August 28, 2023 - The next phase of Trump's Georgia and federal 2020 election subversion cases

By Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes, Isabelle D'Antonio and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 7:00 p.m. ET, August 28, 2023
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3:10 p.m. ET, August 28, 2023

Judge sets Trump DC federal election subversion trial for March 4, 2024 — one day before Super Tuesday

From CNN's Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand

Former President Donald Trump speaks at his Mar-a-Lago estate Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Palm Beach, Floria.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at his Mar-a-Lago estate Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Palm Beach, Floria. Evan Vucci/AP

Former President Donald Trump will go to trial in March 4, 2024, on charges alleging he worked to overturn the 2020 presidential election, federal Judge Tanya Chutkan said Monday.

In the hearing earlier Monday, Chutkan rejected trial dates proposed by both the Justice Department and Trump's legal team. Prosecutors had requested that the trial begin in January, 2024, while Trump’s lawyers had asked for a date in April 2026. 

The set trial date comes just one day before Super Tuesday, when voters in more than a dozen states, including California and Texas, will go to the polls.

Chutkan also set a robust pre-trial schedule:

  • All pre-trial motions, except motions in limine, are due October 9. Any briefings opposing those are due October 23, and any replies would be due November 6.
  • Motions to suppress evidence and motions in limine (requests heard in advance of jury selection) are due December 27, opposition briefings are due January 9 and replies are due January 24.
  • Prosecutors must provide notice of evidence they intend to offer by December 4.
  • Parties must exchange lists of expert witnesses on December 11. Each side must exchange exhibit lists by December 18 and file any objections by January 3, with replies due January 9. Witness lists must by exchanged by February 24.
  • Finally, each side must propose jury instructions and voir dire questions by January 15.
1:03 p.m. ET, August 28, 2023

Justice Department raises concerns that Trump defense team polling DC residents could taint jury pool

From CNN's Holmes Lybrand and Hannah Rabinowitz

An attorney for the Justice Department raised concerns during Monday’s hearing in Washington, DC, in the election subversion case against former President Donald Trump that polling by defense attorneys of the District’s residents could negatively impact the jury pool.

Molly Gaston, a prosecutor for special counsel Jack Smith, voiced concerns over Trump’s attorneys ordering a poll of DC residents in the lead-up to the March 2024 trial, arguing that some questions they might ask could taint the pool of potential jurors.

Defense attorneys can poll residents who could make up the jury pool in their case — as well as residents of other jurisdictions in the US — with general questions about the issues of the case and can use those findings to argue for a change of venue.

For instance, in the case against members and associates of the Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy for their actions during the Capitol attack, defense attorneys ordered surveys of DC residents, which included several questions relating to the January 6, 2021 attack.

Defense attorneys for the Oath Keepers used these polls to unsuccessfully argue to move the trial to Virginia or Florida where residents were less impacted by the attack.

John Lauro, who represents the former president, said he would likely be ordering such polling “sooner rather than later” when asked by District Judge Tanya Chutkan.

“I’m certainly not going to share it with the United States government,” Lauro said of any questions he planned on submitting in the survey.

Chutkan told Lauro she was “watching carefully for anything that might affect” or poison the jury pool.

“I am concerned that in terms of gauging (DC residents) you might actually affect their ability to render a fair verdict,” Chutkan said, based on how Trump’s lawyers frame questions in the survey.

Chutkan ordered Lauro to notify the court if he plans on issuing a survey. “Then, I will consider it,” she said.

12:48 p.m. ET, August 28, 2023

Prosecutors question Mark Meadows on 2020 election fraud claims

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Marshall Cohen, Katelyn Polantz and Jason Morris

A prosecutor with the Fulton County district attorney’s office is now questioning Mark Meadows, pressing the former White House chief of staff on his actions after the 2020 election.

The prosecutor with District Attorney Fani Willis’ office asked Meadows which federal policy, specifically, Meadows was advancing when he joined a post-election call with Donald Trump’s then-personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

Meadows has given a few different answers to the question, which is being asked multiple times. Meadows said he was the president’s timekeeper and schedule manager. He also said there was a federal interest in accurate and fair elections. And Meadows testified that he could recommend legislative ways to make election more secure.

The prosecutor continues to press Meadows with tough, narrow questioning on the federal government’s role in the state’s determination of its election results. 

Meadows was asked about then-Attorney General Bill Barr telling Trump that the fraud allegations were “bullsh*t” – key testimony that came out of the January 6 committee’s congressional hearings.

Meadows said Monday that he believed at the time that “further investigation” was warranted, even though he “had no reason to doubt Mr. Barr’s” assessment that the fraud allegations were meritless. But he said he still thought “additional inquiries were appropriate.”

