Jack Smith Gives Trump Until Thursday to Explain Himself to the January 6 Grand Jury

Trump has released this post on his failing social media site, which I’ve altered to remove the garbage.

202 replies
  1. Alan Charbonneau says:

    In spite of how long the DOJ has been investigating Trump for Jan 6th, it still seems like a short period of time. Glad to see it’s here at last.

  2. Inspector Clouseau says:

    I wish I could be a fly on the wall when Walt Nauta found out this news. It changes his calculus big time. The game theory / prisoner dilemma math changed big time with the additional outcome that he can’t impact.

    • ExRacerX says:

      If Nauta didn’t see this coming, I’d be pretty surprised—Fani Willis hasn’t exactly been playing her cards close to the vest.

      • Kope a Pia says:

        I am not sure what you mean by this since the post is about Jack Smith’s Federal J6 Grand Jury not Fani Willis’s Georgia investigation.

    • Alan_OrbitalMechanic says:

      I think it is a safe bet that Nauta has already agreed to let himself be convicted and go to prison if that is what it takes to spare DJT the slightest discomfort.

      Don’t look for him to flip or panic. He will do just what he is told to do by the team and he has already agreed to “take one for the team.”

      “His” attorney is clearly working for DJT and I am sure he is OK with that.

      • AgainBrain says:

        Perhaps repeated exposure to Trump’s odor-barrier-devastating stench destroys brain structures responsible for critical thinking, moral conduct and self-preservation?

        It could explain a lot, and it’s possible Bob Woodward should be studied to try and figure out his apparent resistance / immunity? He’s been working in DC so long, perhaps exposure to the general political stench destroyed key olfactory paths which in healthy people transport the cause of damage into those deeper brain structures?

        More likely, though, Nauta’s let Trump and Trump’s Nazgûl so deep into his life, that despite being terrified of the nigh-certain outcome, he (reasonably) questions even the US Government’s ability to keep him and his safe.

  3. Rwood0808 says:

    It’s getting busy. Might need a corkboard and some string to keep it all connected.

    He and his business are scheduled to face trial in New York in October for fraud.
    He’s scheduled to face trial in New York in January for defamation.
    He’s scheduled to face trial in New York in March for the hush money case.
    He’s likely facing charges for election tampering in Georgia in August.
    And now he’s likely facing charges for J6 in as little as four days.

    He and his lawyers will be living on his antiquated 757 for the next year.

    • Stephen Calhoun says:

      This evoked a delicious, cinematic vision: somewhere adjacent to Smith’s team is one or more corkboard-and-string-thingies (and sticky notes!) depicting the web of relationships and the tendrils of the conspiracy.

        • Strumbert Leather says:

          I see NNDB reckons “animal nut” Queen Elizabeth is still alive. She cross-breeds corgis and dachshunds using a brick.

          • Rayne says:

            NNDB went into hiatus after 2021 once Adobe Flash software died — in other words, it kicked before Old Bess did.

            I wish the site was reconstructed with an alternative to Flash.

          • Rayne says:

            Thanks but I don’t know the developer and I generally avoid most software produced outside the U.S. which doesn’t have a large userbase (that particular browser’s developer is in Romania).

    • Mister Sterling says:

      I have a feeling that Smith will reference the “11,780 votes” call in the J6 indictment timeline, which should shed light on how silly Georgia is to investigate a Federal crime. Also, I thought the New York hush money trial was set for October. In any event, he’s in very serious trouble. And yet he won’t be jailed. He will walk free and try to incite a small civil war in the weeks ahead.

      • timbozone says:

        It’s very likely a state crime in Georgia to attempt to corrupt a Georgia state election official to change official tallies of votes for corrupt purpose. Georgia and its law enforcement officials have every legal right to ensure the election integrity of their own elections. Some people may not like that but it is not up to the Federal government typically to enforce local election laws when the local officials are fully capable of and willing to enforce those laws fairly and expeditiously.

      • Dave_MB says:

        We have state run elections for a national office. Trying to strong-arm the Georgia Secretary of State for the Georgia election is a state crime. Depending on which element you focus on, it can be a state or federal crime.

      • e.a. foster says:

        No civil wars with all the forest fires in British Columbia and all the rain and heat in the U.S.A. Just not on at this time. We’re all too busy. Of course if Trump wants to do something………..

    • Raven Eye says:

      When the Jan6 investigations started I was also thinking about corkboard and colored strings, but I figured you’d need something like a gymnasium to fit it.

      Maybe, if you scale it down to just Trump, you could fit the thing into a school cafeteria.

  4. Steve Bentley says:

    “Almost always means an Arrest and Indictment”…glad to know he is getting to be such an expert on getting indicted.

