What New Madness Has Aileen Cannon Visited Upon Us?!

INSIDE: Peter Navarro ... Paul Manafort ... Russ Vought
Aileen Cannon
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Buckle Up!

A rapid-fire series of developments in the various Trump legal entanglements Monday demonstrate anew what a precarious position Trump is in. Precarious probably doesn’t do it justice. There is simply no precedent for a major party nominee for the presidency to be under criminal indictment in four different jurisdictions while also burdened by half a billion dollars in civil judgments against him.

Let’s get to it.

The Newest Cannon Craziness

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has unlocked new achievements in weirdness and incompetence.

On Monday, she issued an order directing Special Counsel Jack Smith and Donald Trump to each come up with a set of proposed jury instructions based on two hypothetical interpretations of the Presidential Records Act. Both of her interpretations are wrong as a matter of law and favorable to Trump, putting Smith in an extraordinary bind.

If this is confusing, trust me, it’s not you. This is a strange and unusual place to be at this stage in a criminal case. Cannon clearly doesn’t understand her role or the law at issue. She is casting about for help, but doing so in a way that is not going to be helpful to her or to the case.

This is where I would usually insert a brief (and incisive!) explanation of the legal issues, but that’s impossible to do here. It makes no sense.

It’s an utter mess and left legal observers flabbergasted.

A Sampling Of The Reaction To Cannon

  • George Conway: “In the decades that I have been a lawyer, this is the most bizarre order I’ve ever seen issued by a federal judge. What makes that all the more amazing is that the second and third most bizarre orders I’ve ever seen in federal court were also issued by Judge Cannon in this case.”
  • Joyce Vance: “[I]t’s two pages of crazy stemming from the Judge’s apparent inability to tell Trump no when it comes to his argument that he turned the nation’s secrets into his personal records by designating them as such under the Presidential Records Act.”
  • Much more here

Trump Fails To Get James’ Bond

Donald Trump came up short, he told an appeals court, in obtaining a bond to secure payment of the $454 million judgment against him obtained by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Some 30 companies rebuffed Trump, most refusing to accept real estate as collateral for the bond. The deadline to obtain a bond is March 25, after which James can begin collecting on her judgment against him – unless the appeals court gives Trump some relief.

Good Catch

NBC News dug into UCC filings in Florida to find evidence of the collateral that Trump used to secure the $91.63 million appeal bond he posted in the E. Jean Carroll case: It’s a brokerage account at Charles Schwab held by the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust.

Trump: I Didn’t Rape Her! I Sexually Assaulted Her!

Donald Trump has sued George Stephanopoulos and ABC News for defamation, claiming that it was libelous for Stephanopoulos to say on his March 10 Sunday show that Trump had been found liable for raping E. Jean Carroll when he had only been found liable for sexually assaulting her. Good luck with that one!

Keep An Eye On Georgia RICO Case

Trump and his co-defendants having formally asked the trial judge to allow them to immediately appeal his decision not to disqualify District Attorney Fani Willis. If granted, it could add significant delay to a case that is already going to drag deep into 2025.

Key Pre-Trial Rulings In The Hush Money Case

The trial judge in the now-delayed Stormy Daniels hush money case issued several important pre-trial evidentiary rulings Monday:

  • Prosecutors may not play the Access Hollywood tape but they can ask witnesses about it.
  • Prosecutors may call Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels, and Karen McDougal to the stand.
  • Prosecutors may argue that Trump was seeking to influence the 2016 election.
  • Prosecutors may present evidence of the National Enquirer using “catch and kill” to protect Trump from unflattering stories.

Peter Navarro Reports To Prison Today

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts rebuffed Trump White House official Peter Navarro’s last-ditch effort to avoid serving four months for his contempt of Congress conviction. He is to report to federal prison in Miami today.

Paul Manafort Is Back At The Worst Possible Time

With Trump under financial pressure and angling to avoid jail, the possible reemergence of Russia-oligarch-whisperer Paul Manafort – himself convicted in the Mueller probe and later pardoned by Trump – as an adviser to the Trump campaign is a development that I would find implausible in a fictional political thriller, but here we are:

  • Brian Beutler: Desperate Trump Turns Once Again To Paul Manafort
  • David Corn: Trump Considers Adding Paul Manafort—a “Grave Counterintelligence Threat”—to His Campaign
  • Marcy Wheeler: “Donald Trump is considering hiring the former business partner of two alleged Russian spies, admitted money launderer Paul Manafort, to help with fundraising.”


The Supreme Court was cool to the argument from red states that the Biden administration had illegally coerced social media platforms into removing misinformation.

Centering Christian Nationalism

TPM’s Josh Kovensky reports on a little-noticed speech last fall given by former Trump OMB Director Russ Vought that puts Christian nationalism at the center of the Trump II agenda.

Lovely …

Donald Trump: Any Jewish person who votes for Democrats “hates their religion” and “everything about Israel.”

What An Intern Program!

A conservative “influencer” and former intern for Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has been charged in the Jan. 6 attack. Isabella Deluca interned with Gosar for three months starting the fall of 2022, after she had already been contacted by the FBI and while she was under investigation.

Gosar interns should ring a bell for you.

One of the them popped up in this May 2023 TPM story about the ties between a Gosar staffer and neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes.

Then in January 2024, the Arizona Mirror published a story on two other Gosar interns who had “expressed deeply racist, homophobic and antisemitic beliefs.”

Smart Move!

With a bench warrant outstanding against her back in Michigan, pro-Trump lawyer Stefanie Lambert showed up anyway for a hearing in federal court in Washington, D.C., where she was representing former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne in a defamation case brought by Dominion Voting Systems. She was arrested after the hearing by U.S. marshals. The bench warrant was issued after she failed to appear to face four felony counts in a voting machine tampering case that grew out of bogus 2020 election conspiracies.

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Notable Replies

  1. Chicken shit little puke
    Lindsey Graham, visiting Kyiv, urges Ukraine to pass mobilization law (msn.com)
    KYIV — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called on Ukrainian lawmakers Monday to quickly pass a mobilization bill that would make more citizens eligible to be drafted into the military, and he sharply questioned exempting men under 27 from the fight.

    Graham called for the swift legislative action — even as U.S. lawmakers remain unable to reach their own consensus on aid for Ukraine — while visiting Kyiv, his first trip to the Ukrainian capital since he abruptly turned against a $60 billion aid package for the country last month.

  2. About damn time
    New Disclosure Rules Finally Required For All Federal Judges | Crooks and Liars
    And look at the ongoing scandals it took to make the Judicial Conference do what they apparently could have done all along! Via Reuters:

    March 18 (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court justices and federal judges can no longer avoid disclosing the value of travel-related gifts they receive by classifying such free trips as “reimbursements” on their financial disclosure forms under new regulations now in effect.

    The regulations, announced by the federal judiciary late on Friday, follow revelations that conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had not disclosed luxury trips paid for by a wealthy benefactor.

  3. ‘We aint seen nuthin yet’. Mr. Trump is going to get worse for 3 main reasons: 1. His electoral strategy. Mr. Trump would probably like to chip away at and weaken the Dem base, but his laser focus is on keeping his followers loyal and energized. To keep them fired up and drawn deeper into his personality cult, Mr. Trump will continue to intensify his rhetoric. 2. He has nothing to lose. His only options this November are victory or ruin. He knows he is going down if he loses so he doesn’t care how much collateral damage he might cause. 3. Mental deterioration. As premier Trump channeler Joe Scarborough pointed out, “Trump is losing it”.

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