Russian court orders Wall Street Journal reporter to be held in custody

March 31, 2023

Russia’s main security agency said on Thursday, March 30, that it had detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, 31, for what it described as espionage, reports the Journal.

Gershkovich—a U.S. citizen and member of the Journal’s Moscow bureau—was detained in the city of Yekaterinburg, around 880 miles east of Moscow, on Wednesday while on a reporting trip.

A post later appeared on Telegram describing a man with his face hidden being bundled from a restaurant in the city and put into a waiting van. It couldn’t be determined whether the person was Gershkovich.

Gershkovich is accredited to work as a journalist in Russia by the country’s Foreign Ministry.

Russia’s Federal Security Bureau said Gershkovich, “acting on the instructions of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.”

“The Wall Street Journal vehemently denies the allegations from the FSB and seeks the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich,” the Journal said. “We stand in solidarity with Evan and his family.”

Authorities took Gershkovich to Moscow, where he appeared in court with a state-appointed defense attorney and was ordered held in custody until May 29, said the press service of the court, according to state news agency TASS.

In Russia, espionage trials are often conducted in secret and it is rare for a court to acquit a defendant. Trials can take months to unfold.

Gershkovich’s detention and charge on the allegation of espionage mean the case is likely to become a high-level diplomatic issue.

Russia last March passed a censorship law that makes it illegal to publish what authorities deem false information about military operations in Ukraine. In response, many domestic news outlets ceased operations or left the country; and foreign media significantly restricted reporting inside Russia and withdrew many staff.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that “those who carry out normal journalistic activities, of course, if they have valid accreditation, they will continue to work.”

Research contact: @WSJ

Senate chaplain says lawmakers must ‘move beyond thoughts and prayers’ after Nashville shooting

March 30, 2023

In his opening prayer on Tuesday, March 28, the Senate chaplain delivered a rare and pointed plea for lawmakers to act a day after a shooter killed six people at a private Christian school in Nashville—only the latest in a relentless barrage of gun violence in the United States, reports The Washington Post.

On the Senate floor, the chamber’s longtime chaplain, retired Rear Adm. Barry C. Black, alluded to the fact that three of the victims in the Monday shooting at the Covenant School were nine-year-old students.

“Lord, when babies die at a church school, it is time for us to move beyond thoughts and prayers,” Black declared in his distinctive baritone. “Remind our lawmakers of the words of the British statesman Edmund Burke: ‘All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.’”

Black added: “Lord, deliver our senators from the paralysis of analysis that waits for the miraculous. Use them to battle the demonic forces that seek to engulf us. We pray, in your powerful name, amen.”

Black has served since 2003 as Senate chaplain, a “nonpartisan, nonpolitical and nonsectarian” elected officer of the Senate. In addition to opening daily sessions with a prayer and holding a weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast, the chaplain provides “spiritual counseling and guidance to members and staff” and assists them with theological questions, according to the Senate website.

Clips of Black’s Tuesday morning prayer quickly spread online, with some criticizing it as “political” and others praising it as an unusually piercing call for action. In an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday afternoon, Black avoided describing the kind of action he supports, emphasizing only that he is “not formulaic in how this thing should be tackled.”

“I am a human being who is reacting to the horrific [events] that all Americans, most Americans, are seeing,” Black said. “And this has been a priority of mine that we do better at attempting to solve this problem.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Chris Christie, putting out feelers for a 2024 run, takes aim at Trump

March 29, 2023

Chris Christie wants a New Hampshire do-over. That was the overriding message on Monday night, March 27, during a visit that Christie, a 2016 presidential candidate, made to the state—a testing-the-2024-waters trip in which he sharply criticized Donald J. Trump and waxed nostalgic for his own short-lived primary campaign seven years ago, reports The New York Times.

Christie—the former Republican governor of New Jersey (2010-2018) who is mostly an afterthought so far in polling of a potential 2024 field—evoked many moments of 2016 at the town-hall-style event. Both he and audience members revisited his last-place finish in the New Hampshire primary that year, his leaving the race and endorsing Trump, and his eager support for the former president right through the 2020 election.

Christie said that his support abruptly ended on election night in 2020, when Trump signaled his intent to subvert the democratic results. Ever since, he said, Republicans have been dragged into “a sinkhole of anger and retribution” by the former president.

“You know what Donald Trump said a couple of weeks ago?” Christie said. “‘I am your retribution.’ Guess what, everybody? No thanks.”

