Commentary: Blue Laws for Red Citizens

Donald Trump

One state prosecutor and one civilian plaintiff have already won huge fines and damages from Donald Trump that may, with legal costs, exceed $500 million.

Trump awaits further civil and criminal liability in three other federal, state, and local indictments.

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Jack Smith Makes Another Push to Keep Documents Under Seal

Jack Smith

Special Counsel Jack Smith asked Judge Aileen Cannon on Thursday to reconsider her decision to unseal certain documents prosecutors wanted to keep from the public docket.

Cannon, who is overseeing the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump in Florida, ruled Tuesday that certain discovery material Smith wanted to keep under seal because it could impact the safety of potential witnesses would be disclosed out of the “strong presumption of public access in criminal proceedings.” Smith urged Cannon to reconsider her decision, arguing that she “applied the wrong legal standard and issued orders that, in practice, will expose witnesses and others to intolerable and needless risks.”

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Commentary: Was It Legal to Appoint Jack Smith in the First Place?

Jack Smith

Was Special Counsel Jack Smith illegally appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland and is his prosecution of former Pres. Donald Trump unlawful? That is the intriguing issue raised in an amicus brief filed in the Supreme Court by Schaerr Jaffe, LLP, on behalf of former Attorney General Ed Meese and two law professors, Steven Calabresi and Gary Lawson, in the case of U.S. v. Trump.

We won’t get an immediate answer to this question because on the Friday before Christmas, the Supreme Court issued a one-line order refusing to take up Smith’s request that the court review Trump’s claim of presidential immunity, which was denied by the trial court, in the federal prosecution being pursued by Smith in the District of Columbia. The special counsel had petitioned the court to take the case on an expedited basis, urging the justices to bypass review by the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

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Commentary: DC Appellate Judges Use ‘Unprecedented Approach’ to Get Trump’s Twitter Files

Trump DC

In January 2023, two months after his appointment as special counsel, Jack Smith applied for a search warrant to obtain all of the data associated with Donald Trump’s long-dormant Twitter account. Smith sought not just public posts but direct messages, drafted and deleted posts, and the identity of any individual with access to the account. Smith also asked for “all users [Trump’s account] has followed, unfollowed, muted, unmuted, blocked, or unblocked, and all users who have followed, unfollowed, muted, unmuted, blocked, or unblocked” Trump’s account.

The application was stunning in scope with no justification as to why the government needed such a limitless trove of information—particularly one that clearly ran afoul of Trump’s right to assert executive privilege. So, Smith neatly settled that matter by additionally asking for a nondisclosure order that prevented Twitter from notifying Trump about the search warrant for 180 days.

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DOJ Attorney Playing Key Role in Jack Smith’s Prosecution of Trump Worked on Case That Put Pro-Life Activist in Jail

Molly Gaston

One of the prosecutors helping special counsel Jack Smith prosecute former President Donald Trump for alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election also worked on a high-profile case against a pro-life activist.

Molly Gaston, a prosecutor who spent years in the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney’s Office and is now playing a key role on Smith’s team, worked on the early stages of the prosecution of pro-life activist Lauren Handy. Handy had been in jail since August when she, along with four co-defendants, were found guilty of violating the Freedom of Access To Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act for blocking access to a Washington, D.C., abortion clinic in 2020.

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Commentary: The Hackery of Judge Florence Pan

If a court proceeding held in the nation’s capital on Tuesday is an indication of how 2024 will go—things will be a lot worse than even the biggest skeptic predicted.

A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia—Biden appointees Florence Pan and Michelle Childs and George H. W. Bush appointee Karen Henderson—heard oral arguments for Donald Trump’s appeal of a lower court decision that concluded presidents are not immune from criminal prosecution for their conduct in office. The appeal originated out of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s four-count indictment against the former president related to the events of January 6.

