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Aileen Cannon Is At It Again
INSIDE: Bob Menendez ... Steve Scalise ... Jim Jordan
A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
Around And Around We Go
After inexplicable delays, U.S District Judge Aileen Cannon finally began Thursday to consider the conflicts of interest that some of the defense attorneys have in the Mar-a-Lago documents case – and then abruptly cut short the second of two hearings, adding further delay in a matter that could have been resolved weeks ago.
The Trump-appointed Cannon admonished prosecutors from the bench, claiming they were raising new arguments at the hearing that they had not previously briefed. That seems like a spurious and inaccurate complaint given how extensively Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team had briefed the issues. It also leaves the misimpression that the conflicts of interest issue is entirely the responsibility of prosecutors to raise and address. In fact, the court has its own obligations and imperatives in this matter.
A quick rundown:
Cannon first took up the conflicts of co-defendant Carlos De Oliveira’s attorney John Irving. De Oliveira repeatedly waived any conflict Irving had from previously representing three witnesses in the case. Cannon ruled that Irving could remain in place.
In a hint of what was to come, Cannon told prosecutors that their ask for Irving not to be allowed to cross examine those witnesses was not something they’d argued in their filings. In this instance, Irving reportedly said he was fine not conducting those cross examinations at trial.
When Cannon took up the conflicts of co-defendant Walt Nauta’s attorney Stan Woodward, things really went off the rails. Woodward previously represented Yuscil Taveras, who has since changed his grand jury testimony and begun cooperating with prosecutors and is a crucial witness in their case.
Woodward protested that he couldn’t respond until prosecutors made clear exactly what they wanted the court to do, and Cannon flipped that back on prosecutors. “I do want to admonish the government for frankly wasting the court’s time,” she said, and kicked the can down the road to another hearing still to be scheduled.
Keep in mind that a “win” here for prosecutors doesn’t necessarily have to involve the conflicted attorneys being limited in what they can do. It can simply mean that all of the issues have been fairly and openly addressed by the court in way that precludes any of the defendants from raising these conflicts on appeal. In other words, they want to keep the defendants from having it both ways: disregarding the conflicts of interest now and then later complaining they were victimized by those conflicts.
Tick, tick, tick …
Menendez Hit With Superseding Indictment
Prosecutors tacked on a fourth count against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): conspiracy for a public official to act as a foreign agent.
In this case the allegation is that Menendez and two co-defendants conspired to have Menendez act as a foreign agent for Egypt and Egyptian officials in way that would have required him to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Scalise Lasts Mere Hours As Speaker Nominee
Rep. Steve Scalise’s stunning withdrawal as candidate for speaker only hours after winning his party’s nomination thrust the House GOP into even greater turmoil and inched the country closer to a constitutional crisis in which one chamber of the legislature is unable to perform its most basic functions for an extended period of time.
Josh Marshall: The Deeper Meaning of Scalise’s One Day Speakership (No Really…)
Punchbowl: Scalise is out. Can Jordan win?
NYT: Scalise Withdraws as Speaker Candidate, Leaving G.O.P. in Chaos
WaPo: Steve Scalise drops speaker bid as House devolves into further turmoil
GOP Rep: House GOP Is A Threat To America
Israel Warns Gazans To Evacuate
UN pleads with Israel to rescind the order.
‘Absolutely Gobsmackingly Bananas’
Zeke Hausfather: I’m a Climate Scientist, and September’s Warmth Freaked Me Out a Little
Whoa, You Guys!
I was utterly overwhelmed by your comments and emails in response to yesterday’s Morning Memo about the accident. The community of Morning Memo readers and TPM supporters writ large rose up as one with kindness, support and empathy. I haven’t made it through all of the emails yet, let alone started responding, but let me offer a huge thank you now.
On top of all the thoughtful and caring responses, I was reminded again of the reach that TPM has. Readers who hail from the small port town where the accident occurred reached out to see if I was still there and needed assistance; readers in DC reached out offering to help out; and readers who knew others involved in the accident reached out to commiserate.
More broadly, readers who have suffered trauma in their own lives candidly shared their own experiences and the lessons they’d drawn from them. You struck common themes of resilience, taking it slow, giving yourself time, and not pushing too hard to race back. I’m making my way slowly through your outpouring of support and drawing strength from it.
So many of you insisted that Morning Memo could suffer in the short term if it meant me getting a chance to rest and recuperate that I felt like I had your permission to cut today’s installment a bit short. I appreciate those nudges toward self care.
My kids and I are so grateful for your support. It also helps to give shape and meaning to the work we all do at TPM. You have my eternal gratitude.
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