Renato Mariotti Profile picture
Former federal prosecutor. Legal analyst for TV and print. Host, #ItsComplicated podcast. Columnist, @POLITICOMag. Partner @BCLPlaw. Instagram: renato.mariotti
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Nov 6 5 tweets 1 min read
1/ Donald Trump’s testimony today is not moving forward a purely legal strategy.

His legal team’s strategy was always defensive and focused on limiting liability elsewhere, which is why he took the Fifth hundreds of times in his deposition. 2/ You don’t frequently take the Fifth in a civil case if you plan to win.

Trump’s team likely saw the need to essentially concede defeat here and mitigate collateral damage coming from a loss.

But Trump’s ego has forced a change in strategy. But it’s not a *legal* strategy.
Jul 26 12 tweets 2 min read
THREAD: Why did the Hunter Biden plea deal fall apart? 1/ Earlier today, during a hearing when Hunter Biden was expected to plead guilty, the plea deal was scuttled after the judge asked whether he would be immune from prosecution for other possible crimes as a result of the deal.…
Jul 19 4 tweets 1 min read
1/ The Michigan AG’s charges against fake electors are more important than you might realize.

Our electoral system is run at the state level, and as we saw in the last election, there is room for bad actors to get to subvert the process.

These charges will be a real deterrent. 2/ Remember that the “fake electors” aren’t billionaires. They’re not raising money off of these criminal charges. These charges won’t lead to fortune or fame.

They’re GOP party operatives who will be devastated by an indictment like a typical person is.
Jul 13 10 tweets 2 min read
THREAD: What should we make of today's Ripple #XRP decision? 1/ Earlier this afternoon, federal judge Analisa Torres issued a long-awaited decision in SEC v. Ripple, a case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Ripple Labs, a company that issues a token called #XRP.

Why should you care about this decision?
Jun 5 11 tweets 2 min read
THREAD: What should we make of the meeting between Trump’s legal team and federal prosecutors? 1/ Today CBS News and other outlets reported that Trump’s legal team met with DOJ prosecutors regarding the Mar-a-Lago case, which is close to a potential indictment.

Notably the meeting did not involve the Attorney General or Deputy AG, but involved others at DOJ.
Mar 22 16 tweets 3 min read
THREAD: What should we make of news that Donald Trump deliberately misled his own attorneys regarding classified documents? 1/ Today ABC News described the evidence that DOJ presented to Judge Beryl Howell that led to her recent ruling that the crime-fraud exception applied to otherwise privileged communications between Trump and his attorneys.
Mar 17 15 tweets 3 min read
THREAD: What should we make of the Chief Judge's ruling that DOJ prosecutors have met the threshold for the crime-fraud exception for Trump attorney Evan Corcoran? 1/ In a monumental ruling, Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court in D.C. ordered Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to testify before the grand jury about privileged conversations, according to @CNN.…
Mar 10 15 tweets 3 min read
THREAD: What should we make of the news that Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg will likely bring criminal charges against Donald Trump? 1/ Today the New York Times reported that the Manhattan DA has notified Trump's lawyers that he could face criminal charges and have given him the chance to testify, something prosecutors rarely do unless they intend to bring criminal charges.…
Feb 10 11 tweets 2 min read
THREAD: What should we make of the breaking news that former Vice President Mike Pence received a grand jury subpoena for his testimony from Special Counsel Jack Smith? 1/ Tonight ABC News (and later NBC and the New York Times) reported that Special Counsel Jack Smith subpoenaed Mike Pence for his testimony before a grand jury.

This subpoena is very likely seeking testimony relating to Pence’s role on January 6th.…
Dec 30, 2022 10 tweets 2 min read
THREAD: Why hasn’t ______ been charged with lying to Congress (or lying under oath)? 1/ As the January 6th Committee transcripts have been released, my Twitter feed has been filled with comments and questions from people who can’t understand why a particular witness hasn’t been charged with lying to Congress, or lying under oath.
Dec 13, 2022 16 tweets 3 min read
THREAD: Why is the investigation of Donald Trump taking much longer than it took the DOJ to investigate and charge Sam Bankman-Fried? 1/ Earlier today, the Washington Post reported that Special Counsel Jack Smith sent a grand jury subpoena to the Georgia Secretary of State, along with other state officials in states that were hotly contested in the 2020 election.…
Dec 9, 2022 5 tweets 2 min read
The purpose of the DOJ’s contempt motion was not to gain the upper hand in a criminal case.

