The Mahablog

Politics. Society. Group Therapy.

The Mahablog

Trump Learns Lawsuits Can Require Effort

I almost feel guilty about the weather. Where I am, it’s lovely. Bright sunshine, temperatures in the 60s. This is my favorite kind of weather, sunny but not hot. I hope everyone in Florida is getting through the storm okay.

Trump doesn’t want to have to do his homework. Reuters reports,

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump are resisting a federal judge’s instruction to submit a sworn declaration on whether they believe the government’s list of property taken from Trump’s Florida estate is accurate.

According to a letter publicly filed by Trump’s lawyers on Wednesday, the former president’s legal team told Senior U.S. Judge Raymond Dearie, who is reviewing the materials taken in the federal raid of the Florida property, that they don’t believe Dearie has the authority to require them to make such a filing.

I am not a lawyer. But if you’re the one bringing a lawsuit claiming the FBI took things from you that you should get back, and/or that some of the stuff the feds say they took wasn’t really in your house, this doesn’t seem like an outrageous request. Put up or shut up.

The Trump lawyers’ letter, dated Sept. 25, says the order by another federal judge appointing Dearie to conduct the outside review of the materials only requires that the government file a declaration on the accuracy of the inventory list, and not Trump.

Trump’s lawyers also said they could not verify the accuracy of the property list because they do not currently have access to information taken in the raid that was marked as classified.

The Trump lawyers are complaining that the records they are supposed to review make up 200,000 pages of material. That’s a fantasy number they came up with, I believe. That’s plenty to keep them busy without dealing with the classified material that Trump is not ever going to get back, anyway.

The lawyers also are complaining because Dearie wants the review done by October 7. Originally he wanted it done by September 30, but with the delays in producing digital files for everyone to review (since no one would work for Trump) it’s been moved to October 7.

Marcie Wheeler:

This universe of documents reflects the contents of 27 boxes plus the contents of Trump’s desk drawer (ignoring the 520 pages of potentially privileged documents, some of which came from the desk drawers, and all but one email of which Trump has had for 13 days). If the 200,000 number were accurate, every box and the drawer would have, on average, over 7,000 pages of documents, which is far more than even a large case of paper would include (10 reams of paper at 500 pages each, or 5,000). And some of these boxes include books (33 altogether) and clothing or gifts (19 total), which would fill space really quickly.

But even assuming that someone in government told him that the 27 boxes of documents plus the contents of Trump’s desk drawer amount to 200,000 pages of material, even assuming Trump would need to review every page of every government document he stole, this is still misleading.

That’s because the boxes also include clippings, up to 121 in a box, for 1,671 total. A typical news article printed out can run 10 pages or more (recall that Trump’s White House cut his NYT subscription). One “clipping” — in box 27 — spans over four years, July 2016 to September 2020.

See also Mark Sumner at Daily Kos. No way there are 200,000 pages. And I’m guessing that the bulk of the non-classified documents, however many pages there are of them, can be dealt with in a glance. They don’t have to read old New York Times stories all the way through. Trump’s lawyers should shut up and get ready to start glancing.

In other news: The sedition trial of Stewart Rhodes and some other Oath Keepers is about to begin. The defense intends to claim that they believed they’d been ordered to attack the Capitol by Donald Trump.

They intend to tell the jury that when armed teams of Oath Keepers made plans to rush into Washington from Virginia on Jan. 6, 2021, they believed they would be following legal orders from the president himself.

Lawyers for the five defendants are set to argue at the trial — which began on Tuesday with jury selection — that the Oath Keepers were waiting on Jan. 6 for President Donald J. Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act, a Revolutionary-era law that grants the president wide powers to deploy the military to quell unrest in emergencies.

As the trial in Federal District Court in Washington moves forward, lawyers in the case have said, Mr. Rhodes intends to take the stand himself and testify that even though Mr. Trump never did invoke the act, the Oath Keepers believed that he was going to do so. Their preparations for violence on Jan. 6, he will argue, should be thought of as a lawful attempt to help the president, not as an illegal attack against the United States.