    • Fraud Guy says:

      And he’s once…twice…(soon to be) three times indicted
      And we love it, do
      Then when he’s once…twice…three times convicted
      We’ll love it, too
      We’ll love it, too…

        • xxbronxx says:

          MAGA MAGA HEY (h/t The Ramones)
          MAGA MAGA we indict you
          We indict you so say us
          MAGA MAGA we indict you
          We indict you so say us

          We don’t want your grubby grifting no more
          We just met Jack Smith and he knows the law
          We don’t want your grubby grifting no more
          We just met Jack Smith and he knows the law

          M A G A everyone’s indictin’ me
          M A G A everyone’s indictin’ me

          Maga Maga Hey
          Maga Maga Hey

          • xxbronxx says:

            Fixed rhyme for last couplet –

            M A G A everyday’s indictin’ day
            M A G A everyday’s indictin’ day

            Maga Maga Hey
            Maga Maga Hey

  5. Fiendish Thingy says:

    This announcement isn’t that surprising; I’m more interested in who else did, or didn’t, get target letters, particularly Mark Meadows.

    Would Smith actually indict Trump first, without also indicting Eastman, Giuliani, Clark, et al?

    • harpie says:

      According to Paula Reid, GIULIANI’s lawyer says he did NOT:

      Jul 18, 2023 · 1:59 PM UTC

      JUST IN: Rudy Giuliani has NOT received a target letter in 1/6 probe, his lawyer tells me. As CNN previously reported, Rudy, did a voluntary interview with Special Counsel investigators several weeks back. His lawyer does not expect him to be charged.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Thank you harpie! Do we understand this to mean that Rudy is singing like the proverbial canary? And has promised to do so again in the witness box?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Possible, but I suspect Smith would have many witnesses for each element of any crime he charges. Rudy might be useful to help establish essential facts, but WTF would rely on him as a sole witness?

        • emptywheel says:

          I’m sure he did not and I suspect EVERYONE is misreading the proffer sessions.

          I suspect they are like the Trump grand jury invites, but offered on terms that Smith could get them booked before a Trump indictment. One or two people may have successfully used them to flip — certainly Mike Roman seemed like he was going to try. But for everyone else, Smith knew they’d lie and therefore knew the immunity would be easy to offer.

          • drewsill says:

            If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this blog, it’s don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched and it takes time and careful planning to handle such a large investigation. But the fact you can’t see much happening doesn’t mean it’s not.

            I’m wondering if this (leaving important witnesses without target letters for now) might be a strategy to leave Trump twisting in the breeze, wondering and worrying which former official might have flipped?

            In any event, my reaction: It’s about damned time! And another brick gets added to the wall.

      • Ravenclaw says:

        Remarkable. Giuliani is in it up to his hair dye. If anything, you’d expect to see people like him (and Stone, and Flynn, and Eastman) indicted before Trump, as the logical stepping stone between Oath Keeper/Proud Boy leadership and the president. I’m guessing that either the letters are being staggered across several days/weeks or he made some sort of deal with the prosecutors – one he doesn’t want to talk about until he has to. More likely the former, but who knows?

        • Peterr says:

          There’s also the distinct possibility that various others would be indicted *alongside* Trump, in the sense that one might indict members of a conspiracy at the same time one indicts their leader.

          See, e.g., Walt Nauta indicted alongside Trump in the Mar-a-Lago case.

          • Ravenclaw says:

            You know this stuff better than I do. But wouldn’t someone of Giuliani’s stature be likely to receive a warning letter? I mean, I get it that Nauta is a poor cog and lucky not to just have a squad car show up with handcuffs, but it seems like the “big boys” get more courteous treatment.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            The thing that hung me up–and the reason for my question about Rudy singing like a canary–is his lawyer’s statement that he doesn’t expect Giuliani to be prosecuted.

            I’m assuming this is Costello, and thus not entirely to be trusted, but it was that statement that spurred me to think Rudy had flipped, when it makes more sense to me to prosecute him too.

    • Fran of the North says:

      My impression is that those potential co-indictees attorneys have better clients than Epshteyn does.

      • Charles Wolf says:

        Target Letters from the DOJ are not mandatory, they are more like nasty courtesy letters… a bit like the kind you get reminding you to pay a traffic ticket.
        Eastman probably has an indictment in his future, TL or no TL.

  6. JT Moser says:

    Since he has been “truthing” his defense every day since the event it would seem he could do it with one day notice. The extra days are to re-arrange his golf schedule

  7. Jak R King says:

    As I am a non-lawyer, can someone explain to me why the target of a criminal investigation is given a warning that they are a target? I never hear of bank robbery or murder suspects being given advance notice of a pending arrest.

    • Peterr says:

      This is the DOJs way of saying “We have reason to suspect you of having committed a crime, and we’re offering you a chance to come in and explain why you think we are off base in our suspicions, or otherwise engage in plea discussions.”

    • cldellow says:

      I’m not a lawyer, but https://www.justice.gov/jm/jm-9-11000-grand-jury#9-11.153 provides this description of when it’s suitable to notify targets:

      > When a target is not called to testify pursuant to JM 9-11.150, and does not request to testify on his or her own motion (see JM 9-11.152), the prosecutor, in appropriate cases, is encouraged to notify such person a reasonable time before seeking an indictment in order to afford him or her an opportunity to testify before the grand jury, subject to the conditions set forth in JM 9-11.152. Notification would not be appropriate in routine clear cases or when such action might jeopardize the investigation or prosecution because of the likelihood of flight, destruction or fabrication of evidence, endangerment of other witnesses, undue delay or otherwise would be inconsistent with the ends of justice.

      That provides some colour to me on why a former president might get different treatment than an everyday criminal.

  8. harpie says:

    Jul 18, 2023 · 1:25 PM UTC

    […] One thing we don’t know: What potential crimes is Jack Smith eyeing.

    He’s examined:
    1] -Assembly of false elector slates
    2] -Fundraising for the Jan. 6 rally
    3] -Plans to seize voting machines
    4] -Pressure campaign against states/Pence
    5] -Trump actions on Jan. 6 [Link to POLITICO]

    And here is Robert Costa [via Laura Rozen]:

    Jul 18, 2023 · 2:09 PM UTC

    Based on conversations with sources close to witnesses in recent days, Smith is building a sprawling case focused on how Trump acted after he was informed by many that claiming the election was rigged would be pushing fraud… and whether Trump criminally conspired to block cert.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’m sure this came as an absolute surprise to the Don and his consiglieri. Not. What this should do is alert reporters and readers that if there’s a leak over the course of any of his investigations and trials, the first place they should look for its source is Donald Trump.

  10. Myra_Bo_Byra says:

    Amazing how what goes around comes around: LOCK HIM UP!
    Now, questions for the legal beagles among you: Will Trump use the same legal team as for MAL, and if not, who could possibly be left?

  11. boatgeek says:

    I’m honestly surprised that there was that much continuous sentence /without/ whining and lies. It’s more than 40 non-whining, non-lying words in a row!

    The grammar fiend will criticize the runon sentence, but I’m far too mature to mention that. /s

    • ExRacerX says:

      Agreed, although Trump’s repeating that it was Sunday night still leaves a whiny aftertaste. *ptui*

      Then again, it’s a truly herculean task to surgically edit out all Trump’s lies and whining without also removing all context—that the post even remains readable is a triumph.

      • jecojeco says:

        The preceding paragraph which got edited out for excessive whining is about twice as long. Somebody must have taught him that commas are good and periods are bad. There is a truth post preceding this one thats totally deranged, everything, including the kitchen sink is flying. And hasn’t poor John Edwards suffered enough?

        trump’s truths obviously didn’t get grammar reviews but somebody made sure there were no crude threats directed at Jack Smith (I thinkk they’ll be in the 3AM special edition!)

  12. Flerzo says:

    Interesting to see what this does with today’s Cannon hearing. If I was Trump, I might hope to have her speed up the trial, and try to delay the other one.
    1. He can play the victim, because even Cannon goes against him
    2. She can influence that trial to end up with a non-conviction before the election
    3. He will then proclaim exoneration, and witchhunt, witchhunt, witchhunt, and the MAGA & Co will gobble it up

    • Mark Palmgren says:

      Yes, I do find it curious (euphemistically) that this statement was released just several hours before today’s 2:00pm hearing. Will be interested to learn – sadly no live audio stream – whether any of Trump’s defense team might mistakenly address “Justice” Cannon during the proceeding.

      • BirdGardener says:

        Took me awhile, but I realized Trump may be trying to distract from today’s hearing before Cannon by directing everyone’s attention to the Jan. 6 grand jury. Seems to be working atm, too. Would suggest he is not confident about how Cannon will rule.

        • gertibird says:

          Cannon won’t be single handily be able to keep Trump out of Federal trials now before the election. That’s a good thing too about this coming indictment.

  13. David F. Snyder says:

    I am so grateful to be spared reading the whining and lies. Seriously.

    The list of charges in this indictment will be fascinating to read.

  14. Littleoldlady says:

    This must have been in concert with/in reaction to the judge giving them the Thursday deadline.

    Popcorn with my wine for breakfast!

  15. Seashell says:

    If you Google ‘Donald Trump Truth Social’ non-subscribers can see only his posts. The second one, as of now, has a strange claim that seems like a clue, maybe.

    >…a perfect phone call made to many lawyers and a Secretary of State, without any protestation of my call, because nothing that was said was wrong (it was clearly a complaint about an election), these are all HOAXES and SCAMS made up to stop me from fighting for the American People…<

    Does anyone know about this phone call?

    • John B. says:

      To my ear, it sounds like the infamous call to Georgia Sec of State Raffensberger for 11,780 votes.

    • jecojeco says:

      In that same truth trump said his trial couldn’t be held in “dirty, filthy” DC because he recently called for direct Federal control and the jury pool will be against him for that. (He knows a DC trial won’t be like Cannon’s Florida home cooking!).

      I think trump is thinking about direct Federal control of more cities than just DC, maybe most heavily democratic, minority cities with trump appointed administrators – who will of course, make sure there are “fair votes”

      • Matt___B says:

        You mean like they appointed an “emergency manager” for Flint, Michigan? Or a “colonial governorship” a la Vichy in France?

      • xyxyxyxy says:

        Don’t forget that Trump/Barr sent US marshals to direct Federal control in Portland. They killed Michael Reinoehl with no video or any evidence of wrong-doing by the marshals.

      • Rick Ryan says:

        One of the very first statements he made as President (IIRC, even before the Muslim travel bans) was to threaten to “send the Feds” to Chicago (ostensibly to combat crime). He’s been thinking about doing that for a long time.

        I’ve been morbidly curious why he never really tried it, if advisors convinced him it was a bad idea, if agency heads made it clear they’d refuse or undermine the order, or if he just sort of forgot about it amidst all his other self-induced crises and general flailing. I guess he did sort of try it in DC when he had federal agents teargas a protest to set up that Bible photo op in 2020, but they didn’t really try to maintain an increased presence after.

  16. Tetman Callis says:

    In this morning’s “Wake Up to Politics” newsletter, Gabe Fleisher writes “Truth Social — the go-to social media app for announcing imminent indictments.”

  17. Barringer says:

    Hi Marcy, thank you for sanitizing the message for our protection. Why did you not remove the words “a very short” referring to the 4 days? My understanding is that the days are the customary 24 hours long.

  18. BirdGardener says:

    —Did you see this over at TPM? It seems Trump may have appropriated Israeli antiquities that were supposed to be returned several weeks after they were received—in 2019—but ended up at MAL.


    Antiquities belonging to Israel have been kept for the past several months at former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, and senior Israeli figures have unsuccessfully tried to have them returned to Israel.

    Among the antiquities are ancient ceramic candles which are part of Israel’s national treasures collection. They were sent to the U.S. in 2019 with the approval of then-Director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, Israel Hasson, on the condition that they be returned within weeks, yet almost four years later, they have yet to be returned.

    It isn’t clear precisely how the antiquities ended up at Mar-a-Lago. “It is unclear whether Trump himself is aware that the items are on the premises of his estate,” Haaretz reports.

    Link: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/morning-memo/mar-a-lago-aileen-cannon-trial-date-cipa

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      “It isn’t clear,” is not absolution. It means there’s been no investigation with power to compel cooperation. It means the Israelis are trying to keep this on the down low and get their property back without fuss, something Trump hasn’t much history in allowing. Trump has had these items for three and a half years.

      The antiques would have been loaned to the USG, not to Trump personally. Somehow, Trump’s White House kept them and allowed them to be loaded onto shipments bound for MAL. Ordinarily, that puts the USG on the hook, but with the right to go after Trump personally on behalf of Israel, regardless of how or why he failed to return a foreign government’s property.

      It’s unlikely Israel would accept Trump’s usual response to these things, which is that the owner actually gave these items to him. Even if they did, improbable at best, the gift would have been to the USG, not to Trump. Trump would have had to disclose any gift of this value, something he usually failed to do, which would be another in a list of illegal acts by Trump. Hopefully, for once, Trump will find and return these items without fanfare. The line for sparkle ponies starts on the right.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Earl, Trump had “a Second Amendment that says I can do whatever I want.”

        What keeps a man who believes that from making off with government property, whether ours or Israel’s? For Trump the rubric “They’re mine” seems to have infinitely elasticity.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Nothing will stop Trump from trying. But another, parallel theft would not be a good look for a guy already in the midst of a prosecution involving the theft of govt documents and secrets.

          Israel is trying hard not to embarrass Trump over this; they’ve putzed around for over three years asking nicely, only to be ignored. But it appears that the artifacts are rare and valuable enough that their owners are not going away, like some red state municipality Trump has shafted for half a million in security-related costs for a speaking event attended by twelve people.

          • e.a. foster says:

            Heard about it on the evening news. omg You have to wonder about that boy. Perhaps Benni will send Mossad to pick them up from Mar a lago

            Hasn’t Trump heard its very impolite to keep antiquities and some countries take it very seriously. Perhaps Trump wanted them as gifts for his daughter and son in law.

            You have to be crazy to try to keep things like that, o.k. we’re talking about Trump and his mental state is still being discussed by many

  19. newbroom says:

    Gee, we hope this doesn’t inconvenience you, but you are hereby ordered before the Grand Jury by Thursday. Will be wild!

    • Peterr says:

      This is not an order, but an offer, and Trump is under no obligation to take them up on it. And, as bmaz and others have noted, it rarely is in a potential defendant’s interests to go into the grand jury room.

      Among other things, you can’t take a lawyer with you into the jury room. As bad as that might be for a typical defendant, can you imagine Trump in that setting? Trump’s lawyer would have to be put on a suicide watch, because God only knows what damage Trump’s testimony would do to his case.

  20. John Paul Jones says:

    My understanding is that Trump will not have counsel when testifying before the Grand Jury. If so, we might legitimately hope that his free association style of talking is likely to get him into trouble. Well, we can hope.

    • 0Alexander Platt0 says:

      It’s not like he’s actually going to show up. Isn’t this just a formality?

    • FLwolverine says:

      I doubt he has the discipline to give concise answers, but if there’s no lawyer sitting there to remind him, does he even have the self-discipline to take the 5th Amendment consistently?

      • Matt___B says:

        He’s not gonna show up, so no issue. It’s a voluntary invitation, which he most certainly will decline.

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          He’s probably boarding his jet to fly to one of his golf courses. When he gets there he’ll do a press conference that he would return from the important trip to appear, but circumstances happen and he can’t make it back by Thursday.
          Just like in the Carroll trial where of course he didn’t show up but couldn’t claim he was screwed as the judge extended the time for him to show his face in the trial.

  21. CovariantTensor says:

    I love the resulting brevity. The “MAGA” banner is also garbage and arguably should have been removed, but the rest is factually accurate information.

  22. P’villain says:

    Is it now a race to the courthouse between Smith and Willis? Presumably, if Smith indicts first, he would very much want to go to trial first.

    • David F. Snyder says:

      Trump doesn’t show on Thursday. He’s the last GJ invitee most likely, being the focus figure in all this mess. Having no further information, I would not be surprised to see the GJ hand down the indictment on Friday, though I’d love it* if it happened on my birthday next week.

      *h/t Don Jr.

  23. FLwolverine says:

    What are the possible consequences if Trump fails to show up on Thursday? Assuming he does appear (even if only to invoke the 5th Amendment), are there any clues about how long it would be before the grand jury decides whether or not to indict?

    • 0Alexander Platt0 says:

      Pretty sure it’s an invitation, not a subpoena. There’s no penalty and nobody expects him to go. IANAL.

      • Shadowalker says:

        It was an invitation. Trump as usual is exaggerating. Though there is a very low* probability he is being called to testify about someone else, but that would be worked out with his lawyers some time ago, and we didn’t see the usual court filings claiming executive privilege.

        *low as in close to nil.

  24. Fly by Night says:

    We should start a pool guessing how many miles Brandy will rack up shuttling between JFK, DCA, ATL and MIA.

  25. FL Resister says:

    One would think that a likely Jan 6 indictment would be an incentive to keep the Florida documents case on fast track to clear the deck for this trial. However, if your defense strategy is to not answer charges and avoid accountability, then delay appears about the only thing you’ve got. The question remains, what effect, if any, will this have on Judge Cannon’s trial date decisions?

  26. gretapooh says:

    Is it possible Jack plans on arresting all of the top players in one fell swoop?

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

  27. Fuggle Hops says:

    Question from a totally not a lawyer: Why does a prosecutor send a target letter? Is it a requirement? A courtesy? Does sending one prevent difficulties down the road? I guess I do see that it lets the prosecutor give the target a chance to come see the grand jury and give their two cents, and I can see why that might be prudent or required. Are there other purposes served by sending such a letter?

    Do the answers to these questions shed light on who else involved in this case might receive such letters and when?

    • bmaz says:

      It is a formality, is appropriate, and fine. No it sheds no additional light, they are personally directed.

      • CovariantTensor says:

        It’s also a courtesy, right? Just because you don’t receive a target letter doesn’t mean you aren’t a target, correct?

          • CovariantTensor says:

            My point was that trying to read the tea leaves as to who may be named as a defendant in a case based on who has or has not received a target letter to date may be a futile exercise. I think that’s what bmaz is saying too, much more economically..

  28. harpie says:

    CNN’s Kristin Holmes with news about someone
    who WILL be testifying to “a GJ” [AGAIN] on THURSDAY:

    Jul 18, 2023 · 6:26 PM UTC

    Trump adviser Will Russell is expected to appear before a grand jury in Washington, DC, on Thursday in the special counsel’s investigation into Trump, two sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. He has already appeared at least 2 times.

  29. Konny_2022 says:

    Maybe OT, but related to the December 18, 2020, Oval Office meeting and Trump’s subsequent now infamous tweet about Jan. 6 to be wild. This tweet advertised Peter Navarro’s “36-page report” first and then the “big protest” in DC on Jan. 6. I haven’t read about Navarro lately, and when, then only in the context of his upcoming trial because of contempt of Congress. I miss information about his role and/or acts after the release of his “report” and early 2021.

    Eastman is regularly mentioned in the context of the J6 investigation. But wasn’t Navarro some “precursor” of Eastman, regarding the promotion of the “alternate” electors?

  30. Spank Flaps says:

    Only four SHORT days? I didn’t realise it was a leap year, daylight savings adjustment, or any other type of disruption to the space time continuum?

    • bmaz says:

      Yes. Maybe the Phoenix City Attorney can jump in next. Let’s make it as big of a farce as humanly possible. What a joke.

      • Purple Martin says:

        Serious felonies that seem well within within the professional judgement and prosecutorial discretion of the Michigan State Attorney General (hardly a county or city district attorney). From Fraud Guy’s Detroit News link above…

        16 false Trump electors face felony charges in Michigan
        The Detroit News |
        Craig Mauger, Beth LeBlanc, July 18, 2023

        Lansing — Attorney General Dana Nessel is leveling felony charges against 16 Republicans who signed a certificate falsely stating that Donald Trump won Michigan’s 2020 presidential election, launching criminal cases against top political figures inside the state GOP.

        As part of the push to undermine Biden’s victory, Trump supporters gathered inside the then-Michigan Republican Party headquarters on Dec. 14, 2020, and signed a certificate, claiming to cast the state’s 16 electoral votes for Trump.

        Eventually, the false certificate was sent to the National Archives and Congress. The document inaccurately claimed the Trump electors had met inside the Michigan Capitol. However, they hadn’t. Biden’s electors convened inside the Capitol, and the building was closed to others on Dec. 14, 2020.

        Derek Muller, a law professor at Notre Dame Law School, said the criminal charges leveled are a “fraught” area of the law.

        “…(I) am quite skeptical of this indictment but I’ll need some time to collect my thoughts,” Muller added in a post on Twitter.

        Ryan Goodman, a law professor New York University School of Law, called the charges “a strong case” and noted the fake electors signed a sworn statement attesting “we convened and organized in the State Capitol.”

        “In truth, they met (secretly) in GOP headquarters basement,” Goodman wrote on Twitter.

        After initially referring the matter to federal prosecutors, in January, Nessel reopened a state-level investigation into the fake Trump electors, citing new documents released by a U.S. House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021 failed attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

          • Purple Martin says:

            Yes, I noticed, but good reminder.

            I try to be careful of such things—should have removed the third paragraph since the same content was in the Ryan Goodman quote.

            [FYI – your username was edited to match that of previous comments as I suspect you may have slipped and used your RL name. /~Rayne]

            • Rayne says:

              Keep in mind some reminders aren’t just for the commenter publishing content approaching or exceeding 300 words — it’s for the readers who may reply as well.

              • Purple Martin says:

                Yup, thx. I’ll try to be more careful. And I pay attention to all the universally-applicable reminders you post as lessons for all of us! :-)

        • bmaz says:

          Well, good gawd, who can argue with Ryan and Muller? Except I will. And, yes, I know exactly who they are.

          • Purple Martin says:

            Not surprised—they’re common conservative and liberal go-to sources for legal quotes. In this case you may agree with one of them, since they’re taking opposite positions.

            Or is your issue not the legal question ( “skeptical of this indictment” versus “a strong case”), but AG Nessel’s professional judgement in this use of prosecutorial discretion?

  31. Molly Pitcher says:

    In other related court news, the NYT says: Michigan announced felony charges against 16 people in connection with a false elector scheme to overturn Donald Trump’s election loss in 2020.

    “Each of the 16 defendants has been charged with eight felony counts, including forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery. Those charged include Meshawn Maddock, a Trump ally and the co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party at the time.”

  32. ToldainDarkwater says:

    You know, now I’m wondering if the reason Jack Smith didn’t appear overly concerned with trying things before Judge Cannon is because he knew that it was all going to be a sideshow in comparison to the indictments concerning Jan 6, which will take place in a DC courtroom, for sure.

    If that coming indictment reads anything like the docs case indictment, it’s going to be a lulu.

      • ToldainDarkwater says:

        While terseness is laudable, I find that I frequently don’t know your mind, even after you comment. Maybe you consider that a plus, I mean, as a litigator, it probably is a plus. And I don’t know that you are (or were) a litigator, but the probability seems high.

        However, my bmaz translator translates this as “Cannon is not really capable and possibly not interested in really messing up the docs trial, and so Smith just went with that, which is whare the GJ was convened in any case.”

        Is this a decent rendering of your take?

        • JAFO_NAL says:

          I think of bmaz as the Calvin Coolidge of emptywheel (when President Coolidge was told by a dinner party guest that she had bet someone she could get more than three words out of him, he replied “You lose.”)

  33. DrStuartC says:

    So, the Jan. 6th volcano is rumbling and releasing a bit of smoke? Where’s that popcorn maker?

    Thank you, Marcy, for de-toxifying his ST post – sparing us from that, I appreciate that you’re as good an editor as you are a journalist.

    As usual, I don’t mind not speculating on charges or results, or the speculation about the speculation. We’ve waited long enough, but we can be patient a bit longer to see what kind of case Mr. Smith has developed.

    I’m just hoping it isn’t another colossal disappointment in the end, like the Mueller Report or the Impeachments, because one political party resembles the mafia, or a demented religious cult, more and more every day. I want Justice to prevail, and Democracy to continue evolving and become more inclusive, tolerant and responsive to the needs of its citizens. But then again, I’ve been a hopeless romantic my whole life.

    • fubar jack says:

      I’ve occasionally imagined tfg in a jumpsuit that matches his complexion, and excited to see him face some serious consequences for his horrible and illegal behavior . However I have a real feeling of dread at the prospect of political violence ensuing from these developments. Am I overreacting? This blog is like a lucid tonic to what feels like a fever dream most days…

  34. Cosmo Lecat says:

    With several prominent people claiming they did not receive target letters, does that suggest Trump will not be charged with conspiracy? Could Trump be indicted for conspiracy with just one or more unindicted co-conspirators? I can’t recall if Michael Cohen was charged that way with Individual 1.

    • willlgfdog says:

      ‘well’ worth while! Apologies for the typing error. I am delighted to have been directed to empty wheels.

    • Rayne says:

      I have the impression you believe this site will cater to your needs for romantic contacts, which would be the wrong conclusion.

      Please focus on the topic of this post or move on.

      • willlgfdog says:

        No Rayne. Your impression is incorrect. I was replying to the sentiments expressed by DrStuartC and VinnieGambone. No offense to EW was intended. Please take the allotted 5 minutes and remove my name, username, and email address. Have a nice day.

        • klynn says:

          willlgfdog: It was difficult to follow that you were responding to DrStuartC and VinnieG. The blog experienced an attack yesterday and the concern for intentional misdirected traffic/comments and Rayne’s response, are part of her commitment as a mod for which I am grateful as a long time reader here. Had your comment been a reply to DrStuartC under his comment, it would have made sense and not appear like “junk mail” to readers. Or if you had noted DrStuart at the start of your comment, your comment would have had context. Rayne’s comment is appropriate.

