Jack Smith can and might lose

Things have been unsettled lately. First, a couple months ago, I got rear-ended in a hit-and-run. The damage appeared superficial, but on principle, I’m not about to take shortcuts in caring for this car, especially when my not-really-a-livelihood depends upon it.

The body shop was finally able to get to the car last week and the damage amounted to around $1,500. As it turned out at least one backup sensor—it detects traffic when I’m backing up—had been knocked out of kilter. And paint was involved in the repair, suggesting there was exposed metal, something you do not want when you live with salted roads in the winter. Colussy Collision Center actually knocked that repair out fairly quickly, in about three days.

But the right rear door weatherstripping has come loose, probably from excessive use. It’s literally falling off the door jamb. I figure I can’t wash the car without it and I can’t have passengers climbing in and out through that door with it. Which means I’m back down. Which means I’m headed to Rohrich Toyota this morning to see about getting it fixed.

Which means I’m not caught up here.

It’s been an expensive couple of months. I had a 50,000 mile service on the rear differential and the transmission, which Toyota does not recommend, but my old mechanic in Petaluma is adamant should be done and a tune-up to do. The car is also due for a state inspection.

And of course, it has all hit at once. Which is why the games that Uber plays with driver pay will put drivers out of business. I’ve been hoarding credit for the seven years since I finished my Ph.D.; I’ll probably manage to get through this, but when many other drivers encounter similar situations, they simply won’t have the money available to get through.


Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 1. “Jake Angeli (Qanon Shaman), seen holding a Qanon sign at the intersection of Bell Rd and 75th Ave in Peoria, Arizona, on 2020 October 15.” Photography by TheUnseen011101 [pseud.], October 15, 2020, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Here’s one way Aileen Cannon, the judge on the Mar-a-Lago classified records case,[1] whose previous rulings favoring Trump were humiliatingly reversed,[2] matters:

To take one extreme example, consider the impact of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29(a). This rule—obscure to most Americans, though well known in the criminal-defense bar—gives a federal judge the power to dismiss a prosecutor’s case at the end of the prosecutor’s presentation on a finding that the government has not presented sufficient evidence from which a jury could find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This broad discretion is rarely used, because it allows a judge to substitute their own judgment for that of the jury. But it does exist and, more important for our purposes, it is completely unreviewable. For reasons of double jeopardy, if a judge dismisses a case at the close of the prosecutor’s presentation, that’s the end of it. One does not have to be completely Machiavellian to see in this power the prospect of judicial interference and disruption.[3]

Paul Rosenzweig also points to the possibilities that Cannon can severely restrict the evidence that Jack Smith can present, that she controls the timing of the trial, that the jury might favor Donald Trump despite efforts in voir dire to exclude biased jurors, and even that the jury might nullify the charges against Trump. He is clear that many of the charges against Trump could only be brought in Palm Beach,[4] thus excluding my implicit assumption that Smith had the option to bring the case in a more favorable court.[5]

The picture I’m getting is that Smith has indeed put together an exceptionally strong case.[6] The trouble that Rosenzweig is pointing to is mainly with the judge, though the jurisdiction can’t be excluded.[7] Jonathan Turley, who wrote before it was known that Cannon would hear the case, thinks it unlikely a federal judge would agree to hear the case before the 2024 election;[8] indeed, delay might be the simplest thing Cannon can do. And my fear[9] remains that all of this has been for nothing.

Rosenzweig wants us to understand why it is that, despite such an apparently strong case, it is still possible, for reasons beyond the Department of Justice’s control, for the prosecution to fail. We should, in his view, be forgiving.[10] That’s a tough one to swallow given that this is a case that they clearly didn’t want to bring.[11] We will see how it plays.

