The Justice Department has filed a motion to take over the defense of E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against President Trump. Carroll, a longtime advice columnist, alleged the president raped her at a department store in 1995 or 1996. The president said her claim was false and that she was “not [his] type.” She sued him for defamation on the grounds that he was falsely accusing her of being a liar. The case has been kicking around in a New York state court, which had recently ruled the case could proceed to discovery. But not the Department of Justice says it will take over Trump’s defense and move the case to federal court. How are they able to do that? Will a judge grant that, agreeing that Trump was speaking in his official capacity as president when he called Carroll a liar? If that happens, how does this change the outlook for Carroll’s claim? Spoiler: it’s not good — you can’t sue the federal government for defamation, so if this move goes forward, the case is over. Ken says this move now could be a strategy — it’s shocking, it’s causing a lot of controversy and a lot of wrong hot takes — and doing things this way probably wasn’t the ideal scenario. Would a new attorney general under a hypothetical Joe Biden administration have to take over this case?
The Washington Post reports that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who ran a company called New Breed Logistics before entering government, pressured employees to donate to Republican candidates for national and state office in North Carolina. The paper reports DeJoy communicated to employees that he would reimburse them for their donations, which is illegal under federal and state law. How explicit does that quid pro quo have to be, and is DeJoy protected by the statute of limitations? Should DeJoy be worried? (Ken thinks so.)
Plus: did President Trump expose himself to legal risk when he suggested people vote twice, which is illegal? Is it normal how much the Trump campaign and the RNC are spending on legal bills? Do presidents-elect have executive privilege during transition periods? And is it likely Long Suffering Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan will get a chance to go on the record about the government dropping charges against Michael Flynn before the election?