Carlos De Oliveira’s Uncharged Suspected Obstruction Happened on Aileen Cannon’s Watch

I’d like to make something explicit that’s implicit in this post. Some of Carlos De Oliveira’s suspected obstruction of the investigation into stolen documents happened on Aileen Cannon’s watch.

To be sure, it’s not charged, and the timing of all this is not made explicit in the indictment. De Oliveira is charged with four counts:

  • Count 33: Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice (18 USC 1512(k)) from May 11, 2022 until August 2022
  • Count 40: Corruptly asking Trump Employee 4 to destroy surveillance footage (18 USC 1512(b)(2) from June 22, 2022 until August 2022
  • Count 41: Corruptly attempting to alter surveillance footage (18 USC 1512(c)(1)) from June 22, 2022 until August 2022
  • Count 42: False statements in a January 13, 2023 interview with the FBI at his residence

The timeline of this is actually quite interesting. All the conspiracy charges go through August 2022, with no specific end date. That adopts the convention used in the first indictment.

By description, the conspiracies described in the first indictment might otherwise have ended on August 8, 2022, when the FBI seized the documents the obstruction attempted to hide. There was no overt act that post-dates August 8 in the first indictment.

There is in the superseding indictment. There’s this key paragraph, which describes that on August 26, 2022, after Trump confirmed De Oliveira’s loyalty, Trump called him and told him he would get him an attorney.

Just over two weeks after the FBI discovered classified documents in the Storage Room and TRUMP’s office, on August 26, 2022, NAUTA called Trump Employee 5 and said words to the effect of, “someone just wants to make sure Carlos is good.” In response, Trump Employee 5 told NAUTA that DE OLIVEIRA was loyal and that DE OLIVEIRA would not do anything to affect his relationship with TRUMP. That same day, at NAUTA’s request, Trump Employee 5 confirmed in a Signal chat group with NAUTA and the PAC Representative that DE OLIVEIRA was loyal. That same day, TRUMP called DE OLIVEIRA and told DE OLIVEIRA that TRUMP would get DE OLIVEIRA an attorney.

That paragraph is important to prove the conspiracy because Trump Employee 5 appears to have testified independently about it. But it’s not about the June 2022 effort to destroy the surveillance footage. It’s an apparent effort to keep De Oliveira quiet about the June 2022 effort.

Witness tampering, a different kind of obstruction. But it is not charged as such.

At least not yet.

So the overt acts on the three conspiracies appear to go from May and June until August 26, 2022. But the indictment doesn’t include that as the specific end date.

On August 27 — the day after the last overt act in the three alleged conspiracies charged against De Oliveira — Judge Aileen Cannon issued an order providing preliminary notice that she would intervene in the case. On September 5, Judge Cannon issued an order enjoining the government from further investigation of the materials seized on August 8.

De Oliveira’s other alleged crime happened on January 13, 2023.

It happened after, on December 1, 2022, the 11th Circuit ruled that Aileen Cannon “improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction” to — among other things — stay any investigation using non-classified documents.

[T]he district court lacked jurisdiction to consider Plaintiff’s initial motion or to issue any orders in response to it.

[snip]

The law is clear. We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant. Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so. Either approach would be a radical reordering of our caselaw limiting the federal courts’ involvement in criminal investigations. And both would violate bedrock separation-of-powers limitations. Accordingly, we agree with the government that the district court improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction, and that dismissal of the entire proceeding is required.

The district court improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction in this case. For that reason, we VACATE the September 5 order on appeal and REMAND with instructions for the district court to DISMISS the underlying civil action.

It happened after, on December 12, Aileen Cannon dismissed the civil suit before her.

De Oliveira’s first three alleged crimes happened before Aileen Cannon intervened, up through the day she did, in fact. All of Trump’s and Nauta’s alleged crimes ended before or on the day before she intervened.

De Oliveira’s fourth charge happened after the 11th Circuit ruled that she had improperly halted any investigation using unclassified materials seized from Mar-a-Lago from September 5 to December 1, a total of 87 days.

De Oliveira was not charged for something else, though, that — according to CNN’s report of it — was suspected to be another attempt to damage surveillance equipment, a flood of the IT room that, by description, happened in October.

An employee at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence drained the resort’s swimming pool last October and ended up flooding a room where computer servers containing surveillance video logs were kept, sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

While it’s unclear if the room was intentionally flooded or if it happened by mistake, the incident occurred amid a series of events that federal prosecutors found suspicious.

At least one witness has been asked by prosecutors about the flooded server room as part of the federal investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents, according to one of the sources.

The incident, which has not been previously reported, came roughly two months after the FBI retrieved hundreds of classified documents from the Florida residence and as prosecutors obtained surveillance footage to track how White House records were moved around the resort. Prosecutors have been examining any effort to obstruct the Justice Department’s investigation after Trump received a subpoena in May 2022 for classified documents.

Prosecutors have heard testimony that the IT equipment in the room was not damaged in the flood, according to one source.