Jacqueline Alemany et al., “Trump lawyers meeting with Justice Dept. on classified documents case,” Washington Post, June 5, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/06/05/trump-lawyers-meeting-justice-doj/

Josh Dawsey and Amy Gardner, “Trump-funded studies disputing election fraud are focus in two probes,” Washington Post, June 5, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2023/06/05/trump-funded-studies-disputing-election-fraud-are-focus-two-probes/

Rozina Sabur, “Flood at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort raises suspicions in classified documents case,” Telegraph, June 5, 2023, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2023/06/05/donald-trump-mar-a-lago-resort-flood-pool-documents/

Chris Walker, “Trump’s Lawyers Have 2-Hour Meeting With DOJ Over Mar-a-Lago Documents Case,” Truthout, June 5, 2023, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-lawyers-have-2-hour-meeting-with-doj-over-mar-a-lago-documents-case/

Casey Newton, “The platforms give up on 2020 lies,” Platformer, June 6, 2023, https://www.platformer.news/p/the-platforms-give-up-on-2020-lies

Spencer S. Hsu et al., “Trump special counsel shifts focus of possible indictment to S. Florida,” Washington Post, June 7, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/06/06/miami-grand-jury-trump-classified-documents/

Alex Isenstadt and Kyle Cheney, “Trump notified that he is the target of an ongoing criminal investigation,” Politico, June 7, 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/06/07/trump-notified-that-he-is-the-target-of-an-ongoing-criminal-investigation-00100920

Devlin Barrett, Perry Stein, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump charged in classified documents case, second indictment in months,” Washington Post, June 8, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/06/08/trump-classified-documents-mar-a-lago/

Marc Caputo, “‘Prosecuting Politicians is Hard Here’: Why South Florida is a Tough Place for DOJ to Try Trump,” Messenger, June 8, 2023, https://themessenger.com/politics/trump-south-florida-miami-doj-jury-challenge

Ankush Khardori, “The Chaos Inside Trump’s Legal Team,” New York, June 8, 2023, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2023/06/donald-trumps-lawyers-on-his-dysfunctional-legal-team.html

Hugo Lowell, “Donald Trump charged with illegal retention of classified documents,” Guardian, June 8, 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jun/08/donald-trump-charged-retention-classified-documents

Stefania Palma, “Donald Trump says he has been indicted on federal charges in documents probe,” Financial Times, June 8, 2023, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/trump-is-desperately-trying-to-define-the-narrative-about-his-federal-indictment

Gabriel J. Chin, “Trump indictment unsealed – a criminal law scholar explains what the charges mean, and what prosecutors will now need to prove,” Conversation, June 9, 2023, https://theconversation.com/trump-indictment-unsealed-a-criminal-law-scholar-explains-what-the-charges-mean-and-what-prosecutors-will-now-need-to-prove-207469

Joseph Ferguson and Thomas A. Durkin, “Trump charged under Espionage Act – which covers a lot more crimes than just spying,” Conversation, June 9, 2023, https://theconversation.com/trump-charged-under-espionage-act-which-covers-a-lot-more-crimes-than-just-spying-207373

Alan Feuer, “Trump-Appointed Judge Is Said to Be Handling Documents Case,” New York Times, June 9, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/09/us/politics/aileen-cannon-trump-judge.html

David Gilbert, “‘We Need to Start Killing’: Trump’s Far-Right Supporters Are Threatening Civil War,” Vice, June 9, 2023, https://www.vice.com/en/article/wxjjgb/trump-supporters-are-threatening-civil-war

Ankush Khardori, “The ‘Lock Him Up’ Election,” New York, June 9, 2023, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2023/06/trump-indictment-turns-2024-into-lock-him-up-election.html

Tom Nichols, “Trump’s Indictment Reveals a National-Security Nightmare,” Atlantic, June 9, 2023, https://www.theatlantic.com/newsletters/archive/2023/06/trumps-indictment-reveals-a-national-security-nightmare/674362/

Jennifer Rubin, “Merrick Garland and Jack Smith come through: Trump will face justice,” Washington Post, June 9, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/06/09/trump-indictment-garland-smith-justice/

Jonathan Turley, “Trying Trump: Scandal May Be His Element — But This Time May Be Different,” Messenger, June 9, 2023, https://themessenger.com/opinion/trying-trump-scandal-may-be-his-element-but-this-time-may-be-different

Aruna Viswanatha, Sadie Gurman, and C. Ryan Barber, “Trump Charged Over Willful Retention of Classified Information, Obstruction,” Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2023, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-associate-also-indicted-in-mar-a-lago-documents-case-759cbb17

Marc Fisher, “Trump’s path to indictment: ‘Isn’t it better if there are no documents?’” Washington Post, June 10, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/06/10/trump-classified-documents-path-bathroom-indictment/

Michael S. Schmidt et al., “Trump Supporters’ Violent Rhetoric in His Defense Disturbs Experts,” New York Times, June 10, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/10/us/politics/trump-supporter-violent-rhetoric.html

Kyle Cheney, “He devised a fringe legal theory to try to keep Trump in power. Now he’s on the verge of being disbarred,” Forbes, June 11, 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/06/11/john-eastman-disbarment-trial-trump-00101407

Richard Nixon [Justin Sherrin], “On the Trump/Nauta Indictment,” Patreon, June 11, 2023, https://www.patreon.com/posts/on-trump-nauta-84420752

Marina Pitofsky, “Barr ‘shocked’ by Trump indictment details: “If even half of it is true, then he’s toast,’” USA Today, June 11, 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2023/06/11/bill-barr-donald-trump-classified-documents-indictment/70310878007/

Paul Rosenzweig, “The Three Biggest Obstacles to Convicting Trump,” Atlantic, June 11, 2023, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/06/three-biggest-obstacles-convicting-trump/674366/


(dis)United Kingdom

Prime minister


Fig. 1. President Reagan on the South Lawn during the arrival ceremony of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom. U.S. Government photograph, November 16, 1988, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Paul Dallison, “Boris Johnson quits as member of parliament with blast at Partygate probe,” Politico, June 9, 2023, https://www.politico.eu/article/boris-johnson-steps-down-as-member-of-parliament/

Michael Savage and Toby Helm, “Furious Tories turn against Boris Johnson after ‘bias’ outburst,” Guardian, June 10, 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2023/jun/10/furious-tories-boris-johnson-bias-outburst-rishi-sunak-nigel-adams-byelection

Jim Pickard, “Johnson’s angry exit from parliament poses fresh dilemmas for Sunak,” Financial Times, June 11, 2023, https://www.ft.com/content/f42455a7-8d68-4f00-861b-e7016b098721


Imperialism

Russia

Ukraine


Fig. 1. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[12] fair use.

Shaun Walker, “‘Three months ago, this wasn’t possible’: exiled Russians dare to dream of Putin’s fall,” Guardian, June 10, 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jun/10/russia-exiles-life-after-vladimir-putin

Ishaan Tharoor, “Ukraine’s current counteroffensive may dictate the fate of the war,” Washington Post, June 11, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2023/06/11/counteroffensive-stakes-future-fate/