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Prosecutor on Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Team Shut Down FBI Investigation into the Clinton Foundation in 2016

Clinton Foundation

A top prosecutor on Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team recommended that the FBI shut down an investigation into the Clinton Foundation in 2016, despite ample evidence of suspicious activity related to hundreds of thousands of dollars in foreign transactions, Fox News reported.

In his May 2023 report on the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, Special Counsel John Durham identified Ray Hulser, the former chief of the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section (PIN), as the official who “declined prosecution” of the Clinton Foundation. Hulser now serves on Smith’s team currently prosecuting former President Donald Trump for alleged crimes related to January 6.

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Commentary: The ‘Jan. 6 Jurisprudence’ About to Be Unleashed on Trump

Defense attorneys have coined the term “January 6 Jurisprudence” to describe the treatment received by the more than 1,200 defendants arrested so far in connection with the events of Jan. 6, 2021. This carve-out legal system involves the unprecedented and possibly unlawful use of a corporate evidence-tampering statute; excessive prison sentences and indefinite periods of pretrial incarceration; and the designation of nonviolent offenses as federal crimes of terrorism.

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Commentary: Where Are the J6 Committee Videos?

January 6 Riot

Special Counsel Jack Smith’s criminal case against Donald Trump for the events of January 6 is inextricably tied to the work of the special House committee that conducted an 18-month investigation into what happened before, on, and after that day.

In fact, one could safely argue that Smith lifted much of the language directly from the committee’s findings to prepare his 45-page indictment. Three of the four criminal referrals made by the committee, formed by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in June 2021, are reflected in Smith’s indictment. As Kyle Cheney, Politico’s legal affairs reporter recently noted, “the words in Smith’s filing are almost verbatim the case that the committee’s vice chair, Liz Cheney, made at the panel’s first public hearing.”

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Jack Smith Wants a Gag Order Against Donald Trump in January 6 Case

Special counsel Jack Smith has asked a judge to issue a gag order to former President Donald Trump in his Jan. 6 case to prevent him from publicly attacking major figures in the case.

“The defendant’s past conduct, including conduct that has taken place after and as a direct result of the indictment in this case, amply demonstrates the need for this order,” reads a filing from prosecutors that Politico obtained.

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Jim Jordan Probes Jack Smith’s Office

Republican House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan is launching a probe into Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office over an aide who allegedly “improperly pressured” a lawyer representing a defendant in former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case, he announced in a letter Thursday.

The investigation focuses on senior prosecutor Jay Bratt’s alleged effort to pressure Stanley Woodward, who represents Walt Nauta, former President Donald Trump’s co-defendant in the classified documents case. Bratt implied that the Biden administration would be more favorable towards Woodward’s application for a D.C. superior court judgeship if his client cooperated as a witness against former President Donald Trump, according to Jordan’s letter.

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Commentary: The Mugshot Heard ‘Round the World

Donald Trump’s historic arrest in Georgia Thursday evening was a virtual declaration of war on America. A former president was dragged into a filthy county jail behind enemy lines and had his mugshot taken, adding insult to the injury of an indictment for the bogus crime of challenging his political opponent. The dramatic moment followed days of buildup, as the “co-conspirators” in his “criminal enterprise” were methodically paraded in front of the country. These nefarious plotters include lawyers like John Eastman, a decent man whose “crime” is giving legal advice on a contentious constitutional question.

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Judge Sides with Trump on Protective Order, Handing Jack Smith an Early Defeat

A federal judge on Friday sided with Donald Trump, rejecting a request from Special Counsel Jack Smith for a protective order that would have imposed some speech restrictions on the former president as he runs in the 2024 election.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled prosecutors did not meet the burden for the protective order but also put Trump on notice he will have to be careful about what he says and releases about the case.

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Trump Leads Biden by Four Points After Indictments: Poll

Former President Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden in a hypothetical 2024 rematch, a recent survey has shown.

Trump earned the support of 42% of registered voters in the latest Premise survey, posting a 4-point lead over Joe Biden’s 38% support. Against Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, Biden claimed a modest 2-point lead, edging out the GOP’s second-place candidate by 36% to 34%. 

