Trump May Not Escape This Time

Dahlia Lithwick:

If he were anyone else, one could say that former President Donald Trump has been having an exceedingly bad week. Indeed, were he anyone else, one might well be saying that it sure looks like the walls are closing in on him. But Donald Trump has been living in the Republic of Walls-Closing-Inistan for so very, very long that it’s difficult to know whether the former president will once again get away with simply lying about the square footage of the forever-shrinking penthouse.

That’s how I feel. I don’t want to get my hopes up that this time will turn out any differently. But it does seem he’s closer to disaster than he has been so far.

For example, David French writes at The Atlantic that Georgia Has a Very Strong Case Against Trump. By “Georgia,” of course, he means the Fulton Count District Attorney, Fani Willis. DA Willis wants a special grand jury in order to issue indictments to the many people refusing to testify otherwise. She may have enough evidence with the tape of the infamous Raffensperger phone call, but she may want to be sure she has an ironclad case. She might also be going beyond just the phone call.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is pursuing civil charges, which are easier to prove than criminal charges. AG James wants to be able to compel the Trumps, including the Donald himself, to submit to depositions about the conflicting claims they’ve made about their finances. The Trumps will probably take the 5th, because anything they say might be used against them by the Manhattan District Attorney, who is investigating criminal charges, as is the Westchester County District Attorney.

Meanwhile, thousands of Rudy Giuliani’s communications have been turned over to the Manhattan U.S. attorney.

The retired federal judge assigned to review the contents of 18 electronic devices seized from Rudolph W. Giuliani’s home and offices in Manhattan last spring has withheld about half of what former president Donald Trump’s personal lawyer argued should be kept out of the hands of investigators because it was privileged.

More than 3,000 communications were released to prosecutors on Wednesday, an action reflected in a four-page report submitted to a judge overseeing litigation on the FBI’s April 28 seizure of Giuliani’s phones and computers. The contents of the devices were not disclosed.

This is in regard to Rudy’s meddlings in Ukraine, a little matter that was the subject of Trump’s first impeachment. The stuff withheld probably involved attorney-client privilege.

And then there’s the January 6 committee. CNN reported this afternoon that the committee now has all the records from the National Archive that Trump tried to block. They’re also looking into the fake electors who filed fake elector certificates in anticipation of Vice President Mike Pence rejecting the Biden electoral votes that Trump claimed he had won. Even though Pence didn’t go along with the plan, his weird script change during the official counting suggests he knew something was up.

Greg Sargent anticipates that what the committee eventually reveals will be significant.

The committee’s new focus on Ivanka Trump signals what this eventual pile-up will look like. It shows the committee is developing an unexpectedly comprehensive picture of how inextricably linked the violence was to a genuine plot to thwart a legitimately elected government from taking power.

Which, in turn, should make it harder for Republicans to campaign on Jan. 6 mythologizing without facing more intense scrutiny and blowback.

The committee appears to be preparing to show that the mob was sicced on Mike Pence deliberately as part of a larger scheme to get electoral votes tossed out.

Maybe some day we’ll find out what really happened with the inauguration money. Well, we can dream.