More Charges, More Problems | Crooked Media
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July 27, 2023
What A Day
More Charges, More Problems

In This Episode

  • Former President Donald Trump is facing additional charges in the case over his handling of classified documents. The superseding indictment accuses Trump, along with two aides, of trying to delete security video from Mar-a-Lago to keep federal investigators from viewing it. The new charges came down hours after Trump’s legal team met with special counsel Jack Smith in Washington, D.C., indicating that Trump will soon face another indictment over his bid to interfere with the 2020 election.
  • And in headlines: the Justice Department opened a civil rights probe into the Memphis Police Department, a judge has given opponents of Atlanta’s ‘Cop City’ more time to gather signatures to stop the project, and this month is already on track to become the hottest July ever recorded.

 

Show Notes:

 

 

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TRANSCRIPT

 

Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Friday, July 28th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.

 

Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi. And this is What A Day where we have no choice but to join everyone else who is dunking on San Francisco. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, it’s nothing personal. It’s just that the planet is on fire and you all are complaining about the cold. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, you can throw on a sweater, maybe even some socks. All of us, though, I don’t know we’re running out of things we can take off. [laughter] [music break] On today’s show, the Justice Department is investigating the Memphis Police Department following the killing of Tyre Nichols earlier this year. Plus, this month is shaping up to be the hottest month ever on record. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: It is so hot. My Lord, today. But first, as we were getting ready to record this show, news broke that federal prosecutors filed new charges against former President Donald Trump in the classified documents case. We’ll get to that in just a moment. But let’s first start off with the fact that we are still on indictment watch. A little over a week ago, Trump said that he received a letter from the Justice Department informing him that he is a target of the investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. So any logical minded person has been waiting patiently for the shoe to drop and him to be indicted for a second time by the feds and for the third time this year. Well, yesterday morning, Trump’s lawyers met with prosecutors from special counsel Jack Smith’s office, which sent the news media into a frenzy. As such meetings, which are not uncommon in high profile cases, are supposedly a sign that an indictment or charging decision is on the horizon. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. I mean, there is a lot to keep straight here. First, there is the classified documents case. There is this one about the election interference. There is New York. There’s Georgia. Like there is so much so if you feel like your head’s spinning a little bit. You’re not alone, but we’re here to help you keep everything straight. Let’s go back to this meeting, though. Do we know what happened in this meeting? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So not really. Typically, though, these meetings basically give the defense a chance to present their best argument as to why their client should not be charged. But rarely do these presentations actually change the prosecutors minds. That said, Trump did post a message on his bootleg social media platform Truth Social after the meeting, saying, quote, “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.” So do with that info–

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Got it. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: –what you want to. That said, if and when charges do happen, which could be later today or next week, according to some reports we here at WAD will have you covered with a special episode. So stay tuned for that. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely. Okay. So let’s get back to the rest of the news from yesterday about Trump’s mounting legal troubles. Like you mentioned, Tre’vell, as we were all getting ready to move on from the buzz in D.C., the federal grand jury in Florida that’s investigating Trump over his handling of classified documents dropped a big news bomb on all of us. We learned that a new indictment was filed in that case, adding some additional charges to the already long list of very serious charges that Trump is up against. So to get the latest on all of this, we called up former U.S. attorney and L.A. Times legal affairs columnist Harry Litman. 

 

Harry Litman: You can break them down into two categories. So one is, you remember the old indictment had him waving around a piece of paper that might have something to do with Iran. Well they’ve now buttoned that down, and I think they probably talked to the people he showed it to and they said, yep, we recognize that. So it’s a new count of abuse of classified documents and actually showing it to others, which is kind of a whole new category. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Harry Litman: And then the other and the more serious is a mini conspiracy with Walt Nauta who already was there. But then a new um guy who’s just come into the scene named De Oliveira. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. 

