Jack Smith Is Poised To Hang The Capitol Attack On Trump

INSIDE: Donald Trump ... Tanya Chutkan ... Jim Jordan
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Protesters gather on the second day of pro-Trump events fueled by President Donald Trump's continued claims of election fraud in an to overturn the results before Congress finalizes them ... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Protesters gather on the second day of pro-Trump events fueled by President Donald Trump's continued claims of election fraud in an to overturn the results before Congress finalizes them in a joint session of the 117th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times 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. Sign up for the email version.

Incitement Is Back On The Table, Sorta

When Special Counsel Jack Smith unveiled his indictment against Donald Trump for attempting to overturn the 2020 election, it looked all the world like he had taken a prudent and careful approach by dodging the tricky legal question of whether Trump was guilty of inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol.

But I want to bring your attention a filing Monday by Smith that suggests the government’s case in chief will not dodge the Capitol riot at all, but rather use it to paint a picture of a crowd summoned to DC by Trump, urged to march on the Capitol by Trump, and understood by the rioters themselves to be following Trump’s orders.

Among the journalists who have picked up on the filing is Kyle Cheney, who has a sophisticated look this morning at what it means and the broader context within which this is happening.

For a more granular look, Marcy Wheeler has dissected the key elements of the Monday filing.

One final point that I have only started to appreciate in recent months. While DOJ may have been slower than I would have liked in initiating the Trump phase of the Jan. 6 investigation, the result is that the Trump prosecution looks like and in fact is an organic extension of the hundreds of other Jan. 6 cases already brought to successful conclusion.

The judges in DC know the cases, the issues they raise, and the legal parameters very well. Defenses have been asserted, tested, and ruled on countless times, mostly unsuccessfully. There is a lot of water under the bridge, and while Trump is determined to place his case in the bogus context of political retaliation and election interference, it’s going to be difficult for him to escape the larger context that he is merely one of more than 1,000 Jan. 6 defendants.

The Latest In the Jan. 6 Case Against Trump

  • In another Solomonic decision, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan simultaneously granted Trump the more generous deadline he was seeking to declare that he would mount an “advice of counsel” defense but denied him additional time to provide discovery to Special Counsel Jack Smith in support of that defense. I’m not going to say much more about that here because the odds of Trump actually raising that defense are quite small. There’s little to no factual basis for it, and the risks (including the necessary waiver of attorney-client privilege) are too great to make it viable.
  • As for the gag order Chutkan has imposed, Trump filed his appeal brief with the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Don’t expect this to go anywhere either.

Manhunt For Jan. 6 Suspect Continues

The FBI and local law enforcement continue to search central New Jersey for a man wanted in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Gregory Yetman is a former military police sergeant in the New Jersey National Guard.

Trump Can Stay On Minnesota Primary Ballot

The Minnesota Supreme Court essentially punted on the Disqualification Clause case against Donald Trump:

  • Trump can stay on the 2024 primary ballot.
  • The case is dismissed, but the court left the door wide open for it to be refiled later.
  • The court all but invited the plaintiffs to refile their challenge for the general election ballot next year.

It was a weird but not outrageous decision by the court. Not to be too practical-minded, but this gave the court a way out now while preserving the option to get involved later. Given the ambivalence the justices showed during oral arguments, I suspect they were happy to take this off ramp and hope that other courts, specifically the Supreme Court, get involved before they have to.

The Stakes

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance:

Americans, it turns out, like our form of democracy—a Constitutional Republic. So far, it has endured despite Trump, but it’s essential for people to be aware of what he intends to do if reelected. He is a malignant threat to democracy, and that has to be taken seriously. The singular challenge of the next election will be keeping the Republic in the face of Trump’s plans to take hold of power in a way that suggests he will never relinquish it.

2024 Ephemera

  • That debate, y’all. This is no way to elect a president. I’m giving you a free pass to ignore it. But if you insist, our LiveBlog of it highlights the tedium.
  • Josh Marshall: Will Republicans Take No For An Answer On Abortion?
  • Molly Ball: Republicans Still Don’t Know How to Talk About Abortion

The Next Step For The Anti-Abortion Movement

Anti-abortion group sues to block Michigan’s voter-approved constitutional amendment enshrining abortion rights, claiming abortion violates the 14th Amendment.

Our Best And Brightest

I anticipate an overabundance of titillating coverage of the “high-end brothel” that the Justice Department says was operating adjacent to the corridors of power in DC and in Massachusetts. The race is on to identify who were among the prominent patrons, which a federal prosecutor in Boston described this way in a press conference:

They are doctors, they are lawyers, they are accountants, they are elected officials, they are executives of high tech companies and pharmaceutical companies, they are military officers, government contractors, professors, scientists. They are the men who fuel this commercial sex ring.

But I keep getting stuck on this part of the allegations (emphasis mine): “Alleged prospective sex buyers in this scheme first had to respond to a survey and provide information online, including their driver’s license photos, their employer information, credit card information, and they often paid a monthly fee to be part of this.”

For real?

Making Sense Of The Senseless

BE’ERI, ISRAEL – OCTOBER 13: A swing is left in tact while most the Gat house, and all of the interior, is left in ruins, after five family members were kidnapped and three are still missing, after Hamas militants attacked this kibbutz near the Gaza border (Photo by Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

Journalist and historian Gershom Gorenberg visited Kibbutz Be’eri three and half weeks after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. His dispatch is grimly specific in its detail and supremely reflective despite the horrific scene:

I’ve heard people call the attackers “monsters,” “inhuman,” “animals.” This is too lazy a way out. They were entirely human. Human beings have the capacity for good and for evil. They are most capable of evil, it seems, when they’ve convinced themselves that they are serving the good.

Take a moment to read it.

‘From The River To The Sea’: What It Means

Flashback to this 2018 essay by David Schraub unpacking the slogan and providing much-needed context:

[W]hen Jews respond poorly to a statement that you read as simply an uncontroversial call for freedom, you can either think (1) “wow, Jews sure do hate freedom!” or (2) “wow, there’s probably something more complicated going on here — I should investigate!” This post is dedicated to those who take door #2.

It’s worth your time.

It’s Coming From Inside The House

On anti-Semitism, Kanye West, and Jim Jordan:

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