What a whirl TFG Indictment Week Electric Boogaloo II has been, huh, with the indictment dropping on Thursday, and then once the right wing talking heads and Congress critters had been given enough rope to hang themselves, the full text of the indictment was unsealed. BAM!
Like so many, if not all, of you I read the indictment as soon as I had time. What I didn’t expect to see illustrated so clearly was how sad-sack it all was: the Keystone Cops routine with the boxes and Waltine “The Saltine” Nauta and the DOJ and TFG’s lawyer, the photos of the boxes everywhere, and THE BATHROOM. OMG, it was somehow just as we had always imagined it would be and yet so much worse at the same time.
For me the best part was TFG doing his impression of Gollum :
TRUMP: “I don’t want anybody looking, I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes, I really don’t, I don’t want you looking through my boxes,” Trump said, as recounted by the indictment, which cited how one of the attorneys had “memorialized” the conversation.
My overwhelming takeaway from the documents indictment was that TFG is toast. There are contemporaneous attorney notes and there are TFG’s own statements. The indictment wasn’t about having presidential records but about having documents that were supposed to be kept secret. It was about well-documented obstruction. It was about a documented conspiracy.
It doesn’t end there though. On Tuesday Andrew Weissman said that there is a grand jury sitting in New Jersey which could hear evidence about the batches of documents that went to Bedminster. And that puts Waltine Nauta into play, per Marcy Wheeler:
Which brings me to one other detail that I can’t get out of my head, given the uncharged examples of Trump disseminating classified information at Bedminster and the two instances when classified documents went to New Jersey never to be seen again.
One other reason Jack Smith gave to unseal the indictment was so he could share it to, among other entities, “sealed entities” and the grand jury in DC.
To the United States District Court of the District of Columbia, under seal, in relation to grand jury and sealed matters in that jurisdiction.
Among those sealed entities are the complaint that Woodward belatedly filed, after learning that Nauta got a target letter. Jack Smith needs to show Chief Judge James Boasberg that when Bratt strongly encouraged Woodward to advise his client to cooperate last November, DOJ already had really damning information showing he conspired to hoard these documents.
But the sealed entities aren’t the only entity that needs to see this indictment. So does a grand jury.
The investigation didn’t move, entirely, to Florida. Part of it was presented to a grand jury in Florida. But there are other parts that remain in DC, and those parts that remain in DC had to be told this indictment was coming.
This indictment is, in very significant part, a renewed invitation to Walt Nauta to cooperate in an ongoing grand jury investigation into what happens to documents when they go to Bedminster and disappear forever.
A very persuasive invitation.
You should read the entire blog entry—it’s very detailed.
The other thing that happened this week is this:
DC Circuit GRANTS STAY of its ruling in US v Fischer, which had greenlit use of "obstruction of an official proceeding" felony (18 USC 1512c2) in J6 cases. Stay lasts till SCOTUS rules on cert petition. Sword of Damocles still hangs over charge leveled in >300 J6 cases. pic.twitter.com/8JtgQUSpYy
— Roger Parloff (@rparloff) June 13, 2023
In a nutshell, the basis for a key crime that over 300 1/6 defendants have been charged with, and which could be used to charge TFG and his lieutenants, is in the review and appeal process. (If you’d like to read more about it, there are excellent pieces on the Emptywheel blog, here and here.)
At this point, it would be appealed to the Supreme Court and subject to its whimsical judgment. In my opinion, SCOTUS left TFG high and dry in all of the voter fraud cases, and I could see it turning a cold shoulder to him once again, especially after last week’s indictment was unsealed. And if SCOTUS lets this decision stand, and given that Mark Meadows has already testified, I would not be surprised—although I do not expect—to see the 1/6 indictment by the end of June.
Hey Donald Trump
I don’t know how TFG thinks he can beat any of these current and pending charges. I know his only goal is to regain the White House to dismiss the investigations and pardon people, but he doesn’t have an electoral path to victory. And since he no longer controls the DC security apparatus, he can’t plan and execute another insurrection. It is what it is.
Do you think TFG is up late thinking about his misdeeds, too?