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Trump Legal News: In the Year 2525

If Donald Trump had his way, the year 2525 is when all of his various trials would commence. Actually, the song goes all the way up to the year 9595, which would surely be OK with him, too. In any event, as expected, Thursday was another day full of news and commentary on this subject, so here's a rundown of the 10 things we find most important and/or interesting:

  1. In the Year 2026: Trump was not so audacious as to ask for a 502-year postponement, but his lawyers did file a motion yesterday proposing that his Washington trial be scheduled for April 2026. That's almost as outlandish as April 2525, and it's hard to imagine that Judge Tanya Chutkan will take it as a serious counter-proposal to Jack Smith's suggestion of a January 2, 2024, start date, especially since she is known as a "rocket docket" kind of judge. Chutkan said she's going to decide on a schedule by August 28, so we won't have to wait long to see what she does.

  2. Cannon Fodder: Since we're talking judges right now, we'll hop over to Florida for a moment, and note that Judge Aileen Cannon postponed a hearing scheduled for next Friday, and intended to address a protective order for the handling of classified evidence. It will be rescheduled for... um, some day after August 25. Is Cannon trying to accommodate the fact that Trump has two co-defendants, both of whom acquired counsel only recently? Is she adapting to the reality that this question is more complicated than it seemed? Is she dragging her feet, in various small ways, to help the guy who appointed her to the bench? Could be any, or all, of these, or something else we didn't think of. Who knows?

  3. Putting the Pieces Together: Returning to Georgia, CNN's staff has managed to piece together the clues and figure out who most of the unindicted co-conspirators are. Number 20 can't quite be pinned down, 2 and 12-19 are fake electors, and 23-30 are participants in the Coffee County shenanigans. The CNN piece also says nothing whatsoever about number 7, though other outlets have figured out it must be someone who helped recruit fake electors. Here are the unindicted co-conspirators CNN was able to identify by name:
         1. Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch
         3. Boris Epshteyn, Trump adviser
         4. Robert Sinners, who ran Trump's Georgia operation
         5. Bernie Kerik, Trump adviser and friend of Rudy Giuliani
         6. Phil Waldron, GOP operative
         8. Lt. Gov. Burt Jones (R-GA), fake elector
         9. Joseph Brannan, former treasurer of the Georgia GOP and fake elector
         10-11. Carolyn Fisher and Vikki Consiglio, Georgia GOP officials and fake electors
         21-22. Conan Hayes and Todd Sanders, conservative activists
         25, 29. Doug Logan and Jeffrey Lenberg of Cyber Ninjas, participants in Coffee County chicanery
         28. Jim Penrose, cybersecurity expert and participant in Coffee County chicanery
    There are three possibilities when it comes to these people: (1) They're going to be indicted later, (2) Fulton County DA Fani Willis decided not to go after them for lack of sufficient evidence or some other reason or (3) they've turned state's evidence.

    It is already known that some of them fit into the last category, including most or all of the unindicted fake electors. The Cyber Ninjas guys seem particularly likely to flip, as well, since they were left high and dry (and financially ruined) by Trump after the fiasco in Arizona. And if Epshteyn or Kerik have flipped, that's very bad for Team Trump, as they were both part of the inner circle and so they know things.

  4. Sweet Surrender: Trump has one week left to surrender, and his team is reportedly deep in negotiations over the circumstances, with the expectation that it will be Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of next week (in other words, a few days before the Friday deadline imposed by Willis).

  5. Look at Me!: Jonathan V. Last, of The Bulwark, points out that Wednesday is also the day of the Republican debate. If Trump surrenders on that day, and then follows that up with one of his rallies, he will significantly upstage the RNC event. And in his final "Truth" of the day yesterday, Trump strongly suggested that he's going to skip the debate:
    As everyone is aware, my Poll numbers, over a "wonderful" field of Republican candidates, are extraordinary. In fact, I am leading the runner up, whoever that may now be, by more than 50 Points. Reagan didn't do it, and neither did others. People know my Record, one of the BEST EVER, so why would I Debate?
    We'd say the chances of a Wednesday surrender, coupled with a debate absence, are pretty high.

  6. Unequal Treatment: Trump complains regularly that he is being treated differently from other people/defendants. This is true, albeit not in the way that he means it. There are many pieces out there right now (this is probably the best of them) pointing out that because of his status, and because of the desire to emphasize impartiality, "justice is blind," etc., the courts are bending over backwards to accomodate him, and to treat him with kid gloves. His ability to dictate the terms of his surrender—including, thus far at least, no mug shots—is a special privilege that is certainly not afforded to everyone. Similarly, he's already gotten away with pushing the limits of Chutkan's semi-gag order, and of the Georgia bail law, and he'll certainly be given more leeway in that regard over the next few weeks and months.