Yet the flooded room as well as conversations and actions by Trump’s employees while the criminal investigation bore down on the club has caught the attention of prosecutors. The circumstances may factor into a possible obstruction conspiracy case, multiple sources tell CNN, as investigators try to determine whether the events of last year around Mar-a-Lago indicate that Trump or a small group of people working for him, took steps to try to interfere with the Justice Department’s evidence-gathering.

Agents first subpoenaed the Trump Organization for Mar-a-Lago surveillance footage last summer, before the August search by the FBI. But as more classified documents were found through the end of last year, investigators sought more surveillance footage from the Trump Organization, sources tell CNN. That included an additional subpoena after the FBI search in August and a request from the Justice Department for the Trump Organization to preserve additional footage in late October, according to one of the sources.

[snip]

Prosecutors from the special counsel’s office have focused their obstruction inquiries around Trump, Trump’s body man Walt Nauta and a maintenance worker who helped Nauta move boxes of classified documents ahead of federal agents searching the property last summer, and potentially others, sources told CNN.

The sources say that the maintenance worker is the person who drained the pool that led to the flooding of the IT room where the surveillance footage was held. [my emphasis]

If that really happened, if it really was another attempt to destroy surveillance video (as I noted, video that might show De Oliveira and Nauta’s earlier attempt to destroy the surveillance video, a cover up of the cover up), then it happened during the period when DOJ’s investigation was largely halted thanks to Aileen Cannon’s improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction.

It’s not yet clear whether Cannon’s injunction required DOJ to delay the January 13, 2023 interview until after the 11th Circuit ended it. After all, DOJ interviewed Christina Bobb in October and Kash Patel in November.

As of now, the overt acts in the apparent overlapping conspiracies to obstruct the investigation stop one day short of the moment when Aileen Cannon got involved, improperly, according to the 11th Circuit. And if DOJ were to substantiate the flooded server room was yet another attempt to tamper with surveillance footage, it would mean the obstruction happened on Judge Cannon’s watch.

Thus far, Cannon has issued one after another after another and yet one more not unreasonable order.

But we are butting against the date when Trump’s continued conspiracy to obstruct the investigation happened during the window she created by improperly intervening in the case.

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153 replies
  1. Gibby says:

    I’m missing the point here. Why does it matter that it happened when Cannon intervened? Are you suggesting that Trump wouldn’t have done this if Cannon hadn’t paused the investigation?

    • John Paul Jones says:

      The implication is that if she had not paused the case, the conspirators would have had less room to maneuver, that their efforts would have been very differently focussed, even, that they would not have realized that their earlier attempts to destroy footage had not been entirely successful, hence they would not have needed to attempt to flood the server room.

      Think of it as a version of the uncertainty principle, that the presence of an observer alters the phenomenon under observation. Cannon’s placing herself in the mix altered how the mix evolved (there’s a cake metaphor in here somewhere, but I will forbear).

      • Gibby says:

        You might be right, but I don’t know why Marcy couldn’t say that. Actually, I do: as brilliant as she is, she has a really bad habit of not articulating her point.

        But even if that is what she’s saying, I still don’t follow the logic. Does anyone really think that if Cannon hadn’t paused the case, TFG would have said “damn, now I can’t get someone to delete the footage?”

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        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I can think of other really bad habits.

          If DoJ is prohibited from investigating people or a site, that creates more time and opportunity to obstruct and hide the obstruction. Cannon’s involvement might not have affected Trump’s desire to obstruct, for example, but it might have made it harder to discover whether and how he acted on it. Exploring those possibilities and probabilities is the point. It’s one reason there’s a comments section.

        • LeeNLP149 says:

          Your comment about Dr. Wheeler’s “habit” of not articulating her point brings to mind words from Tolkien’s book The Two Towers:

          “In one thing you have not changed, dear friend,” said Aragorn: “you still speak in riddles.” “What? In riddles?” said Gandalf. “No! For I was talking aloud to myself. A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to; the long explanations needed by the young are wearying.”

          • N.E. Brigand says:

            Nice. I always appreciate a Lord of the Rings reference! Of course, the youngest character in Gandalf’s presence at that point is Aragorn himself, and the very day that Gandalf utters these words is Aragorn’s 88th birthday (this is not mentioned in the main text but can be discovered in the appendices).

    • bitte says:

      My read is that she created a delay and they exploited it.
      Could be opportunistic. Or … But there is no evidence at all that supports that idea that we know of.

      I think Former AFPD’s post below might be correct.

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      • wasD4v1d says:

        I think that’s exactly it. The delay gave the prosecution more time to bring De Oliveira inextricably into the frame, and to more precisely assess the involvement and timing of others. In other words, to tighten the grip – the inherent risk of a shotgun approach is that it can get sloppy, and that never has a good outcome.

      • FLwolverine says:

        “And they exploited it”

        Is “they” referring to DOJ (as wasD4v1d says), or the Trump team?

        (Needless to say, I’m confused)

  2. Steve13209 says:

    I think it is more that they may not have thought they needed to do anything further to protect themselves once Judge Cannon got involved.

  3. Capemaydave says:

    “But we are butting against the date when Trump’s continued conspiracy to obstruct the investigation happened during the window she [Cannon] created by improperly intervening in the case.”

