What’s Up With The Local Angle To Jack Smith’s Jan. 6 Probe?

INSIDE: Rudy G ... Fani Willis ... Kari Lake
Special Counsel Jack Smith speaks to the press at the US Department of Justice in Washington, DC, on June 9, 2023, announcing the unsealing of the indictment against former US President Donald Trump. Trump was indict... Special Counsel Jack Smith speaks to the press at the US Department of Justice in Washington, DC, on June 9, 2023, announcing the unsealing of the indictment against former US President Donald Trump. Trump was indicted Friday on 37 counts in the Mar-a-Lago documents case after he illegally kept top secret files on US nuclear and weapons programs and defense plans after leaving the White House. "The unauthorized disclosure of these classified documents could put at risk the national security of the United States," the Justice Department said. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via 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.

All Insurrection-ing Is Local

A few developments over the last few days in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Jan. 6 investigation that I want to draw your attention to. A word of caution though: These developments are recently surfaced in the coverage, which isn’t the same thing as new.

We’re invariably limited in what we can see of Smith’s investigation, and there’s a tendency to frame up what we do see as if it mirrors the reality of what is going on. It may, but it also may not. Another tendency is to imbue newly surfaced developments with a sense of movement, like Jack Smith has turned his attention to the local angle. Again, maybe. But our view is very constrained, so our conclusion should be tentative and contingent.

With that out of the way, a few of the new data points:

  • Milwaukee’s top election official confirms that she spoke with Smith’s team last month virtually.
  • New Mexico’s secretary of state was interviewed by Smith’s team in “recent months”
  • Pennsylvania’s secretary of state met with Smith’s team in March.
  • Michigan’s secretary of state was interviewed for several hours by Smith’s team in March.

As you can see, the timing above doesn’t suggest this is a sudden turn in in the investigation or a newly discovered angle. Also recall that subpoenas were sent out last year to many of these same election officials as part of the Jan. 6 probe.

There’s three broad categories of potential significance for these efforts by Smith:

  • Charging threats and intimidation against election officials;
  • Using the threats and intimidation to illustrate the larger conspiracy and its effects;
  • Less sexy: tying up loose ends and closing off avenues of investigation.

Here’s a salient thread on the recent developments that goes a little deeper than Morning Memo will today:

Big Week In MAL Case

We’ll get our first real read on whether U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon is going to bend over backwards to accommodate former President Donald Trump when she convenes the first substantive pre-trial hearing in the Mar-a-Lago case on Tuesday.

About That Target Letter From Jack Smith


The target letter is aimed at a low-level employee of Trump’s family business who had dealings at Mar-a-Lago, the former president’s Florida home and private club. The worker is not an executive or someone with significant decision-making authority, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Poor Rudy

The Messenger: “Rudy Giuliani Could Be at the Ultimate Crossroads: To Protect Trump or Protect Himself” 

Kari Lake’s Legal Team Hit With Sanctions

The Hill:

Kari Lake’s legal team, including lawyer Alan Dershowitz, must pay $122,200 in sanctions after a federal court in Arizona found that the former Republican gubernatorial candidate’s lawsuit contesting voting methods was “frivolous.”

Trump’s Weird Mandamus Thing In Georgia

In another sign of his desperation, former President Donald Trump is imploring the Georgia Supreme Court to help him avoid being indicted in Atlanta. There’s really no precedent for the kind of intervention Trump is seeking, and it is probably better seen as an early public relations move aimed at potential jurors than a real legal argument.

Everything You Want To Know About Fani Willis

WSJ: The No-Nonsense Georgia Prosecutor on a Collision Course With Donald Trump

This Is Important


Donald J. Trump and his allies are planning a sweeping expansion of presidential power over the machinery of government if voters return him to the White House in 2025, reshaping the structure of the executive branch to concentrate far greater authority directly in his hands.

Need A Ray Epps Primer?

Liz Dye: How Tucker’s “FedEpps” conspiracy theory led to Fox News’s latest legal mess

A Worthy Debate

How to build an entirely new energy economy starting yesterday and proceed as fast as possible remains the singular challenge of our time. We should talk about it, debate it publicly, be clear-eyed about the challenges ahead. But we better not waste much time talking about. Gotta get moving.

The 5th Circuit Hasn’t Completely Lost Its Mind

The nation’s most conservative appeals court put a temporary hold on the order by a Louisiana federal judge limiting Biden administration contact with social media platforms. It also expedited oral arguments in the case.

2024 Ephemera

  • Politico: DeSantis campaign sheds staff amid cash crunch
  • Politico: Joe Biden is redefining presidential campaign frugality
  • WaPo: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. suggests covid was designed to spare Jews, Chinese people

Jayapal Walks Back ‘Israel Is A Racist State’ Remark

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, apologized and said she doesn’t in fact believe that Israel is a “racist state”:

MTG Always Delivers … For Biden?

On The Hill

  • 100% Crazytown from House Oversight on Wednesday: “Hearing with IRS Whistleblowers About the Biden Criminal Investigation”
  • Senate Judiciary Committee will consider legislation (that will never pass this House) to impose ethics rules on the Supreme Court.

What’s That Sound?

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Notable Replies

  1. and it probably better scene

    I think you mean “probably better scene but not herd”?

  2. Avatar for jpc jpc says:

    For those interested in what is being called “the expansion” of the case (I don’t see it that way, just follow the stench), see:

    Let’s root it all out. As the WaPo states in their masthead, democracy dies in darkness. I like the Special Council’s lightsaber - it both illuminates and serves as a democratic weapon. Not bad.

  3. image

    The girls are getting ready to rumble and Rep. Tim Burchett is all for it. (Sicko)

    “A fistfight could break out at any moment,” Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) told The Daily Beast.

    Burchett, who later clarified that he was serious, said he was enjoying the standoff as a “professional wrestling fan.”

    “I am friends with both of them. It’s entertaining to think that a fistfight could break out at any movement. I kind of dig that,” he continued.

    No grain deal, then the Kerch Bridge goes down once more.

  4. Israel is an objectively racist state filled with oodles of racist voters. Also, the sun rises in the east.

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