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Yet More Indictments: Prosecution of 2020 Alternate Electors in Six of Seven States Likely

In Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of former President Donald Trump regarding the 2020 presidential election and Jan. 6, the issue of alternate electors from seven states has become another focal point, as officials – all Democrats – from six of those states determine whether to prosecute.

In the federal indictment of Trump last week, Smith charged the former president with four counts, including conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of, and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights. The indictment also acknowledges six unnamed co-conspirators with whom Trump allegedly did “conspire, confederate, and agree” to defraud the country.

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Commentary: Trump Indictment Is a Mockery of Common Sense

At the end of the classic independent film Reservoir Dogs, the characters end up in a Mexican standoff. The criminal gang’s ringleader, Joe, insists that Mr. Orange is working with the police, even though he is dying on the floor, having been shot during a failed jewelry store heist. Mr. White – the crooks use aliases – insists that Joe is wrong. Guns get drawn. Mr. White demands some proof for Joe’s claim about Mr. Orange. Joe angrily responds, “You don’t need proof when you have instinct!” You can watch the (admittedly brutal) scene here.

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Five 2020 Election Irregularities, Illegalities That Collide with Jack Smith’s Trump Indictment

Former President Donald Trump has been arraigned on four felony counts alleging he conspired to spread claims of 2020 election fraud that he knew to be untrue to stop certification of the vote.

Federal prosecutors bringing the case, however, will have to contend with at least five high-profile cases of confirmed irregularities or illegalities from the 2020 contest ranging from Iranian interference to unlawful voting procedures.

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Pence Statements Prior to January 6 Undercut His Claims on Election Integrity, Constitutional Duty

Special Counsel Jack Smith’s most recent indictment of former President Donald Trump repeatedly referenced former Vice President Mike Pence objecting to Trump’s efforts to overturn the election and insisting that the vice president had no authority to halt the electoral certification process.

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Commentary: Former President Donald Trump Had a Right to Challenge the Results of the 2020 Election

Former President Donald Trump, who is running for president again in 2024 for the Republican nomination, has once again been indicted on Aug. 1 by Special Counsel Jack Smith, this time for challenging the results of the 2020 election, alleging Trump “spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won. These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false.”

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Judge Overseeing Trump 2020 Election Case Donated Thousands to Obama

The federal judge overseeing special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of former President Donald Trump over the 2020 election donated thousands of dollars to elect Barack Obama as president.

D.C. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, a 2014 Obama appointee, is presiding over Trump’s case after he was indicted Tuesday on four charges related to his alleged involvement in challenging the 2020 election and the subsequent Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

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Jack Smith’s Team Admits to ‘Incorrect’ Claim About Evidence in Trump Classified Documents Case

Special counsel Jack Smith’s team admitted to incorrectly claiming to have turned over evidence as required by law in the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump. 

While preparing last week to indict Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira for allegedly conspiring with Trump to delete surveillance footage from the estate, prosecutors learned that footage included as evidence “had not been processed and uploaded to the platform established for the defense to view,” Smith’s team wrote in a filing Monday.

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Vivek Ramaswamy Sues the DOJ, Files New FOIA Request Relating to Trump Indictment

GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) after the department failed to respond to his previously-filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to uncover the communication between the White House, DOJ, and Special Counsel Jack Smith about the indictment in the classified documents case of former President Donald Trump.

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Republicans Condemn New Charges in Trump Classified Docs Case

Conservatives and Republicans condemned a new round of charges against former President Donald Trump in the case involving classified material at Mar-a-Lago.

Special Counsel Jack Smith revealed the new charges in a superseding indictment issued Thursday that included charges against Carlos De Oliveira, a maintenance worker at Mar-a-Lago, the Florida estate owned by former President Trump. Smith initially secured a 37-count indictment against Trump in June.