    The elephant in the court room.

    • Jharp jharp says:

      Not a lawyer here but this seems pretty significant.

      Is there any chance that Judge Cannon could be disqualified from the case?

      • Capemaydave says:

        I’m no lawyer so can’t comment on disqualification.

        I imagine the reality of Marcy’s point will be the unmentioned issue…hanging over the Judge.

        Maybe losing the Judicial lottery in this district was really a win.

      • Eichhörnchen says:

        Another way to look at it is that she inadvertently gave them more rope to hang themselves with.

  4. WMB_28JUL2023_1007h says:

    I believe it is possible to include Judge Cannon in the conspiracy; but will they?

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      • Rwood0808 says:

        I raised the possibility of the DOJ finding coms between trump and his soldiers mentioning Cannon or even attempted communications with her and was promptly shot down by Bmaz with one of his “Got any proof!” comments.

        Since trump and his ilk have proven themselves stupid enough to do so I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility. If said coms were found how would that impact her participation in the case? Would Smith be obligated to reveal them?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Probable and not being “outside the realm of possibility” are different things. When there’s proof of Cannon’s involvement, as opposed to that of Trump and his courtiers, let me know.

          • Rwood0808 says:

            The only thing I can prove is that you repeated what I already said and didn’t answer either of the questions.

            I know there’s no proof, the question was how does it impact the case if said proof is found?

            • BirdGardener says:

              I think the general feeling here is that such conjecture is too hypothetical to be worth speculating on at this time. There may be other sites that engage in discussions of that nature, but from what I’ve seen, it is discouraged here.

              • jdmckay8 says:

                it is discouraged here.

                … and for very, very good reasons. Prevents a lot of misleading distractions, helps keep the work here on purpose, and really REALLY preserves Verified Factual Events in a timeline(s) that render them reliable.

                Or to put it simply, keeps this site clean in a way uncommon anywhere else. That has great value.

      • Attygmgm says:

        Keep in mind, when considering the idea of Judge Cannon being removed for any reason, that a judge’s job is to make decisions on the record before her. That she was wildly wrong in the first wave is information only, not a basis to recuse. Correcting trial courts who err is why appellate courts exist. As long as she makes decisions on the record before her, she is doing her job. How well she does it, time will tell. There’s just no basis to remove a judge for doing her job.

      • timbozone says:

        Not in cases of significant national security information being mishandled to the extent alleged. The counter intelligence folks need to be able to do their jobs without hacks or worse interfering from the judicial branch for good reason. Again, people need to really, really understand that this is about the possible leaking of controlled national defense information, about the amount of damage that can be done if the entire government and the nation do not take the surrounding issues seriously. Is Cannon an advocate against government secrecy? I haven’t seen indication that’s the case. Therefore, why her initial “mistakes” in taking up Trump’s suit last year?

    • N.E. Brigand says:

      No, but perhaps it’s not too much to hope that Judge Cannon will come to understand how she got played by Donald Trump last year and will take a more skeptical view of his requests.

      • Eichhörnchen says:

        Maybe. But Trump is the one accumulating indictments. Cannon is not responsible for his criminality.

        It feels like folks are running with the ball in the wrong direction.

  5. Hindmost9 says:

    I read this as at least raising the possibility that Trump influenced Cannon to intervene – he obtained the pledge of loyalty from his team, and suborned ‘his’ judge as step 2 of his obstruction plot.

    But emptywheel may only have been implying that Cannon innocently obstructed Justice for Trump, buying him time to continue his efforts to obstruct Justice.

    • Fraud Guy says:

      Cannon didn’t innocently intervene.
      As the investigation was getting hotter, Trump’s attorneys filed for a novel (and according to better legal minds here, batshit) injunction against the ongoing investigation, in the closest federal court to his home, which so luckily happened to be that of a judge who he appointed right before he left office.
      Then Cannon followed the logic of that request until such time as the 11th Circuit slapped it down, hard, and she then pulled herself off, giving Trump and his attorneys a few more months to fill in the gaps in their defense, and give them a few more months to try to delay towards getting him reelected, at which point he will want to use the power of the Presidency to make it all go away. Oopsie.

      • Ravenous hoarde says:

        Just like the conffin theory, I completely disregard this line of thinking.

        But… I believe I read here that the “equitable jurisdiction” was her prodding and idea. His team didn’t even come to her with a full fledged request. Just trump flavored posturing.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          Here’s the 11th Circuit’s ruling that vacates Cannon’s Special Master order (which was indeed an Equitable Jurisdiction concoction out of thin air):
          https://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/23323385/trump-ca11-2022-12-01.pdf

          But if you bother to read it you will see that they explicitly called her out for her actual solicitation from Trump’s team for an EJ rationale, which they provided and she used in her SM order — and which was entirely bogus.

          It wasn’t “her prodding or idea” in the least (they proffered it in their suit and then lamely fleshed it out for her at her request); not that she had any business considering it, of course.

          That was all spelled out in that slapdown remand.

      • Sheesh49 says:

        Judge Cannon’s court is in Fort Pierce–it is NOT the closest Federal courthouse to Mar-a-lago–that would be West Palm Beach, where it should have been filed. Trump want to the tiny outpost of Fort Pierce precisely to get Judge Cannon on his case.

