Crunch Time For Trump As Letitia James Closes In On Her Big Prize

INSIDE: Mike Johnson ... Ronna McDaniel ... Tammy Murphy
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 10: Former U.S. President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
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Trials And Tribulations

Donald Trump faces a deadline of today to secure an appeal bond or hope for relief from an appeals court to forestall New York Attorney General Letitia James from executing on her $454 million judgment against him.

MT KISCO, NEW YORK – MARCH 22: The entrance to Silver Springs Estate is seen on March 22, 2024 in Mt Kisco, New York. NY Attorney General Letitia James has filed judgments in Westchester County against former President Donald Trump and his eldest sons Don Jr. and Eric, along with several of their companies. The move would place liens on all properties that belong to the former president, his sons and the Trump Organization. James would begin to seize assets from the former president if he is not able to post bond in the $464 million civil fraud ruling against him. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

For obvious reasons, folks are pretty ginned up about seeing some portion of the Trump biz empire dismantled piece by piece, but a few words of caution on what this will look like:

  1. It’s going to take time. James may not begin the heavy lifting on collecting on the judgment until after an expected appeals court ruling later this week. But whenever she begins the process, it’s not going to happen in blazing fashion. It will happen at legal speed, which is somewhere between ponderous and bureaucratic.
  2. Don’t forget about the debt. Many of Trump’s assets, like many of your assets, are collateral for debt, so when you see talk about the multimillion dollar valuation of this or that Trump property, that’s typically an estimate of the fair market value of the asset. It doesn’t usually account for any debt or other encumbrances against the asset. He may be a billionaire, but he’s leveraged, too.
  3. James will be strategic. There’s not much upside for James in going through an extensive legal process to force liquidation of assets that don’t contain much equity. So don’t expect her to willy nilly start going after all the high-profile Trump assets. But that doesn’t mean Trump has skated in some way. Trump may have his name emblazoned on a building but it might be heavily encumbered and provide him with only nominal equity. If he even owns it at all.

Trump In Court Today

We’ll get more insight this morning on the status of the hush money case in Manhattan, which has been delayed in a pre-trial dispute over new documents provided by federal prosecutors from their closed related investigation. The trial judge is trying to get to the bottom of what happened in deciding whether to grant Trump even further delay. We might even get a new trial date. TPM’s Josh Kovensky will be reporting from the courthouse in lower Manhattan.

The Most WSJ Of WSJ Headlines

Trump Is in a Race Against Time to Protect His Fortune

On What Planet?

These two paragraphs from the NYT’s inside account of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s effort to prosecute Donald Trump rattled around in my head all weekend:

In trying to avoid even the smallest mistakes, Mr. Garland might have made one big one: not recognizing that he could end up racing the clock. Like much of the political world and official Washington, he and his team did not count on Mr. Trump’s political resurrection after Jan. 6, and his fast victory in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, which has complicated the prosecution and given the former president leverage in court.

In 2021 it was “simply inconceivable,” said one former Justice Department official, that Mr. Trump, rebuked by many in his own party and exiled at his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago, would regain the power to impose his timetable on the investigation.

I really struggle to buy the assertion that the political world had written Trump off as politically dead in 2021. But I really don’t know how anyone can say with a straight face that his future political viability was “inconceivable” at the time.

Why Jack Smith Can’t Get Aileen Cannon Removed Yet

Former CIA attorney Brian Greer, who posts on X/Twitter as @secretsandlaws, offers a cogent and reasoned explanation for why it is still premature for Special Counsel Jack Smith to try to seek the removal of U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon from the Mar-a-Lago case.

The Mystery Of Paul Manafort

TPM’s Josh Kovensky, who has covered Paul Manafort from Kyiv to NYC, on what we still don’t know about his various misdeeds and murky schemes.

Oh …

NYT: “Jeff Yass, the billionaire Wall Street financier and Republican megadonor who is a major investor in the parent company of TikTok, was also the biggest institutional shareholder of the shell company that recently merged with former President Donald J. Trump’s social media company.”