Asked by an audience member for his favorite New Hampshire memory from 2016, Christie recalled a debate when he attacked Senator Marco Rubio of Florida for robotic responses; at the time, many observers said he had dealt a perilous blow to Rubio. Mr. Christie invited the audience to imagine him in the same role now against Trump.

“You better have somebody on that stage who can do to him what I did to Marco,” he said.

Yet for all that Christie sounded ready to enter the fray, there are unanswered questions. Unlike some other potential candidates, he has no campaign team in waiting. He has spoken to heavyweight donors at Republican retreats in Texas and Georgia, but he is not raising money because there is no campaign to give to.

Most crucial is the question of whether there is a lane in the Republican primary contest for such an outspoken critic of Trump — who has the avid support of about one in three primary voters. No other potential Trump rival in his party has wielded such a sharp knife as Christie.

He blamed Trump’s extreme divisiveness and vindictive style, along with his embrace of election falsehoods, for Republican losses in three straight cycles: the House majority in 2018, the White House in 2020 ,and key Senate and governors’ races in 2022.

“Particularly suburban women abandoned” Trump “because they had enough,” Christie said. It is naïve, he added, to “think they’re coming back for more in 2024.”

Ray Washburne, who was Christie’s 2016 finance chairman, said the former governor “wants for sure” to run again. The challenge, he added, is clear: “What lane does he take? Being total anti-Trump loses a base of 35%.”

A longtime adviser to Christie, Maria Comella, who accompanied him to New Hampshire, said the notion of lanes in a primary—in which candidates appeal to one portion of an electorate defined by demographics and ideology—was antiquated.

“The idea that at some point there has to be a pathway or a lane—and it was this very calculated structure and everyone fit into one and if you didn’t there wasn’t a viable path —I think it’s as if we’re back 20 years in a campaign cycle,” she said.

Christie has said he will decide on his plans by mid-May.

Research contact: @nytimes

Don’t call them ‘witch hunts’: Most Americans say investigations into Trump are fair

March 28, 2023

A majority of Americans say that the multiple criminal investigations into former President Donald Trump’s conduct are fair, despite Trump’s continued assertions that they are conspiracies against him, the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll has found, reports NPR.

The survey of more than 1,300 adults, conducted March 20 through March 23, also found that, despite the love for him among Republicans, Trump remains highly disliked, continues to struggle mightily with Independents—and 6 in 10 Americans don’t want him to be president again.

The results come as Trump has raised the specter of his potential arrest, due to a hush money investigation out of New York. Trump faces at least three other criminal investigations—two federal, stemming from classified documents found at his Florida home; and one, examining his role in the January 6 insurrection,; as well as one from Georgia, looking at his pressure campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election he lost.

They also cme as Trump held his first presidential campaign rally Saturday in Waco, Texas, where he baselessly described the investigations as the result of “prosecutorial misconduct.”

“Prosecutorial misconduct is their new tool,” Trump said, “and they’re willing to use it at levels never seen before in our country. We’ve had it, but we’ve never had it like this. We must stop them and we must not allow them to go through another election where they have yet another tool in their tool kit.”

But most Americans don’t agree with him. By a 56%-to-41% margin respondents said the investigations are fair and not “witch hunts.”

As expected, there’s a huge partisan divide: 90% of Democrats say they are fair, while 80% of Republicans call them a witch hunt. A slim majority of Independents call them fair; but they are closely split, 51% to 47%.

Those most likely to say the investigations are fair are those in the Gen Z and Millennial generations, people who live in big cities and suburbs; and white college graduates, especially college-educated white women. The latter is a demographic that’s been one of the most reliable Democratic voting—and anti-Trump—groups.

Those most likely to say the investigations are a witch hunt were core Trump supporting groups: white men without degrees, white evangelical Christians, and those who live in small towns.

Three-quarters say Trump has either done something illegal (46%) or unethical (29%). Only one-quarter (23%) think he’s done nothing wrong.

In a mirror of public perception about the ongoing investigations, those most likely to think Trump did something illegal are college grads, especially white; college-educated women; women who live in small cities and suburbs; and people who live in the Northeast.

But just 10% of Republicans think Trump did something illegal. They are more split when it comes to whether Trump did something unethical or nothing wrong. Forty-five percent say he did nothing wrong; 43% say he’s done something unethical, but not illegal.

That reflects the split in the GOP primary. About half of rank-and-file Republican voters appear to be open to someone else, but Trump clearly still has a lock on a significant portion of the GOP.

Republicans also like Trump a lot—80% have a favorable opinion of him. But, more broadly, Trump remains highly unpopular.