This seems lame as a defense. The Oath Keepers are not “the military,” and the Insurrection Act, invoked or not, doesn’t apply to them. But it does seem to throw Trump under the bus. It suggests Trump really did instigate the violence because his followers were doing what they thought he wanted them to do.


Trump’s Special Master Follies

Trump may have lost interest in the fight with the DOJ over hoarded documents. Initially the special master gambit seemed to work in his favor. But now, it isn’t.

Charlie Savage writes in the New York Times,

But Mr. Trump’s apparent triumph would prove short-lived. An appeals court ruling last week and a letter the Justice Department filed late Tuesday about subsequent complaints his legal team has apparently filed under seal to Judge Dearie suggest that the upsides to obtaining a special master are eroding and the disadvantages swelling.

So the appeals court said that the DoJ could go ahead and assess the classified documents. But that means that “an outside arbiter would still assess some 11,000 unclassified records and other items seized from Mr. Trump’s Florida compound, Mar-a-Lago.” And it’s not clear how doing that benefits Trump.

Indeed, it’s going to cost him a ton of money to have those 11,000 records processed. The one favor Judge Loose Cannon didn’t grant Trump was to have taxpayers foot the bill for that. Instead, he has to pay for it.

That includes the full cost of a vendor who will scan all the materials, as well as support staff for Judge Dearie, like an assistant who bills $500 an hour. Mr. Trump will also have to pay his own lawyers’ fees as they filter thousands of pages of records and then litigate disputes about which ones can be withheld as privileged.

Initially all the qualified companies that do this kind of work refused to do it, because they know Trump’s record for not paying vendors. But then the government guaranteed payment and will bill Trump for it. They have ways of making people pay.

Judge Dearie is doing other things the Trumpers didn’t anticipate but probably should have.

For example, the judge has ordered Mr. Trump to submit by Friday a declaration or affidavit that lists any items on the inventory “that plaintiff asserts were not seized” in the search.

But if Mr. Trump acknowledges that the F.B.I. took any documents marked as classified from his personal office and a storage room at Mar-a-Lago, as the inventory says, that would become evidence that could be used against him if he were later charged with defying a subpoena.

Requiring Mr. Trump’s lawyers to verify or object to the inventory also effectively means making them either affirm in court or disavow a claim Mr. Trump has made in public: his accusation that the F.B.I. planted fake evidence. While it is not a crime to lie to Fox News viewers or on social media, there are consequences to lying to a court.

Essentially, Judge Dearie is telling Mr. Trump’s legal team “to put up or shut up,” said Julie O’Sullivan, a Georgetown University professor of white-collar law.

Late Tuesday, the Justice Department indicated to Judge Dearie that Mr. Trump’s lawyers were balking at his request that their client verify the property inventory at this stage, before the documents could be categorized or reviewed for privilege. They apparently expressed such objections in a document filed under seal.

“They thought it was a win to win the first battle, but they didn’t think through what winning that battle would mean with any reputable judge who is appointed as special master,” Ms. Sullivan said. “They can’t anticipate that every judge will give them a complete pass despite the law. It was a political or a public relations strategy, not a legal one.”

.Judge Dearie also wants the Trumpers to classify each item according to whether they’re asking for attorney-client privilege or executive privilege.  “If they claim executive privilege, then they must distinguish between records that are merely shielded from disclosure to people outside the executive branch and those the executive branch itself supposedly cannot review. They must also explain why each document qualifies for such status.” For 11,000 items. Up until now, the lawyers have just been claiming “privilege” without specifying what they mean.

Some commenters are speculating that Trump might abandon the fight.

Update: See Emptywheel, Under Seal, Trump Accuses Hand-Picked Special Master of Not Following Orders.

Junk American History Threatens America

History is important. Right now it seems a lot of our national issues stem from forgetting history.

