A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.
The defense team in the Mar-a-Lago case is running circles around U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon and not only does she not see it but she’s encouraged, enabled, and sanctioned it.
In a remarkable turn of events, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team submitted a new filing in the case late yesterday. It comes ahead of tomorrow’s resumption of the hearing on the conflicts of interest that defense counsel Stan Woodward has in representing Walt Nauta.
I don’t think you need much of the backstory except for this: Woodward has been denying for months that he has any conflict of interest even though he’s represented both Nauta and other witnesses key to the case who are adverse to Nauta, i.e., their testimony will hurt him. Cannon has played along, dragging out what should be a routine process for months now.
With that backstory, Smith’s team alerted Cannon that Woodward for the first time yesterday conceded to them that he won’t cross examine at trial the witnesses adverse to Nauta. If this is true … wow! Woodward didn’t explicitly acknowledge to prosecutors that he has a conflict of interest – after denying it all this time – but the implication is clear.
This doesn’t resolve the issue entirely by any means, but it marks a significant shift in Woodward’s posture and leaves Cannon badly exposed for not having taken a firm hand in this matter but instead hectoring prosecutors.
- Will Nauta sufficiently waive these conflicts of interest?
- Will Cannon disqualify Woodward, or give Nauta a chance to confer with independent counsel before he waives his rights?
- Will Woodward, as he apparently has told prosecutors, seek to keep them from using his name when they draw out witness testimony at trial? (Remember one of the key witnesses flipped as soon as the judge in DC provided him with counsel other than Woodward.)
- If Woodward continues representing Nauta, can he undermine the testimony of his former clients in his closing argument?
All of that should be ironed out in tomorrow’s hearing, but with Cannon who knows. She should see by now that she’s been played. It’s led to months of delay in resolving this basic issue.
Prosecutors not so subtly reminded Cannon in the latest filing that it is up to her to ensure that the trial is a fair adversarial proceeding and not undermined or compromised by inadequate representation of counsel working under crippling conflicts of interest.
Hello! Will Cannon get the message?
‘The Blood Will Be On His Hands’
Jeffrey Toobin: Donald Trump Is Going to Get Someone Killed
‘I Like Them Old!’
With the first trial in the big Georgia RICO case set to begin Monday, Atlanta DA Fani Willis is keeping it real:
She referenced Trump’s recent incendiary lie that she was in a relationship with a young gang member she was prosecuting.
“I think the craziest is I was sleeping with a gang-banger. I’m like, a 17-year-old? Like, what? I like them old! What are you talking about?” she said to laughter from the crowd, according to a recording obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Jim Jordan Is Twisting In The Wind
A second overwhelming defeat in the vote for speaker of the House has left Jim Jordan with no clear path forward. The House will reconvene this afternoon. Notionally, Jordan could push for another vote, but the slippage in his vote total yesterday augurs further erosion with each subsequent vote. That’s the certainly the message anti-Jordan members are trying to amplify.
In a highly fluid unprecedented situation, here’s the latest:
- Politico: Jordan detractors believe it gets ‘a lot worse’ for him on a third speakership ballot
- Punchbowl: “Put simply, the votes aren’t moving toward Jordan, they’re moving away from him. He has no path to the speaker’s chair — and most Republicans understand that. In fact, there are many in Jordan’s circle who have taken to asking reporters what the Ohio Republican is thinking by staying in the race.”
- Politico: As Jordan wobbles, House GOP eyes potential next speaker candidates
- Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) claims to have received death threats after she switched her vote from Jordan to Approps Chair Kay Granger (R-TX) on the second ballot.
- There’s still some noise about expanding Rep. Patrick McHenry’s powers as speaker pro tempore for a few weeks so that the House can conduct basic business.
- Aaron Blake: The non-MAGA GOP finds some backbone — against Jordan and intimidation
‘We … Made Mistakes’
An extraordinary admission from an American president:
- U.S. intel raced out its conclusion that Israel was not responsible for the hospital blast in Gaza that reportedly killed hundreds of civilians.
- Biden secures humanitarian accommodation for Gaza from Israel but the details and practical effect remain murky.
- The number of hostages reported to have been taken by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attack rose by four, to 203.
- State Department official resigns over arms transfers to Israel.
Fetterman v. Menendez
I’m generally partial to Senate collegiality and the formal niceties that accompany it, but I have little doubt that it also serves as a roadblock to reform and a shield for incumbents.
Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) ain’t playing that game when it comes to Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and his indictment on public corruption charges that go directly to national security concerns:
The two senators also got into an in-person tiff as they rode the escalator in opposite directions to the Capitol from the Senate subway area Tuesday morning. According to sources, Fetterman told Menendez that Tuesday would be a great day to resign.
Menendez reacted, telling Fetterman that he is hanging onto this issue too closely, echoing a line he told HuffPost a night earlier. Fetterman mockingly responded that he is “consumed” by Menendez’s indictment.
I Love This So Much
Two Philadelphia Eagles football players go to their first MLB game, a Philadelphia Phillies playoff matchup:
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