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Friday Round Up! 6/2/23
Birnam Wood (a.k.a. Jack Smith) creeps closer to Mar-a-Lago.
I decided to take the holiday weekend off from the round up, but not to worry — I’ve got a double dose for you to catch up on this week! In fact, my discussions with Renato both last week and this week focus on the final chess moves Special Counsel Jack Smith seems to be making, in order to put a nail in the coffin of Trump’s intent in obstructing the return of classified documents to the Justice Department. Both podcast episodes are below, and they don’t even include the latest news, which is
Yeah so it turns out that while talking to researchers working on Mark Meadows’ “autobiography,” Trump is on tape claiming to possess a classified document authored by chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, which undermined Milley’s narrative that he (Milley) had taken steps to avert the possibility that Trump would start a war in his last days in office. In the tape, Trump apparently states that he wishes he had declassified the document so that he could show it to the researchers. But recent reporting indicates that Trump’s lawyers have been unable to find a such a document in response to a subpoena by the special counsel to turn it over.
As I noted on Twitter, Trump’s statement suggests an admission that he knows he can’t use the Secret Telepathic Unilateral Preemptive Irrevocable Declassification (S.T.U.P.I.D) defense. But, if the document doesn’t in fact exist — if it was just made-up bluster by Trump — does the recording actually actually help the prosecution? Stay tuned, as Renato and I will discuss that and more on this week’s podcast. In the meantime, you can get up to speed on the latest with Mar-a-Lago in these two espiodesi of It’s Complicated:
My pieces/podcast appearances this week:
Have you been hearing a lot of controversy about “Section 702” but have no idea what it is about? I wrote a quick explainer for Just Security to help laypeople understand what it is, how it is different than the problems with FISA that Republicans have complained about for the last five years, and what the main issue is about.
Had a great discussion with Paul Rieckhoff on the Independent Americans podcast on how 9/11 created our blind spot with regard to domestic violent extremism. Bonus: Find out what being a cable news contributor and booty calls have in common
Had another great discussion with Michael Cohen for his podcast, Mea Culpa. I always love talking to Michael and find him hilarious (I refrain from dropping f-bombs but he does enough for the both of us). What was Trump’s motive in keeping these classified documents? Give it a listen to find out our theories!
Additional articles worth reading:
For real, if you read just one article this week, read this one by Tim Alberta in The Atlantic about the “meltdown” at CNN under its new leadership. Get some popcorn and your favorite beverage as you read it. It’s wild. (And ICYMI you may be interested in this complementary piece I wrote that explains why Chris Licht’s attempt to become more “centrist” is doomed to fail)
We had a really fun Wine & Fries keeping’-it-real chat with Elie Mystal and a great classroom discussion with former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe last month! I hope you’ll bear with me as I line up summer class and Wine & Fries guests (getting schedules to line up, especially with international travel, can be a little difficult), but should have more nailed down soon. In the meantime:
Zoom Office Hours, Wednesday, June 21 (time TBA — I’ll be in Italy so still figuring it out!).
Wine & Fries members event, Sunday, June 25, 6-8 p.m. EDT: Introduction to the Enneagram. I’m an accredited Enneagram professional with the International Enneagram Association! You can take a test to determine your type here, and I’ll do an introductory session to help you learn how to use this amazing tool (remember that with great power comes great responsibility!)
Guest speaker, Wednesday, June 28 at 4 p.m. EDT. Zoom link will be sent to paid subscribers at 1 p.m. and a recording will be posted on Thursday
We’ll be starting our new module on foreign election interference in the U.S. this month, so if you want to jump into the online course, Democracy in the (Dis)Information Age, it’s never too late!
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