          • willlgfdog says:

            klynn: Your point is well taken. I am a slow typer and by the time I had completed my post and sent it the comments had moved past my reply. Your suggestion to begin with the name of the poster one is replying to has been employed. Thank you.

  35. harpie says:

    Rolling Stone source re: TARGET LETTER:

    Special Counsel’s Jan. 6 Target Letter to Trump Mentions Conspiracy, Tampering The letter does not mention statutes relating to insurrection or sedition, a source tells Rolling Stone https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/trump-target-letter-special-counsel-conspiracy-tampering-1234791030/ JANA WINTER 7/18/23

    THE SPECIAL COUNSEL’S letter to Donald Trump related to Jan. 6 listed the federal statutes under which Trump is expected to be charged, including conspiracy, obstruction, and civil rights violations, according to a source with knowledge of the contents of the target letter. […]

    The source said the statues listed likely refer to the prosecutor’s interest in charging Trump with obstructing the election certification process, including Trump efforts to pressure Mike Pence to stop the certification of President Biden’s 2020 victory.

    Marcy is tweeting about it here:
    Jul 18, 2023 · 10:25 PM UTC

    • harpie says:

      Marcy, in that link:

      This says 371, 1512 (labeled as tampering), and MAYBE 18 USC 241. The latter makes sense but has not been mentioned — it may relate to stuff Trump did BEFORE Jan 6.

      Note, not campaign finance.

      Others saying 18 USC 242, which would cover Trump doing this as a government employee.

    • c-i-v-i-l says:

      Oops, sorry for the duplication, I now see that harpie already noted this. (I could have sworn that I checked before posting my comment, perhaps harpie’s was awaiting moderation due to the link, so I didn’t see it despite searching?)

    • IainUlysses says:

      Deprivation of rights under color of law?

      I’ve not heard that speculated on as a possible charge before. Did I miss something or is this more likely to refer to something we don’t know about? Or is it most likely Rolling Stone is being fed a story?

  36. leolajeanne says:

    My beloved Reality Chex is shutting down at the end of the month. I am thinking of hopping over to emptywheel for enlightenment. Reality Chex was an outgrowth from New York Times letters of one smart woman, and I will miss it fiercely. Am I welcome at emptywheel?

    • Rayne says:

      Welcome to emptywheel. You’ll find we do not cover as many topics all at the same time as RealityChex because this site is not an aggregator. If you’re looking for an alternative offering daily briefs on multiple topics, you may wish to consider The Morning News newsletter, Flipboard (comment sections can be wretched), memeorandum (leans center-right), or slashdot (mostly technology).

      • Purple Martin says:

        I’ll second the Memeorandum automatic news headline aggregator. It’s nicely organized, constantly updated, and provides lots of links from all points on the political spectrum. It’s usually one of my early daily stops.

        Don’t think it leans center-right as much as reflect that a lot more minor sites of right-wing nuttery than left-wing nuttery exist. In the same way and for the same reason, it probably cites more left-leaning then right-leaning major mainstream sites.

        (As an aside, think I’m seeing more frequent top-level Emptywheel links there lately.)

        Best thing is that unlike Meta, etc, it does NOT learn your preferences and start elevating things to enrage you…just keeps pumping out the links in proportion to what’s out there today.

        • Rayne says:

          We’ll agree to disagree about the political bent. When a site chooses more right-wing/right of center sites to cite, it’s making a statement of its own position.

    • timbozone says:

      As well, take a look at Talkingpointmemo.com if you aren’t already well acquainted with it. The commentariati over there aren’t as focused as emptywheel though.

  37. William312 says:

    We have not (yet) heard that others received target letters.

    If Trump is indicted first, why would prosecutors choose to do that rather than start with Eastman and Clark?

      • HikaakiH says:

        So, Eastman and Clark now have to consider whether Trump will show them the sort of loyalty he expects from his underlings: to wit, do they expect Trump to refrain from defending himself with some version of “these lawyers were telling me I could and should do these things”?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The whole world knows the answer about whether Trump will show anyone the loyalty he expects to come his way. It’s why his advisers all have bus tire tracks on their backs.

  38. ThomasJ7777 says:

    1. Seditious Conspiracy
    2. Racketeering
    3. Conspiracy to Defraud the United States
    4. Conspiracy to impede a federal official
    5. Conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding of Congress.

    That’s my guess for the indictment on Thursday and there will be several co-conspirators.

    I wish that I could say for sure if the conspirators in Congress will be indicted as soon as Thursday, but I do not know if the appeals court ruling about Scott Perry’s phone has been made, and I do not know if the appeals court has ruled on DOJ’s access to the encrypted apps used by Jordan, Biggs, Perry, Gaetz, Higgins, Banks, Gohmert, Gosar, Smith, Clyde, Greene, Brooks, Hice and possibly others.

    If there were sealed rulings that have somehow escaped all of the court watchers that I have checked, then we may indeed see those indictments and arrests within days.

    My opinion is that the indictments on Thursday will not include charges about fake electors or insurrection or wire fraud racketeering or witness tampering or money laundering or bribery or campaign finance felonies, but that those will come in other indictments later this year.