  1. [1]Alan Feuer, “Trump-Appointed Judge Is Said to Be Handling Documents Case,” New York Times, June 9, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/09/us/politics/aileen-cannon-trump-judge.html
  2. [2]Mariana Alfaro and Eugene Scott, “Judge’s openness to special master for Mar-a-Lago documents raises new questions in criminal probe,” Washington Post, August 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/08/29/special-master-trump-biden-pennsylvania/; Robert Barnes and Perry Stein, “Supreme Court rejects Trump request on Mar-a-Lago documents,” Washington Post, October 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/10/13/supreme-court-trump-mar-a-lago-classified-documents/; Devlin Barrett, “Trump’s Mar-a-Lago documents already examined by FBI, Justice Dept. tells judge,” Washington Post, August 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/29/trumpspecial-master-documents/; Devlin Barrett, “Appeals court sides with Justice Department in Mar-a-Lago case,” Washington Post, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/21/mar-a-lago-appeal-court-ruling/; Aaron Blake, “A thorough rebuke of Judge Aileen Cannon’s pro-Trump order,” Washington Post, September 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/22/thorough-rebuke-judge-aileen-cannons-pro-trump-order/; Jess Bravin and Aruna Viswanatha, “Judge Grants Donald Trump’s Request for Independent Review of Mar-a-Lago Documents,” Wall Street Journal, September 5, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/judge-partly-grants-donald-trumps-request-for-independent-review-of-mar-a-lago-documents-11662395427; Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Trump suffers setback as appeals panel rejects Cannon ruling,” Politico, September 21, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/21/donald-trump-special-master-00058176; Ann E. Marimow and Devlin Barrett, “Judge’s special-master order a test of Trump’s post-White House powers,” Washington Post, September 6, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/06/trump-judge-cannon-special-master-order/; Charlie Savage, “‘Deeply Problematic’: Experts Question Judge’s Intervention in Trump Inquiry,” New York Times, September 5, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/05/us/trump-special-master-aileen-cannon.html; Charlie Savage, “U.S. Asks Court to End Special Master Review of Files Seized From Trump,” New York Times, October 17, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/14/us/appeal-special-master-trump.html; Eric Tucker, “Judge grants Trump bid for special master in Mar-a-Lago case,” Los Angeles Times, September 5, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-09-05/judge-grants-trump-bid-for-special-master-in-mar-a-lago-case; Ariane de Vogue and Katelyn Polantz, “Supreme Court rejects former President Donald Trump’s request to intervene in Mar-a-Lago documents fight,” Cable News Network, October 13, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/13/politics/supreme-court-trump-mar-a-lago/index.html
  3. [3]Paul Rosenzweig, “The Three Biggest Obstacles to Convicting Trump,” Atlantic, June 11, 2023, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/06/three-biggest-obstacles-convicting-trump/674366/
  4. [4]Paul Rosenzweig, “The Three Biggest Obstacles to Convicting Trump,” Atlantic, June 11, 2023, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/06/three-biggest-obstacles-convicting-trump/674366/
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Jack Smith set to fail?” Not Housebroken, June 10, 2023, https://disunitedstates.org/2023/06/10/jack-smith-set-to-fail/; Marc Caputo, “‘Prosecuting Politicians is Hard Here’: Why South Florida is a Tough Place for DOJ to Try Trump,” Messenger, June 8, 2023, https://themessenger.com/politics/trump-south-florida-miami-doj-jury-challenge
  6. [6]Richard Nixon [Justin Sherrin], “On the Trump/Nauta Indictment,” Patreon, June 11, 2023, https://www.patreon.com/posts/on-trump-nauta-84420752; Marina Pitofsky, “Barr ‘shocked’ by Trump indictment details: “If even half of it is true, then he’s toast,’” USA Today, June 11, 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2023/06/11/bill-barr-donald-trump-classified-documents-indictment/70310878007/; Paul Rosenzweig, “The Three Biggest Obstacles to Convicting Trump,” Atlantic, June 11, 2023, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/06/three-biggest-obstacles-convicting-trump/674366/
  7. [7]Marc Caputo, “‘Prosecuting Politicians is Hard Here’: Why South Florida is a Tough Place for DOJ to Try Trump,” Messenger, June 8, 2023, https://themessenger.com/politics/trump-south-florida-miami-doj-jury-challenge; Paul Rosenzweig, “The Three Biggest Obstacles to Convicting Trump,” Atlantic, June 11, 2023, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/06/three-biggest-obstacles-convicting-trump/674366/
  8. [8]Jonathan Turley, “Trying Trump: Scandal May Be His Element — But This Time May Be Different,” Messenger, June 9, 2023, https://themessenger.com/opinion/trying-trump-scandal-may-be-his-element-but-this-time-may-be-different
  9. [9]David Benfell, “It is now even more urgently orange jumpsuit time,” Not Housebroken, June 5, 2023, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/08/24/it-is-now-even-more-urgently-orange-jumpsuit-time/; David Benfell, “Jack Smith set to fail?” Not Housebroken, June 10, 2023, https://disunitedstates.org/2023/06/10/jack-smith-set-to-fail/
  10. [10]Paul Rosenzweig, “The Three Biggest Obstacles to Convicting Trump,” Atlantic, June 11, 2023, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/06/three-biggest-obstacles-convicting-trump/674366/
  11. [11]Ankush Khardori, “The ‘Lock Him Up’ Election,” New York, June 9, 2023, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2023/06/trump-indictment-turns-2024-into-lock-him-up-election.html
  12. [12]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q

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