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Morning Memo: Trump Chickens Out Of Testifying In Carroll Trial
INSIDE: Stewart Rhodes ... Fani Willis ... Bryan Slaton
A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
Carroll Judge Calls Trump Bluff
The 5 p.m. ET deadline came and went Sunday without former President Trump changing his mind and deciding to testify in his own defense in the trial of E. Jean Carroll’s rape and defamation claims.
The judge set the deadline after Trump made noises that he was returning early to the States from a trip to Ireland in order to confront his accuser. Trump’s lawyers had already told the court he would not be testifying, but the judge turned the knife by giving Trump the unusual chance to change his mind.
Closing arguments are expected to begin today. The jury should get the case tomorrow.
TPM alum Ryan Reilly with the story of how the Jan. 6 rioter in a pink beret was finally caught:
The breakthrough in the FBI investigation started inside a Joann Fabric and Crafts store. Last weekend, a clothing designer was standing in the checkout line waiting to purchase a needle for his sewing machine when his buddy saw something funny on his phone.
It just gets better from there.
DOJ Is Going Hard At The Oath Keepers
The sentencing memo the Justice Department filed Friday in the Oath Keepers case reflects a deep appreciation for the historic significance of the Jan. 6 insurrection, for what real accountability looks like, and for the ongoing threat to the rule of law that Trump and the far-right represent.
Prosecutors are seeking a 25-year jail sentence for Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy.
A key passage from the memo:
Here, the need to deter others is especially strong because these defendants engaged in acts that were intended to influence the government through intimidation or coercion—in other words, terrorism. And they were leaders of such efforts. Because these defendants not only contributed to the attack on the Capitol but helped to organize it, their sentences will be noted by those who would foment such political violence in the future.
Sentencing for the Oath Keepers is scheduled in late May and early June.
What The Proud Boy Jurors Thought
Vice News’ Todd Zwillich interviewed one of the jurors in the four-month-long Proud Boys trial.
Immunity Deals For Eight Fake Electors In Georgia
Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis is still at it. She’s reportedly doled out immunity deals to eight fake electors in the Trump-led effort to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. But I should point out that the news of the immunity deals came via an unusual channel, so I’m hesitant to interpret this as I typically would offers of immunity.
Is Bragg’s Case Against Trump That Unusual?
The NYT does an analysis of false business records cases brought by the Manhattan DA’s office under Bragg and his predecessor Cyrus Vance:
A New York Times analysis of about 30 false business records cases brought by Mr. Bragg and his predecessor — based on court records, interviews and information the office provided — shows that in this respect, the case against Mr. Trump stands apart. In all but two of the indictments reviewed by The Times, the defendant was charged with an additional crime on top of the false records charge.
Debt Limit Status Update
I can save you a lot of time by assuring you that a resolution to the GOP’s hostage-taking on the debt ceiling is unlikely to be resolved this week despite the much-ballyhooed White House meeting scheduled for tomorrow between President Biden and congressional leaders. We’ll keep you up to speed throughout the week on any major developments, but I don’t expect many.
Early Signs Of A Major Shift On Abortion Politics
There’s some tension between reporting on the enormous impact Dobbs has had and will continue to have on the lives of women nationwide and looking for the early signs of a political retrenchment that breaks the stranglehold abortion foes have had on the Republican Party. But in the end both things can be true. Here’s a good read on one data point: The Unexpected Women Blocking South Carolina’s Near-Total Abortion Ban
Weekend Hate Read
Ooops: Ted Cruz confused his potential 2024 opponent, Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX), with another black man: Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg:
A Fistful Of Doofus: Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced his re-election campaign with a video where he cosplays Clint Eastwood in the Dollars Trilogy shooting Mexican bandits.
Texas Moves To Expel Lawmaker For Sex With Intern
The Texas legislature could vote to expel state Rep. Bryan Slaton (R) has early as this week for allegedly plying a 19-year-old intern with alcohol and having sex with her. Slaton’s attorney has denied the allegations. It was just a few weeks ago that Slaton was leading the charge against drag shows as a “grooming event” that leads to the “the sexualization of our children.”
8 Killed By SUV Outside Migrant Shelter
Texas Outlet Mall Shooting Investigated As Possible Hate Crime
The gunman who killed eight people Saturday at an outlet mall in suburban Dallas had a fascination with white supremacist and neo-Nazi views – and was wearing a “RWDS” patch on his chest: Right Wing Death Squad.
It Was An Ugly Weekend
America’s usual macabre tableau after a mass shooting – thoughts and prayers, turgid explanations for why nothing can be done, soulful howls of mourning from those directly affected, cries of despair from everyone else with a conscience – had barely gotten underway after the Allen, Texas outlet mall shooting before the SUV-rampage in Brownsville.
Among the worst of the worst was, as you might expect, was Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. But nothing quite captured the American right’s obsession with guns and carnage as this moment on Fox News: