course. Here’s why it would be doubly bad for him.
  • The prosecution called witness after witness from inside the Trump Org to review business records and explain the company’s financial controls – all with the thrust of showing how the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels were concealed and recast as legal fees.
  • A fun catch by Joyce Vance about one of the Trump Org witnesses, Jeff McConney:

An interesting side note: It was Jeffrey McConney’s son Justin, fresh out of film school, who was Trump’s first social media manager. Before he arrived on the scene, Trump didn’t know how to use social media. In 2013, Trump posted his first tweet, an innocuous thank-you to someone who complimented him publicly. After leaving the company in 2017, Justin McConney said, “The moment I found out Trump could tweet himself was comparable to the moment in ‘Jurassic Park’ when Dr. Grant realized that velociraptors could open doors. I was like, ‘Oh no.’”

Just Stop Talking, Dude

Nathan Wade, the ousted special prosecutor in the Georgia RICO case, just can’t help himself, it seems. Now he’s done a sit-down interview with ABC News and predicted a “day of reckoning” in court is ahead for Trump.

Quote Of The Day

[T]he GOP will never rebuild until we move on from the Trump era, leaving conservative (but not angry) Republicans like me no choice but to pull the lever for Biden. 

Former Georgia Lieutenant Gov. Geoff Duncan (R), on his decision to vote for Joe Biden in 2024

The Great White (Ahem) North

TPM’s Hunter Walker: How Alex Jones And White Nationalist Podcasts Exploded Into Canadian Politics

Yes, Yes, And Yes

Philip Bump: “Why is the simplest explanation of campus protests so hard to accept?
Young people were sympathetic to Palestinians even before the war began. Why is that ignored?”

Yeoman’s Work

Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy: I Read Everything Elon Musk Posted for a Week. Send Help.

Preach, Brother, Preach

Former TPMer Brian Beutler wades into that mess of a conversation between Semafor’s Ben Smith and NYT executive editor Joe Kahn about the role of journalism in America today:

The executive editor of the Times really should have a view on whether democracy is preferable to autocracy, truth preferable to lies, and where those values fit in the hierarchy of political commitments. And he should feel free to share that view with the public. Even if voters tell pollsters they have other concerns. Even if fervent coverage of the threat to democracy happens to help the only candidate in the race committed to its survival. Even if it means acknowledging your critics have a point. 

A very eloquent assessment from Brian. Take a moment to read the full thing.

Big Congrats To TPM Alum Justin Elliott!

Justin Elliott, one of the two OG muckrakers at TPM way back in the day, was part of the ProPublica team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service Journalism yesterday for its series of stories on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ cozy financial relationship with billionaire GOP donor Harlan Crowe.

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