 

Harry Litman: Who worked with Nauta. And they have [?]. He lied repeatedly and all three of them he talks to Trump, etc.. he tells the head of sort of I.T. they want to delete security footage and, you know, stop and think about that for a while. Why would you possibly want to delete security footage? And is there any benign explanation? I don’t think so. But so they have a separate conspiracy with real penalties. And it’s pretty clear that Jack Smith went to De Oliveira and said, look, you lied like crazy. I can charge you with conspiracy and lying unless you cooperate, because it seems so obvious that he should just uh fess up what Trump told him. It’s good evidence and otherwise he’s looking at real exposure and he declined, and Smith went ahead and charged him. So there’s a sort of mini uh three person conspiracy that’s quite sort of a ham handed and amateurish to try to delete the security footage when they found out about it. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s get into that specific classified document that’s part of these charges. You know, what more have we learned about that document and how this charge relates to everything? 

 

Harry Litman: So a couple of things. First, we’ve learned we didn’t know before, the US got it back, they got it back in that January date when things were first returned because they identify it. But second and most important, and we already knew it was an incendiary document because it concerns potential plans to attack, uh well they don’t identify it specifically in these terms in the indictment. But we already knew it was a complete red hot document talking about plans potentially for attacking Iran. But we know now, most importantly for the federal law, that when he brandishes it around and you can hear a tape that we heard before with you can actually hear the paper flapping. Uh. There are now witnesses apparently, who said, yep, I saw it because that’s a whole different charge. So we now have number 32 charged with documents in the indictment. And it actually says he showed it to those people who were there helping prepare Mark Meadows biography. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Also want to go back to this additional person, Carlos de Oliveira, who has been charged here. Who is he and what has he specifically been accused of doing in all of this? 

 

Harry Litman: Yeah, he’s just sort of a guy who works at Mar-a-Lago, and when– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Harry Litman: –Walt Nauta at Trump’s direction is moving out 60 boxes, moving back 30. I think he just had the bad luck to be dragged into helping. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Harry Litman: You know, Nauta’s spent his whole life with Trump. But as soon as they learned the day after they learned the DOJ would like the surveillance footage, he panics and he begins to ask these nervous, unbelievably inculpatory questions. How long does security footage last, and is there a way to get rid of it? And he there’s a flood that maybe he has something to do with trying to destroy them. And he also has conversations with Trump and tells the main IT guy, the boss, we know who that is. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Harry Litman: We want this deleted. So he’s a guy who kind of I think stumbles into helping Trump and Nauta with a flagrant and really both amateurish but also unmistakable scheme to cover up evidence that they think is going to show what? Exactly what it does show, moving stuff out, moving in and hiding documents that he’s going to attest that oh I don’t have any more. I’ve given it all back. It’s like having a bank tape that catches you red handed and can you somehow get rid of it? That’s the ham handed plot– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Harry Litman: –that the three of them engage in. But the weird thing to me as a prosecutor, when I heard about this guy and all he initially just did the party line and the party in Trump land means lying all the time. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Harry Litman: Oh I don’t know anything about that. We didn’t do anything, etc.. They catch him dead to rights. And he is then looking at a conspiracy to suppress evidence and also the separate lies. And you would think a guy like that would right away roll over and you know, I’m sure they offered him a very good deal to explain what Trump had said to him. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Harry Litman: And he decided not to do it. And it’s kind of the mob boss dynamic of the whole Trump family. So they said, we’re going to charge you. And sure enough, they did. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Got it. All of this goes without saying. But the previous charges in this case were already very serious. I’m curious, how do you feel like these charges change the situation? Make it worse, like, how has this been affected by the addition of these new charges? 

 

Harry Litman: Now, as you said, it already seemed very strong and there didn’t seem to be a good explanation. But to the extent Trump was going to try, somehow to actually say, I honestly thought they were mine. I’m the president. I can do whatever I want. This strikes me as very strong evidence because if you think they’re yours and can do what you want, why are you entering into a conspiracy to try to destroy surveillance footage. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Harry Litman: If all it’s showing is you legitimately with your kingdom and your documents. So I think it’s an extra charge. But in addition to that, it really, I think, strengthens the entire case. It’s just not tenable for him to try to claim, oh, I thought everything was fine and dandy and it was all good. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Harry Litman: And remember, on this one document he’s now been charged with, he actually cops to saying, I can’t declassify this anymore. I should have before. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Harry Litman: That’s also you know hurts his explanation. But the big thing is that they’re trying to do anything they can and he’s on the phone in part of it to get rid of surveillance tapes. That’s killer evidence. Prosecutors will love that. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: That was former U.S. attorney and friend of WAD, Harry Litman. We will, of course, keep you updated on any other news coming out of all of this. But that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break]. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Let’s get to some headlines. 

