A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.
Well, Well, Well …
I know the web of Trump legal entanglements is hard to keep track of, but this is a salient development in a very live case where a judgment is soon expected that could force Trump to disgorge millions of dollars and bar him from the New York real estate biz.
Longtime Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg is in talks with the Manhattan DA’s office to plead guilty to committing perjury during his testimony in the civil fraud trial brought by state Attorney General Letitia James, the NYT is reporting. I should emphasize that the plea deal isn’t final yet, and the NYT report is based on unnamed sources.
According to the report, Weisselberg would admit to lying on the stand and to lying under oath in an interview with James’ office.
Prosecutors have been leaning on Weisselberg to flip against Trump for a very long time. But this new report suggests even a perjury conviction isn’t going to be enough to flip Weisselberg, who already spent time in jail for his conviction on engaging in fraudulent business practices while at the Trump Org: “The deal being negotiated would most likely not require Mr. Weisselberg, 76, to turn on his former boss.”
Still, Weisselberg was at the center of the Stormy Daniels’ hush money scheme, for which Trump is set to go to trial in coming weeks, in what will now likely be his first criminal trial, and a guilty plea here could bolster Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s case while undermining Trump’s defense.
Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for the verdict on damages and penalties in the underlying civil fraud case. The judge had set a self-imposed deadline for himself to rule of Jan. 31, but the court confirmed yesterday that the ruling won’t come until early to mid-February. Not clear if the delay is in any way related to separate Weisselberg prosecution.
Yup, Trump DC Trial Ain’t Happening In March
What’s been obvious for weeks – that the DC trial of Donald Trump for election subversion won’t be happening in March – was further confirmed yesterday when the trial date was removed from the court calendar and reports emerged that the trial judge has acknowledged in open court that her March calendar is now open for other matters.
A Curious Report On The MAL Case
A new ABC News report suggests the FBI in its August 2022 search of Mar-a-Lago for classified documents either missed or ignored two areas in Trump’s private residence there: a closet and a “hidden room.” Joyce Vance explains.
Didn’t See This Coming
Walt Nauta, Trump’s valet and co-defendant in the Mar-a-Lago case, was accused by three female service members of a years-long pattern of sexual misconduct that included his time with Trump in the White House, the Daily Beast reports:
Navy officials had escorted him off White House grounds, reassigned him to a new post, and docked his White House security clearance in response to accusations of fraternization, adultery, harassment, and other inappropriate sexual conduct, including “revenge porn,” two people with direct knowledge of the matter told The Daily Beast.
Despite the allegations, Trump brought Nauta down to Palm Beach later that same year to work for him there.
Georgia RICO Update
- Today is the deadline for Atlanta DA Fani Willis to respond formally via court filing to the allegation that she engaged in a romantic relationship with one of the prosecutors she hired to lead the RICO prosecution of Trump and multiple co-defendants.
- Willis has no plans to recuse herself from the case.
Quote Of The Day
What concerns me most when I hear Trump’s use of terms like “vermin” and “poisoning the blood of the country” is the lack of reaction to it. The fact that both voters and the establishment — most importantly Republicans themselves — all just shrug. That worries the hell out of me.Harvard political science professor of Steven Levitsky, author of How Democracies Die
So Damn Grim
Wired: A Decapitation May Have Roots in Far-Right Border and Immigrant Paranoia
FFS: A Swatting “Service”???
A 17-year-old from California is accused of running a “swatting service” via a Telegram account:
Alan Filion is accused of running a swatting service since 2022, targeting high schools, historically Black colleges and universities as well as FBI agents’ homes. For $35 to $75, Filion allegedly offered to report mass shootings, bomb threats and gas leaks among other emergencies to spark massive responses from law enforcement.
Perhaps my favorite detail, though, is what he did to try to avoid suspicion: “In an apparent effort to deceive law enforcement, he allegedly swatted his own home multiple times, something he boasted about on his Telegram channel, the affidavit states.”
Clever enough to swat himself; dumb enough to brag about it.
Dark Brandon Alert
President Biden is reported to be unsparing in his private criticisms of Donald Trump, calling him a “sick fuck” and “a fucking asshole.”
[Sponsored] An Inside Story Of The Democratic Party At A Moment Of Great Peril
The Truce, from journalists Hunter Walker (of Talking Points Memo) and Luppe B. Luppen, explores the major fault lines that define Democratic politics today and asks big questions about the future of the party. An engrossing page-turner, The Truce grapples with the dangers that threaten American democracy and the complicated cast of characters who are trying to save it.
The Civil War Settled This
Jamelle Bouie: Nikki Haley Has Got Secession All Wrong
Headline Of This Election Cycle
- NJ-Sen: Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) leads in a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of likely Democratic primary voters: Kim 32%, first lady Tammy Murphy 20%, Sen. Bob Menendez 9%, Patricia Campos Medina 8%.
- CA-Sen: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) pulls a trick out of former Sen. Claire McCaskill’s old playbook: Boost your preferred GOP opponent in TV ads.
- Politico: Inside Kevin McCarthy’s vengeance operation against the Republicans who fired him
For Your Radar …
Anti-abortion advocates have gone to the right-wing’s favorite federal judge in Texas to try to dismantle Planned Parenthood in the state, TPM’s Kate Riga reports.
Oregon Doing Oregon Things
The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday barred 10 Republican state senators from seeking reelection after a record-long walkout from the legislature last year spurred by objections to a measure intended to protect abortion rights and gender-affirming health care.
Oregon voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2022 that disqualified legislators with 10 or more unexcused absences during a legislative session from holding office in the subsequent term. The measure was aimed at preventing future boycotts amid an increasing frequency of legislative walkouts in the state.
WWE’s Vince McMahon Under Federal Investigation
Just out this morning from the WSJ:
Federal authorities have been investigating sexual assault and sex trafficking allegations against WWE co-founder Vince McMahon, according to people familiar with the investigation.
Prosecutors in New York in recent months have been in contact with women who have accused McMahon of sexual misconduct, the people said.
The new report comes a week after a former WWE employee filed a lawsuit against McMahon, WWE and another former executive alleging sex trafficking and containing startling allegations of sexual misconduct.
The Arc Of Larry Kudlow Is Long …
… and it bends toward absurdism:
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