      • timbozone says:

        Yes. She was behaving, in taking up last years civil suit on judicial whim it seems, as a political hack (or worse) would. At best, it turned out her thinking on the matter was judicial fantasy. Now she’s got the whole plate in front of her, something she might have hoped not to have to again as much. Or maybe she is now thinking she needs to be more careful in the wishful thinking department and is jonesing for the chance at redemption? We’ll see how far she goes to try to right her own course. So far she seems to be hoving away, maybe, from hackery in the current instance, her aims held close.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          She’s a Federalist Soc darling and advanced acolite, or “deacon” if you like. When they bail on Trump (this superseding set of charges may nudge that along), watch for her to reset her deference settings.

          I’m watching to compare how Smith deals with his new defendant over against his brisque dispatch after the original indictment of Trump and Nauta. That will be interesting.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      As I noted on the prior thread, I do not think Judge Cannon was a willing participant in this whack-a-mole exercise. What she has proved willing to do is to approve requests for delays, but after getting smacked by the 11th Circuit she’s not as willing as she was before. Ergo, the recent rulings were a step back from what Judge Cannon probably would have done before the 11th Circuit intervention. What the defense needed from Cannon was a delay, and adding her to a conspiracy was not necessary at that time to get it.

      Now it would require her to be willing to actively join, but with the alert attention on her conduct it would not remain secret for long. I don’t see Judge Cannon taking that risk. The Amarillo guy, maybe but not Cannon now that she knows everyone will be watching.

      As for the new charge list, will that lead to more delays when the defense team inevitably asks for them?

    • Rugger_9 says:

      I think Cannon was not an active part of the defense plot. All they needed from her was a delay, and their arguments were thin at best for it. However, they were pretty sure she would grant one out of the nature of this case and her inexperience in the SCI topic. No need to add plotters if not required.

      After the 11th Circuit smackdown, Cannon has been more skeptical of the claims based on her orders not giving the defense everything they wanted, and we’ll see more as these new developments play out with an inevitable defense request for more delays.

    • Alan_OrbitalMechanic says:

      Is it possible that the inexperienced judge Cannon simply thought she was doing a good job of avoiding any appearance of bias by bringing in an outside judge to do an evidence review?

      Yes, it was a delay helpful to the defense. But it was also a process that would have put the evidence beyond reproach, albeit sometime in 2026 or so.

      • madhaus1 says:

        No. If her aim were to avoid appearance of bias, then why would she completely undo the decisions the special master made and rewrite orders with her own rulings, grossly favoring the defense?

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          …and why would she completely ignore Equitable Jurisdiction parameters making it applicable only to “exceptional and anomalous” cases, along with completely ignoring that little-used power-from-the-bench’s four-part Richey Test? The appellate remand order was thorough and unflinching in demolishing her “theorizing” on that, including her appropriation of Trump’s lame rationale. It was excoriating.

          Again, no, her motives were not to introduce impartiality. (My memory is a bit hazy on this, but didn’t she also nix one of the govt-chosen SM candidates? Or am I conflating something else with it?)

  6. Former AFPD says:

    Hmmm. I suppose the issue here could be whether the prosecution wants to introduce evidence that implicates Judge Cannon’s actions in handling the previous litigation, which were determined by the 11th Circuit to be legally improper. If so, Judge Cannon would have to rule on the admissibility of evidence that implicates her judicial decision-making. That sounds like a conflict of interest to me. I am speculating about all of this, based on the contents of this post. However, such a litigation twist seems to be lurking just beneath the surface.

    • emptywheel says:

      Right: I don’t think she’s directly implicated. But I do think if and when the conspiracy extends into September, it may put her in an awkward position.

      And while I didn’t say it, they’ve teed up a question that’ll OBVIOUSLY be appealed if she rules for Trump (on whether he can discuss classified information in his office). So they may be preparing escape hatches.

      • timbozone says:

        Thank you for not letting this issue go.

        The nature of the legal maneuvering around this case is complicated because of US national security laws and government record handling. It is hoped that Cannon is now more onboard with some of the reasoning behind many of those laws. But, the beauty and threat of life-time appointments is that you can take your own course as long as you do not upset the Congress or law enforcement beyond a nebulous pale, the fuzziness being even more problematic due to the volatile period of current US politics.

      • dadidoc1 says:

        When a judge does something that seems to impede a prosecution involving a special prosecutor, does the special prosecutor have the tools to see if there was coordination between the judge and the target of the prosecution?

    • RitaRita says:

      Wouldn’t evidence that the defendants took advantage of Judge Cannon’s generous rulings in their favor to further their improper purposes serve to sour Judge Cannon against them? This assumes, as I do, that her rulings were in good faith, even if wrong.

      • P’villain says:

        You’d expect anyone i. That position to take care not to get played again. But create animus – no. At least one would hope not. Not what judges should do.

  7. flounder says:

    Is it standard operating procedure for DOJ to provide “draft subpoenas” to the lawyers of people under investigation two days prior to the issuance of the actual subpoena?