Take Christian Nationalism. Sarah Posner has a piece at TPM on the The Key Ingredients Of Christian Nationalism. A big chunk of the Republican Party, plus a majority of Supreme Court justices, are determined to erase separation of church and state based on a mythical version of U.S. history. Here’s something I wrote elsewhere recently on The Myth of the Christian Nation that explains the actual history.

Easily verifiable fact: The guys who wrote the Constitution deliberately made it non-religious. And they deprived the federal government of the power to recognize a state religion or favor one religion over another deliberately in order to avoid the dangers of religious factionalism. They remembered Europe’s devastating religious wars, in which soldiers and civilians slaughtered each other over whether nations would be Protestant or Catholic.

A book I read recently,  Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding (Oxford University Press, 2015) by Steven K. Green, documents that the “Christian Nation” myth began in the early 19th century. “In short, the idea of America’s religiously inspired founding was a consciously created myth constructed by the second generation of Americans in their quest to forge a national identity, one that would reinforce their ideals and aspirations for the new nation,” Green writes. This coincided with the Second Great Awakening (roughly, 1795 to 1835), which was a period of Protestant revivalism that spread everywhere. Most of American-style evangelicalism was a product of the Second Great Awakening.

At the New York Times today, Rep. Jamie Raskin has a piece explaining that the 2nd Amendment does not protect a right to overthrow the government. No paywall. This is worth reading.

As the historian Garry Wills long ago explained: “A people can overthrow a government it considers unjust. But it is absurd to think that it does so by virtue of that unjust government’s own authority. The appeal to heaven is an appeal away from the earthly authority of the moment, not to that authority.”

Junk science and junk history do real damage. I’m not even going into the whitewashing of slavery and the Civil War here, because I’ve ranted about those enough in the past. I am saying that getting history right needs to be a priority.

Mark Meadows Is in Trouble

Here’s today’s big headline, as explained in Rolling Stone:

In a text exchange from Dec. 23, 2020, mere days before a riotous mob attempted to sabotage the Electoral College certification of President Joe Biden’s win, conspiracy theorist and former Army colonel Phil Waldron updated Meadows on his efforts to have voting machines in Maricopa County, Arizona, seized and examined.

Complaining that a judge had dismissed a lawsuit brought by MAGA legislators demanding the machines be turned over, Waldron texted Meadows that the decision removed “our lead domino we were counting on to start the cascade,” of rulings in other states. “Pathetic,” Meadows replied.

Waldron was deeply involved in the scheme to seize voting machines in states with close electoral margins. He allegedly drafted an executive order for the White House instructing the seizure of voting machines but the order never came to fruition, as it was very clearly illegal. Waldron additionally communicated to Meadows that he had allegedly reviewed troves of suspect electoral data constituting what he described as a “southern steal.”

That’s kind of a big deal, seems to me. The other phone news is that on January 6 there was a 9-second call from the White House to one of the insurrectionists, a 26-year-old Trump supporter from Brooklyn named Anton Lunyk. Lunyk was in the Capitol building and was sentenced to a few months of home confinement, probation, and a small fine. He appears to be a minor player in that event. This may come to nothing.

Yesterday there were several stories in the right-wing press that claimed FBI SWAT teams with drawn assault weapons had raided the home of a nice Catholic man in Pennsylvania named Mark Houck. Several different accounts (example) claimed he was arrested in front of his seven traumatized children and this is OVERREACH by BIDEN. This article claims “A pro-life leader is calling for a Congressional investigation of a bogus FBI raid that resulted in the arrest of a peaceful pro-life advocate of a minor incident outside an abortion center and a federal charge that could put him in prison for up to 11 years.”

So I looked it up. Houck is a long-time abortion clinic terrorist, one of those thugs who gets off on intimidating and harassing women seeking medical care. In the “minor incident” he twice assaulted a 72-year-old man acting as a patient escort, knocking him to the ground. Houck has been charged with two counts of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which makes it a federal crime to use force with the intent to “injure, intimidate, and interfere with anyone because that person is a provider of reproductive health care.”

