Playbook PM: A busy day for legal news in Trump world

MARK YOUR CALENDARS — Federal judge AILEEN CANNON has set the court date for former President DONALD TRUMP’s trial for allegedly mishandling classified documents: May 20, 2024 in Fort Pierce, Fla. More from Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney

The case was initially scheduled for mid-August of this year. Cannon noted in her filing that she wanted the trial date moved because “the interests of justice served by this continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and Defendants in a speedy trial.”

The new timeline is a blow to Trump, whose legal team requested the court push the trial until after the 2024 presidential election.

Instead, should the timing stick, the trial would come amidst Trump’s campaign for the White House — well past most states’ presidential primaries, but before the summer’s national nominating conventions.

That could be something of a worst-case scenario for the GOP: With the primaries mostly complete by mid-May, the party’s most likely presidential candidate will be in a highly publicized criminal trial just five months before Election Day.

But the timing isn’t exactly a win for special counsel JACK SMITH, either. Cannon called Smith’s proposed schedule “atypically accelerated and inconsistent with ensuring a fair trial.”

Meanwhile, in Georgia … With indictments possible in the coming days, Trump’s attorneys filed a Hail Mary of a motion in an attempt to quash Fulton County DA FANI WILLIS’ investigation into the former president’s efforts to overturn the election in 2020 in Georgia, reports WaPo’s Holly Bailey.

The motion, which was reassigned to a court outside of Fulton County, alleges that Willis “fundrais[ed] for her election campaign on the back of this case.” If granted, it would bar the Fulton County DA’s office from continuing its investigation, and throw out both the evidence and final report of the special grand jury convened by the office.

This latest filing comes just days after the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously rejected a similar motion from Trump’s team, which sought to bar Willis from the case and throw out the findings.

And, in New York … Former Trump attorney MICHAEL COHEN agreed to settle his lawsuit against the Trump Organization over disputed legal fees stemming from the Mueller investigation, NYT’s Ben Protess, Jonah Bromwich and Kate Christobek report. The 2019 suit, in which Cohen accused the organization of failing to follow the terms of an agreed-upon deal and cover more than $1 million in legal costs, was set to go to trial next week.

“The settlement is not yet finalized and the details will be kept confidential. The judge in the case, JOEL COHEN — who is no relation to mr. Cohen — said that he would delay the trial pending a final agreement.”

even so: “A separate lawsuit that Mr. Trump filed against Mr. Cohen in Florida federal court remains active, and Mr. Cohen is still expected to be the star witness against the former president in a Manhattan criminal trial next year.”

And, at the White House … President JOE BIDEN and his advisers continued their strategic silence on Trump’s legal woes. Jonathan Lemire writes that although the decision “is rooted” in the president’s promise not to intervene with the DOJ, “it also hints at what is likely to become a broader Biden campaign strategy: There will be plenty of other people who will do that work for him. And if the 2024 conversation is about Trump, the best option for Biden is to simply get off the stage.”

AFTERNOON SNACK — “’Barbie’ or ‘Oppenheimer’? We asked senators which movie they’re seeing,” by Kelly Garrity and Mia McCarthy

Happy Friday afternoon. Thanks for reading Playbook PM. Drop me a line: [email protected].


WHAT THE DNC IS READING — “Biden is building his 2024 election bid around an organization Obama shunned,” by AP’s Will Weissert: “Biden is staking his election bid on the political and financial muscle of the Democratic National Committee … The strategy is different from the way the last Democratic president treated the DNC. BAACK OBAMA largely shunned the party’s traditional fundraising apparatus and instead raised money with his own groups, relying on personal star power.”

WHAT’S IN A NAME? — RFK Jr. Tarnishes Kennedy Legacy With Latinos, Leaders and Experts Say,” by The Messenger’s Adrian Carrasquillo


DANCE OF THE SUPERPOWERS — WSJ’s Andrew Duehren is up with a big-picture look at how Treasury Secretary JANET YELLEN’s travel to Vietnam this week underscores the intertwined relationship between the US and Chinese economies, as well as the obstacles facing the US as it attempts to cut ties with China. “Disentangling China’s role in global supply chains, even in limited areas, is far from straightforward. The share of US goods imports from China has slipped in recent years, while it has expanded with other Asian countries. Many of those alternative trading partners such as Vietnam or South Korea are themselves deeply intertwined with China.”