Meadows distanced himself from Giuliani, Bernie Kerik and Jenna Ellis in his testimony when questioned about whether he gave direction, took direction or accepted direction from Giuliani, an outside lawyer who worked to challenge the 2020 election results. Meadows said of Giuliani: “He didn’t work for me.”

At times, however, Giuliani would tell Meadows he “wanted something done,” Meadows said. “But I didn’t work for him.” 

Meadows also made clear that former Trump attorney Ellis and Kerik, who worked with Giuliani to find supposed election fraud, were also separate from Meadows’ administrative role.

Meadows has been on witness stand for nearly two hours.

12:49 p.m. ET, August 28, 2023

Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro testifies in his defense in contempt of Congress criminal case 

From CNN's Devan Cole

Peter Navarro, an advisor to former President Donald Trump, arrives at federal court on August 28, 2023 in Washington, DC. 
Peter Navarro, an advisor to former President Donald Trump, arrives at federal court on August 28, 2023 in Washington, DC.  Win McNamee/Getty Images

Also in the Washington, DC, federal courthouse on Monday, Peter Navarro, former President Donald Trump’s one-time trade adviser, testified in his defense during a key pre-trial hearing in his contempt of Congress criminal case. 

Navarro, who is facing charges for defying the House select committee that investigated the US Capitol attack on January 6, 2021, said during an evidentiary hearing before US District Judge Amit P. Mehta that in conversations with Trump following the issuance of the subpoena on February 9, 2022, the former president made it known that he didn’t want Navarro to cooperate with the committee. 

“It was clear during that call that privilege was invoked – very clear,” Navarro said at one point, referring to a call he said took place on February 20, 2022. 

“There was no question that the privilege had been invoked from the get-go – none,” he added later. 

Navarro’s criminal case is set to go to trial in early September.

His attorney Stanley Woodward said earlier this month that Trump is not expected to testify on behalf of Navarro, potentially undercutting a key defense for the former Trump adviser.  

5:47 p.m. ET, August 28, 2023

Trump faces a crowded trial calendar. Here's a breakdown of the dates so far

From CNN's Dan Berman

Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after surrendering at the Fulton County jail on August 24, 2023.
Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after surrendering at the Fulton County jail on August 24, 2023. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump and his lawyers may be the busiest people in the country next year. The former president faces criminal trials in four different cities Washington, DC, New York, Atlanta and Ft. Pierce, Florida as well as an active campaign schedule.

Even putting the campaign aside, Trump would have an extraordinarily packed year.

Judge Tanya Chutkan set the federal election subversion trial for March 4, the day before Super Tuesday.

Just three weeks later, however, a New York judge has set a trial date of March 25 for the criminal case against Trump surrounding the hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records with the intent to conceal illegal conduct connected to his 2016 presidential campaign. The criminal charges stem from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation into hush money payments made during the 2016 campaign to Daniels, who alleged an affair with Trump, which he denies.

And in Florida, the trial on charges that Trump mishandled classified documents after leaving office has been set for May 2024, with a pretrial hearing on May 14 and a trial on May 20.

Here is a breakdown of the current calendar:

  • October 2, 2023 – Scheduled start of New York attorney general’s civil trial alleging fraud by Trump and Trump Organization 
  • October 23, 2023 — District attorney's proposed start of state criminal trial in Georgia over 2020 election subversion
  • January 15, 2024 – Scheduled start of second defamation case brought by columnist E. Jean Carroll
  • March 4, 2024 – Scheduled start of federal criminal trial in 2020 election subversion case
  • March 25, 2024 – Scheduled start of state criminal trial in New York over 2016 hush money scheme
  • May 20, 2024 – Earliest scheduled start of federal criminal trial in Mar-a-Lago documents case

Remember: Most of these trials have been scheduled already, but one has a proposed trial date and its start could still change.

Read an analysis of Trump's crowded calendar here.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz, Kara Scannell and Zachary Cohen contributed reporting to this post.

12:31 p.m. ET, August 28, 2023

Meadows denies he directed the drafting of January 6 memo on disrupting 2020 election certification

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Marshall Cohen, Katelyn Polantz and Jason Morris

Former White House Chief of Staff during the Trump administration Mark Meadows speaks during a forum titled House Rules and Process Changes for the 118th Congress at FreedowmWorks headquarters on November 14, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Former White House Chief of Staff during the Trump administration Mark Meadows speaks during a forum titled House Rules and Process Changes for the 118th Congress at FreedowmWorks headquarters on November 14, 2022 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows denied directing Trump White House aide John McEntee to write a memo about how to delay or disrupt the certification of the election on January 6, 2021, which was alleged in the Fulton County indictment.