The FBI said no SWAT teams were involved in the raid. They did send armed agents to make the arrest, but said “FBI agents knocked on Mr. Houck’s front door, identified themselves as FBI agents and asked him to exit the residence. He did so and was taken into custody without incident pursuant to an indictment.”

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. I hope Houck gets the eleven years, but he probably won’t.

Have We Reached Peak Farce Yet?

Here’s the moment at which Trump declares he could declassify documents “just by thinking about it.” He didn’t even have to tell anyone, apparently.

I don’t know about you, but random secret declassifications seem a tad dysfunctional to me.

Jennifer Rubin:

In a pre-recorded interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity, he insisted: “If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, it’s declassified. Even by thinking about it, because you’re sending it to Mar-a-Lago or to wherever you’re sending it.” This, of course, acknowledges that the documents he hoarded were highly sensitive, that Trump knew they were and that he sent them to Mar-a-Lago anyway.

It’s probably not possible to understand how Trump understands this. He has the mind of a small child, and a dimwitted small child at that. But he seems to be clinging to the idea that as long as the documents had been declassified, he did nothing wrong by hoarding them in the basement. Which is not how any of this works.

Yesterday it felt as if the whole planet was declaring it was out of bleeps to give. Massive street protests broke out in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, at the hands of the morality police. Amini had been detained because of “unsuitable attire,” by which I understand her hijab wasn’t properly adjusted. And she died in custody, apparently beaten to death. Women in Iran are burning their hijabs.

Yesterday Russians took to the streets to protest the war in Ukraine. This happened after Putin initiated a draft, apparently.

Images and videos show police cracking down on demonstrators in multiple cities,with footageshowing several protesters at a demonstration in central Moscow being carried away by the police and authorities in St. Petersburg attempting to contain a crowd chanting “no mobilization” outside Isakiivskiy Cathedral.

Police detained the protesters across 38 cities in Russia on Wednesday, according to figures released shortly after midnight by independent monitoring group OVD-Info. The group’s spokeswoman Maria Kuznetsova told CNN by phone that at at least four police stations in Moscow, some of the protesters arrested by riot police were being drafted directly into Russia’s military.

Yeah, that will so not help Putin win his war. The Russian “military” is a big enough mess already without adding antiwar draftees to the mix.

And then, yesterday, NY AG Tish James smacked Trump with a $250 million lawsuit and the 11th Circuit federal appeals sided with the Department of Justice against Trump. You can read the decision here. It’s interesting.

See Aaron Blake, A thorough rebuke of Judge Aileen Cannon’s pro-Trump order and Greg Sargent, Appeals court slams Judge Cannon: No, Trump is not above the law.

Trump Is Out of Luck in New York Courts

Let’s hear it for New York Attorney General Letitia James! Today AG James filed suit in New York state court against Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and the Trump Organization.

James said her suit is seeking around $250 million in disgorgement from the defendants. She is also asking that the Trump Organization be barred from engaging in any commercial real estate acquisitions in New York for five years and Trump and his children be prohibited from serving as officers or directors in any corporation in the state. She is further seeking the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee compliance, financial reporting and valuations at the Trump Organization as well as disclosures to lenders, insurers and tax authorities  for at least five years.

And Trump appears to have had a bad day in court yesterday, also. One of the ongoing puzzles of the Trump defense has been the choice of senior US district judge Raymond Dearie as one of their two special master candidates. The legal bobbleheads on MSNBC, Andrew Weissmann et al., have nothing but good things to say about Dearie. He’s a judge’s judge, one said yesterday. But then Axios reported that the Trumpers believe Dearie has a grudge against the FBI. Whatever. I suspect this is not going to work for them. In court yesterday Dearie let them know he’s not playing their games.

