In This Episode
- At a Miami courthouse Tuesday, former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 felony counts that he allegedly kept classified documents from his time in office. The historic case makes Trump the first-ever former U.S. president to be criminally charged by the federal government. L.A. Times senior legal affairs columnist Harry Litman joins us to talk about what comes next, and the complications ahead.
- And in headlines: a Russian airstrike killed at least 11 people in Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s hometown, a newly-released autopsy found that Olympic champion Tori Bowie died from childbirth complications, and Pat Sajak is retiring as host of “Wheel of Fortune.”
- Talking Feds Podcast – https://www.talkingfeds.com/
- LA Times: (Column) Five ways Judge Aileen Cannon could protect Trump from the classified documents prosecution – https://tinyurl.com/yeypez3c
- What A Day – YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/@whatadaypodcast
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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Wednesday, June 14th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver and this is What A Day where we will not be lining up to see the live action remake of Bambi.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen. The live action death of Mufasa was enough. I don’t [laughter] need to see another one. I’m just saying.
Juanita Tolliver: 100% with you. [laughter] Why am I laughing? [laughter] [music break] On today’s show, the U.S. is sending more military aid to Ukraine. Plus, Pat Sajak is retiring as host of Wheel of Fortune.
Tre’vell Anderson: But first, our top story of the day has to be about Donald Trump, whether we want it to be or not, and we don’t want it to be, FYI.
Juanita Tolliver: I mean, just to keep it 100 you know.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen. Okay. But that is because the former president, who is now the first president to ever be charged with federal crimes, was arraigned in a Miami courthouse yesterday. As we’ve covered at length already, Trump has been indicted in the case regarding classified documents that were seized from Mar-a-Lago. These were documents that should have never left the White House, let alone end up in a bathroom or storage room at Trump’s home. There’s a total of 37 counts, but the long and short of it is that Trump risked disclosure of national defense secrets by having these documents in his possession. He even showed them to people who didn’t have the security clearance to be viewing them in the first place. And he also intentionally obstructed the government’s efforts to reclaim the materials by lying and scheming and wrapping up other people in his mess, namely his Diet Coke valet turned personal aide, Walt Nauta. Nauta is also charged in this case with lying to investigators and scheming with Trump to hide the boxes that contained these classified documents.
Juanita Tolliver: I got to say, it’s one hell of a jump from Navy veteran to diet coke valet to now codefendant all by the age of 40.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen.
Juanita Tolliver: But alas, I guess the checks keep on cashing? I don’t know. [laughter] While Nauta didn’t enter a plea during the arraignment, a legal technicality that we will get into later. Trump did enter a plea and surprise, surprise, he’s going with not guilty again for his second indictment. As if there isn’t actual evidence that he is guilty, guilty, guilty or a loser, loser, loser as Chris Christie put it on the Twitters.
Tre’vell Anderson: We try not to quote Chris Christie much here, but–
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: This is a perfect quote. We will take it. We’ll take it.
Juanita Tolliver: [laughing] This one little sliver.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] And you’re right, there’s so much evidence. But of course, Trump has to say he’s not guilty so that he can continue campaigning for president and drumming up support under the guise of there being this political witch hunt against him orchestrated by Biden and Hillary and the Democrats. And he did just that hours after leaving Miami for his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he held a fundraiser for his 2024 campaign. As you’d expect, it was the usual foolishness we hear from him. His birthday is also today. So the folks in attendance sang Happy Birthday. Do with that information what you want to Juanita.
Juanita Tolliver: Gag 100%.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, it is what it is. Now, I hope that all of you out there in WAD squadlandia can hear the disgust and the disdain and the downright annoyance in our voices, because these are truly wild times to be living through and having to cover. But nevertheless, we persist. And so we called up our friend of the show, Harry Litman, to give us an idea of what can and might happen next in this case. Harry is a senior legal affairs columnist at the Los Angeles Times and host of the Politics podcast Talking Feds. He’s also a former deputy assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice. So, you know, he knows a thing or two. We started our conversation by asking him to describe the scene inside the courtroom yesterday where, according to reports, Trump was giving low energy. Take a listen.