Budget War Of 2023 Is Finally Over

Nearly six months into the current fiscal year, a budget for 2024 is finally at hand – thanks mostly to House Democrats who helped Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) get the final budget bill of last year through on Friday. “A total of 112 Republicans voted no on the minibus — including eight committee chairs — compared to just 101 supporting the measure,” Punchbowl noted. The Senate passed the bill after midnight early Saturday, nominally after the shutdown deadline but with little real impact.

Sucker Punched

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) surprised party leaders and narrowed the House GOP majority to a single vote with his decision to resign from Congress effective April 19. Gallagher had already announced he wasn’t going to run for re-election. His resignation date is one day after the deadline to call a special election, meaning House Republicans will be hamstrung by his departure all the way through the end of this Congress.

The Joy Of Being Mike Johnson

  • CNN: Marjorie Taylor Greene files surprise motion to oust Speaker Johnson, a sign of growing revolt from the right
  • WaPo: Weakened House GOP majority reckons with Johnson’s leadership
  • WSJ: Why Mike Johnson Can’t Run the House Without Democrats’ Help

Sign Of The Times

TPM’s Khaya Himmelman reports on Maricopa County, Arizona turning its vote tabulation center into a virtual encampment to ward off threats, with measures like:

  • permanent fencing;
  • a badge requirement to enter the parking lot;
  • additional badges to enter the building;
  • metal detectors; and
  • netting on the temporary fencing in the parking lot so that voters cannot take pictures of election workers or their license plates.

Welcome to 2024.

MSNBC Hires Ronna McDaniel As Paid Contributor

A public revolt is underway over the NBC News decision to bring on recently ousted RNC chair Ronna McDaniel on a paid contributor:

The outcry from MSNBC on-air personalities continued this morning.

2024 Ephemera

  • NJ-Sen: New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy has ended her bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, clearing the way for Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) to be his party’s nominee for indicted Sen. Bob Menendez’s seat.
  • NY-01: Ousted Rep. George Santos, still under federal criminal indictment, announced after the House passed its final 2024 budget bill Friday that he is leaving the Republican Party and will run as an independent in his new district.

It’s Not That Complicated

It really shouldn’t require falling back on foundational issues like the rule of law, democracy, or civic virtue to realize that Donald Trump is an utter buffoon who has no business near the Oval Office:

Good Read

Politico: What happens when an AG dares to investigate Leonard Leo’s network

Don’t Get Too Hung Up On The Anthropocene

Erle C. Ellis: The Anthropocene May Not Be An ‘Epoch,’ But The Age Of Humans Is Most Definitely Underway

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Notable Replies

  1. Make it a great week everyone! No cats for this morning!

  2. If even half of this is true
    Russian forces torture Moscow terror suspect by hooking his genitals up to 80v battery leaving him foaming at the mouth - and feed another his own EAR: Battered men appear in court as new footage emerges of the slaughter that killed at least 140 | Daily Mail Online

    ‘Torture is, unfortunately, commonplace. What is unusual here is that the security forces used to bashfully hide this. But now they are proud of it and, apparently, they themselves release photographs of torture to friendly Telegram channels.’

  3. Posted just now to Trump’s Truth Social account:


    Which was preceded by this:

    Why should a Crooked, highly political New York Judge, Arthur Engoron, working in concert and coordination with an even more Corrupt Attorney General, Letitia “Peekaboo” James, his Puppet Master, and the White House, be allowed to take away, and sell off, very successful properties and assets that took me years to zone, build and nurture into some of the best of their kind anywhere in the World – WHEN I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG! These Radical Left Lunatics and Communists ask me to pay a ridiculous and completely unheard of fine of over $450,000,000 only because they saw a similar amount in my bank account. I had intended to use much of that hard earned money on running for President. They don’t want me to do that — ELECTION INTERFERENCE!

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