Donald Trump has been having trouble finding lawyers. His previous batch not only dropped the case related to his federal indictments for mishandling classified documents just a day after those charges were handed down, they dropped Trump’s lawsuit against CNN half-way. Enough lawyers have fled Trump for Forbes to prepare a practical timeline of the Nine times Trump has changed his legal team just since 2020. According to The Washington PostTrump has traded 16 avocados since 2016, raising the question of whether they outlast his ketchup bottles.
Anyone standing too close to Mar-a-Lago today should be aware of the high likelihood of more lawyers leaving at high speed, as Trump’s team has just received the first batch of evidence collected by the lawyer. special Jack Smith to prepare for the 37 federal charges against Trump June 8.
Included in the information are tapes of Trump speaking to Bedminster in which he brags about keeping a top-secret document, explains how it was prepared, and admits he can’t declassify it — a sort of pre-packaged condemnation all- one for at least one charge of mishandling classified documents, lying to investigators, and obstructing justice. But the most interesting part of the statement that accompanies this news release may be a very strong clue that there are even more tapes of Trump in which he confesses to his crimes.
As CNN reports, this represents an extremely quick move on the part of Smith and the Justice Department. It’s also another indication that Smith is ready for the start of Trump’s trial, which is the last thing Trump wants to happen.
The next official date on the court calendar is July 24, which Judge Aileen Cannon penciled in as the last day to file documents before trial. It is absolutely certain that at the last possible moment on that date, Trump’s attorney (assuming he has one by then) will ask for an extension, asking for more time for motions and a postponement of the August 14 court date. Such initial requests are often granted even with very little reason, and Trump can expect to move the goalposts back for several months, with the Trump-appointed Cannon determining how much extra slack he will receive.
Further requests for delay beyond this point would have to clear considerably higher hurdles, but again… Cannon. So we’ll have to wait and see.
But Smith gives absolutely no reason for Trump’s team to argue that they didn’t have enough time to review the evidence by providing it early and in quantity. This is another sign that what the government wants here is a quick move to the earliest possible court date. Although Cannon is very unlikely to achieve this goal.
Wednesday’s filing contains a statement referring to multiple Trump “interviews” among the audio evidence, rather than the single recording known to exist from the evidence included in the indictments. The already well-known recording, with Trump explaining that he could declassified the document while at the White House, but did not, was allegedly written by a reporter compiling information for an upcoming memoir by former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows. There have been several allegations over the past few weeks that Meadows is cooperating with the investigation, but these are so far unsubstantiated.
In addition to the audio testimony, the information provided to Trump’s attorneys includes transcripts of all testimony heard by the Florida grand jury that issued the indictments against Trump. It’s unclear whether Trump’s team also received transcripts of testimony before a Washington, D.C. grand jury, which heard the case for several months before Smith decided to sit a second jury closer to the court. scene of Trump’s alleged criminal events.
Another interesting point in Wednesday’s filing is that it makes it clear that the information was not provided to the legal team of Trump’s “body man,” Walt Nauta. Nauta appears on several of the charges with Trump, as well as lying to investigators on his own. Trump was barred from discussing the case with Nauta, one of the few conditions imposed on his post-impeachment release, but the indictments against Trump and Nauta are currently being treated as one case.
There have been several suggestions that, like Meadows, Nauta has or is planning to cooperate with the Office of Special Counsel. Some analysts took the way discovery evidence was provided to Trump’s lawyers but not Nauta’s lawyers in Wednesday’s order as a signal that the Justice Department is treating the two defendants differently, which increases claims that Nauta agreed to any deal.
Along with Nauta and Meadows, reports that they switched in exchange for reduced charges or convictions are unconfirmed. In the case of Nauta, they seem little more than speculation.
What is certain is that the charges against Trump seem damning, the discovery has begun and Smith is about to bring this case home. That should be scary enough for any Trump supporter, even if Meadows isn’t involved.
On average since 2016, each month has brought a 20% chance that Trump’s legal team will leave. This could be one of those months when the runaway lawyer forecast is considerably higher.