Over the weekend, two of Donald Trump’s associates did things that they were not legally allowed to do, in direct defiance of orders from federal judges. Oddly enough, neither of those judges took action today. But prior to this weekend, they each already made clear that they were at their wit’s end when it came to the antics in question. When these two judges to respond, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, it’s going to be ugly for Team Trump.
First we have Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan. He gave Attorney General William Barr until this past Friday to publicly release transcripts of Michael Flynn’s phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. On Friday afternoon, while Barr was conveniently all the way in Alaska, he had his DOJ tell the judge that it wasn’t going to happen. To be clear, Barr can’t do this. Sullivan already read Flynn and prosecutors the riot act earlier this year over the sweetheart plea deal they’d put in place. So look for Sullivan to take some kind of contempt action against the DOJ, and perhaps against Barr himself, very soon.
Then we have Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson. Earlier this year Roger Stone posted an image of crosshairs over her head, and in response, she told Stone that she’d revoke his bail if he said anything else about his upcoming trial. Stone went quiet for awhile, but then this weekend he announced on Instagram that former CIA Director John Brennan should be put to death. This is precisely the kind of thing that Jackson told Stone he can’t do. Look for her to put Stone under house arrest, or throw him in jail entirely.
We don’t know precisely when these two judges will act. But based on their respective histories in these kinds of situations in general, and in these two criminal cases in particular, we expect they’ll soon take steps to show that they mean business. Members of Team Trump have always thumbed its nose at the court system, but that’s rarely gone well for them.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report