Harry Litman: Yeah, I think [laughing] low energy covers it. And he didn’t even say a word. You know, he piped up, not guilty this time he let his lawyer do the talking. His hands were crossed over his chest and he was in his kind of glowering um mode, of course, ready to just bust out of there and begin to rain down all kinds of insults on Jack Smith, who, by the way, was in the courtroom. Joe Biden, who has nothing to do with this at all. But an arraignment is normally, you know, exciting, as watching paint dry and the script wasn’t very here, it was very short. He said that he waived the reading of the indictment. His lawyer for him entered the plea of not guilty. They said, you’re free to go on your own. You don’t have to post bond. It makes sense. For one, he’s got Secret Service [laugh] and he’s running for president. He’s not going anywhere. And he’s very recognizable. So we expected that and it was all over quickly. Now, the question is, what happens next? The magistrate who was handling it is just a guy on duty, uh not even the magistrate for Judge Cannon. So in brief, we’re going to get an official ruling about conditions of confinement, but it’ll stay the same and then um government will turn over a bunch of material to him. And then we’re into these off and running on pretrial motions. That’s what’s ahead and I’m expecting Cannon to issue some kind of order including for a conference. Come on in and we can set the schedule for the rest of the time and we’ll have our first indication about whether she’s going to slow walk it or not. A real, real, real risk with her. Because if it’s not her, if the case doesn’t go to trial before November, the American people, pro-Trump, anti-Trump, uh down the middle won’t be able to have a pretty big, important piece of information in knowing whether to vote for him if he’s the nominee, which is–
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Harry Litman: –Is he a federal convict? And has he committed espionage dozens of times? [sigh] I’d want to know that even if I was supporting the guy.
Juanita Tolliver: I mean, but do you even have to ask if he’s become the first president ever indicted with these federal charges? Like, I don’t even think it’s a question, but that’s just me.
Harry Litman: I don’t have to ask. I’ve seen the evidence. But we do have a jury system. It does provide for constitutional guarantees.
Juanita Tolliver: But apparently, according to Republicans, he’s not getting a fair shot. So let’s dig into this, though, because you said there was no bond. We know no passport was surrendered. We know there was no mug shot. He got to upload a picture into the court system. Why does Trump really get to go on living his life as though none of this is happening, especially when Republicans say this isn’t fair?
Harry Litman: Right.
Juanita Tolliver: And his first stop after leaving the courthouse was a Cuban restaurant that was full of his supporters like it was giving campaign rally. Is this what we should expect?
Harry Litman: I think so. Also, by the way, no ink doesn’t have to dirty his fingers.
Juanita Tolliver: Oh, come on.
Harry Litman: It was specified he wants to do it electronically. You can do that now.
Tre’vell Anderson: Wow.
Juanita Tolliver: I wish when I’m getting arrested and arraigned, I can make specifications, but okay.
Harry Litman: Yeah, well, no, we’re going to have this compare and contrast all day, all month, all year long. On the other hand, they didn’t make up the rules just for him. It’s true. You don’t have to get a mug shot if everyone knows who you are. You know, they weren’t changing up the order, but they were applying it favorably. But the real risk is when the Cannon Circus comes to town next week or the week after and how indulgent she’s going to be in a series of motions that he’s telegraphed his lawyers have that they’re going to make and seem pretty garbage to me.
Tre’vell Anderson: You just mentioned Judge Aileen Cannon, who’s on this case. You recently wrote about the messiness of having her preside over this case for the L.A. Times. Could you walk us through why exactly having her stay on could be, you know, a nightmare scenario here?
Harry Litman: Yeah, I’d be glad to. And I’ll bet the DOJ when it said we should go to Florida so we don’t get in trouble on venue. They said, well, we could get Aileen Cannon, but how likely is that? Well, now we know. So here’s the deal. Everyone says, and rightly, eventually this goes to a jury. They decide on the facts. Even if I think, by the way, it’s a hung jury, the DOJ would try it again. But there is so much that any judge, but especially Aileen Cannon can do to make it harder from jury selection. Somebody shows up and says, I’m very pro-Trump. And she just, you know, Trump’s team says, oh, but you could be fair, right? Oh, yeah, I could be fair. And Cannon says, good enough for me.
Juanita Tolliver: C’mon!
Harry Litman: Or um evidence calls. I you know, I think your listeners are familiar with the Evan Corcoran notes. That’s kind of the star witness in the case. She could totally she could change the whole she could make them inadmissible just because another judge said there’s a prima facie case, as the lawyers say, to admit them. She could say, yeah, maybe there was, but I’m making the call now and I disagree. She could do things and jury um conference what the instructions are. And first and foremost, she could delay things that wouldn’t even take such bias. You know, that’s going to be Trump’s plan. He’ll stand up. I’ll bet he’ll stand up the first time and say, let’s do nothing for a few months. I have new lawyers here. They need to get up to speed. And a judge who doesn’t push back and keep control of the courtroom. And on top of everything else, she’s a spanking new judge. One of the last ones Trump appointed, is going to find themselves really run ragged by Trump. And that’ll delay things. And as I said, that’s bad for the country.