 

[sung] Headlines. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: The Department of Justice has launched a civil rights investigation into the Memphis City Police Department over whether its officers systematically discriminate against Black residents. The announcement comes seven months after the killing of Tyre Nichols. You’ll remember that Nichols, who was Black, sustained fatal injuries after a group of officers pulled him over, chased him down and viciously beat him. U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said the probe wasn’t triggered by any specific incident, but the DOJ has received reports from the community that police are using excessive force more frequently. It’s unclear how long the investigation will take, but we know that similar probes the Justice Department has launched into other local police practices and patterns such as in Louisville and Minneapolis took about two years. The civil rights attorneys representing the Nichols family released a joint statement on Thursday saying, quote, “It is our hope that the investigation will provide a transparent account of the abuses of power we have seen and continue to see in Memphis.” 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: The activists protesting the planned construction of Cop City, the proposed $90 million dollar training facility for Atlanta police were handed a huge legal victory yesterday. A judge has given them another 60 days to collect signatures from Atlanta residents to put the issue on the ballot and also ruled that nonresidents can help gather those signatures. The last time we covered this story back in June, we told you that Atlanta’s city council voted to allocate $31 million dollars in public funding towards the facility’s construction despite widespread public opposition. Activists have been trying to gather 70,000 signatures to force a referendum on the issue, and specifically whether or not Cop City can be built on city owned land. Thursday’s decision means that Cop City opponents now have until September 25th to reach that threshold. Mary Hooks, one of the lead organizers of the effort, said of the ruling, quote, “Cop City has been marred time and time again by the silencing of democratic input and repression of community participation. And since the launch of this campaign, we have been playing on a field tilted in the city of Atlanta’s favor.” That they certainly have. But this is an exciting victory. Let’s hope it keeps coming. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. If this summer has felt unusually and maybe even unreasonably hot, you’re not alone. We only have a few days left in July. But according to U.N. climate experts, this past month is officially on track to become the hottest month on record. And to make matters worse, this past month was the hottest June ever. Super hot even in places that I don’t want to talk about, if you know what I mean. Mm hmm.

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yup. Definitely unreasonable. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Definitely. The news came on the same day that President Biden announced that the Department of Labor is putting employers on notice to protect workers from heat related injuries. Biden also unveiled a new initiative to develop better weather prediction alerts to notify companies of their obligations, along with a multimillion dollar package to boost climate resilience programs in the Western states. All of this comes as 40% of the U.S. population is going into the weekend under some form of heat advisory. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Listen, I am glad that someone is trying to do something about this because unusual, unreasonable, all of the above could be used to describe the temperatures that we have been seeing this summer. It is not just in your head. It is everywhere and it is not okay. And finally, [clip of intro of Madonna’s Lucky Star plays] yesterday marked 40 years since a little known singer from Bay City, Michigan, burst onto the pop music scene with her debut album, aptly named Madonna. She was just 24 years old when it came out. It reached five time platinum album status and skyrocketed her into her decades long career. Madonna is currently recovering from a serious bacterial infection, but in a recent post on Instagram, she says that she is still planning to hit the road for her celebration tour this October. 40 years. Wow. Like what a career she has had. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. And, you know, I’m not even too much of a fan of Madge, as they call her. But 40 years, you have to give credit where credit is due to be still doing pop music after 40 years. It’s a really big deal. So shout out to her. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Totally, an icon. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And those are the headlines. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Tre’vell Anderson: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review. Thank your lucky stars and tell your friends to listen. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: And if you are into reading and not just petitions to curb the power of the police like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 

 

[spoken together] And bundle up San Francisco.

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I mean, we all know you have those branded Patagonias. [laugh] Throw them on. This is what they’re there for. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Meanwhile, the rest of us are sweating our behinds off. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: We’ll just be stripping layers over here [laughter] but it’s fine. You just get to pile them on. [music beak]

 

Tre’vell Anderson: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers. Our intern is Ryan Cochran, and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.