A Consequential Day In The Georgia RICO Case

INSIDE: Mark Meadows ... Hunter Biden ... Lauren Boebert
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - AUGUST 24: Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to depart at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after being booked at the Fulton County jail on August 24, 2023 in Atlanta, Georg... ATLANTA, GEORGIA - AUGUST 24: Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to depart at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after being booked at the Fulton County jail on August 24, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. Trump was booked on multiple charges related to an alleged plan to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. (Photo by Joe Raedle/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.

No Georgia Trial For Trump Next Month

The state judge handling the big RICO case made official yesterday what he had signaled the week before: Ken Chesebro and Sidney Powell and any other defendant who invokes their right to a speedy trial will go to trial next month, and the remaining defendants will be tried separately down the road. That means Trump avoids an October trial in Atlanta.

Perhaps we’ll look back on this later as some kind of setback, but I don’t thinks it’s obvious now. In fact, as the judge noted, trying to force all the defendants into a speedy trial would inevitability provide a basis to appeal on due process grounds. A Trump conviction delayed is much better than a Trump conviction overturned.

In the order, state Judge Scott McAfee raised the possibility of eventually severing some of the other defendants as well. So we could be looking at more than two different RICO trials in Georgia. That does create challenges for prosecutors: multiple trials give later defendants a chance to see prosecutors put on their evidence multiple times, a distinct advantage; witnesses may not be 100% each time they testify, giving defense counsel openings to challenge the credibility; and prosecutors now have to win over multiple jury panels over many months, rather than giving it their best shot one time.

Mark Meadows Is Off The Hook For Now

McAfee’s order severing Chesebro and Powell also removed the urgency from Mark Meadows’ attempt to get his case removed to federal court.

The 11th Circuit was scheduled to hear oral arguments this morning on Meadows’ request to stay the lower court decision denying removal from state court. But after McAfee ruled, Meadows quickly alerted the appeals court to the changed circumstances and asked to withdraw his motion for an emergency stay. The appeals court granted the request and cancelled today’s oral argument.

Meadows’ appeal will still proceed on an expedited basis, but without the threat of an October trial date, it won’t proceed on an emergency basis.

The Atlanta Judge Is A Keeper

State Judge Scott McAfee is a good one. You see it in his earnest but not self-serious demeanor, his confident but humble style, and the briskness with which he dispenses with nonsense:

Just Keep On Talking, Bub

I cannot imagine trying to represent Donald Trump in a criminal case as he runs around making admission after admission that go to the core of the prosecution:

Trump’s Recusal Motion Gave Prosecutors An Opening

Donald Trump’s motion to recuse U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan from his Jan. 6 case is highly unlikely to go anywhere, but Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team didn’t let a good opportunity go by. They used their formal response opposing the motion to show how central Trump was to the Jan. 6 attack, in the words of so many of the Jan. 6 defendants.

NY AG’s Civil Trial Against Trump Hits A Road Bump

I confess I’m not sure yet of the implications here and I don’t think we’ll know until later, but stick a pin in this: An appeals court intervened in the civil lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James against the Trump Org, Trump, and his two adult sons in a way that could delay the start of next month’s trial.

McCarthy Dares Detractors to Dump Him

In a closed door meeting of the House GOP, Speaker of the Hot Seat Kevin McCarthy dared his in-house critics to “file the fucking motion” to remove him from the top spot.

The Hunter Biden Indictment

The indictment of a sitting president’s child is unusual.

The indictment of a sitting president’s son after an investigation launched under the supervision of his predecessor, who was then and is now along with his own political party publicly agitating for criminal charges is even more unusual.

The fact that it’s all part of a larger scheme, ongoing for more than four years, that led to Trump’s first impeachment continues to be lost on the public because it’s lost on so many reporters. But here we are.

I mapped out the fight ahead.

Give Them An Emmy

Yesterday’s Morning Memo included a montage of surveillance video of Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) making a spectacle of herself at a performance of the Beetlejuice musical in Denver – but you really need to watch it with this voiceover:

UAW Goes On Strike Against The Big 3

The United Auto Workers struck last night after contract talks broke down. The initial work stoppage involves about 12,700 workers at three plants.

Keep Your Eye On Wisconsin

TPM: “Wisconsin Republicans voted to fire the state’s election chief Thursday, a lingering outgrowth of Donald Trump’s 2020 big lie campaign.”

SCOTUS Will Weigh In On Crazy Social Media Ruling

The high court issued a short, administrative stay to consider the government’s request for a longer stay while it appeals that batshit crazy federal court ruling that hamstrung the government from communicating with social media companies about misinformation on their platforms.

Let Me Send You Into The Weekend In Style

Morning Memo, as the name might suggest, doesn’t spend much time out on weeknights. But it made an exception this week when Sonny Landreth rolled through DC. In a performance at The Hamilton, he was fine-tuning a set to use at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival in Los Angeles later this month.

I’m practically a musical illiterate, so writing about music carries the high risk of looking like a fool. But Sonny Landreth is so accomplished, such a virtuoso, a craftsman at the top of game, that I feel safe in, however ineptly, drawing your attention to him.

You can dissect Landreth’s South Louisiana musical influences, particularly blues and zydeco, but since the 1980s he’s created his own distinct sonic world. Imagine someone creating an entire new color palette and spending a few decades creating his art in his new medium. When you hear him, you know it’s him, whether he’s backing John Hiatt, recording with Mark Knopfler, or performing here with Clapton. Enjoy your weekend:

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