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Trump Legal News: Out on Bail

Vivek Ramaswamy is fairly young, and he sometimes raps during his campaign stops, so he might well have heard the song by Tupac Shakur. Or, at very least, he's surely heard SOME song by Shakur. As to the rest of the GOP field, we doubt it.

It's been another couple of busy days on the Donald Trump legal front and so, once again, we offer a rundown of the biggest stories:

  1. Making Bail: More than half of the people indicted last week by Fulton County DA Fani Willis have now had their bail set. They are:

    Bail is a function of the seriousness of the charges, the person's ability to pay, and the chances the person might make a run for it. So, Trump's highest-so-far bail could mean he's accused of the worst things, or he's the most well off, or that he's the biggest flight risk. Maybe it's all of the above; keep reading for more on the latter point.

  2. Book 'em, Danno: Several of these folks, including Lee, Still, and Eastman, have also surrendered and been booked. Eastman, in a sign of how badly he's screwed himself, had to ask for a pause in his California disbarment proceedings so that he could travel to Georgia to surrender himself.

  3. How the Mighty Have Fallen: Rudy Giuliani has not yet made bail and, in fact, is not yet in a position to surrender himself because he cannot find local counsel in Georgia. As it turns out, lawyers are not eager to take on a client who is radioactive, will probably lose, and can't afford to pay. Where's Matlock when you need him?

  4. Just Doing My Job: Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Asst. AG Jeffrey Clark are both planning to argue that their actions related to 1/6 were undertaken in their official capacity as Trump White House employees. On this basis, they assert they should therefore be tried in federal court and that they should not have to surrender in Georgia at all. Both men have applied for emergency injunctions along these lines. Trump also plans to make this argument, as does Shafer, but they both already arranged to surrender in Georgia. Meadows and Clark are not likely to get their trials moved to federal court, since it is as plain as day that they're just doing that to get a more favorable judge and more friendly jury pool. And they are very, very unlikely to be allowed to skip out on Georgia entirely. If that was at all plausible, wouldn't Trump be trying it as well?

  5. Let the Finger-Pointing Begin, Part I: Speaking of Meadows, he's tried to paint himself as an uneasy witness to everything that took place on 1/6, and a person who never would think of trying to overturn a legal election result. Former Mike Pence chief of staff Marc Short, who was also something of a Trump White House insider, appeared on CNN yesterday to say that Meadows' head-in-the-sand routine is nonsense, and that the former chief of staff was a "ringleader of much of the events that happened around January 6th."

  6. Let the Finger-Pointing Begin, Part II: We have written, many times, that it is highly unlikely that all the people who have dirt on Trump will remain loyal to him. And guess what? The cracks in the armor are already showing themselves. In the Florida documents case, Mar-a-Lago IT director Yuscil Taveras has terminated the counsel Trump was providing for him, switched to a federal public defender, and changed his testimony to implicate the former president in obstruction of justice. Taveras has not been indicted, but there was much hinting from the feds that if he stuck with his story, he'd be at risk of getting popped for perjury.

  7. Let the Finger-Pointing Begin, Part III: Similarly, in the Georgia case, Shafer made a filing yesterday that said that the fake electors scheme was definitely not his idea, and that he and the others "acted at the direction of the incumbent President and other federal officials." It is clearly time for Trump's (alleged) co-conspirators to start throwing people under the bus while the throwin's still good.

  8. Leaving on a Jet Plane: We often get, and sometimes answer, questions about Trump fleeing the long arm of the law and heading to a country without an extradition treaty. Monday evening, he sent out a "Truth" along those very lines:
    The failed District Attorney of Fulton County (Atlanta), Fani Willis, insisted on a $200,000 Bond from me. I assume, therefore, that she thought I was a "flight" risk—I'd fly far away, maybe to Russia, Russia, Russia, share a gold domed suite with Vladimir, never to be seen or heard from again. Would I be able to take my very "understated" airplane with the gold TRUMP affixed for all to see. Probably not, I'd be much better off flying commercial—I'm sure nobody would recognize me!
    Trump does not really have a sense of humor, as that term is usually understood. That leaves us with two possibilities: (1) He's looking for ways to poke Willis in the eye without running the risk of his bail being revoked, or (2) He's trial-ballooning the idea of making a run for it. We still doubt he would actually try it, or that he could get away from the Secret Service if he did make an attempt. Nonetheless, when he starts "joking" about the possibility, he potentially takes a very big step toward making it a reality.

  9. In the Year 2525, Part I: Last Friday, we wrote that Team Trump made a tactical blunder in proposing a 2026 start date for his Washington trial, since that's not a serious attempt to find a middle ground with Special Counsel Jack Smith's proposal of January 2, 2024. Frederick Baron and Dennis Aftergut, writing for The Bulwark, agree with us and add an additional key detail. In arguing for the lengthy postponement, Trump's legal team observed that they have so many documents to go through that reviewing them by the January trial date would be like reading "the entirety of Tolstoy's War and Peace, cover to cover, 78 times a day." As Baron and Aftergut observe, there are companies that specialize in going through this kind of voluminous information and boiling it down in an efficient, accessible and searchable manner. Chutkan knows this full well, having overseen cases that involve even more lengthy paper trails than the one Team Trump has to deal with. And so, not only was 2026 an unserious offer, but the rather flippant "Tolstoy" argument effectively boils down to: "We think you fell off the turnip truck yesterday, and so we're going to try to put one over on you using a sorta clever, but ultimately dishonest, analogy." Not a great look for the defense.

  10. In the Year 2525, Part II: Also last Friday, we had songs in all the headlines. The broad similarity, which was more than good enough to earn full credit, was that all of those songs were released in 1969. Here are the first 10 readers to get that:

    1. P.C. in Cleveland, OH
    2. R.C. in Eagleville, PA
    3. J.H. in Lake Forest, CA
    4. D.W.S. in Puyallup, WA
    5. S.N. in San Francisco, CA
    6. A.M. in Rochester, MN
    7. K.S. in Bradford, RI
    8. R.M. in Norwich, CT
    9. M.A. in Park Ridge, IL
    10. D.S. in Layton, UT

    The more specific answer is that all of those songs were on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 Singles for the year 1969. The reason there were 101 songs that have this commonality is that there was a tie for 100th place that year, between "Sweet Cream Ladies" by The Box Tops and "Let Me" by Paul Revere & the Raiders. Here are the first 10 readers to get the more specific answer:

    1. K.G.W. in Lafayette, IN
    2. B.M. in Chico, CA
    3. A.A. in Branchport, NY
    4. C.J. in Branford, CT
    5. S.S. in Lucerne, Switzerland
    6. G.K. in Blue Island, IL
    7. J.B. in Waukee, IA
    8. K.C. in Hindhead, England, UK
    9. J.D. in Greensboro, NC
    10. P.M. in Palm Springs, CA

    We'll also share the response from reader J.N. in Las Vegas, NV: "Your little song game had me Going in Circles until I was quite Dizzy. Of course once I figured it out it left me Laughing. And given the usual tone of the daily news cycle, that's really saying Something."

That's it for the Trump legal stuff for today. And now, the happy news: The lead item tomorrow won't be Trump's legal problems, because of the debate. Well, unless Trump cops a plea, and agrees to a prison sentence and permanent disqualification from running for office. But we looked into the crystal ball, and we don't see that happening. (Z)

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