      • hstancat says:

        BMAZ, any idea why DOJ would float a draft subpoena in this case. I could see the point if they were negotiating with a neutral party over verbiage to articulate the most precise, least intrusive scope of the subpoena. But it does not seem possible they would have regarded Garten as such a neutral third party custodian.

        • Super Dave says:

          As Former AFPD implied, DOJ poked the bear with the draft subpoena to see what the bear would do. The bear ate the bait.

        • timbozone says:

          IANBmaz but I would say that it served a number of purposes.

          1. As a courtesy to a former President’s lawyers, and other potential subpoena target’s counsel.

          2. To put on notice those given the draft that there was a serious legal issue at hand, the effect being to be ready to produce and not to impede.

          3. Hypothetical. To watch what happens when pressure mounts via means and methods not always apparent; this is a serious counter-intelligence investigation, not just a podunk government records case. (Note also that “accidental reveals” might also fall into such a category.)

            • timbozone says:

              I am trying to value your assessment. What is your assessment beyond “Items one and two would be hopelessly redundant and appear not to apply”? It goes without saying that you and I also appear to disagree over the likelihood of #1 & #2, even though there is strong evidence that #1 applies to other instances of deference to a former President throughout this and other cases in this and related matters.

      • flounder says:

        I didn’t think so. I’m trying to think of reasons that DOJ would do this, and the only thing I can come up with that doesn’t involve giving Trump an extra-special legal “Safe Space” is if there was already a sealed warrant on someone’s phones and the feds were already watching on the inside to see what happened.

      • jdmckay8 says:

        Agree. Among other things, Smith is strategic. I’ve thought for a while now he’s doing some things for reasons that are not obvious. Marcy suggested as much when it became clear first indictment in Florida was imminent and so many were squawking about it (why???): eg. saying maybe Fl. indictment was strategic giving Smith strong options if something goes south in Cannon’s courtroom.

        Another way to put it: Smith is playing multi-dimensional chess. Trump’s team doesn’t know he is doing that. This is a good thing!!!

        • bmaz says:

          Lol, this is laughable. If Smith was the genius eleventy dimensional chess player you describe, almost everything would be different.

          • emptywheel says:

            I get that you’re perturbed new evidence was obtained and a superseding indictment was obtained.

            You’ve said that. But, of course, anyone who gives a fuck about EVEN THE PUBLIC RECORD can explain it.

              • emptywheel says:

                I thought we had a rule on this site about not blathering on in defiance of known facts.

                  • emptywheel says:

                    I’m not the one squealing that a prosecutor should have charged this out of venue bc doing it the right way is “dumb.”

                    There are facts. You are utterly ignoring them bc you’re sure you know better.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Lol. There are “facts” and there is venue/jurisdiction. And, yes, I will stick with what I have said. But, heck, what do I know other than having actually successfully argued it all before. In an actual court.

          • jdmckay8 says:

            I said that only as a test, my friend, to see what happened when I smacked that big red button on your forehead that says: TEST ME. You did not disappoint!!! I can try a few more times with another username if you think we need a bigger dataset. [G]

            We shall see. If it turns out as you say (almost everything would be different), I’ll buy you a beer. If after its all said and done, hindsight shows I was right, I’ll still buy you a beer. Then you can wipe all the beer spray off the eleventy dimensional chess (board), and maybe we all can admit we learned a thing or 2.

            And if things REALLY go well, hopefully some of the best amongst us can grow past playing My-Boat’s-Bigger-Than-Your-Boat.

            (I don’t think I mentioned this on EW, so…) Over last few months I spent a few evening reading what I could find wrt who Smith is as a person. What his friends say, how he has fun, whatever. I came to the conclusion he’s one of those people who rises above what is considered top-tier, in his profession.

            Among (quite a few) other things, Smith averages 3 Ironman competitions a year. Anyone who’s seriously trained will tell you, especially for very demanding stuff like this, when your body is in that kind of shape your mind is sharper. Smith is no pantywaist, and he is not intimidated. Who better to prosecute Trump, a guy who has evangelized intimidation into beliefs in it as virtue amongst MAGA’s.

            Let the good times roll!!! (t’heehee).

            • bmaz says:

              Um, Kyrsten Sinema does triathlons all the time. Is that what impresses you? Because I care more about the law than what some dope judge does for exercise.

              • jdmckay8 says:

                Um, Kyrsten Sinema does triathlons all the time. Is that what impresses you?

                ouch. That one really hurt, dude. Really really hurt deep, where it counts!!! :( Nevertheless, I remain impressed with Smith. We disagree.

                Because I care more about the law than what some dope judge does for exercise.

                dope judge? That reads like slight of hand way to claim high road (I really only care about the law) without actually doing so. I doubt you believe Smith doesn’t care about the law as well, but don’t want to put words in your mouth.

                The difference between you and Smith is not that (that you are alone on the high road), rather it is you do not agree with how Smith has chosen to practice law… how he is managing this case.

                Much different then way you frame it. Its a little devious.

        • Sheesh49 says:

          Smith had not yet been appointed Special Counsel when the draft subpoena was provided. He was appointed on Nov 18, 2022 after Trump announced his run for the 2024 presidential election.

