There have been days when it seemed that Donald Trump was going to skate free of any consequences for all his crimes and all his attacks on democracy and the rule of law. There have been too many of those days, and they have uniformly been discouraging.
But yesterday was different. In a whirlwind of events, The Former Guy (TFG) had one of those days – a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.
First of all, as noted by Joan McCarter over at Daily Kos, “New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a $250 million civil lawsuit against Donald J. Trump, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump Jr., as well as two Trump executives, Allan Weisselberg and Jeff McConney, for ‘numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentations,’ and seeks to bar any of the Trumps from operating a company in the state of New York ever, or from engaging in any commercial real estate transactions in the state for five years.”
We know how this will play out: Trump and his legal team will delay, delay, delay, hoping to wear everyone out and eventually get a settlement for far less. But, like the Trump University lawsuit that eventually resulted in Trump paying out $25 million, this lawsuit looks like it’s going to stick around. I don’t get the impression that AG James is the type to let things go.
The special master
Judge Aileen “Loose” Cannon ruled in Trump’s favor in the Mar-A-Lago documents case, saying he could have his special master to review the documents and see which ones the DOJ could have, and then Trump further seemed to win when a Trump-appointed judge, Raymond Dearie, was appointed as the special master.
Trump’s team was counting on (a) Dearie ruling in their favor on pretty much everything, and (b) taking a long time to do so. Yesterday, they lost on both counts.
First of all, Dearie ignored their request for more time, and said he planned on having his review wrapped up by October 8, or possibly sooner. Then, he rejected their argument that the documents were not actually classified when they could provide no proof of that declassification, noting “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” (Basically they argued that the documents might be classified, or they might not, thus creating Schrödinger's Documents.)
It should be noted that Trump’s legal team wanted to avoid the subject of classification specifically because they were afraid it could be used against Trump in a future indictment. (!!)
The appeals court ruling
Even while Trump got his special master, the DOJ was appealing Cannon’s ruling that the DOJ could not examine the documents, including the classified ones, until Dearie was finished with his review. In other words, the DOJ had to put its investigation on ice as long as Dearie was working, possibly all the way to November 30, Cannon’s deadline.
The appeals court overruled Cannon, issuing a stay of her order and allowing the DOJ to move forward with examination of the documents.
In addition, the appeals court basically ripped apart Cannon’s ruling — using nice judicial language, of course — by saying her approach was “untenable” and that the government had “sufficiently explained how and why its national security review is inextricably intertwined with its criminal investigation” – a claim that Cannon had dismissed, according to CNN.
A recap, plus one
So, to recap:
- Trump and his kids got sued for $250 million by the New York AG, who wants Trump banned from running a business in New York for life.
- The special master in the documents case blew off Trump's legal team, and said he was going to move with "responsible dispatch" in finishing his review.
- An appeals court overruled Judge Cannon and said the DOJ could proceed with its case against Trump.
And just one more – Ginny Thomas, the wife of SCOTUS Judge Clarence Thomas AND a key player in trying to overturn the 2020 election, agreed to testify under oath to the January 6 committee.
I know that as human beings, we are not supposed to take enjoyment out of the troubles of others. But, in this case, I will fully admit that as far as I am concerned, yesterday was a bad day for Trump, but a good day for the nation, for democracy, and for the rule of law. Let’s have more days like yesterday.
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