Making Sense Of The Trump Classified Docs Case

INSIDE: Jack Smith ... Josh Hawley ... Matt Schlapp
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 31: Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a New Years event at his Mar-a-Lago home on December 31, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump continues to run for a second term as the ... PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 31: Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a New Years event at his Mar-a-Lago home on December 31, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump continues to run for a second term as the President of the United States. (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.

So Many New Developments

Plenty for you to catch up on here:

1. The FBI searched Mike Pence’s Indiana home Friday with his consent and not pursuant to a search warrant. One additional classified document was found.

2. We learned that two Trump lawyers appeared before the grand jury last month:

  • Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran appeared before the DC grand jury investigating the Mar-a-Lago documents back in January, but that only became public Friday.
  • Trump lawyer Christina Bobb also appeared before the grand jury in January.
  • The significance:

3. Trump was subpoenaed again!

  • The key news here is a subpoena of Trump last month that wasn’t previously known publicly but was revealed over the weekend by the Guardian. The subpoena apparently was issued to retrieve an empty manilla folder marked “Classified Evening Briefing” that Trump’s own investigators had previously found and included in their report that was turned over to the the Justice Department.

4. Classified docs were found on a Trump PAC staffer’s laptop and thumbdrive.

  • Also around the same time Trump turned over the empty folder his team also turned over new materials, including a laptop and thumbdrive of a Trump PAC staffer that contained classified info.
  • According to the Guardian:

After the Trump legal team turned over the box of schedules, the sources said, they learned that a junior Trump aide – employed by Trump’s Save America political action committee who acted as an assistant in Trump’s political “45 Office” – last year scanned and uploaded the contents of the box to a laptop.

The junior Trump aide, according to what one of the sources said, was apparently instructed to upload the documents by top Trump aide Molly Michael to create a repository of what Trump was doing while in office and was apparently careless in scanning them on to her work laptop.

If you want to go even deeper on the new developments, EmptyWheel has you covered.

Good Luck With That One!

Jack Smith is racing to “finish up” by this summer, according to the New York Times, which also notes that seems like a “stretch.” For sure.

Try To Keep This On Your Radar

So much Jan. 6-related news, but the Proud Boys trial is still going. Here’s a good catch-up on last week’s trial developments.

OK, Now I’m Curious About The Shootdowns

Morning Memo has mostly been a balloon-free zone since the first incident started a media frenzy two weeks ago.

But the series of three (3!) shootdowns over the weekend of aerial crafts of some sort, with undetermined origins, is more than Morning Memo can ignore.

In case your Super Bowl weekend left you in a news void, here’s what we have:

Fri, Feb. 10, ALASKA: Unidentified object shot down over ice-covered waters off Alaska. According to the National Security Counsel’s John Kirby, it was:

  • “about the size of a small car”
  • “did not appear to be self-maneuvering”
  • “not similar in size or shape” to the Chinese balloon shot down off South Carolina on Feb. 4
  • was flying at 40,000 feet
  • “most likely not a balloon”

Sat, Feb 11, CANADA: Unidentified object shot down over central Yukon about 100 miles from the Alaskan border by the U.S. with the cooperation and urging of Canadian officials, who described it as:

Sun, Feb. 12: MICHIGAN: Unidentified object shot down by the U.S. over Lake Huron and described as:

  • “an octagonal structure with strings hanging off”
  • “no discernible payload”
  • flying at 20,000 feet
  • unlikely to be a balloon`”

More questions than answers on each of these incidents. The US military has heightened its vigilance since the initial balloon incursion, so they may be seeing more radar blips than they noticed before – or these incursions could represent a new initiative by China or others. Or not. Again, more questions than answers, and the questions may change as more information becomes available.

On a lighter note:

Welp …

The 2020 Trump campaign hired a research firm to find proof of election fraud. It found none, but the results were kept secret.

The Corruption Runs So Deep

WaPo goes deep on Donald Trump and Jared Kushner’s grossly problematic financial entanglements with the Saudis.

Don’t Cross Mitch McConnell

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) quietly removed from the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Matt Schlapp Wants To Unmask His Accuser

Trump acolyte Matt Schlapp has hired a lead lawyer from Johnny Depps’ defamation case to take a more aggressive approach to defending against claims he groped a male worker on Herschel Walker’s Senate campaign.


In defending defamation claims against it, CNN suspects that Michael Flynn’s family deleted relevant communications. The cables news network wants a federal judge to order a forensic examination of their cell phones.

How To Counter The GOP’s Misinformation Blizzard

Good stuff here from Greg Sargent on properly identifying what the problem is:


WaPo: Supreme Court justices discussed, but did not agree on, code of conduct

Awww …

Little Steven, who has lived THE BEST LIFE, sent Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) one of his signature bandanas as Raskin goes through chemotherapy:

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