“I did not ask” McEntee to do that, Meadows testified Monday. “Me asking Johnny McEntee for this kind of a memo didn’t happen.”

The indictment alleged that Meadows and Trump met with McEntee and asked him to prepare a memo “outlining a strategy for disrupting and delaying” the congressional session to certify the election on January 6. 

Meadows said that he had “zero recollection” of that happening and it was the “biggest surprise" to me while reading the indictment.

Meadows’ testimony has become a substantial revisiting of his actions after the election – specifically eliciting his sworn commentary on the various allegations against him in the racketeering indictment. 

Meadows also denied setting up a phone call with Former Georgia Secretary of State investigator Frances Watson: “I don’t recall reaching out to Mrs. Watson,” he said.  

On Meadows’ visit to the Cobb County elections audit of voting machines in late 2020, he said, “I believe I acted like a gentleman the whole time.”   

“In my role as Chief of Staff, I recommended that the president reach out to Ms. Watson,” Meadows said. Any outreach to the secretary of state’s office was “done in my role as Chief of Staff.”

12:29 p.m. ET, August 28, 2023

Trump expected to hold campaign rally in South Dakota next month, just days after arraignment in Georgia case

From Daniel Strauss and Kristen Holmes

Former President Donald Trump’s next campaign appearance is expected to be a South Dakota rally with Gov. Kristi Noem on September 8, according to the venue’s website and confirmed by source familiar with the event. 

Monday court filings showed Trump would be arraigned in Fulton County on September 6 in the Georgia election subversion case. It’s not clear whether Trump will appear in person for the arraignment, as he can waive his appearance.

The rally is expected to be Trump’s next public campaign event, according to sources briefed on the former president’s plans, who note his schedule has not been finalized. This week, Trump is planning to lay low, hosting fundraisers at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, according to the sources. 

Noem is a strong Trump ally and has publicly opted against a presidential campaign, saying she expects Trump will be the 2024 Republican nominee. Noem has deliberately moved to keep her name in the 2024 political sphere. During the first Republican presidential debate, Noem’s team aired an ad on Fox News in which the governor promoted her state.

“South Dakota’s the freest state in America to live, work and raise a family,” Noem says in the ad.

11:40 a.m. ET, August 28, 2023

DOJ prosecutors call out Trump's social media posts

From CNN's Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand

Federal prosecutor Molly Gaston said during Monday's hearing in Washington, DC, that it was important to take the special counsel’s election subversion case against former President Donald Trump to trial as soon as possible in part because of Trump’s social media posts.

“On a near daily basis, the defendant posts on social media about this case,” Gaston said.

“He has publicly disparaged witnesses, he has attacked the integrity of the court and of the citizens of the District of Columbia."

Gaston also sought to use some of Trump's attorney John Lauro’s own public statements in her arguments.

Despite his complaints earlier in the hearing about the time it would take to go through the material, Lauro previously called the prosecution a “regurgitation” of the House select committee’s investigation in an interview after the indictment was first unsealed.

Lauro has also publicly claimed, Gaston said, that he has read former Vice President Mike Pence’s book twice in anticipation of the trial.

“We are not starting fresh from indictment in this case,” Gaston said.

Judge Tanya Chutkan has set the trial date for March 4.

11:28 a.m. ET, August 28, 2023

Trump is getting impatient with Republicans and ratchets up pressure to impeach Biden

From CNN's Melanie Zanona

Donald Trump is ratcheting up pressure on the House GOP to impeach President Joe Biden, as the former president's patience with Republicans starts to wear thin and his legal troubles pile up.

On Monday, amid news that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is planning to pursue a Biden impeachment inquiry this fall, Trump seemed to suggest that the House GOP should skip the step altogether and proceed directly to impeachment proceedings.

“I NEVER HAD AN IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY,” he falsely wrote on Truth Social. (House Democrats indeed initiated an inquiry during their first impeachment of Trump, though they did not for his second impeachment in the wake of January 6, 2021.) “I HAD AN IMPEACHMENT, WHICH I WON! IT WAS STARTED IMMEDIATELY, NO MEETINGS, NO STUDY, NO DELAYS. THE LUNATIC FASCHISTS & MARXISTS PLAY THE GAME DIFFERENTLY. THEY ARE OUT TO DESTROY AMERICA. MAGA!”

Sunday, Trump complained about House Republicans’ pace when it comes to investigations and a potential impeachment of Biden, though he called GOP lawmakers “well meaning.” 

“The Republicans in Congress, though well meaning, keep talking about an Impeachment ‘Inquiry’ on Crooked Joe Biden. … You don’t need a long INQUIRY to prove it, it’s already proven,” Trump wrote. “Either IMPEACH the BUM, or fade into OBLIVION. THEY DID IT TO US!"