BORDER BOONDOGGLE — “Texas Spent Billions on Border Security. It’s Not Working,” by WSJ’s Elizabeth Findell: Operation Lone Star, Texas Gov. GREG ABBOTT’s highly publicized $4.5 billion project aimed at curbing illegal crossings of the US-Mexico border, “has inundated the US-Mexico border with thousands of Texas state troopers and National Guardsmen,” and marked “an explicit challenge to the national government.”

And yet: “The area of ​​the border most heavily targeted by Operation Lone Star has seen the most rapid increase in illegal border crossings in the state since the operation began. … Despite the flood of resources, the added arrests by Operation Lone Star personnel in that section of the border amounted to about 1% of the encounters there by Border Patrol in the same time frame, or about 11,000 added to the Border Patrol’s 850,000.”

DEEP IN THE HEART — “America’s Rise as an Energy Export Powerhouse Hinges on One Town,” by WSJ’s David Uberti and Benoît Morenne

REDISTRICTING WOES — “Alabama GOP refuses to draw second Black district, despite Supreme Court order, by NBC’s Jane Timm

AIN’T NO SUNSHINE — Florida Gov. RON DeSANTIS’ push to conceal the names of “heavyweight” conservative advisers he mentioned on a podcast could spell trouble for Florida’s public records laws, The Tallahassee Democrat’s Douglas Soule reports. After a judge backed up DeSantis by ruling he can invoke executive privilege to conceal the records, the case has been sent to an appeals court. “Open records advocates and media groups say how an appeals court rules on that could dramatically affect the public’s ability to get information in Florida, a state long known for transparent records laws.”


FOR YOUR RADAR — “US Sending More Warships, Marines to Middle East Amid Rising Tensions With Iran,” by WSJ’s Dion Nissenbaum: “Earlier this week, the Pentagon said it was sending its most advanced jet fighter — the F-35 — to the region. Now the Pentagon is sending a Marine Amphibious Readiness Group and Marine Expeditionary Unit with at least two ships and up to 2,500 Marines.”

CHINA FILES “US navy secretary says Australian multination military exercise demonstrates unity to China,” by AP’s Rod McGuirk


OUT AND ABOUT — Moran Global Strategies and Nelson Mullins hosted an event with Bangladeshi Ambassador Muhammad Imran yesterday evening at 101 Constitution Ave. NW. SPOTTED: Rep. Joe Wilson (RS. C.), Jim Moran, Chris CushingSouth Sudanese Ambassador Philip Jada NathanaMauritian Ambassadors Purmanund JhugrooMaldivian Ambassador Abdul Ghafoor MohamedMalaysian Ambassador Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Lika Johnson, Ryan Schwartz, Mahnaz Khan, Lise Grande, Austin Durrer, Dwayne Bolton, Mitchell Rivard, Pete Spiro, David Gans, John Stout, Krista Wunsche, Prashanth Rajan, Elizabeth Horst, Payne Griffin, Brian Luti, Scott Urbom, Seth Oldmixon, Geoffrey MacDonald and Ahmad Kaikaus.

Invariant held its second annual networking reception for its clients and their interns, including Toyota, the Corn Refiners Association, Ceres, the American Council of Life Insurers, and Zurich Insurance. SPOTTED: Nathan Lindstrom, Iman Durrani, Kiauna Reed, Rylee Meachum, Eliza Tews, Jacob Berch, Kamil Lungu and Taurick Bautista.

Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its DC office yesterday evening with drinks at the Kimpton Banneker rooftop bar Lady Bird. SPOTTED: Tessa Wick, Stuart and Gwen Holliday, Adrienne Elrod, Doug Heye, Rachel Pearson, Nick Massella, Michael and Mary Kathryn Steel, Shaniqua McClendon, Mark Paustenbach, Zaina Javaid, Anastasia Kessler-Dellaccio, Louise Strom, Amelia Makin, Elizabeth Thorp, Christine Delargy, Taylor Friedman and Katie Gommel.

MEDIA MOVE — Kate Bedingfield is now an on-air political commentator at CNN. She previously was comms director at the White House. The announcement

BIRTHDAY BONUSES: Meta’s Ritika Robertson

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