Tre’vell Anderson: Quick follow up here. Is there any world in which Judge Cannon is reassigned or the case is reassigned to someone else?
Harry Litman: There is a world. So like the law says, she should do it on her own. If her impartiality could reasonably be questioned. And A.) it could be and B.) I mean, talk about a lot of headaches and potential threats to her reputation, etc.. Maybe she won’t want it, but she doesn’t seem to be that kind of judge. So first she could step aside. Then second, a lot of people are there is a law out there that the 11th Circuit um that’s the the sort of court above her could say you’ve got to go but it’s it’s even more extreme. It has to do with district court judges who just thumb their nose at the Court of Appeals. She just had egregiously wrong rulings. And it’s not such a strong case as I see it, even though you have some experts out there saying that it is that the 11th Circuit would bounce her and it’s not clear the DOJ will try because they generally shy away from doing it. You look bad and then maybe they don’t want it to look bad in the country. So the law to me, if you just think of the words of the law, could or impartiality reasonably question? Uh. Yeah, but does that when you funnel that through the actual law in the part of the United States where she sits, [breathes in through teeth] if she wants to stay, I don’t like the odds of getting her off very much.
Juanita Tolliver: But considering that Trump’s struggled to find legal representation for the arraignment, how would you rate the, shall we say, quality of Trump’s legal team right now? And is he in good hands here, especially when you consider that it was one of his previous attorneys who essentially gave the DOJ a roadmap for all the crimes?
Harry Litman: I mean, he’s only the worst client in the history of the universe. [laughter] He he says all these terrible things. He doesn’t pay people, he insults them and the like. So he had to totally dredge up whatever. As I read, I think he’s got a couple competent people on hand. Of course, just last week, two competent people walked. And one reason, by the way, that they walked is because there’s this guy that we don’t see very much. But he showed up in Manhattan, Boris Epshteyn, who insists on running the show and Trump likes him. And he’s a total stick in the craw to the other lawyers. And he’s going to remain. But he’s had some 100% spectacular buffoons as lawyers. We also know that some solid people have already said, no, thank you. And a lot of law firms oh want not want their lawyers there still in the whole world to get someone to represent a former president in the most important criminal case uh ever. You wouldn’t think that would be so uh hard. And I think he has stumbled on people who will represent him competently.
Tre’vell Anderson: That was our conversation with Harry Litman, L.A. Times legal affairs columnist and host of the podcast Talking Feds. And while I hope we won’t have to talk about Donald Trump for the rest of the week, that is the latest for now. [music break] Let’s get to some headlines.
[sung] An overnight Russian airstrike left at least 11 people dead and dozens of others injured in Ukraine yesterday. The deadly attack hit a large apartment complex in the central city of Kryvyi Rih, the hometown of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The city is also reeling from the massive Kakhova dam explosion last week. For his part, Zelensky called it a, quote, “unjustified attack on innocent civilians.” Meanwhile, officials in Kyiv and the northeastern city of Kharkiv also saw missiles fire on Tuesday, but reported no casualties. Moscow has ramped up its airstrikes in recent weeks as the Ukrainian military mounts its counter offensive against Russian forces. Though yesterday’s strike was the deadliest so far. Also on Tuesday, the U.S. said it would send Ukraine another round of military aid, adding up to $325 million dollars. This particular package is heavy on rockets and other munitions to help Ukraine counter these kinds of attacks. That now means the U.S. has provided Ukraine a total of $40 billion dollars in aid since the beginning of Russia’s invasion last year.