Robert Katzberg writes at Slate,

I and so many others have been unable to figure out why in the world the Trump legal team nominated Judge Dearie to serve as Mar-a-Lago special master in the first place. Yes, Judge Dearie is apparently a Republican, and yes, he was appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan. But, really, Judge Dearie? Didn’t Team Trump know that the person they were choosing to uphold their dubious legal position is among the most respected members of the New York federal judiciary, admired for decades by prosecutors and defense counsel alike for his rational, ”by the book” approach?

Given Judge Dearie’s reputation for integrity and objectivity, it is no surprise that the Department of Justice quickly agreed to his appointment. After all, DOJ is appropriately convinced its legal position on the Mar-a-Lago seizure will be upheld by any fair minded, experienced judge, one like, say, Raymond Dearie. But from the Trump perspective, having lucked into the clearly sympathetic Judge Cannon to oversee the Florida seizure litigation, why would they let a model of judicial objectivity serve as special master to make key rulings in a matter in which they are, as a matter of law, flying by the seat of their pants? Why not just nominate another member of the Federalist Society with ties to the Republican right? Had they done so, the Department of Justice would have surely objected to both of their nominees, leaving it to Judge Cannon to make the selection. Given her rulings thus far, it would have been a good bet she would have chosen a Trump nominee, or at least selected a new special counsel of her choice who might have had sympathies consistent with her own.

Maybe someone on Trump’s team really wants him to lose.

BTW, I thought these Weissmann tweets were interesting —

I’m feeling a bit better. The antiviral pills seem to work well.

Trump Offers a Grand Bargain

There’s a very good article about the Venezuelan migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard, by Judd Legum at Popular Information. Legum found evidence that the migrants were lured on the plane with promises of benefits they weren’t going to get. Authorities in Massachusetts have requested a federal criminal probe of Ron DeSantis.

This weekend Trump had a rally in Ohio that sounds unhinged even by Trump standards. Greg Sargent:

Donald Trump’s weekend rally in Ohio had no shortage of dark and disturbing moments: He mocked GOP Senate nominee J.D. Vance for “kissing my ass,” called for Singapore-style executions of drug dealers and enjoyed a moment of ritualistic crowd adulation set to what sounded like a QAnon song.

Yeah, I’m sure Mitch appreciated seeing Trump’s chosen GOP Senate candidate trashed. Good move.

But Trump also delivered a deeply serious message with real-world implications. He fully expects a GOP Congress to use its power to place him outside the reach of any and all investigations and prosecutions, now and into the future. …

… These are not idle ravings. They are better understood as a directive, as a declaration of what Trump actually does expect a GOP-controlled Congress to do for him. And you will hear this more as Trump holds rallies for other House and Senate candidates….

This was all about signaling to the GOP that they’d better protect him from prosecution, or his wackadoo cult followers will withhold their votes.

Josh Marshall:

Trump gravitates toward what secures his deepest and surest hold over his supporters. He’s in a mutually reinforcing cycle of radicalization with his most ardent followers.

It also seems likely that his rapidly intensifying legal exposure and predicament are fueling this shift. The Q fantasy has always been based on belief in a corrupt and evil liberal “deep state” which will result to all manner of criminality and threats and crimes against Trump before finally being vanquished in a dramatic turning of the tables in which Trump gets his violent revenge against his enemies.

Trump and his supporters have created a dynamic in which the predictable and perhaps inevitable result of his own criminal behavior now validates their narrative about his persecution and inevitable violent triumph over his foes. It also makes Trump’s reliance on the hardcore of MAGA/QAnon supporters more of an all-or-nothing thing.

See also Will Bunch, This QAnon-flavored soundtrack to Trump, GOP’s fascist right turn should terrify you.

I suspect posting will be light this week because I now have covid and feel awful. Wish me luck with this.

The GOP Is Running as the Asshole Party

I honestly don’t know that much about Charlie Crist, who is running against Ron DeSantis for governor of Florida. I do remember he was governor of Florida before, but I don’t recall his record. However, I went to his “issues” page on his campaign website, and he’s running on good stuff now. I see reproductive rights, voting rights, housing, environment, etc. Click on the plans, and read what he proposes. Good stuff.