    I also believe that another espionage indictment is imminent and it may have something to do with Trump claiming that he “talked to Putin the other day.”

    No one really knows if the lying nut is talking about one of his imaginary stories or if this is another one of his subconscious cries for help as he confesses to another crime in public,

    BUT if he is telling the truth and he divulged some kind of national defense information to Putin while he was being wiretapped, then I would fully expect that crackpot clown to be inside of a military prison by this time next week, if not sooner.

    I am a fiction writer but I have an uncanny prescience at times.

  39. e.a. foster says:

    Thank you for editing the B.S. out of his statement! Its now shorter and makes more sense.

    “4 short days”. all days are 24 hrs.

    • Parker Dooley says:

      “On Earth, a solar day is around 24 hours. However, Earth’s orbit is elliptical, meaning it’s not a perfect circle. That means some solar days on Earth are a few minutes longer than 24 hours and some are a few minutes shorter.”

      Not sure where we are in the cycle.

      • e.a. foster says:

        correct you are. now that you mention it, yes we did learn that in school. however like much we learned in school…………..
        it was such a long time ago and now being retired for soooo many years, a few minutes here and there don’t matter, except when a forest fire is heading your way.

    • CovariantTensor says:

      I will stipulate that “Four short days” is a rhetorical device, indicating that in his opinion he wasn’t given enough time to respond. Not a critique of the National Bureau of Standards. While it arguably is whining that should have been edited out by Marcy’s whine filter, I think it’s getting more attention than it deserves.

  40. harpie says:

    [Rayne and bmaz, I messed up an earlier very similar comment…
    this is the better one, so there’s no need for the first. Thanks!]

    Marcy and Zoe Tillman AGAIN point to an OBSTRUCTION charge:

    Jul 19, 2023 · 10:42 AM UTC

    Zoe, who has covered half the zillion Jan6 cases, confirms that this is obstruction and not witness tampering. [LINK] [THREAD]

    Point being, TRUMP IS NOT DIFFERENT. Dozens, maybe a hundred, people have already been convicted of this. There are multiple cases before DC Circuit debating standards that will apply to Trump as they will all the other Jan6 (alleged) criminals.

    Elements of offense are the same.

    Links to:
    Jul 19, 2023 · 10:37 AM UTC

    The target letter Donald Trump announced he’d received in the Jan. 6 probe lists several criminal statutes he could be charged with, incl. one covering obstructing an official proceeding (common J6 charge) and conspiracy to commit offenses/defraud the US [THREAD] [Link to Bloomberg article]

  41. harpie says:

    EXCLUSIVE: Feds sought surveillance video from State Farm Arena in Trump probe
    https://www.ajc.com/politics/exclusive-feds-sought-surveillance-video-from-state-farm-arena/TWLKTY4KGFB25DUPSPZXUEDFL4/ Tammar Hellerman 7/19/23

    Federal prosecutors examining former President Donald Trump’s attempt to hold onto power following the 2020 election requested surveillance and other security footage recorded at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena, according to a subpoena obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    In a grand jury subpoena dated May 31, the Georgia Secretary of State’s office was directed to hand over “any and all security video or security footage, or any other video of any kind, depicting or taken at or near” State Farm and “any associated data.” […]

    Even though Willis and Smith appear to be interested in similar sets of events, it doesn’t preclude each of them from bringing their own sets of charges under Georgia and federal laws. They could also coordinate with one another, though there are no public signs that something like that has occurred. […]

  42. Boatsail says:

    Let’s make one thing, as Mr. Nixon used to say before obscuring an issue, perfectly clear.

    The Fort Pierce U.S. District Judge Aileene “Loose” Cannon set a trial date for August of this year.

    The Special Counsel asked her to put the trial off to December of this year.

    Judge “Loose” Cannon decisively did not set a new trial date.

    She did, however opine that December was “too soon”.

    This, it seems makes sense to Judge “Loose” Cannon.

    It makes no sense to me.

    • Scott_in_MI says:

      Cannon was required to set a preliminary trial date under the Speedy Trial Act. No one at all expected the trial to actually start in August; it’s just a placeholder while the parties file motions for continuance and other pre-trial matters.

    • CovariantTensor says:

      At the hearing on the 18th she listened to both side’s arguments, and said she would make a decision soon. Nothing “loose Cannon” about that. Just because she made one batshit crazy opinion, about private citizen DJT being afforded extra privileges under the law as former POTUS, roundly rejected by the appeals court, doesn’t mean everything she does is “loose cannon”.

      I will await those more knowledgeable than myself to notify us when it’s time to panic about Judge Cannon, before I will.

      Also, I think there is a more appropriate active thread in which to discuss this.

      • bmaz says:

        This was never going to be an easy case. Cannon may get loose, we shall see, but that time is not yet.

  43. Scott_in_MI says:

    An interesting point that came up on yesterday afternoon’s Lawfare Live discussion of things Trump-related: we don’t know that “4 days” in this instance means “by this Thursday.” Apparently the DC GJ is meeting three days a week (Tue, Thu, Fri), so theoretically this could mean “four GJ sessions,” meaning the clock runs out next Tuesday. I guess we won’t know for certain unless an indictment is handed down at the end of this week.

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