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Trump Says His Team Met Prosecutors, Who Gave No Indication of Indictment in 2020 Election Probe

Former President Donald Trump said his legal team had a “productive meeting” Thursday with the Justice Department for Special Counsel Jack Smith’s probe, but prosecutors did not give any indication that he would receive a notice of indictment in the probe involving efforts to challenge the 2020 election results.

“My attorneys had a productive meeting with the DOJ this morning, explaining in detail that I did nothing wrong, was advised by many lawyers, and that an Indictment of me would only further destroy our Country. No indication of notice was given during the meeting — Do not trust the Fake News on anything!” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

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Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson on Hunter Biden Plea Deals: ‘This Stinks to High Heaven’

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) joined a chorus of Republicans blasting plea deals that would keep the president’s ne’er-do-well son out of prison.  

“Well first of all, this stinks to high heaven. It certainly proves we do not have equal application of justice under the law,” Johnson said this week on Fox News’ Jesse Waters Prime Time. 

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Commentary: The ‘Get Trump’ Games Continue

It all started with a self-important official at the National Archives and Records Administration. Or at least that’s the official story.

In May 2021, William Bosanko, NARA’s chief executive officer, noticed two presidential documents were missing from the Trump Administration: the letter Barack Obama wrote to Donald Trump and correspondence between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

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Don’t Be a ‘Disciple of the Donor Class:’ Ramaswamy Calls on Fellow Presidential Candidates to Commit to Pardoning Trump on Classified Records Charges

Political outsider and GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy is calling on all of his 2024 competitors — Republicans and Democrats — to commit to pardoning former President Donald Trump should he be convicted of the federal classified documents charges against him.

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Legal Experts: Politically Motivated, Yes, But Trump Could Be in Trouble with Latest Indictment

While many Americans feel former President Donald Trump is the target of a political witch hunt by the Biden administration and its allies, the latest allegations against the Republican Party’s top presidential candidate are troubling, according to a leading constitutional law expert.

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GOP Presidential Candidate Ramaswamy Files FOIA Request Seeking Biden Communications with Special Prosecutor in Trump Indictment

Ohio entrepreneur and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy says his campaign has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to uncover communications between the White House, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Jack Smith, special prosecutor behind the latest indictment of former President Donald Trump.

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Jack Smith Touts Severity of Trump Charges, but Highlights Presumption of Innocence

Special counsel Jack Smith on Friday addressed his case against former President Donald Trump, whom he has charged with 37 counts, including mishandling classified documents, making false statements, conspiracy to obstruct, and falsification of records. Smith, whom Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed, has pursued the DOJ’s case against Trump since November. The case first became a matter of public knowledge in August of last year when the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate seeking classified materials he may have removed from the White House.

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Trump Special Counsel’s Wife Was a Co-Producer for Michelle Obama’s Netflix Documentary

The wife of Jack Smith, the special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate former President Donald Trump, was a producer of a documentary on Michelle Obama in 2020 and has an extensive record of producing left-wing films.

Katy Chevigny, 42, is a filmmaker who married Smith in 2011, and who produced “Becoming,” a Netflix documentary based on the memoir published by Michelle Obama in 2020. As one of the four top producers on the project, Chevigny led the documentary’s creation and worked closely with the Obamas and their company, Higher Ground Productions, on the project.

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Special Counsel Investigating Trump Was Key Figure in IRS Targeting Scandal

Jack Smith, the special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate former president Donald Trump’s possession of classified information, was a key figure in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)’s infamous targeting of conservative non-profits, according to a 2014 report by Republicans on the House Oversight Committee.

On Oct. 8, 2010, Smith, then-Chief of the DOJ Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section at the time, called a meeting with former IRS official Lois Lerner “to discuss how the IRS could assist in the criminal enforcement of campaign-finance laws against politically active nonprofits,” according to testimony from Richard Pilger, then director of the section’s Election Crimes Branch and subordinate of Smith’s, to the Oversight Committee. Lerner eventually resigned from the IRS in 2015 following criticism of her targeting of conservative groups when denying or delaying tax-exempt status.

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