Ron DeSantis is running on being an asshole.

You can see the same thing in Texas. Beto O’Rourke has some definite proposals he’s running on, like a promise to end permitless carry of firearms. Which is damn gutsy for Texas.

It’s fairly obvious, however, that Greg Abbott is mostly running on being an asshole.

Here’s an example from O’Rourke’s website:

Case in point: Greg Abbott is using our tax dollars by the billions to take 10,000 members of the Texas National Guard away from their families, careers, and communities to serve as the backdrop for his photo ops at the border, even though they have zero authority to arrest or detain migrants. All the while, he has degraded their service, delayed their pay, and slashed their earned tuition benefits in order to afford their ongoing deployment. All he has done in his seven and a half years in office is pose tough at the border while doing nothing to make us any safer—the definition of a stunt instead of a solution.

The recent stunts of sending undocumented immigrants to blue cities is assholery cranked up to the infinite power. Take the flight from San Antonio TEXAS to Martha’s Vineyard, courtesy of the governor of FLORIDA. DeSantis didn’t have enough of his own undocumented immigrants to mess with, so Greg Abbott let him have some in Texas. Wow. (This could yet blow back on DeSantis; people were lured onto the plane under false pretenses. The DoJ has been asked to investigate. Possible kidnapping charges have been mentioned.)

See also the Miami Herald, DeSantis’ remarks prompt more questions on where migrant flights originated.

DeSantis’ administration is only allowed to “transport unauthorized aliens from this state,” according to budget language approved by state lawmakers this year. The governor’s office did not immediately respond when asked whether the migrants had moved to Florida or whether the state-funded program helped transport migrants from another state. DeSantis provided no details about the flights during a Thursday news conference.

I’m betting the Crist campaign is producing new television ads on this very issue, as I keyboard this. I understand there’s also concern DeSantis may have used covid relief money for this little stunt.

Jonathan Chait:

Jeremy Redfern, a DeSantis spokesperson, embraced the comparison to illegal traffickers. In response to a complaint that DeSantis neglected even to give advance notice to Martha’s Vineyard so it could prepare accommodations, Redfern sniffed that coyotes don’t do this:


The premise is that DeSantis has no obligation to take any more interest in safeguarding human welfare than an illegal smuggling operation does.

What’s next, guys? Concentration camps?

This is ultimately about “owning the libs,” of course. But it sounds as if the libs haven’t been owned yet. The people of Martha’s Vineyard did not melt down, as expected, but instead rallied to provide food and shelter to the 50 Venezuelan refugees who had shown up with no advance notice. Today I’m reading that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is sending the 50 refugees to a facility on Cape Cod that’s been used as a shelter in the past, with some National Guard called up to help them out until somebody decides what happens next.

Righties Lost in Their Own Rabbit Holes

On the day after Ken Starr dies we learned that John Durham’s grand jury is expiring, and it appears he’s not calling another one. Which suggests his investigation is over.

As you might recall, Durham has been working since 2019, and spending millions of dollars, to uncover the nefarious conspiracy about how the FBI and Hillary Clinton fabricated evidence and spread false allegations about Donald Trump’s campaign working with Russia to win the 2016 election.

His results? As of November 2021 Durham had issued single-count indictments against two Americans for making a false statement, and a five-count false statement indictment against a Russian national. One of the Americans was acquitted at trial; the other, an FBI lawyer, entered into a plea agreement with no jail time for doctoring an email used in preparation for a wiretap renewal application.

The Russian national, Igor Danchenko, goes on trial next month. The Right is feverishly looking forward to the Danchenko testimony that will discredit the evil Steele Dossier. The problem, of course, is that (one) the Steele Dossier has already been pretty much discredited; (two) the Steele Dossier wasn’t nearly as big a part of the evidence against Trump that the Right claims it to be. In fact, when the FBI began its investigation it didn’t yet know the dossier existed.

