A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
A criminal indictment against former President Trump now seems almost inevitable, though not guaranteed. That it comes in the Stormy Daniels hush money case is almost surreal, especially given that Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg seemed to have abandoned the investigation upon taking office.
Trump has been invited to testify before the Manhattan grand jury investigating his hush money payment to Stormy Daniels in the waning days of the 2016 president campaign, a Trump lawyer confirmed to the AP.
The on-the-record confirmation followed the initial scoop by the NYT last evening, which characterized the move as “the strongest indication yet that prosecutors are nearing an indictment of the former president.”
“Such offers almost always indicate an indictment is close; it would be unusual for the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, to notify a potential defendant without ultimately seeking charges against him,” the NYT reported.
The defense offered to the AP by Trump attorney Joseph Tacopina was almost desultory: “It’s just another example of them weaponizing the justice system against him. And it’s sort of unfair.”
Trump would be insane to accept Bragg’s invitation to testify, but Trump’s lawyers will likely make a last-minute argument to Bragg not to indict.
Reaction To The Looming Trump Indictment
It would be the first-ever indictment of a former president, but more amazingly it would be the first indictment of Donald Trump, after a lifetime of living on the edge and skating from accountability.
To put it another way: After a presidency whose corruption is rivaled only by Richard Nixon’s and Warren Harding’s, Trump’s first comeuppance will be for trying to cover up a sordid personal matter before he even became president?
“That the Stormy Daniels case may be the one to produce a Trump indictment is a nice call back by the writers,” a bemused Aaron Rupar noted. “I had almost forgotten about the 2018 season.”
I share this sentiment from Chris Hayes:
A closer look at the strengths and weaknesses of Bragg’s case:
Another Secret Hearing In Mar-A-Lago Case
Special Counsel Jack Smith is trying to force Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to answer more questions in front of the DC federal grand jury investigating the classified documents case. Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell held a closed-door hearing Thursday because of grand jury secrecy rules. Nothing was made public about it. But based on leaks and reporting around the case, here’s what’s known:
- Smith is invoking the crime-fraud exception to overcome Trump’s attorney-client privilege and secure additional testimony from Corcoran, according to the Guardian. “[P]rosecutors argued that they had reason to believe that legal advice to Trump from his lawyer Evan Corcoran was used by Trump to obstruct the classified-marked documents investigation,” the Guardian reported.
- The hearing lasted three hours, according to CNN.
- Howell did not immediately rule on DOJ’s motion to compel Corcoran’s testimony and ordered additional briefings from both sides, multiple outlets reported.
- CNN spotted Trump attorneys John Rowley, Jim Trusty and Corcoran at the courthouse, along with Jay Bratt, a top Justice Department official who has been on the Mar-a-Lago case from the beginning and is now part of Smith’s team.
Peter Navarro: Menace Or Fool?
Trump White House official Peter Navarro must return hundreds of emails from his time in government that he kept on a personal ProtonMail account and refused to return to the National Archives, federal judge in DC has ordered in a “brutal” opinion.
Navarro still faces criminal contempt of Congress charges for defying subpoenas from the Jan. 6 committee. No trial date has been set.
Proud Boys Trial Hits A Snag
The feds inadvertently disclosed classified information to Proud Boys defense counsel and now want to try to claw it back, delaying the long-running seditious conspiracy trial in DC.
Jenna Ellis Is A Piece Of Work
After stipulating to making repeated misrepresentations as part of Trump’s 2020 Big Lie and agreeing to public censure in attorney disciplinary proceedings in Colorado, former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis is out there claiming anyone who accuses her of lying is … lying.
The Vast Influence Of Leonard Leo
Leonard Leo, a key architect of the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority, is now the chairman of Teneo, a group that aims to influence all aspects of American politics and culture.
A group of conservative ColoradoCatholics has spent millions of dollars to buy mobile app tracking data that identified priests who used gay dating and hookup apps and then shared it with bishops around the country.
Michigan Poised To Repeal Decades-Old Abortion Ban
The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved a House-passed bill to repeal a 1930s-era law that banned abortion in all cases except when the woman’s life was in danger. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is expected to sign the repeal soon.
Remember George Santos?
The New York Republican congressman and serial fabulist allegedly masterminded a 2017 ATM fraud, his former roommate tells the feds.
A Rare Dash Of Business News In Morning Memo
The financial troubles of Silicon Valley Bank, a small institution but a big tech and start-up lender, has caused a global run on bank stocks.
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Keep It In Perspective
I try to end Morning Memo on either a humorous note or with a reminder that there is so much more to life than politics. That perspective reset is usually a nod to the vastness of nature or of the cosmos, a gentle nudge to remember the larger touchstones around us.
This super-smart thread is a perfect ending for this week:
I’m literally writing the book on planetary defense, so I know things about errant space rocks. And asteroid 2023 DW – with its small-but-not-zero chance of hitting Earth on Feb 14, 2046 is making headlines.— Dr Robin George Andrews 🌋☄️ (@SquigglyVolcano) March 9, 2023
So: let’s sort a few things out, shall we?
Have a good weekend!
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