A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
Just Keep Talking, Donald, Just Keep Talking
In speeches, social media posts, and friendly TV interviews, former President Donald Trump keeps clownishly making admission after admission that is admissible against him in the Mar-a-Lago case.
It’s been a running joke for a long time now that Trump is his own worst enemy (though that often bleeds into weird, excuse-making analyses by his adherents and by credulous reporters). But this is a different flavor of self-own.
The statements Trump has made in recent days could very well be used by Special Counsel Jack Smith at trial. They expand upon and reinforce some of the public statements that Trump already made that Smith ended up putting in the Mar-a-Lago indictment.
A great example of Trump giving up the whole game in a post yesterday:
His post-arraignment speech at Bedminster earlier in the week was also a classic example, as former Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissman observed:
There is a more sophisticated, nuanced way of looking at this (though I do prefer the hilarity of it to the more sober analysis):
Trump’s legal & political strategies continue to conflict.— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) June 16, 2023
Legally, every time he “speaks” he brings himself one step closer to conviction.
Politically, to his benefit to be grandiose & aggressive. Raises funds, creates support & polarizes.
Which will prevail ultimately? https://t.co/f6keddmyBN
Seen this way, Trump’s presidential campaign IS his defense strategy. The factual evidence is overwhelmingly against him, and he had few legitimate legal arguments to make. But running again puts in play, among other things, Trump as a victim, “election interference,” and his double reverse “DOJ weaponization” argument.
He went so far as to accelerate his campaign announcement in order to put his favorite rhetorical gimmick more fully in play: Biden and DOJ are interfering in this election! Trump has raised this argument in court since last August, when he tried to use U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to thwart the Mar-a-Lago case.
But beyond the case itself, Trump’s best chance of preserving his own liberty is to win re-election and scuttle the federal prosecutions against him by some combination of hiding behind the notorious OLC opinion that a sitting president cannot be criminally prosecuted, ordering DOJ to stand down, or pardoning himself.
To the extent his devastating public admissions help him politically even though they hurt him legally, don’t take that as some evil genius move. It’s just another sign of his self-delusion and desperation, though for much of his life those two things have perversely resulted in a form of self-preservation.
And Off We Go …
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has given defense lawyers in the Mar-a-Lago case until June 20 to confirm to her that they have contacted the Justice Department about obtaining security clearances to handle the classified discovery in the case.
Still Unearthing Jan. 6 Details
Bernie Kerik had a plan to keep former President Trump in office after losing the 2020 election — and he knew how much it would cost. Roughly.
Per an email surfaced in a defamation lawsuit brought against Rudy Giuliani, Kerik wrote to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in a Dec. 28, 2020 missive that he would need “between $5 to $8M” to put a plan into action that would pressure state legislators into throwing their electors behind Trump.
Why Did Rudy G Use ‘Helen’ As Email Alias?
TPM’s Hunter Walker and Josh Kovensky explain.
Tish James Has Received Death Threats While Pursuing Trump
New York AG Tish James: “I have more law enforcement around me these days, individuals have threatened my life, but I will not be paralyzed by fear by no means. I’m from Brooklyn.”
Gonna Be A Helluva 2024 Primary Season
The judge has set a Jan. 15, 2024 trial date for E. Jean Carroll’s other defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump.
Fox News Poised To Settle Ex-Producer’s Lawsuit
Abby Grossberg, the former network producer who filed an explosive complaint against the company in March, is in the final stages of ironing out a settlement with the company, I’m told. …
Representatives for both Grossberg and Fox News declined to comment on Thursday. While the deal is close to being finalized, last-minute hiccups are always possible. The terms of the agreement are not known.
We rarely know which Supreme Court rulings are coming when, but another round of decisions are to be announced this morning, with the big affirmative action case the main one on our radar.
Consent Decree Coming For Minneapolis PD?
The Justice Department is expected to release the results of its investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department launched in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd:
The report is expected to be released at a news conference with Attorney General Merrick Garland, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta and city officials. The contents of the report are not yet known, but people familiar with the investigation said the inquiry uncovered significant systemic problems and could lead to an agreement between the parties, known as a consent decree, overseen by a federal judge.
- Politico: After squandering a chance to draw congressional maps more favorable to their electoral prospects, Democrats in New York and Wisconsin are eying a redo.
- ProPublica: Voting Maps Throughout the Deep South May Be Redrawn After Surprise Supreme Court Ruling
Discord Leaker Indicted
Airman Jack Teixeira was indicted by a federal grand jury in Boston on six counts of willful retention and transmission of national defense information.
US Gov’t Agencies Hacked
Several U.S. government agencies, including the Energy Department, have been hacked in a data-stealing cyberattack exploiting a software bug that had already compromised major businesses in the U.K. and elsewhere, U.S. officials said Thursday.
While officials were still investigating the intrusions, they said none of the pilfered data had apparently been leaked online so far and that no extortion demands had been paid to the hackers. A Russian-speaking criminal group was likely responsible, officials said.
WaPo: America’s unlikeliest abortion clinic has opened in its reddest state
Your Modern Republican Party …
The RNC is refusing to carve out an exception to its loyalty pledge – meaning candidates for president must agree to support the eventual nominee – for when the nominee is a convicted felon. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
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