  8. FishOutofWater00 says:

    So, the key question that follows these revelations is, “Are these grounds for removing Judge Cannon from the case?”

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      Her employment of equitable jurisdiction in the Special Master ruling was smacked down so forcefully — and with the Chief Judge of the Circuit on the panel that issued the ruling — that she was effectively put on notice that her judgement was verging on suspect, the ruling having described her reasoning as “an abuse of discretion.” Especially egregious was her blind acceptance of Trump’s team’s suggestion (which she actually solicited) that equitable jurisdiction applies, even though none of the 4 tests for that extraordinary assertion of judicial oversight of law enforcement were even remotely met. She even made the comment in her ruling that the government’s control over the products of the SW represented a ” stigma associated with the threat of future prosecution.” The panel’s dismissal of that one was the appellate court equivalent of “LOFuckingL.”

      https://docs-cdn-prod.news-engineering.aws.wapo.pub/publish_document/5c87d9b8-631f-41c7-92e8-129f412d0e0f/published/5c87d9b8-631f-41c7-92e8-129f412d0e0f.pdf

      Still and all, that doesn’t present grounds for her removal from the case, although it is as clear an example for a judge to self-recuse because his/her “impartiality might reasonably be questioned” as anyone can imagine.

      https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/28/455

      It’s hard to see where Trump’s team moves from here, but the case is likely to be seen as mired in discovery for the near-to-medium (and maybe even medium-to-long) term, given this momentous superseding set of charges on top of the recent Cannon ruling pushing the trial starting date well into Primary season.

      My gut tells me that this trial will be overshadowed as soon as the J6 sledgehammer falls in the DC Circuit which is dominated by liberals, including the Chief Judge. IMO, Smith will let the FL case stew it its own juices while the seditious conspiracy that was J6 gets an airing in a venue that won’t hobble him like Cannon did in the documents case.

      In effect, if that’s the way it goes down, she will be rendered not moot, but largely superfluous in Trump’s efforts to slither free of judicial peril. This is part of why Smith has played his cards in this fashion, from my outsider POV.

  9. Zirczirc says:

    I don’t trust Cannon at all, and certainly her initial insertion into documents case was wrong, not just in my unprofessional opinion but in the opinion of the appellate court. But this post seems to invite me to make inferences about her rulings with regard to this superseding indictment. Inferences for which we have no evidence other than the timeline, which aint enough. Not for me anyway. So I proceed with the assumption that she is diligent and honest but hopelessly blinded by her ideology and that that if her thumb is/was on a scale it is a thumb she doesn’t see because she views her actions as perfectly legit. That said, is your point, EW, that the overlap between her rulings in her initial intervention and the defendants’ charged actions may become so obvious that she’d have to recuse? I don’t see enough here for that, but is that the direction your pointing?

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      It seems to me that Cannon has already made the most consequential decision, and it’s one that prosecutors can’t challenge: to hold the trial in her home court in Fort Pierce, Florida. Given the Trump-friendly voting base and the judge’s control over procedure, the superseding indictment appears to give DOJ more insurance–if not a guaranteed conviction, because there’s no such thing, then some built-in handholds for procedural appeal, as EW seems to be suggesting.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Holding the trial in Ft. Pierce is an irritation, especially for the press. But it’s Cannon’s home turf; everywhere else, she’d have to sign the visitor’s log. Cannon is the assigned federal trial court judge; she controls procedure wherever she sits.

        As for the jury pool, it’s federal district wide, significantly larger than the immediate area around Ft. Pierce.

        • PJB2point0 says:

          If the pool is federal district wide, that means a juror could be required to travel from as far as Key West to Ft. Pierce. Are you sure that is right?

          • P J Evans says:

            I’ve heard of jurors from San Luis Obispo for federal trials in Los Angeles, a distance of 200 miles. It’s district.

            • sohelpmedog says:

              If you call the Fort Pierce Division of the SDFL Clerk’s Office and speak to the clerk who deals with juries, she will likely tell you, as she told me, that jurors for trials in Fort Pierce Division are drawn from the the following counties: Highlands, Okeechobee, Indian River, St. Lucie, and Martin. I asked her if “she was feeding me stupid shit,” and she said “no, she was just trying to give me correct information and that I shouldn’t speak that way. I apologized. She forgave me.

              • bmaz says:

                I don’t care what some random clerk you rang up said. The jury pool in any district is the entire district. SDFL is pretty big. Mine maybe bigger, but it is close. If you do not believe me, here is the government website. Again, do not gaslight people on this blog. And you are doing just that.

                To be fair, if a citizen is from far away from the locus of the trial, and it would pose a hardship, they very well may be excused. But, please, don’t lie to people about the potential jury pool.

                • sohelpmedog says:

                  I wasn’t gaslighting anyone nor lying. It was an error, which maybe something that you have heard of people making. And I have no doubt that “[yours] is maybe bigger.”

