Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Orange Meltdown, Con't

The federal cases against Trump involving January 6th and documents in Mar-a-Lago both took major steps forward with grand jury testimony in both venues. Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows testified about both cases.

Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s former chief of staff, has testified to a federal grand jury as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s ongoing investigation into the former president, according to one source familiar with the matter.

Meadows was asked about the former president’s handling of classified documents as well as efforts to overturn the 2020 election, another source familiar with the matter said.

George Terwilliger, a lawyer representing Meadows, said in a statement that “Without commenting on whether or not Mr. Meadows has testified before the grand jury or in any other proceeding, Mr. Meadows has maintained a commitment to tell the truth where he has a legal obligation to do so.”

A spokesperson for the special counsel’s office declined to comment.

The New York Times first reported on Meadow’s appearance before the grand jury.

Meadows is viewed as a critical witness to Smith’s investigation. He was ordered to testify before the grand jury and to provide documents after a judge rejected Trump’s claims of executive privilege.

His testimony could provide investigators key insight into the former president’s actions and mental state following the election he lost to Joe Biden as well as into Trump’s actions after he left office in January 2021.

CNN previously reported that Meadows, under subpoena, turned over some materials to the Justice Department as part of their investigation.

Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed multiple witnesses to testify before a previously unknown grand jury in Florida in the criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s handling of national security materials and obstruction of justice, according to people familiar with the matter.

The new grand jury activity at the US district court in Miami marks the latest twist in the investigation that for months has involved a grand jury that had been taking evidence in the case in Washington but has been silent since the start of last month.

Trump aide Taylor Budowich is scheduled to testify before the Florida grand jury on Wednesday, one of the people said, and questioning is expected to be led by Jay Bratt, the justice department’s counterintelligence chief detailed to the special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the investigation.

The previously unreported involvement of Bratt could suggest the questioning may focus on potential Espionage Act violations, particularly whether Trump showed off national security documents to people at his Mar-a-Lago resort – a recent focus of the investigation.

Bratt, who was seen arriving in Miami on Tuesday by the Guardian, has previously appeared for grand jury proceedings in the espionage side of the investigation, as opposed to the obstruction side, which has typically been led by Smith’s other prosecutors or national security trial attorneys.

A justice department spokesperson declined to comment.

But the underlying reasons as to why prosecutors in the special counsel’s office impaneled the new grand jury in Florida, and whether it is now the only grand jury active in the case after the Washington grand jury has sat dormant for weeks, remains an open question.
We know now that the Washington grand jury heard from Mark Meadows today.
We're reaching the end game here, folks.
Whether or not Trump gets federal charges, well, I have to believe he will.
[UPDATE] Maybe this is moving much faster than we thought.

The Department of Justice is preparing to ask a Washington, DC grand jury to indict former president Donald Trump for violating the Espionage Act and for obstruction of justice as soon as Thursday, adding further weight to the legal baggage facing Mr Trump as he campaigns for his party’s nomination in next year’s presidential election.

The Independent has learned that prosecutors are ready to ask grand jurors to approve an indictment against Mr Trump for violating a portion of the US criminal code known as Section 793, which prohibits “gathering, transmitting or losing” any “information respecting the national defence”.

The use of Section 793, which does not make reference to classified information, is understood to be a strategic decision by prosecutors that has been made to short-circuit Mr Trump’s ability to claim that he used his authority as president to declassify documents he removed from the White House and kept at his Palm Beach, Florida property long after his term expired on 20 January 2021.

That section of US criminal law is written in a way that could encompass Mr Trump’s conduct even if he was authorised to possess the information as president because it states that anyone who “lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document ...relating to the national defence,” and “willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it” can be punished by as many as 10 years in prison.

It is understood that prosecutors intend to ask grand jurors to vote on the indictment on Thursday, but that vote could be delayed as much as a week until the next meeting of the grand jury to allow for a complete presentation of evidence, or to allow investigators to gather more evidence for presentation if necessary.
Tomorrow's my birthday. The universe doesn't love me this much for this to happen then, but we'll see.

The Broken Licht Theory

CNN head Chris Licht is out after his multple failures of the Donald Trump and Nikki Haley "town halls" and the devastating takedown of Licht in The Atlantic over the weekend.
Chris Licht, the former television producer who oversaw a brief and chaotic run as the chairman of CNN, is out at the network.

Mr. Licht’s 13-month run at CNN was marked by one controversy after another, culminating in his exit earlier this week. He got off to a bumpy start even before he had officially started when he oversaw the shuttering of the costly CNN+ streaming service at the request of its network’s new owners, who were skeptical about a stand-alone digital product. The cuts resulted in scores of layoffs.

David Zaslav, the chief executive of CNN’s parent, Warner Bros. Discovery, informed staff on Wednesday morning that he had met with Mr. Licht and that he was leaving, effective immediately.

“For a number of reasons things didn’t work out, and that’s unfortunate,” Mr. Zaslav said, according to a recording of his remarks. “It’s really unfortunate, and ultimately that’s on me. And I take full responsibility for that.”

“This job was never going to be easy, especially at a time of great disruption and transformation,” he continued. “Chris poured his heart and soul into this job. Like all of you, he was in the line of fire and he’s taken a lot of hits. We appreciate his efforts, his passion, his love for journalism, and his love for this business.”

Mr. Zaslav said that an interim group of leaders — the CNN veterans Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley and Eric Sherling, as well as the newly appointed chief operating officer, David Leavy — would take over before a permanent leader was installed. He said the process could take several months.

Mr. Licht’s departure represents a dramatic fall not long after he departed as an executive producer of Stephen Colbert’s top-rated late night show and vowed to bring a middle-of-the-road balance to CNN’s journalism. When Mr. Licht took the job, he told friends it was a “calling.”

The job would prove much more difficult. Ratings plummeted during Mr. Licht’s management and a series of programming miscues — including an ill-fated morning show co-anchored by Don Lemon, as well as organizing a town hall featuring former President Donald J. Trump that was subject to withering criticism — did little to shore up support with his colleagues.

Things deteriorated last week when The Atlantic published a 15,000-word profile extensively documenting Mr. Licht’s stormy tenure, including criticism of the network’s pandemic coverage that rankled the network’s rank-and-file.

Further worsening matters was CNN’s financial performance. The network generated $750 million in profit last year, including one-time losses from the CNN+ streaming service, down from $1.25 billion the year before.
Now, Zazlav has been running around WB Discovery with a chainsaw anyway, axing reams of content from HBO, Cinemax, Cartoon Network and more, and now his blade has fallen on Licht's neck at CNN. I had honestly forgotten about Licht first move last year, the ill-fated CNN+ streaming disaster that lost the network millions.
Turns out the network has now lost over a billion dollars, and that was the end of Licht.
The White Guy Upward Failure Rule means Licht will probably end up Vice President in 2024, just saying.
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