    With that said, Trump tends to push his luck to the breaking point, which is why he's now under indictment in four different jurisdictions. So, we think he might well eventually take it too far, and force either Chutkan, or Judge Scott McAfee in Georgia, or both, to throw the book at him.

  7. People Who Annoy You: There are only so many letter combinations in English (or any other language) that work well in terms of pronunciation. At the same time, there is a need for a LOT of words. And the predictable results of this are: (1) there are many, many words that have multiple meanings, sometimes dozens or hundreds of them, and (2) there are many, many words that are really close to some other word. And sometimes those "other words" are deeply problematic racial slurs.

    There have been enough high-profile incidents involving people misunderstanding the meaning/origins of the word "niggard" or "niggardly" that the subject has its own Wikipedia article. Similarly, one of the most famous South Park bits is rooted in this same basic linguistic dynamic:

    It turns out that Donald Trump has noticed this, too. Recall that, just yesterday, we wrote: "Trump does not like to be held to account by anyone, but he's particularly infuriated when the person doing so is Black, a woman, or a Black woman. The odds of him saying many outlandish and racist things are high." It wasn't a particularly profound prediction, but we're still surprised how quickly it came true. By early afternoon Pacific time (in other words, less than 12 hours after that post went live), readers J.G. in San Diego and M.B. in St. Andrews, Scotland, UK, gave us the heads up that Trump had gone there. Here's what he wrote on his boutique social media platform:
    A Large, Complex, Detailed but Irrefutable REPORT on the Presidential Election Fraud which took place in Georgia is almost complete & will be presented by me at a major News Conference at 11:00 A.M. on Monday of next week in Bedminster, New Jersey. Based on the results of this CONCLUSIVE Report, all charges should be dropped against me & others - There will be a complete EXONERATION! They never went after those that Rigged the Election. They only went after those that fought to find the RIGGERS!
    There is little question as to what Trump was going for with the "riggers" bit. That's been used by white supremacists, for years, as code to get around social media filters. Former Trump White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah Griffin appeared on CNN and said: "With Trump, you don't need to look for a dog whistle—it's a bullhorn when it comes to race, and I do think that's deliberate." Or, if you like your evidence anecdotal, (Z) coincidentally had dinner last night with three Black friends, and they all instantly recognized what Trump was doing.

    This is reprehensible, of course (and keep reading). However, as we noted yesterday, it's also stupid, since racist language might please the base, but it's not going to be helpful with jurors. It's also going to make it more likely that a judge in Georgia concludes that Trump is trying to foment violence, and thus that he does not qualify for bail.

    Oh, and for what it's worth, Trump has already backed off his promise to share this supposedly irrefutable report, saying instead he's going to include it in his court filings.

  8. It's Not Just a Hypothetical, Part I: The anger being vented by Trump and his allies, coupled with their utterly unsubstantiated claims that he's a martyr and a victim of deep corruption, is designed, in part, to spur acts of violence against the former president's supposed "enemies." And guess what? It's already working. Far-right websites are circulating what are allegedly the names, pictures and home addresses of some of the grand jurors who voted to indict Trump. Needless to say, the purpose of sharing someone's address is not so people can send them a nice Christmas card. The good news, such as it is, is that the kind of people who engage in this sort of hateful doxxing tend not to be the brightest bulbs. So, at least some (and possibly many) of the names and addresses are wrong. That said, it's very scary for those grand jurors who have been exposed, and even for the folks who aren't really grand jurors but whose names/addresses are now on some random yahoos' hit lists.

  9. It's Not Just a Hypothetical, Part II: Similarly, Chutkan and Willis have already been the target of countless threats and much racist abuse; in the former case, someone's already been arrested for making malicious threats. Both women have security details, and they are going to need them for the foreseeable future.

  10. Impeach Her!: And finally, the Trumpers' Trump card these days, if you will, is impeachment. And so it is hardly a surprise that we didn't even make it a week before a Trumpy member of the Georgia legislature has called for Willis to be impeached. We are not going to give this person's name, since we don't need to give him the publicity he so desperately craves. We will say that he is, by profession, an auctioneer, so he's used to selling loads of crap.

    Needless to say, if a DA conducts an investigation and then gets grand jury approval for indictments, there is no way that DA could plausibly be guilty of "high crimes and misdemeanors." No, the only thing they are guilty of is doing their job. That said, the mere suggestion that impeachment is called for helps to advance the narrative that Trump & Co. are victims of profoundly corrupt government officials, and so helps foment a climate in which violence is possible, per the two items immediately above this one.

And that's the latest. The day may come when we don't write 3,000 words on Trump's legal problems. But that day is not today. (Z)

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