                • sohelpmedog says:

                  Turns out it was an error when I said I made a an error. It seems that “some random clerk” knows whereof she speaks. By letter dated May 5, 2010 from The Judicial Council of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit to the Chief Judge of the SDFL, the Council approved the plan of the SDFL to have the jury pools comprised of eligible citizens within the Divisions of the District where the Court sits, not the entire District.
                  https://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/sites/flsd/files/JuryPlan.pdf

                  • DK2_28JUL2023_1652h says:

                    Why did you back down? Of course the clerk is right. On process the clerks are always right, and when they’re wrong they’re still right.

                    I’m wondering if bmaz is going to admit error and apologize for calling you a liar. I’ve been watching this space for awhile and I don’t think I’ve seen that.
                    Though, to be sure, I don’t think I’ve previously seen one of bmaz’s categorical pronouncements so authoritatively destroyed, so this is all sui generis.

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                    • sohelpmedog says:

                      I looked at the website cited for the SDFL and what Bmaz said (not the ad hominem invective part) seemed right, so I thought I was mistaken. But then as you noted, the clerks usually get it right, so I did some more searching and noted my error in conceding about 20 minutes later.
                      I can only go by what I have seen here, so I don’t think an apology is ever coming from Bmaz. Waiting for Godot, I am not.

                    • bmaz says:

                      I literally cited the official government guidance. There is a reason for it. Let’s take D-AZ for instance. Should jurors only come from Phoenix or Tucson? Of course not. The district is the entire state. If some clerk told you “golly, no, the pool is only from Phoenix and Tucson” it would be laughable. For starters, you “want” rural and smaller town people included. They are citizens of the district too.

                      I have had potential jurors from more far flung places. If they indicate it would be a hardship for them, and wish to not serve, nobody, court nor attorneys, ever objects to them being excused. You would be an idiot to object. But they do get initially summoned. As they should be.

                      If the one judge Ft. Pierce court is pulling from only Ft. Pierce city limits and not the entire district, they should be investigated, because that is neither right nor proper.

                    • sohelpmedog says:

                      Bmaz’ example of selecting jurors only from the City of Fort Pierce is a false argument. There was no assertion that the jury pool is restricted to the “City of Fort Pierce.” The jury pool is the five counties that comprise the Fort Pierce Division. That includes the urban and rural areas of the Division. So let’s see, if at the time of trial anyone remembers this, from whence the jurors come.

                  • timbozone says:

                    Interesting. Is that still the case? Is that something that is normally done? Seems kind of irregular but I know not of what I speak so…

                    • sohelpmedog says:

                      I don’t know for sure. I only assume so by noting that what the clerk said comports with the Council’s letter. This also comports with the media reports as to the pool from which the jury will be picked, but I wasn’t relying on that.

            • DavidScott says:

              I am not a lawyer, but was a court reporter in Federal Court for over twenty years. Our trial juries, both civil and criminal, were always selected by Division. Any party could move for a district-wide jury panel, but it was extremely rare.

  10. David_05MAY023_1124h says:

    Is one of the implications that her delay, regardless of intention, blew up in T’s face by leading his crew to commit crimes of obstruction they wouldn’t have otherwise or at least in a way that was more provable?

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    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump has never needed encouragement to crime, only the opportunity. Cannon’s rulings might be implicated at the margins, but-this-is-on-Trump.

  11. ToldainDarkwater says:

    My take on Cannon is that she thought of the documents case as an overblown, politically charged witch hunt and so when Trump came to her with a crazy request, she was happy to do something to slow those guys down, because of course they wouldn’t find anything. She even threw in her own legal theory. The object wasn’t to win, just to slow things down.

    The first indictment was probably a giant wake-up call. She may still be a rock-solid Republican, but most of the rock-solid Republicans I know are appalled by what’s in the indictment. Especially the stack of boxes on the ballroom stage.

    If you’re a MAGA, you stick your fingers in your ears and say “look over there!”, but you don’t have a rebuttal.

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    • emptywheel says:

      I don’t rule out her hedging her bets to help him through the general if he is the candidate.

      For all we know she’s a DeSantis supporter, though, and would be happy to put the final nail in Trump’s coffin if there is one, which thus far looks unlikely.

      • vinniegambone says:

        Suprised Doctor by your doubts there is a final nail likely to be found for Trump’s coffin.
        From.what is being described in the indictments it sounds like Smith is nailing Trump reasonably well.

  12. FrankM78 says:

    After re-reading the paragraph describing the Signal chat, could this “PAC Representative” be considered part of obstruction of justice?. IANAL. Thanks, Frank

    • timbozone says:

      The question is whether or not there was criminal intent that is provable sufficiently to cause cooperation because of legal stick. Also, there are folks who feel guilty even if they are not. It’s a complicated mess for sure, particularly when there’s possibly millions of dollars, etc, flowing willy-nilly, and where saying the subjectively “correct” thing isn’t always the proper response to a legal inquiry.

    • emptywheel says:

      Not unless witnesses will say THEIR OWN testimony was obstructed, like Cassidy Hutchinson did. Think about it like a corporation. They all do and will represent employees in legal matters.

