Jack Has the War Plan
It’s the coverup that gets you.
These were not the indictments we were waiting for.
But that made them feel even more explosive and damaging.
Three new felony charges against Trump: “attempting to ‘alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal evidence’; inducing someone else to do so; and a new count under the Espionage Act related to a classified national security document that he showed to visitors at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.”
The new indictments include a new defendant and dramatic evidence of an attempted coverup with serious mob boss vibes. But the BIG ONE is the new charge related to the purloined war document that the former president had flaunted at his golf club. A document that he admitted he did not and could not declassify. A document he later said did not exist.
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For most of the day, our attention had been locked on a federal courthouse in D.C., where a federal grand jury was considering indictments related to January 6th and the attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Trump’s lawyers met with Jack Smith’s team in a last-ditch attempt to avert criminal charges against the ex-president. In Georgia, barriers went up around the Fulton County Courthouse, a signal that indictments may be imminent there as well.
Then the “superseding indictment” dropped. (You can read it here.)
Politico reports that the indictments rocked Trump World. The new charges against Trump include “explosive claims that he asked an employee of his Mar-a-Lago club to delete security camera footage sought by investigators probing his handling of classified documents.”
In today’s Bulwark, Kim Wehle writes that Jack Smith’s superseding indictment reads like a Netflix crime drama, as it lays out Trump’s efforts to pressure low-level employees to destroy surveillance video.
“DE OLIVEIRA told Trump Employee 4 that ‘the boss’ wanted the server deleted.”
We’ll get to the coverup in a moment, but let’s start with the new document charge. You all remember the tape from a 2021 meeting in Bedminster, New Jersey, where Trump brandished secret war documents.
“Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this,” Trump says at one point, according to the transcript. “This was done by the military and given to me.”…
“Well, with Milley – uh, let me see that, I’ll show you an example. He said that I wanted to attack Iran. Isn’t that amazing? I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him,” Trump says, according to the transcript. “They presented me this – this is off the record, but – they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him. We looked at some. This was him. This wasn’t done by me, this was him.”
Trump continues: “All sorts of stuff – pages long, look. Wait a minute, let’s see here. I just found, isn’t that amazing? This totally wins my case, you know. Except it is like, highly confidential. Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this.
We now know that the feds have the Iran war document, which is marked Top Secret. By adding an additional charge on that document, Jack Smith has made it far more likely that the damning Bedminster tape will be admitted as evidence in the trial and played for the jury.
“As president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t.”
Some quick takeaways:
The new indictments give us a dramatic glimpse into Jack Smith’s modus operandi. He intends to keep going, and he’s prepared to escalate even after the original indictments are issued. Keep that in mind when he drops the J6 indictments.
The original MAL doc case was already strong. Yesterday’s new charges make it even stronger. “I think this original indictment was engineered to last a thousand years and now this superseding indictment will last an antiquity (sic),” former Trump White House lawyer Ty Cobb told the Guardian. “This is such a tight case, the evidence is so overwhelming.”
The new indictments shred two of Trump’s most prominent defenses: (1) that he had willingly shared surveillance footage, and (2) that he was just blustering when he said he had the actual Iran plans.
Trump’s attempted coverup will take center stage at any trial.
Smith and his fellow prosecutors clearly are hoping to flip the third defendant, Carlos De Oliveira. And Trump knows how damaging that could be. Via Kim Wehle:
Two weeks after the FBI’s August 8, 2022, execution of a search warrant on Mar-a-Lago, Nauta called another employee—identified as “Trump Employee 5”—and said something to the effect of, “someone just wants to make sure Carlos [de Oliveira] is good.” Employee 5 responded that de Oliveira is loyal and “would not do anything to affect his relationship with TRUMP.” In a Signal group chat, Employee 5 confirmed with Nauta that de Oliveira was loyal.
Then this: “That same day, TRUMP called DE OLIVEIRA and told DE OLIVEIRA that TRUMP would get DE OLIVEIRA an attorney.”
Irony is dead, Chapter Gadzillion. Semafor’s Benjy Sarlin notes:
The man who spent seven years telling rally crowds about how Hillary Clinton’s lawyers destroyed email servers “with bleach” (it was actually software) is accused of telling his underlings to delete surveillance footage that was requested by the government.
Hurd is going hard. On CNN last night, GOP presidential candidate Will Hurd went straight at Trump.
I am not a lawyer. But if you are deleting evidence, it’s because you know you’re committing a crime!
And anybody who supports this, anybody who defends this is complicit in endangering America, endangering the men and women who are putting themselves in harm’s way every single day and every single night in order for us to enjoy these freedoms.
And let me be clear about this. Donald Trump is not running for president to make America great again. Donald Trump is not running for president to defend our interests overseas. Donald Trump’s not even running to represent the people that voted for him in 2016 and in 2020.
Donald Trump is running for president in order for him to stay out of jail.
These are serious crimes. These are serious accusations. Donald Trump is a national security risk, and he needs to be beaten in a primary, so we can be done with him once and for all.
