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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.

Not Looking Great

If you had already given up hope that the criminal justice system would manage to hold Donald Trump to account before the election, yesterday’s developments only confirmed your pessimism.

The day’s big shocker was that the one trial that seemed certain to take place before Election Day – the Stormy Daniels hush money case in Manhattan – is very likely to be delayed for at least a month. The reasons for that remain inexplicable. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York isn’t saying why it delayed responding to a Trump subpoena and then started producing tens of thousands of responsive documents just days before trial. It forced Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s hand, and he agreed yesterday to a delay in the start of the trial of at least a month. Trump wants a 90-day delay. A judge has yet to rule.

Meanwhile, down in Florida, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon seems no closer to setting a trial date, and the case continues to bob along aimlessly while she complicates it needlessly. Cannon did issue one ruling yesterday, after a day-long hearing on two of Trump’s motions to dismiss, but it was confused, tortured and not a clean shot. She ruled that it was premature to dismiss the case for unconstitutional vagueness, but left open the possibility of dismissing the during trial. This is typically a legal question that a judge would dispense with unequivocally now. Not so with Cannon. She didn’t yet rule on the second Trump motion to dismiss based on his preposterous claim that the Presidential Records Act controls here and overrides laws on the handling of classified information.

Combined with the stalled Jan. 6 case and Fani Willis’ RICO case going on a Dukes of Hazard-style detour through the backwoods of Georgia, the prospect of Trump being tried before November is not eliminated but is at its lowest ebb yet.

It will take a collective sense of urgency to rid ourselves of the Trump threat. I’m not talking about voters. I’m referring to elites. Nearly a decade into it, the political, legal and business sectors are still slow-walking through the Trump era. It’s a collective failure. And Trump continues to exploit it.

BREAKING …

State Judge Scott McAfee just issued his ruling on the motion by Trump and his codefendants to disqualify Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis from prosecuting the RICO election interference case. It’s a mixed bag. More to come at TPM today.

Trump White House official Peter Navarro loses his appeal court bid to stay out of prison.

Just Listen To What He’s Saying

Susan Glasser: I Listened to Trump’s Rambling, Unhinged, Vituperative Georgia Rally—and So Should You

2024 Ephemera

  • NJ-Sen: Indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is considering running for re-election in November as an independent, NBC News reports.
  • WV-Sen: Retiring Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is resisting entreaties from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to make a last-ditch bid to hold on to his Senate seat by running as an independent.
  • OH-Sen: The AP dug up evidence tying Trump-backed Bernie Moreno (R) to a 2008 online profile seeking “Men for 1-on-1 sex” on Adult Friend Finder. Moreno lawyer Charles Harder, whose previous clients include Hulk Hogan in the case that took down Gawker and Donald Trump in a defamation lawsuit by Stormy Daniels, provided the AP with a statement from a former Moreno intern who claims to have set up the profile as a prank. Moreno’s views on on LGBT rights have, shall we say, evolved from supportive before he entered politics, to hardcore against since launching his first Senate bid in 2021.
  • Trump tries to clean up his remarks on Social Security and Medicare.

Matt Gaetz Is Back In The Hot Seat

A woman who claims Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) had sex with her when she was still a minor has subpoenaed him to sit for a deposition in a defamation case brought against her by a longtime friend of Gaetz. For his part, Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing.

Unbelievable

X/Twitter took down an unverified graphic clip of purported cannibalism in Haiti posted by Elon Musk himself.

Noted For The Record

The father of the Oxford, Michigan high school shooter was convicted on four counts of involuntary manslaughter, just as the shooter’s mother was last month. They will sentenced together April 9.

Cry A Little Harder

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell et al. are loudly bemoaning the end of judge-shopping as we’ve known it, going so far as to send a letter to chief judges around the country urging them to ignore the Judicial Conference policy change to fix the judge-shopping problem.

Palm, Meet Forehead

Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford has published a memoir, which includes this anecdote, as described by the WaPo:

After Kavanaugh was confirmed, Ford’s legal team approached her with a delicate question: Is it possible that her dad sent a letter to Kavanaugh’s father — they belonged to the same golf club — saying that he was glad Kavanaugh had been confirmed? Ford couldn’t believe this was true, and when she asked her dad, he assured her no letter was written. It’s not until a later conversation that he backtracked: He didn’t write a letter, but he did send an email. “Just gentleman to gentleman,” he explained awkwardly. “I should have just said, ‘I’m glad this is over.’ That’s what I meant.”

Oddly, Ford did know what he meant, and in the context of her father’s Washington, it makes sense: He was an old-school Republican for whom manners and decorum supersede everything — a trade-school graduate who was proud to propel his family into a country club lifestyle and who wanted to make sure they would still be welcomed in that lifestyle even after all this tricky business with his daughter. But her father’s actions were utterly devastating in the new political climate, in which every word could be weaponized and every text or email was a gotcha. The pair’s relationship hasn’t fully recovered by the end of the book, and it’s hard to imagine it ever will.

The Sign Of The Fox

Sarah Wildman with a poignant essay on the one-year anniversary of the death of her 14-year-old daughter Orli from liver cancer.

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