  13. vinniegambone says:

    Should have tapped whoever Guiliani tapped to swiss cheese his phones.
    Cheese and crackers, one would think one couldn’t swing a dead cat around at Maralogo without hitting a russian agent. Victor, please, small favor, wipe our security video.
    Speaking of taps, at what point after catching crime evidence might electronic surveillance be justified ?

    Dont mean call tracking, i mean audio. WTF ?

    • xyxyxyxy says:

      If Nauta has somehow cooperated and given a wire, would DOJ have to tell Trump that Nauta is cooperating?

        • P’villain says:

          Indeed, he might yet. Though he has seemed pretty well dug in up to now, at some point I sense there may be a rush for the exits among the growing number of co-conspirators.

  14. GrantS01 says:

    While every moment is a coincidence and there’s always room for more, Trump is long past the happenstance-coincidence-pattern stage. The same can’t (yet) be said of Cannon.

    DOJ is letting Cannon know she’s reached the coincidence stage.

    • RitaRita says:

      I think DOJ may be educating the Judge. She is relatively new and doesn’t have the national security experience that the DC judges have.

  15. bgThenNow says:

    I hope this is not a dumb question. Does a judge see the actual evidence/discovery at this time or anytime before the trial? Are judges too busy to read up before trial beyond the charges, or would that taint their process?

    • timbozone says:

      I’d think it unlikely that a busy judge would waste their time about hypothetical’s now in a case that may involved pleas early on, and when there isn’t a trial start planned until 9+ months hence. It’s much more likely that Cannon might now be boning up on how to handle pleas in national defense information and government records related cases at this point…if her alleged lack of experience in those areas is even substantially true; Cannon used to be a Federal prosecutor/attorney so its not beyond imagining that she may have at least a cursory familiarity with some of the ins and outs of similar circumstances for similar cases.

      • xyxyxyxy says:

        If my former boss was involved in shit like this, I would want to read it. Even if it wasn’t my boss.

  16. Tech Support says:

    CNN with a story about De Oliveira being a useful idiot:

    https://www.cnn.com/2023/07/28/politics/trump-maralago-indictment-carlos-de-oliveira/index.html

    I saw it opined elsewhere in the comments that Taveras, the IT guy, may have flipped since the quoted statements in the superseding indictment are between him and De Oliveira.

    I hope that De Oliveira flips too. I hope his family is encouraging him to do so. The story creates the impression that he’s a decent and simple person. I could certainly see Trump and the den of vipers that encircle him trying to scare the bejeezus out of De Oliveira and that Trump’s money and influence are the only thing that can protect him now. “You’re in too deep man! You gotta see it through.” If the portrayal is reasonably accurate this is a guy whose life will be much better off if he whole-heartedly cooperates.

    • Student Driver says:

      Check out @donniedarkened for the Trump-as-Antichrist case. I often wonder if there’s a better explanation…

      “One of the great villains of American history”—Larry Sabato

      “Everything Trump Touches Dies”—Rick Wilson

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m so old I remember when people were putting out stories on Nauta like that. Turned out … not so much.

      It’s much more credible in this case. But ultimately, with the advice of a (Trump-paid) lawyer, he went back at least a second time and did not correct his story.

    • RitaRita says:

      According to the CNN article and the indictment, De Oliveira was promoted from maintenance worker/valet to “property manager” in Jan. 2022. Like any good mob boss, Trump knows that one way to insure loyalty is $ and prestige. De Oliveira probably thought that he had achieved the American dream until the Feds came to visit.

    • harpie says:

      I’ve been wondering about De Oliveira’s residency/citizenship status and how that might affect his actions; how would a felony conviction affect him? Does it make a difference?

      According to his landlord [quoted in that article], he immigrated from Portugal, and has been here about 30 years [he’s 56 years old], first in Massachusetts, and then Florida [around 20 years]. According to a family member: “He isn’t familiar with how the government here works […]”, which might suggest that he has not gone through the naturalization process, because they DO learn something about how the government here is supposed to work.

      • Rayne says:

        Would definitely be Trump’s MO because Trump org hired illegal aliens for a number of different facilities. It’s a way to compromise employees to force them to remain loyal or risk expulsion from the US.

        • harpie says:

          Yes. uggh! It’s so gross.
          And WHO gave De Oliveira his most recent promotion…
          one of the CALIMARI’s? And why?

      • RitaRita says:

        Regardless of his immigration status, he is an older blue collar worker living in Florida. More than likely he has not saved a lot for retirement. He has worked for Mar a Lago for 10 years, where he recently was promoted. He is not likely to find another such job. He is now caught between his employer and the government. I would hate to be in his shoes.

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          FL minimum wage January 1, 2021 $8.65 September 30, 2021 $10.00 September 30, 2022 $11.00
          September 30, 2023 $12.00.
          Even with promotion, do you think he’s making more than the upcoming minimum wage?
          Like other similar businesses, a cheap boss who doesn’t pay his bills and hires illegals.
          See Savage Librarian July 29, 2023 at 10:28 am

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Trump has long had an addiction to cheap, powerless, undocumented workers. He built one of his NYC towers with a boatload of them, then refused to acknowledge or pay them. If he sits again in the Oval Office, that’s how he’ll treat everyone.

Comments are closed.