A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
Where Is DOJ?
In an important new court filing last evening, the House Jan. 6 committee alleged that President Trump committed crimes in pressuring Vice President Pence to overturn the result of the 2020 election.
Trump’s criminal culpability, according to the committee, includes: (i) obstruction of an official proceeding, (ii) conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and (iii) common law fraud.
Why now? Some context:
- The committee is trying to obtain documents (mainly emails) from John Eastman, the lawyer who advised Trump on the scheme to get Pence to refuse to count electoral votes when Congress convened on Jan. 6.
- Eastman filed suit in federal court in California, asserting attorney-client privilege and work-product privilege in refusing to comply with the committee subpoena.
- One of the committee’s arguments (it has many) is that if you’re using the attorney-client relationship to commit crimes, the attorney-client privilege evaporates. To support that argument, the committee had to lay out which crimes it alleges were committed. It did so in last night’s filing.
To be clear, the alleged crimin’ by Trump and Eastman were not the centerpiece of the Jan. 6 committee’s filing, but it’s an explosive argument and the most newsworthy.
More than a year after the near-coup, with no public sign that the Justice Department is investigating the higher-ups in the conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election, the Jan. 6 committee is laying down an important marker for judging the performance of Attorney General Merrick Garland. Is he up to it?
Jan. 6 Defendant Pleads Guilty To Seditious Conspiracy For First Time
On Wednesday, an Oath Keeper named Joshua James became the first person in all the Capitol insurrection criminal cases to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy in the attack.
Humanitarian Crisis Balloons In Ukraine
Today marks one week since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and more than 1 million Ukrainians have fled the country since then, according to the U.N.’s refugee agency.
- The Washington Post: “What it looks like at Ukraine’s borders as refugees try to flee”
- New York Times: “Newly released satellite images show the effects of war on Ukraine’s civilians.”
- Wall Street Journal: “Russia Batters Ukraine’s No. 2 City Kharkiv, as Kyiv Offensive Stalls”
Bid To Get Cawthorn Kicked Off Ballot Relaunches
The North Carolina voters who mounted a legal challenge against far-right Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-NC) candidacy are starting over after the North Carolina State Board of Elections pulled the plug on their first attempt last week.
- Two voters who live in the district Cawthorn’s running in, North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, initiated a new lawsuit on Wednesday. One of them is a former GOP county commissioner, according to Free Speech For People, the nonpartisan election reform group that’s been backing the challenges.
- The elections board had decided that the first challenge was invalid after a North Carolina court established a new district map that moved the district Cawthorn was running in at the time (North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District) away from the voters who’d filed that lawsuit.
- A brief summary of what happened during the first fight before it got shut down:
- The challengers argued that Cawthorn’s role in stoking the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection disqualifies him from running for office
- Cawthorn’s lawyer argued that his client is protected by a 19th-century amnesty act for Confederate soldiers
- The North Carolina attorney general’s office argued that amnesty that was granted to Civil War-era Confederates doesn’t apply in the year 2022
- The state elections board confirmed that it has the authority under state law to disqualify Cawthorn if it chooses to do so
Setting The Stage For SCOTUS Confirmation
The Senate Judiciary Committee announced yesterday that the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson will start on March 21 and wrap up on the 24th.
The Right-Wing Media Cesspit
Fox News host Tucker Carlson is demanding to see Jackson’s LSAT score so the Black lady can prove whether she really belongs on the Supreme Court.
Navarro Blows Off Jan. 6 Panel Hearing
Former Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro didn’t show up for his scheduled deposition with the House Jan. 6 committee yesterday, claiming that he is an Executive Privileged Boi who won’t let the committee “bully” him with its subpoena, no sir!
- Navarro claimed that Biden’s refusal to grant him executive privilege is “illegitimate” and has “exposed the weak underbelly” of the committee’s investigation.
- He’s very confident that “that unconstitutional dog won’t hunt at the Supreme Court,” which has already shot down two of Trump’s attempts to block the committee’s investigation.
- Navarro plotted a coup that totally wasn’t a coup with Steve Bannon on Jan. 6.
Trump’s Border Wall Has Been Breached More Than 3,000 Times
Mexican smugglers have cut through the ex-president’s “very powerful” wall more than 3,000 times over the past three years, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection records obtained by the Washington Post.
DeSantis Disgusted By Mask-Wearing Brats
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) had this very normal reaction upon seeing a group of students wearing masks at his press conference at the University of South Florida yesterday:
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