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'The entire ball game': Former FBI counsel wonders if there's a national security issue driving Trump documents case
Speaking to MSNBC, former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal and former FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann honed in on the importance of all the legal woes hitting Donald Trump at once.
For example, the judge in the classified documents case last night demanded a seven-hour turn-around time on new responses from the DOJ. Calling it "extraordinary," Katyal said that he's never seen anything like it before.
"To me, I think it really does suggest the seriousness of the investigation," he explained. "There are some theories people are saying, well, the grand jury is going to meet on Friday. The evidence has to be turned over today. And so, maybe that's why they rushed it. But that, to me, is not an explanation. The report could have just delayed the turning over of the information through a stay — without having to actually rule on the underlying merit. But here they said, government, brief this overnight, and now we're going to decide it. And so I think there's something more going on in just simply the turning over the material deadline."
Host Lawrence O'Donnell asked Weissmann what possible reason there would be to move so quickly.
"I can give you two thoughts," said Weissmann. "One is that you're supposed to decide grand jury matters expeditiously. Here in the Second Circuit in New York, where there are lots of criminal grand jury matters, it would be unheard of to do it this way, with sort of a matter of hours, but you would have very quick decisions. So that's one theory."
The other idea he suggested is a possible national security implication that is in the filing that caused the lower court and the appeals court to be "really concerned" about getting the information back to the proper parties.
"And just to stress one critical thing here, and I know this because I had the identical situation in front of Judge [Beryl] Howell, this could be the entire ball game in terms of the obstruction of justice and a false statement case that special counsel Jack Smith could bring against the former president," Weissmann explained. "It would be a crime — two crimes that really differentiate this investigation from anything that's alleged with respect to the current president or the former Vice President. But you could end up with a lawyer giving the last testimony about learning the false statements of the certification and the false statements he made to the Department of Justice orally. He may very well say that is information he learned from the former President of the United States. It would be exactly the situation that happened with Paul Manafort before the same judge, making the exact same ruling, and it really was 'game over' in our case. Obviously, we don't yet know what Mr. [Evan] Corcoran's gonna say, but the recording is that he is not going to be the fall guy. He is going to say 'I was misled.'"
See the full conversation in the video below or at the link here.
'Could be the entire ball game': ex-FBI counsel wonders if it's a national security issue for Trump www.youtube.com
Florida set to expand 'Don't Say Gay' law to all school years
The move to expand restrictions on discussions of LGBTQ-related topics, dubbed by critics as the "Don't Say Gay" law, comes as Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis lays the groundwork for a widely expected presidential run.
The new rule will be up for a vote by the Florida's Board of Education on April 19, local media reported Wednesday.
It has already been approved by the Department of Education, which like the board is led by DeSantis appointees, and will not need legislative approval to take effect, according to the reports.
If approved, teachers will be prohibited from "intentionally" teaching topics related to "sexual orientation or gender identity" to students from the fourth grade through to their final year of high school.
Last year's initiative applied only to kindergarten through third grade.
"Make no mistake: This is a part of a disturbing and dangerous trend that we're seeing across the country of legislations that are anti-LGBTQI+, anti-trans," said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday.
DeSantis, who won reelection in 2022 in a landslide victory, has made battling politicians, teachers and businesses he accuses of wanting to impose a progressive "woke" ideology on others a central concern of his second term.
He has increasingly courted conservative voters with controversial proposals on education and immigration in recent months, as jockeying for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination heats up.
A rising star of the American right, DeSantis is widely expected to go toe-to-toe with former president Donald Trump, who has already declared his candidacy.
The move to expand the "Don't Say Gay" restrictions has already drawn pushback from activists, including Equality Florida.
"This has been the goal all along: sweeping censorship and book banning targeting LGBTQ people in service to his presidential ambitions," the group tweeted Wednesday, referring to DeSantis.
"Now educators, in any grade level, and their livelihoods are being placed directly in the crosshairs for acknowledging that LGBTQ people exist."
Writing for The Nation on Wednesday, author Norman Solomon flagged that "Dilbert" creator Scott Adams is trying to recover from his tirade calling for racial segregation, a moment that got the right-wing cartoonist pulled from every major newspaper and dropped by his syndicate, by relaunching the cartoon and leaning into his new reputation.
"The death of Dilbert — greatly exaggerated when its creator suddenly fell from media grace in late February — has led to a swift resurrection," reported Solomon. "Last week, the cartoonist and author Scott Adams launched the same daily comic strip under the name Dilbert Reborn via the right-wing online platform Rumble, which touts itself as 'immune to cancel culture.' Adams has arrived at a logical destination, a milieu of privilege decrying its own martyrdom."
This comes after Adams already became inflamed by controversy by supporting former President Donald Trump for several years, suggesting that under President Joe Biden, Republicans will be rounded up and murdered.
Solomon is in a unique position to analyze this comic strip — because several decades ago, he wrote an analysis of the satirical workplace humor, questioning the entire premise that it is sympathetic to workers, and earning the public ire and ridicule of Adams.
"To speak bluntly about power inequities — and to work with others to challenge them — could be truly threatening to corporate poohbahs. In contrast, sarcasm is fine," wrote Solomon in his book, "The Trouble With Dilbert." "Dilbert does not suggest that we do much other than roll our eyes, find a suitably acid quip, and continue to smolder while avoiding deeper questions about corporate power in our society. Huge fortunes keep being made on the fairly safe bet that we will remain anesthetized. Dilbert adjusts — and fortifies — the terms of the numbing, to take into account the undeniable alienation that besets so many workplaces. Dilbert’s mockery of office workers, couched in pretenses of universality, insists that stupidity and selfishness are central to who we are — and must be."
Adams responded at the time by openly mocking Solomon by name in his strip and his books — and continued to espouse the message Solomon argued was problematic. “If you can come to peace with the fact that you’re surrounded by idiots, you’ll realize that resistance is futile, your tension will dissipate, and you can sit back and have a good laugh at the expense of others,” Adams wrote in "The Dilbert Principle," his 1996 advice book.
"Words like 'stupidity' and 'selfishness' scarcely begin to describe the horrendous racist rant that Scott Adams spewed in a YouTube video in late February. Referring to Black people as 'a hate group,' Adams said, 'I don’t want to have anything to do with them. And I would say, based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people,'" concluded Solomon. "All this seems a far cry from Dilbert cubicle humor. Yet wispy themes of his current extremism can be traced back to the ethos that Adams has promoted for decades."
Watch: Prankster sneaks uncensored view of Trump onto right-wing news network