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The Weekend Kerfuffle In The Trump Jan. 6 Case, Explained
INSIDE: Jack Smith ... Rudy G. ... Voyager 2
A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
You Had Better Things To Do On A Summer Weekend …
Assuming you weren’t glued to legal developments in the Trump case, let me catch you up real quick on what happened in the Trump Jan. 6 case.
Friday afternoon: Trump posts in ALL CAPS to Truth Social, “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU.”
Friday evening: Special Counsel Jack Smith alerts U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to Trump’s Truth Social post in a new filing requesting the court immediately enter a protective order preventing Trump from making public any of the discovery materials DOJ is about to turn over to Trump’s defense team.
Saturday morning: Judge Chutkan orders Trump to respond to the government’s motion for a protective order by 5 p.m. ET Monday.
Saturday afternoon: Trump’s legal team asks the court for a three-day extension to respond to the motion and asks for the matter to be scheduled for a hearing (an additional delay maneuver).
Later Saturday afternoon: Smith’s team files a spicy opposition to Trump’s request for more time. The kicker: “The Government stands ready to press send on a discovery production. The defendant is standing in the way. The Court should deny the motion.”
Saturday evening: Judge Chutkan denies Trump’s request for additional time.
A few things to note:
This flurry of filings wasn’t directly about the Trump rantings on social media. (I should mention that over the weekend, in addition to the post above, Trump variously attacked the judge, the prosecutor, and witness Mike Pence.) It was about the protective order over discovery materials, but prosecutors deftly snuck in the Trump social media post as a justification for the protective order. The judge looks inclined for now to deal with the discovery issue on its own terms, but she could take up Trump’s conduct outside of court at any time.
While Trump’s legal team was complaining about not having enough time to prepare a response to the government’s motion, new Trump lawyer John Lauro did manage to pull a full Ginsburg: appearing on all FIVE Sunday TV news programs. (For those not old enough to remember what a “full Ginsburg” is, a brief explanation from a very pre-9/11 world.)
Smith is moving very quickly to provide Trump with discovery. Usually defense counsel are eager to get it. In this case, the main defense strategy is delay, so even though Smith is prepared to provide significant chunks of discovery much earlier in the case, the defense team is finding ways to slow-roll the proceedings.
In short, this kerfuffle doesn’t amount to a whole lot, but it does give an early taste of the tenor and tone of the proceedings and of the aggressive, quick-fire response strategy Jack Smith’s team is prepared to use.
Don’t Get Snookered
In general, Morning Memo isn’t going to give much attention to purported legal defenses or strategies that Trump and his surrogates raise publicly. If Trump through his lawyers commits to those defenses through actual legal filings, that’s a whole different story.
Trump claiming he will seek a change of venue to West Virginia or Timbuktu? Whatever. Trump’s lawyers moving for change of venue? Morning Memo will be on it.
Morning Memo won’t be led around by the nose on the basis of Trump’s rantings and ravings about things his legal team refuses to adopt formally.
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Ya Don’t Say?
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