A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
This Took Way Too Long
More than two years after the Jan. 6 attack, the Justice Department is finally getting around to subpoenaing Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
The existence of a Meadows subpoena was first reported by CNN Wednesday evening. It was also reported by the WSJ. Both reports indicated that the subpoena concerns the Jan. 6 investigation by Special Counsel Jack Smith, not his separate probe of Trump’s mishandling of classified documents. Meadows was subpoenaed in late January before former Vice President Mike Pence was subpoenaed, according to the WSJ.
You don’t need a reminder on why Meadows is central to the 2020 election subversion effort. TPM’s series on The Meadows Texts made that abundantly clear. But the subpoena does raise some interesting questions about what DOJ may be focusing on.
I remain baffled by how long it’s taken the Justice Department to pull the trigger on this subpoena (assuming it’s the first and only subpoena of Meadows in its Jan. 6 probe, and there’s no sign of any others). Clearly, Meadows is so high up in the scheme that you wouldn’t start with him, but even allowing for working your way through other witnesses first, this has taken an extraordinarily long time to come to fruition. Only now will litigation kick off over the claims and privileges Meadows will likely assert as grounds not to comply with the subpoena, another source of delay.
The Justice Department was painfully slow in launching the investigation of the Jan. 6 higher-ups in the immediate aftermath of the coup attempt. Some of that can be attributed to the transition to the new administration, some to the remarkable size of the investigation into the Jan. 6 rioters. But those mitigating factors aside, there were unconscionable delays in investigating the broader conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election.
Memories fade, evidence is lost or spoiled, witnesses die. The risks of delay are real and substantial in any investigation. But the cost of delay is more pronounced in the Jan. 6 investigation because it’s different. It’s not just about enforcing the rule of law, but about accountability for a sustained attack on the rule of law itself.
The insurrectionists are like a cancer on the body politic. It has metastasized and continues to grow and spread. We’ve already conducted one federal election since Jan. 6 without the necessary and proper accountability having attached to the leaders of the insurrection. A second national election is looming in which the lead insurrectionist will be not just a candidate, but the likely GOP nominee.
Special Counsel Jack Smith now seems to be working with the sense of urgency the matter demands. But it’s awfully late in the game for the Justice Department to finally have its hair on fire about the threat to the rule of the law and the democratic order.
A Glimpse Of The Georgia Criminal Case Against Trump?
The partial release of the report of the special grand jury that investigated Trump’s interference in the state’s 2020 election is slated for today.
The introduction, conclusion and a section on witnesses giving untruthful testimony to the grand jury are the only portions that will be released now because they don’t name any names. The rest of the report may be released later if and when District Attorney Fani Willis brings indictments.
Chances of today’s release offering real news and insights: 50-50.
Matt Gaetz Won’t Be Charged In Sex Trafficking Case
Reporting as far back as the fall indicated that federal prosecutors had decided not to charge Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in the sex trafficking case involving his longtime running buddy Joel Greenberg. That decision became official Wednesday when the Justice Department began letting witnesses in the case and Gaetz’s legal team know that charges would not be forthcoming.
The DOJ decision prompted howls from the reporters who led the way on the coverage of the Gaetz scandal. This is quite the rundown on their reporting:
Gaetz, you’ll recall, had sought a preemptive pardon from Trump in the waning days of his presidency. He didn’t get one.
Let’s Check In On George Santos
CNN: Top Republicans plot Santos’ ouster as embattled freshman weighs reelection
Daily Beast: George Santos Raked In Cash for a Recount That Never Happened
Daily Beast: Santos ‘Bestie’ Is Far-Right Activist Tied to Disgraced Albanian Prime Minister
Judge Scoffs At Trump’s Bid To Delay Jean Carroll Trial
Former President Trump’s latest bid to delay the upcoming trial of Jean Carroll’s defamation claim against him was dropkicked out of court by the New York judge.
After his previous attempts to delay the case, Trump’s latest gambit was to offer up a DNA sample, which he had long refused to do. The about-face would have set off a new round of discovery-related activities that would likely have forced the trial date to be moved back.
The judge was having none of it:
Until February 10, 2023, about ten weeks before this case is set to be tried, Mr. Trump has refused to provide his DNA. Moreover, he has employed litigation tactics the effect and probable purpose of which have been to delay Ms. Carroll’s actions against him an object that is significant in view of the fact that Ms. Carroll now is 79 years old.
Buffalo Shooter Sentenced To Life In Prison
The 19-year-old white man who pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of domestic terrorism motivated by hate for shooting Black people in a Buffalo grocery store last year was given a life sentence.
The highly emotional sentencing hearing included one man lunging at the defendant:
FBI Conducts Additional Searches In Biden Docs Case
The FBI conducted two separate searches at the University of Delaware as part of its investigation into President Biden’s handling of classified documents.
The university has been a repository for Biden documents dating back to his time in the Senate:
Investigators retrieved materials from two university locations on two different days. The material did not appear to have classified markings, according to the source, but they are now being reviewed by the FBI.
They examined two separate batches of documents during the searches: an archive of materials from Biden’s time in the US Senate and documents that Biden sent to the university in recent years.
Biden consented to and cooperated with the searches, suggesting the FBI was not executing a search warrant issued by a judge, which is consistent with the other searches the FBI has done during its probe.
- Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign kickoff included an invocation from anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic televangelist John Hagee, whose controversial endorsement of John McCain for president figured prominently in the 2008 campaign.
- Adam Frisch, the Democrat who came within a few hundred votes of upsetting Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) in 2022, will run against her again in 2024.
Sen. Bob Casey Recovering From Cancer Surgery
Perhaps one day the Senate majority will be robust enough that we won’t need to monitor the health of individual senators. Today is not that day.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) is recovering from prostate cancer surgery. His office said the procedure went well and no further treatment will be needed.
Pennsylvania’s other senator, John Fetterman, suffered a stroke during his campaign last year and was hospitalized again last week.
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