Hacks gonna hack. “Hawley on new Trump indictment: ‘We cannot allow this to stand’.”
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The Power of Whataboutism
On the latest episode of The Trump Trials, Lawfare’s Ben Wittes and I discuss:
Hunter’s plea deal
And the politics of impeachment…
Wisconsin Nice Update
According to a transcript written by a page minutes after the incident and obtained by The Hill, Van Orden called the pages “jackasses” and “pieces of s‑‑‑,” and told them he didn’t “give a f‑‑‑ who you are.”
The pages are a group of 16- and 17-year-olds who assist Senate operations, and when the Senate works late — as it did Wednesday night on National Defense Authorization Act amendments — pages generally rest nearby in the rotunda.
“Wake the f‑‑‑ up you little s‑‑‑‑. … What the f‑‑‑ are you all doing? Get the f‑‑‑ out of here. You are defiling the space you [pieces of s‑‑‑],” Van Orden said, according to the account provided by the page.
“Who the f‑‑‑ are you?” Van Orden asked, to which one person said they were Senate pages. “I don’t give a f‑‑‑ who you are, get out.”
“You jackasses, get out,” he added.
The incident, which occurred just after midnight, outraged members of the upper chamber, with one calling the string of remarks “horrible.”
In 2021, Kerrigan Trautsch, then a 17-year-old page at the Prairie du Chien Memorial Library in Wisconsin, told the La Crosse Tribune that Van Orden was angry and complained loudly about a display of books in the children’s section of the library curated for LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Trautsch told the Tribune that after the incident she told her parents she didn’t feel safe at work anymore. …
Van Orden’s presence at the “Save America” rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, was a major issue brought up by his Democratic opponent, Brad Pfaff, on the campaign trail. Van Orden has claimed that he never went on the Capitol grounds. However, a photo published six months later by the Daily Beast appeared to show he was there. Van Orden has not questioned the authenticity of the photo or that it was taken on Jan. 6.
Exit take: the Badger State is not sending its best.
He’s so, so close to getting it. “Conservative cries bitter tears after Trump allies admit election lies: 'It was all BS'"
"We are going to the mattresses for these people, we are offering them more accommodations, more chances, than we'd offer our own family members, for goodness sake," [Blaze host Steve] Deace said, "and for what? For Rudy Giuliani to go down to Georgia and admit that he lied? Have Jason Miller tell the Jan. 6 commission, 'Yeah, we all knew it was BS?' What is this?
"Some of you don't like it when I use the cult word. When you like being treated like a schmuck, and ask for more, that is a cult. 'I'm the mark, I'm the sucker, I want to be such and I resent the person who tries to get me out of that.' Those are marks of groupthink, frankly."
"How many people in this audience sent money to 'Stop the Steal' three years ago?" Deace continued. "How many shows did I waste your time talking about this three years ago? How many? I still have not recovered. Between election fraud and COVID, I probably have the lowest Facebook following of any major show in this industry. I will routinely post things on Facebook and get, like, two or three comments. It's, like, Facebook is like, 'We won't ban you because you'll whine about it and generate a bunch of publicity, so we'll just make it so no one sees your material at all."
"Why?" he added. "Because I went to the mattresses on COVID and the election fraud issue, only to have Rudy Giuliani say, 'Yeah, I was lying,' and Jason Miller say, 'Oh, we knew it was all BS.'"
Just another day in America’s gerontocracy
On Thursday, when Feinstein was prompted to vote during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Feinstein paused. She was told by a colleague to "say aye."
"Pardon me?" Feinstein asked.
"Aye," the colleague responded.
"Yeah," Feinstein said.
"Just say—" the colleague interjected.
"I would like to support a yes vote on this," Feinstein continued. "It provides $823 billion, that's an increase of $26 billion for the Department of Defense. And it funds priorities submitted—"
Colleagues around Feinstein whispered.
"Just say aye," committee Chairwoman and Washington Sen. Patty Murray said.
"Aye," Feinstein finally said.
“You. Are. A. Pussy.”
On June 22, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Capitol Hill for a joint address to Congress. Just before Modi took the Speaker’s podium, Swalwell was on the House floor, making his way to a bathroom just outside the chamber on the Republican side.
That’s when McCarthy saw him.
“McCarthy said, ‘If you ever say something like that to me again, I’m gonna kick the shit out of you,’” a member claimed to The Daily Beast.
Another member who witnessed the exchange provided even more context: “They were in each other’s faces. Basically nose-to-nose. And Swalwell said something like, ‘Are we really gonna do this?’”
After some back-and-forth, with chests puffed out, McCarthy issued a challenge to Swalwell: “Call me a pussy again, and I’ll kick your ass,” the Speaker allegedly said.
While both members told nearly identical versions of this story, they both delivered Swalwell’s response in exactly the same way.
“You. Are. A. Pussy,” Swalwell told McCarthy.
After both men stared each other down for another moment, McCarthy eventually relented. He stepped to the side and let Swalwell through to the bathroom—without kicking his ass—and carried on with his duty hosting the leader of a major U.S. ally in the House chamber.