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Buckle Up For A Big Day In The Mar-a-Lago Case
INSIDE: Aileen Cannon ... Fani Willis ... Jack Teixeira
A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
All Eyes On Aileen Cannon
At 2 p.m. ET today, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon convenes the first substantive pre-trial hearing in the United States v. Donald Trump.
Let me set expectations a bit:
No live stream: There is no audio stream from the courtroom, and the court reiterated that reporters may not bring electronic devices into the courthouse. So we’re going have very limited real-time visibility into the proceedings today.
Portions of the hearing may be closed to the public: If the hearing starts getting into the particulars of classified documents, the courtroom may be closed and that part of the proceeding kept under seal. So no electronic devices for reporters and there’s a chance they may be excluded from some of the hearing.
We may not get a ruling today: It’s possible Cannon will rule from the bench on a trial date and CIPA schedule. However, my expectation is that we’ll get clues from her as to how she will rule, but we won’t get an actual ruling until sometime after the hearing. My best guess would be later today or tomorrow.
The upshot is that information today from the courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida, is going to be a little fragmented and possibly uncertain for a while.
What to look for:
Trial date: The biggest thing to look for coming out of today’s hearing is if and when Cannon sets the case for trial. As you know, the Justice Department is asking for a December 11, 2023 trial date, and Trump is asking for no trial date. Where Cannon lands, and whether she seems determined to try the case before the 2024 presidential election, is what I’ll be mostly closely watching
CIPA procedures: The Justice Department has laid out a proposed pre-trial process under the Classified Information Procedures Act. Cannon has no experience with CIPA cases. In a normal world, you would expect the judge to defer a bit to DOJ on this, since it has the most experience in these kinds of cases and bears the responsibility of protecting classified information. But the complexities of CIPA present Trump and Cannon with potential opportunities to stall and delay the case under the guise of the CIPA process. I’ll be looking for evidence that CIPA is being used to mask Trump’s strategy of prolonging and delaying the case – and whether Cannon, wittingly or not, is prepared to go along with it.
Cannon’s tone and demeanor: In the earlier civil iteration of this case, before indictment, when Trump ran to Cannon to get her to intervene (successfully for a while), Cannon was dismissive and even contemptuous of the government side. She was subsequently rebuked – twice – by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in that case. I don’t expect her to do prosecutors any favors this time, but it’ll be interesting to see if she projects a more neutral stance now. If she doesn’t, that’s a really bad sign.
Bickering as delay strategy: DOJ is trying to maintain a position as a reliable narrator for the court and keep the case moving on a fast track. The Trump defense team is already slow-rolling the case in various ways. For example, in a filing yesterday the Justice Department told the court that Trump’s lawyers had declined to engage with them over the weekend to work out an agreement on a protective order covering the classified information in the case. Keep an eye out for lawyer-on-lawyer bickering as a delay strategy in and of itself. Judges hate this kind of bickering, and there’s little upside for prosecutors here in engaging in it. But I suspect that Trump’s team may try to draw prosecutors into the kind of back and forth that undermines everyone’s credibility.
For a deeper look at some of the legal issues that may arise today, here’s former Mueller prosecutor Brandon Van Grack:
That Didn’t Take Long
Discord Leaker: Why Can’t I Get The Trump Treatment?
Lawyers for the Air National Guardsman charged with leaking classified intelligence information say he should be afforded the same pretrial privileges as a higher-profile defendant also facing charges of mishandling sensitive documents: former President Donald Trump.
Jack Teixeira, 21 years old, is currently awaiting trial in jail, ordered to remain there by a federal judge in Massachusetts who agreed with prosecutors that he posed a flight and national-security risk if released. Meanwhile, Trump is traveling the country campaigning as the Republican front-runner for president.
To be clear, the cases are not apples to apples, at least as currently charged. Unlike Trump, Teixeira is charged with disseminating classified information. Although the Trump indictment alleges he disseminated classified information at Bedminster, he’s not charged with that specific crime.
TPM’s Hunter Walker: Neo-Nazis Surged Into Central Florida And Found A Tough-Talking Sheriff Who’s Determined To Take Them Down
Shove Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses
Officers working for Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security initiative have been ordered to push small children and nursing babies back into the Rio Grande, and have been told not to give water to asylum seekers even in extreme heat, according to an email from a Department of Public Safety trooper who described the actions as “inhumane.”
Alabama Spits In Eye Of The Supreme Court
Less than six weeks after the Supreme Court rejected Alabama’s single-majority-Black-district congressional map as discriminatory, a state legislative committee passed a new … single-majority-Black-district congressional map. Yeah, you read that right.
Fired Up! Ready To Go!
A superb answer:
Antiquities belonging to Israel have been kept for the past several months at former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, and senior Israeli figures have unsuccessfully tried to have them returned to Israel.
Among the antiquities are ancient ceramic candles which are part of Israel’s national treasures collection. They were sent to the U.S. in 2019 with the approval of then-Director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, Israel Hasson, on the condition that they be returned within weeks, yet almost four years later, they have yet to be returned.
It isn’t clear precisely how the antiquities ended up at Mar-a-Lago. “It is unclear whether Trump himself is aware that the items are on the premises of his estate,” Haaretz reports.