Juanita Tolliver: And we’ve learned some tragic new details about the sudden death of an American Olympic champion. A newly released autopsy report found that track star Tori Bowie, who was found dead in her Florida home last month, was eight months pregnant and died while she was in labor. She was only 32 years old. Before the report was made public, local authorities had only said they did not suspect any foul play. Bowie won bronze, silver and gold medals during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and at the track and field World championships just a year later. Her 100 meter relay performance earned her the distinction of being the fastest woman in the world at the time. The shocking report of her death is now renewing conversations about the medical racism Black women face in the American health care system. For example, Black women have the highest maternal mortality rate in the United States and are nearly three times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. Black babies are also more likely to be born prematurely, often leading to significant health issues as they grow up. It’s also worth noting that two of Bowie’s teammates on the four by 100 meter relay team in Rio also suffered through difficult pregnancies. Tianna Teshelle gave birth to her son 14 weeks early. And Allyson Felix, who testified before Congress about racial disparities in maternal health after she had an emergency C-section at 32 weeks. And I promise you, the number one stat I think of is that three times more likely to die every single time one of my homies tells me they are expecting.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm, mm hmm. Let’s switch gears here to some news from the world of television. After 40 seasons and over 7000 episodes of wondering how the hell some people cannot spell, Pat Sajak announced this week on Twitter that he will retire from hosting Wheel of Fortune, but will stay on as a consultant for the show for several more years. Sajak started his TV career as a weather forecaster for a local Los Angeles station before taking on the role to preside over America’s game in 1981 alongside co-host Vanna White. Since then, he’s won three Daytime Emmys, including a lifetime achievement award. The 76 year old and Vanna White are among the longest running hosts of any TV game show in American history. And Wheel of Fortune averages around 8 million viewers every night. In a tweet announcing his decision to retire, Sajak said, quote, “It’s been a wonderful ride and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all. If nothing else, it’ll keep the clickbait sites busy.” I just would like to say, you know, if Miss Vanna White wants to step away from the letters and, you know, stand at the podium for a few, I personally, as a fan of Wheel of Fortune, would welcome it.
Juanita Tolliver: And finally, there will be a few more statues to give out at the next Grammy Awards. Starting next year, the ceremony will include three new categories to the 66th edition of the show. They include Best African music performance, best pop dance recording and best alternative jazz album. I’m here for more representation. I’m here for more accolades for African music. I’m here for it all. The Recording Academy, which organizes the Grammys, also moved two existing categories, producer of the Year Non-Classical, and Songwriter of the Year Non-Classical to the general field, meaning that all Grammy voters will be able to participate in selecting those winners. In a statement yesterday, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said the changes are meant to reflect a more diverse range of musical genres and to, quote, “stay aligned with the ever evolving musical landscape.” Again, I’m here for the expansion. I’m excited for it all. I don’t think this solves the problem around pop versus R&B and which Black artists belong where. But this is a start.
Tre’vell Anderson: I mean, sure, we’ll take it. We’ll take [laughter] what we get, right? We started all this, if we’re being quite honest.
Juanita Tolliver: Period.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. So it’s all our categories. If we talking, you know, history. You know, I know the folks don’t read history books no more. But [laughter] you know. What? They don’t. Because why? Because they’re getting banned and whatnot across the country anyway.
Juanita Tolliver: Okay. Okay.
Tre’vell Anderson: [?]
Juanita Tolliver: I love how you put a bow on that. Come on. Come on Tre’vell. [laugher]
Tre’vell Anderson: That being said, I love these changes that the Recording Academy is doing, particularly the best African music performance category. Shout out to Afrobeats, which has been, you know, having a moment in quote unquote, “mainstream music.” So love that shout out to them. This is a net good, I believe. And with that, those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads to talk about some online beef between two allegedly grown people.
Juanita Tolliver: Alleged yikes. [laughter]
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Wednesday, WAD Squad. And that means it’s time for a little midweek temp check. Now, this is some news for us grown folks. Okay, so if you’re under a certain age, take some notes. Pull out your pen and paper. Or is it your your notes app on your phone? Perhaps that’s where we go these days.
Juanita Tolliver: You know no nobody write nothing down no more Tre’vell. [laughter]
Tre’vell Anderson: I know it’s a problem. We need to figure that out, everybody. But let’s start from the beginning. Okay. Yesterday morning, Anita Baker, the queen of the quiet storm, came down on legendary producer Babyface and his fans. I’ll press pause here for all of you young folks listening. Okay. I know you at the kiddie table and you are listening in on grown folks business. So if you don’t know who we talking about, just go on ahead and Google them right now. It’s fine. We won’t hold it against you. That’s totally okay. Anyway, the songstress herself announced that Babyface will no longer be the opening act for the remainder of her 15 city tour. Now, this all started on May 10th, when Babyface was unexpectedly pulled from her New Jersey concert. He explained to his fans on Twitter he was tossed, quote, “to give Miss Baker her space and time to perform her show in its entirety because things were already running late.” Okay. He later acknowledged the delay was due to technical issues, but his initial comments set off a wave of criticism against Anita from Babyface’s fans, and she even got into it with a few of them online. Eventually, she said enough is enough, and on Monday she clapped back at one of them and asked Babyface himself to, quote, “Call off your boys.” A day later, she went on to strike him from the tour, completely saying his fans were cyberbullying her and even threatening her with violence. So, Juanita, I have to ask, who should be the one singing the 1994 hit, I apologize, after all of this? .
