DC Appeals Court Does Its Part To Keep Trump Jan. 6 Trial On Track

INSIDE: Rudy G ... Mike Garcia ... Hunter Biden
CORALVILLE, IOWA - DECEMBER 13: Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at the Hyatt Hotel on December 13, 2023 in Coralville, Iowa. Iowa Republicans will caucus on... CORALVILLE, IOWA - DECEMBER 13: Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at the Hyatt Hotel on December 13, 2023 in Coralville, Iowa. Iowa Republicans will caucus on January 15, the first in the presidential nomination process in the 2024 presidential race. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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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.

DC Circuit Grants Expedited Appeal

The dominant storyline in the Trump prosecutions this week has been the timeline of the Jan. 6 case against him – not surprising given that an elaborate effort to delay, delay, delay is what Trump sees as his best defense. That is less a legal defense than a political one, which has implications up and down the board. But in a week where the delay strategy is getting its first real test, let’s assess where we are.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals granted Special Counsel Jack Smith’s request for an expedited appeal of Trump’s claims of absolute presidential immunity against criminal prosecution.

In doing so, it offered perhaps a glimpse into the appeals court’s own sense of the urgency of the matter. Here’s what I mean:

The appeals court had given Trump until yesterday at 10 a.m ET to respond to Smith’s request for expedited treatment and Smith a deadline of 10 a.m. today to reply. Trump met his deadline, and Smith swiftly replied, beating his deadline by a day. Notably, the DC Circuit didn’t wait around to rule. It almost immediately granted Smith’s motion for an expedited appeal and set a briefing schedule (no oral argument was scheduled yet):

Dec. 23, 2023: Trump brief due
Dec. 30, 2023: Smith brief due
Jan. 2, 2024: Trump reply brief due

Remember, this is just one prong of Smith’s fierce effort to hold on to the March 4, 2024 trial date for Trump. In parallel, he’s asking the Supreme Court to let him bypass the DC Circuit process laid out above and to rule on the immunity claim directly itself. Trump’s response to that request is due with the Supreme Court next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan more or less conceded that Trump is correct that she has no jurisdiction to proceed in the Jan. 6 case while it is on appeal over the immunity issue, though she made clear she intends to enforce the gag order and pre-trial release conditions against Trump unless the appeals court orders her otherwise.

Important

Looming in the background of the Trump Jan. 6 case for some time now has been a legal challenge by a Capitol rioter to the statute under which hundreds of other rioters have been prosecuted and which forms an important part of the Trump Jan. 6 indictment. The Supreme Court has now agreed to consider the case this term.

Rudy G May Testify Today

It’s shaping up like Rudy Giuliani will testify today in the trial of the defamation claims brought by Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss.

Freeman testified yesterday and like Moss’ testimony earlier in the week, it was poignant, compelling, and frankly sad.

Michigan Fake Electors Scheme Update

On the same day that prosecutors began publicly laying out their case against 15 fake electors in Michigan, CNN obtained audio of state prosecutor’s interview of former Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro.

Trump Loses On Immunity Again

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals handed Donald Trump a loss in a test of presidential immunity arising out one of of E. Jean Carroll’s defamation claims against him.

Testimony Ends In Trump’s NY Civil Fraud Trial

A verdict from the judge isn’t expected for weeks.

EXCLUSIVE

The Messenger: The Story Behind Trump’s Gag Order Involves a Man Under Criminal Investigation for Stalking

Good Read

TPM’s Hunter Walker: The MAGA Movement’s Links With The Global Far Right Were On Full Display At Trump’s Latest Party

Quote Of The Day

Trump’s not a conservative. He’s a populist, authoritarian narcissist. So, historically speaking, all of his tendencies are basically where narcissism takes him, which is whatever makes him popular, make him feel good at any given moment.

Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI)

SCOTUS Takes Up Abortion Pill Access

The case is ostensibly about mifepristone, but the hyper-aggressive lower court rulings may give the conservative Supreme Court an out on procedural grounds.