The basis for the investigation was instead that WikiLeaks had disrupted the Democratic National Convention by releasing Democratic emails believed to have been stolen by Russian hackers, and that an Australian diplomat said a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser had bragged to him about apparent outreach from Russia involving an offer to help the campaign by anonymously releasing information damaging to Mrs. Clinton.

And to my mind, those allegations are still outstanding. We never did get to the bottom of this. Tossing out the Steele Dossier comes nowhere close to proving that “Russiagate” was a hoax.

Paul Waldman:

In other words, Durham’s probe found almost nothing. If you gave me a staff of attorneys, a few million dollars and subpoena power, I could probably find more crimes committed last month at your neighborhood fast food joint. What Durham most certainly didn’t find was a vast conspiracy. Yet that’s exactly what many Republicans believed he would do. …

…We see this so often: Republicans insist they’re about to reveal a nefarious conspiracy, and when given the opportunity, they can’t deliver. Just look at all the investigations and audits of the 2020 election. Every time, they say “Now you’ll see how the election was stolen!” But even their own probes can’t locate the fraud, no matter how many ballots they scan for traces of bamboo.

The tales Republicans tell about these controversies have several key elements. They begin from the assumption that in every situation, their opponents have only the most wicked of intentions. A Democratic president can only be seeking the literal destruction of America (or as Fox News’s Tucker Carlson recently said, President Biden aims to “completely destroy the West in order to make way for Chinese global dominance”). No Democrat can merely be trying to win an election to implement the party’s favored policies.

There is always a sinister hidden agenda that cannot be spoken aloud and must therefore be unearthed by brave conservatives. There are no ordinary facts, no mistakes and no coincidences. If there’s an incorrect date on a form, it must be the key to the conspiracy. If some low-level official cut corners somewhere, it can only have been on orders from the very top.

House Republicans are already promising similar pointless investigations beginning next year, assuming they take back the House. Expect months of Hunter Biden’s laptop, 24-7, and a revenge impeachment of President Biden, just for starters. I expect the ghouls to go after Anthony Fauci (possibly why he’s choosing to retire at the end of this year) and Merrick Garland also.

See also Fox News Found a New Rabbit Hole from February 2022.

Back to Mar-a-Lago. Last night the Department of Justice filed another brief with Judge Loose Cannon. The brief reiterates the simple fact that the documents Trump is fighting about don’t belong to him. The Presidential Records Act makes that clear. And he can’t claim executive privilege because a former POTUS cannot possibly have privilege that overrides that of the sitting POTUS. The privilege belongs to the executive, and the executive can’t keep secrets from the executive. And he hasn’t demonstrated that anything was declassified, and that wouldn’t change the facts of the case if he had. It’s still the government’s property.

I liked this part —

The Court did not—and could not—appoint a special master to exercise roving “supervisory authority” over thegovernment’s ongoing criminal investigation, contra D.E. 84 at 4, or to adjudicate matters ultimately irrelevant to Plaintiff’s potential privilege claims, such as whether Plaintiff might have declassified seized documents that bear classification markings or whether Plaintiff might have designated those documents as his “personal” records for purposes of the PRA. Be cause Plaintiff cannot plausibly assert executive privilege (or attorney-client privilege, seesupra p. 3) as to any seized  records bearing classification markings, the Court should not enjoin the government’s use of those records or order those records reviewed by a special master pending the government’s appeal.

The passage nicely exemplifies the tone of thinly veiled exasperation, as in I can’t believe I have to explain this to you, that permeates the brief.

It goes on to argue that the nation could suffer irreparable harm if the investigation into possible intelligence damage is not allowed to go forward immediately. And oh, by the way, what actual damages can Donald Trump possibly claim if the Court lifted its stay on the investigation? Unless he’s guilty of something, of course.

Ambush at Hardee’s. By now you’ve heard that Mike Lindell’s car was surrounded by FBI agents while the My Pillow exec was in a drive-through lane at a Hardee’s. The feds took Lindell’s phone and served him with a subpoena. What can one say but, heh.