Juanita Tolliver: As we say in the south, not now one. [laughing] Like neither one of them is going to. Okay. I’m just gagged at the fact that this has all transpired in a month.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Juanita Tolliver: This is wild. I’m also gagged at all the history it has drug up about Miss Baker’s previous feud with uh Luther Vandross.
Tre’vell Anderson: Oh!
Juanita Tolliver: None other.
Tre’vell Anderson: Oh.
Juanita Tolliver: Apparently, Miss Baker has a history with these feuds, and it’s not a good look. But my favorite tweet that encapsulated all of this was from at @Kyla_Lacy. Anita Baker and Babyface fighting is like your uncle and auntie getting into it and now grandma has to move. [laugher] Took me out. But it’s the realest because now the family is divided. Black Twitter is divided.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes.
Juanita Tolliver: And I just want peace. What about you Tre’vell? What do you think?
Tre’vell Anderson: So here’s the thing. Two days after that May 10th situation in which he was not able to perform because of the technical issues, I saw this show in New Jersey.
Juanita Tolliver: Oooh spill the tea.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. Now, me and my friend, we were going to see Anita Baker. We weren’t going to see Babyface. So we arrived a little late. We arrived like midway–
Juanita Tolliver: Oh come on–
Tre’vell Anderson: –into his–
Juanita Tolliver: Not CP time. Lord.
Tre’vell Anderson: No. It wasn’t CP time. We purposely arrived on time for Anita. Okay.
Juanita Tolliver: Bless.
Tre’vell Anderson: Because that, that was our focus. But okay, the 20 minutes that I did Witness of Babyface’s set. Hits. Hits on top of hits. Okay.
Juanita Tolliver: I mean, if it was giving anything like that Tiny Desk performance, I fully believe you.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. Absolutely. But I will note in all of this drama here, right. It is Anita Baker’s concert.
Juanita Tolliver: Period.
Tre’vell Anderson: It is Anita Baker’s [?] she is the headliner despite–
Juanita Tolliver: Headliner.
Tre’vell Anderson: –Babyface’s iconic status. Okay. He is the opening act. And so, yes, Anita Baker needs all her time for her set on her tour, which will likely be, if I may add, her last tour ever, because she getting up there in age, with all due respect. Okay. Matter of fact. Okay. And I will step off my soap box in 45 seconds, I promise.
Juanita Tolliver: Tre’vell you are caught up in the rapture, friend. [laughter]
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. Absolutely. Matter of fact, the reason why she’s on this tour is because she did a mini tour last year. That was supposed to be her last tour, but it had so much attention on it, she expanded it.
Juanita Tolliver: Okay.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay.
Juanita Tolliver: Mm.
Tre’vell Anderson: And so we need to put some respect on Anita Baker’s name.
Juanita Tolliver: Mmm.
Tre’vell Anderson: That’s all I got to say.
Juanita Tolliver: I can accept that. I can appreciate that.
Tre’vell Anderson: And just like that, we have checked out temps. They are caught up in the rapture of love, as [laughter] Juanita just said. Okay. And we love that for us.
Juanita Tolliver: Bless. [music break]
Juanita Tolliver: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review, buy a vowel, and tell your friends to listen.
Tre’vell Anderson: And if you’re into reading and not just Anita Baker’s Twitter replies like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Juanita Tolliver: I’m Juanita Tolliver.
[spoken together] And fuck your birthday Donald Trump.
Tre’vell Anderson: We don’t care. And I hope you stub your toe on a coffee table.
Juanita Tolliver: [laugh] Out here giving Geminis a bad name. Come on.
Tre’vell Anderson: Geminis had a bad name before Trump now.
Juanita Tolliver: Oh, don’t you dare.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m just saying.
Juanita Tolliver: Don’t you dare. [laughing]
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m just saying. Come on now. Let’s not do that. [laughing] [music break]
Juanita Tolliver: 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 and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.