The goat is back. You can thank Rudy Giuliani, who — for some unknown reason —sat for a voluntary interview with federal investigators. If only he had good legal advice.
Also this week, we talked about The Tape — the recording of Trump bragging about his possession of a classified Iran war plan he now says he didn’t possess at all. Trump says it’s a misunderstanding: he’s a “legitimate person,” and if he was talking about having “plans,” they were probably for buildings or golf courses.
These protestations are unconvincing, and they are also, in the context of his legal case, unimportant. The key legal thing about the recording is what it shows about his knowledge about classification — that documents he took away from the White House weren’t necessarily declassified — rather than what it says about his possession of the war plan itself. After all, the government never found the war plan document, and it never charged him for possessing it.
Speaking of never finding that document — maybe it’s at Bedminster, right? That’s where the tape was made. Ken and I talk this week about news about Bedminster, and why the government never executed a search warrant there like they did at Mar-a-Lago.
We also talk about early orders coming down from Judge Aileen Cannon — so far, they seem pretty sensible and appropriate. There may be cause to freak out in the future, but it hasn’t arrived yet. And we talk about why Walt Nauta, the former president’s valet, still hasn't been arraigned. (He’s having trouble finding a local lawyer. Better call Saul!)
Finally, we talk about Hunter Biden and the IRS whistleblower who says prosecutors protected him from the felony charges he should have faced. As Ken notes, it’s very common for investigators to have lots of opinions about how prosecutors handle their cases. The most interesting item here is a dispute of fact: Did US Attorney David Weiss really tell IRS investigators that, contrary to DOJ’s and his own public claims, he was not the ultimate decision-maker on where and how Hunter Biden would be charged? Or was he just trying to get the IRS guys off his back?
We hope you enjoy the episode. Next week is a holiday week, and we’ll have a special holiday episode for you — a look at how to be a smarter consumer of legal news, including a deep dive on how the federal sentencing guidelines drive the real likely sentences in cases where you may only be told the maximum. So, keep your ears peeled for that.
Happy Independence Day,
CNN obtained the audio of Trump talking about secret documents that he did not declassify.
The Arraignment That Wasn’t (Walt Nauta’s arraignment issues, as reported in the Lawfare Blog)