Hot Button Issues Dropped From Defense Bill

Politico:

The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed compromise defense policy legislation after lawmakers struck a deal to drop hard-right provisions on abortion, transgender troops and other hot-button issues.

The blowout 87-13 vote tees the annual National Defense Authorization Act up for a vote in the House as early as Thursday morning to send the measure to President Joe Biden for his signature.

GOPer Secretly Sold Boeing Stock Ahead Of Damning Report

Daily Beast:

In August 2020, Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) sold up to $50,000 in shares of aerospace giant Boeing, weeks before his committee released the damning results of its investigation into deadly crashes involving the company’s 737 Max airliner.

But while other incumbent campaigns were dogged by blockbuster stock scandals that year, the Garcia campaign never had to answer for this trade. That’s because Garcia blew the mandated deadline to report the transaction, only filing the paperwork on Nov. 23—more than two months after the 45-day reporting window had closed. When he finally did disclose the sale, it was two weeks after the 2020 general election votes were cast, and three days after Garcia declared victory. He won by 333 votes.

Gaza Before And After

The NYT uses aerial video and satellite imagery to document the destruction in Gaza since the Israeli counterattack began.

MUST READ

TPM’s Josh Kovensky: How The GOP Finally Went All In Against Ukraine

Ukraine Aid Alert

Since the White House became more directly involved this week with Senate negotiations over a border package to pair with Ukraine aid, the general sense has been cultivated that a deal is closer:

The White House believes it’s closing in on a deal with Senate Republicans to approve more aid for Ukraine in exchange for major reforms to U.S. border enforcement policies, per a person briefed on their outreach.

But the concessions could make many Democrats uneasy — if not outright furious — at the large price paid to secure more foreign aid to Kyiv, which Republicans have said they will only support if paired with new measures to curb the flow of migrants at the border.

The time crunch is real. This is the last day in town for both chambers before the long holiday recess. The House is expected to leave; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has taken steps that would allow him to keep the Senate in session an extra day tomorrow in case it needs to vote on a deal.

One additional cautionary note: While the White House and Senate may hammer out a deal likely to infuriate progressives by adopting harsh GOP border policies, it’s not clear that such a deal would get through the House, meaning the potential for a lot of Dems in both chambers to walk the plank for nothing.

House GOP Formalizes Corrupt Biden Impeachment

The revenge impeachment of Joe Biden – a payback demanded by Donald Trump for his two impeachments – took another step forward with the House GOP voting to initiate an inquiry.

What A Coincidence

The Biden impeachment inquiry was approved by the GOP House on the same day it summoned Hunter Biden to testify behind closed doors. In a surprise move, Biden did show up on the Hill, but he did not agree to sit down with House GOP investigators.

Trying To Find The Humor In It All

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Notable Replies

  1. SMACK Don’t mess with the women
    Florida Abortion Amendment Clears Major Hurdle With 1 Million+ Signatures (msn.com)
    The citizen group that wants to enshrine abortion rights in the state’s constitution has exceeded the threshold to get the measure on the Nov. 5 ballot by collecting more than 1.4 million voter signatures, according to sources familiar with the effort.

    “They’ve reached the number,” a source involved with the group, Floridians Protecting Freedom, told The Messenger. “This is going to be on the ballot. Unless the Florida Supreme Court discounts it, this is headed for the ballot.”

    Under Florida law, sponsors of a proposed constitutional amendment need to collect 891,523 verified voter signatures by Feb. 1, 2024.

  2. Avatar for jm_tpm jm_tpm says:

    A regular disagreed with my statement that Gaza was being “levelled”. However, I don’t know how else you could describe what is happening*. It seems to me that the argument comes down to whether you feel the levelling is justified or not. I don’t, but I can certainly understand that there are opposing points of view.

    • According to an article I read around 2 weeks ago, an estimated 40% of the buildings in northern Gaza had been destroyed.

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