DOJ wanted to give the judge leverage to force Trump’s team to find and return any remaining classified documents.

That leverage still exists, which is why her decision is unsurprising. My last tweet has generated some confusion, so let me be more clear:

Despite speculation on Twitter to the contrary, the purpose of the contempt motion was never to obtain an order that would assist DOJ in a criminal prosecution or to uncover evidence.
Dec 1, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit just issued an opinion that overturns the bizarre ruling issued by Judge Aileen Cannon.

The Court of Appeals found there was no jurisdiction for Cannon to issue the ruling. That was its most obvious, but not the only, flaw. The court concluded:

“In considering these arguments, we are faced with a choice: apply our usual test; drastically expand the availability of equitable jurisdiction for every subject of a search warrant; or carve out an unprecedented exception in our law for former presidents.”
Nov 30, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
Today's verdicts in the Oath Keeper trial were a big win for the Justice Department.

The jury carefully considered the evidence and did not return guilty verdicts across the board. But they will end up being sentenced for *all* their conduct despite some acquittals. Each defendant was convicted of a felony, and the judge is required to consider *all* their conduct at sentencing, even if they were acquitted of certain counts.

As a practical matter, that means that the sentences will be substantial, particularly the sentence of Stu Rhodes.
Nov 18, 2022 17 tweets 3 min read
THREAD: What should we make of the appointment of Jack Smith as Special Counsel overseeing the criminal investigations of Donald Trump? 1/ Today's news that Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed career prosecutor Jack Smith to oversee the investigations of Donald Trump has generated significant skepticism and disagreement.

In my view, this is a prudent (and savvy) move by Garland but it's a little late.
Nov 11, 2022 11 tweets 3 min read
THREAD: What should we make of the collapse of FTX, which is reportedly under investigation by the DOJ and SEC? 1/ FTX is/was one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. Based in the Bahamas, it is headed up by charismatic young CEO @SBF_FTX, is plugged by celebrities like Tom Brady, and owns the naming rights to the Miami Heat’s stadium.
Nov 2, 2022 10 tweets 2 min read
THREAD: What can we learn from reports that former Trump aide Kash Patel is set to testify before a federal grand jury? 1/ Today @sgurman of the Wall Street Journal reported that former Trump aide Kash Patel received immunity from the court and is now set to testify before a D.C. federal grand jury.…
Oct 25, 2022 14 tweets 3 min read
THREAD: What should we make of news that DOJ sought testimony from former Trump official Kash Patel and Trump employee Walt Nauta in the Mar-a-Lago criminal investigation? 1/ Today the New York Times reported that former Trump official Kash Patel, who has said publicly that he supposedly personally witnessed Trump verbally declassified documents, took the Fifth before a D.C. federal grand jury.…
Oct 10, 2022 6 tweets 2 min read
Christina Bobb spoke to the Feds and told them that another Trump lawyer, Evan Corcoran, was the source of the false info in the certification she made regarding the Mar-a-Lago documents.

If true, she is likely right that she has no liability. But now *he* is in the hot seat. Prosecutors will want to know why he directed Bobb to make a false statement to the DOJ and what the source of his false information was. (Potentially, that was Trump.)

I expect Corcoran to refuse to be interviewed, claim he believed the info was true, and assert privilege.
Sep 23, 2022 15 tweets 3 min read
THREAD: Will Trump be able to block the testimony of former White House attorney Eric Hirschmann? 1/ CNN just reported that Trump's team is fighting a secret court battle to block the grand jury testimony of former White House attorney Eric Hirschmann & others.

Hirschmann previously provided colorful (& important) testimony to the Jan. 6th Committee.…
Sep 15, 2022 6 tweets 2 min read
Judge Cannon denied DOJ's motion for partial stay pending appeal.

Her order does not seriously grapple with the issues raised by DOJ, particularly the way in which her order injures national security.

DOJ positioned this as well as possible for appeal.… Cannon's original order was counter to precedent and exceeded her authority. On its own, that order appeared likely to be reversed on appeal.

But DOJ presented Cannon with narrower issues (e.g. need for a national security assessment) that typically the Executive Branch wins on.