KEEP AN EYE ON BORIS EPSHTEYN
INSIDE: Donald Trump ... George Santos ... John Fetterman
A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
What A Fantastic Situation For Trump
The fact that the person ostensibly coordinating all of the lawyers defending Donald Trump across multiple investigations has himself had his phone seized by the FBI remains almost unbelievable to me.
The NYT keeps shining a bright line on Boris Epshteyn’s complicated role in Trumpland:
Mr. Epshteyn speaks with Mr. Trump several times a day and makes it known that he does so, according to interviews with Trump associates and other Republicans. He has recommended, helped hire and negotiated pay for several lawyers working for Mr. Trump on civil litigation and the federal and local criminal investigations swirling around him.
The – shall we say “complicated”? – background of Epshteyn is unlike that of any other aide to a former president in recent memory:
A cryptocurrency with which he is involved has drawn scrutiny from federal prosecutors. And he has twice been arrested over personal altercations, leading in one case to an agreement to attend anger management classes and in another to a guilty plea for disorderly conduct.
For our purposes, it was the FBI’s seizure of Epshteyn’s phone back in September as part of the Jan. 6 investigation that makes him of most immediate interest. This is a fascinating bit of reporting:
After the search last summer of Mar-a-Lago by F.B.I. agents looking for classified documents still in Mr. Trump’s possession, Mr. Epshteyn retroactively changed his agreement with the political action committee. The agreement, which had been primarily for communications strategy, was updated to include legal work, and to say it covered legal work since the spring of last year, a campaign official said. His monthly retainer doubled to $30,000.
But he dropped a separate effort to have Mr. Trump sign a letter retroactively designating him as a lawyer for Mr. Trump personally, dating to March of last year, soon after Mr. Trump’s post-presidency handling of classified documents became an issue. The letter specifically stated that their communications would be covered by attorney-client privilege, multiple people familiar with the request said.
The internal backbiting in Trumpland over Epshteyn role is of less immediate interest. That being said, Steve Bannon had some touching words about him: “Boris is a pair of heavy hands — he’s not Louis Brandeis.”
All Quiet On The Hush Money Front
Trump fixer Michael Cohen expected to testify to a Manhattan grand jury for a second day Wednesday, but little news emerged about the Stormy Daniels hush money investigation.
I’ll pass along this one bit of speculation on the timing of any indictment, but I’d caution that no one outside of Alvin Bragg’s office really knows.
Banner Day For College Newspaper
The Daily Princetonian: Princeton senior arrested in connection with Jan. 6 Capitol riot
Here We Go Again With Trump And Russia
Federal prosecutors in New York involved in the criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s social media company last year started examining whether it violated money laundering statutes in connection with the acceptance of $8m with suspected Russian ties, according to sources familiar with the matter. …
First At TPM!
Kate Riga was the first to publish the transcript of the court hearing last week where U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk tried to keep secret from the public today’s scheduled hearing in the big abortion bill case.
Naked Power Grab
The North Carolina Supreme Court is covering itself in no glory.
In the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, conservative Daniel Kelly has been outspent $9.1 million to $0 by liberal Janet Protasiewicz since the primary election on Feb. 21.
The Daily Beast: Matt Gaetz’s New Staffer Identifies as a ‘Raging Misogynist’
George Santos Files For Re-Election
Rep. George Santos (R-NY) took an early procedural step in running for re-election to the House, prompting one member of the New York delegation to immediately endorse whoever runs against Santos in the GOP primary.
Fetterman Could Leave Hospital In Next Couple Of Weeks
Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) continues to get in-patient treatment at Walter Reed for depression.
Long Time Coming
Michigan is poised to be the first state in nearly 60 years to repeal it’s “right to work” law.
What Would Reagan Do?
Too bad there’s nothing in the historical record that answers the question of what Reagan would do.
DOJ And SEC Are Investigating SVB Collapse
No surprise that investigators will examine the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.
Some reporting suggests the feds will also look at the sales of SVB stock by bank executives before the collapse.
Banking Crisis Eases A Bit
Regional bank stocks stopped their plunge Tuesday, and the wobbliness in the financial sector eased a bit after a wild few days:
WSJ: Fed to Consider Tougher Rules for Midsize Banks After SVB, Signature Failures
NYT: Inside the Collapse of Silicon Valley Bank
WSJ: Real-Estate Investor Run on Signature Bank Helped Fuel Its Demise
CNBC: SVB’s failure will have a ripple effect across technology ‘for years to come’
Some signs of a volatile day ahead in bank stocks, but fears of a broader contagion have abated somewhat since the weekend.
‘This Is Going To Be One Of Those Moments That Goes Viral’
Conservative author of book on “wokeness” pauses in freefall like Wile E. Coyote:
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Excellent summary! Go Kate Riga!