👋 Away Message: So we had a little scheduling snafu here at WTF HQ, where both myself and Joe (voice of the pod) double-booked ourselves with personal and professional obligations next week. Oopsie! Not a very great job using a calendar on my part, I guess. On the other hand, it appears the government isn't going to be open for business anyway... Unless something truly WTF-y happens, I'll see you all again on Tuesday, October 10th, because Monday is a holiday (Indigenous Peoples' Day).
In the mean time, try our little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding and for being here. I'm going to miss you.
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1/ Trump has been notified that he’s a target in the Jan. 6 criminal investigation by special counsel Jack Smith. Trump confirmed the development in a post on his personal social media platform, writing: “Deranged Jack Smith, the prosecutor with Joe Biden’s DOJ, sent a letter (again, it was Sunday night!) stating that I am a TARGET of the January 6th Grand Jury investigation, and giving me a very short 4 days to report to the Grand Jury, which almost always means an Arrest and Indictment.” The target letter indicates that another indictment could be imminent, though it’s unclear what kind of charges Trump could face. It is also not clear whether anyone else received a target letter. It is, however, the second time that Smith has notified Trump that he’s a target in a federal investigation. The first was in June in connection with his handling of classified documents after leaving office and his alleged efforts to obstruct the government’s investigation. Days later, a federal grand jury indicted Trump on 37 charges. In March, a Manhattan grand jury indicted Trump on state charges related to hush money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign. The district attorney in Fulton County, Ga., is also leading an ongoing investigation related to the 2020 election and attempts to overturn the state’s results. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Associated Press / ABC News / Politico / Wall Street Journal / USA Today / NBC News / CNBC)
- Trump and his allies are planning to increase his presidential power if he wins the 2024 election, reshaping the structure of the executive branch to concentrate greater authority in his hands. “Trump and his associates have a broader goal: to alter the balance of power by increasing the president’s authority over every part of the federal government that now operates, by either law or tradition, with any measure of independence from political interference by the White House, according to a review of his campaign policy proposals and interviews with people close to him.” (New York Times)
2/ The Georgia Supreme Court dismissed Trump’s petition to block the state’s investigation into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and to throw out evidence gathered by a special purpose grand jury in the case. All nine justices said Trump’s lawyers had failed to present “extraordinary circumstances” that warranted shutting down the investigation. The ruling came weeks before Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is expected to seek indictments in the election probe. Trump is expected to be one of the defendants. (Washington Post / Atlanta Journal-Constitution / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / Politico / CNBC / USA Today)
3/ U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon signaled that she will likely push back the start of Trump’s trial for allegedly mishandling classified documents. Cannon, however, appeared skeptical of Trump’s request that it be delayed until after the 2024 election. Cannon said a proposal from federal prosecutors that the trial be held in mid-December was “a bit rushed” and that the timeline was too “compressed.” Cannon previously intervened last year in the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified materials, agreeing to order an outside review of documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. A federal appeals court panel later overturned the decision. Trump, meanwhile, praised Cannon, calling her a “very smart,” “very strong,” and “very highly respected judge.” Trump added: “I’m very proud to have appointed her.” (Washington Post / CNN)
4/ Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel criminally charged 16 people who falsely claimed to be the state’s 2020 presidential electors for Trump. All 16 people were charged with eight felonies “for their role in the alleged false electors scheme following the 2020 U.S. presidential election,” Nessel said. The charges include one count of conspiracy to commit forgery, two counts of forgery, one count of conspiracy to commit uttering and publishing, and one count of uttering and publishing – all of which carry a maximum of 14 years in prison. They also each face one count of conspiracy to commit election law forgery, and two counts of election law forgery, which each carry a maximum of five years in prison. (CNN / NBC News / Washington Post / CBS News / CNBC)
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