Just 39% overall have a favorable opinion of Trump, 51% have a negative view. That includes just 37% of Independents who have a positive view of him.

Even though Trump’s 2024 campaign is well underway, 61% of respondents don’t want Trump to be president, including almost two-thirds of independents. For Republicans, it’s a different story—three-quarters do want Trump to be president again.

So, Trump remains very popular with the base, but politically toxic with everyone else. That represents a real conundrum for the GOP, because with numbers like those it’s hard to see how Trump wins a general election; but also hard to see how he loses the Republican nomination—without a sustained effort from others in the party to go after his glaring vulnerabilities, which have cost the GOP in recent elections.

Research contact: @NPR

Judge rules jurors will serve anonymously for safety reasons during Trump rape lawsuit trial

March 27, 2023

On Thursday, March 23, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York Lewis Kaplan tore into former President Donald Trump’s incitement of his followers in a ruling on a motion in the defamation case brought by Trump’s rape accuser, journalist E. Jean Carroll, reports Mediaite.

Carrol filed the defamation suit in 2019 after Trump accused her of lying about being raped by him a dressing room at a Fifth Avenue department store in the mid-1990s.

The question was whether the case should proceed with an anonymous jury. In deciding the issue, Judge Kaplan referenced Trump’s recent rant about his allegedly impending arrest, a well as other examples of incitement and “violent rhetoric.”

From the ruling:

Mr. Trump’s quite recent reaction to what he perceived as an imminent threat of indictment by a grand jury sitting virtually next door to this Court was to encourage “protest” and to urge people to “take our country back.” That reaction reportedly has been perceived by some as incitement to violence.

And it bears mention that Mr. Trump repeatedly has attacked courts, judges, various law enforcement officials and other public officials, and even individual jurors in other matters.

In addition to Mr. Trump’s past words and actions together with perceptions of them by many people, it is highly relevant that this case already has been the subject of widespread media coverage. Even the most modest developments have attracted a good deal of attention.

That coverage is likely only to increase once the trial is imminent or in process. In these circumstances, this Court is obliged to consider the likely effect on jurors of the matters just described, similar events in the relatively recent past, and the likely future course of events, including the inevitable extensive media coverage. And it cannot properly ignore the significant risk that jurors selected to serve in this case will be affected by concern that they could be targeted for unwanted media attention, outside pressure, and retaliation and harassment from persons unhappy with any verdict that might be returned.

Indeed, Mr. Trump himself has made critical statements on social media regarding the grand jury foreperson in Atlanta, Georgia, and the jury foreperson in the Roger Stone criminal case. And this properly may be viewed in the context of Mr. Trump’s many statements regarding individual judges, the judiciary in general, and other public officials, as well as what reports have characterized as “violent rhetoric” by Mr. Trump including before his presidency.

The judge noted that neither party to the suit objected to an anonymous jury—and only media outlets did object. But he was unpersuaded by their argument, which he said omitted the “overriding principle” of the precedent they cited:

On the basis of the unprecedented circumstances in which this trial will take place, including the extensive pretrial publicity and a very strong risk that jurors will fear harassment, unwanted invasions of their privacy, and retaliation by virtue of the matters referred to above, the Court finds that there is strong reason to believe that the jury needs the protection prescribed below. No less restrictive alternative has even been suggested. The presumption of access to juror names is overcome by this risk.

According to Mediaite, “Trump has consistently and relentlessly attacked E. Jean Carroll since she went public with her allegations.”

Research contact: @Mediaite

Ted Cruz proposes constitutional amendment to stop Supreme Court-packing

March 24, 2023

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced a constitutional amendment on Wednesday, March 22, which would cap the Supreme Court at nine justices, in a bid to quash the desire among some Democrats to expand the bench and dilute the current conservative majority, reports The Hill.

Expanding the Supreme Court became a popular policy idea for some liberals after former President Donald Trump was able to appoint three justices during his term and give the court a 6-3 conservative majority. Talk of expanding the court intensified after it overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

“The Democrats’ answer to a Supreme Court that is dedicated to upholding the rule of law and the Constitution is to pack it with liberals who will rule the way they want,” Cruz said in a statement announcing the move. “The Supreme Court should be independent, not inflated by every new administration. That’s why I’ve introduced a constitutional amendment to permanently keep the number of justices at nine.”

But even as Democrats reel from the court’s stripping of federal abortion protections, President Joe Biden and others in Democratic leadership have not joined in calls for expanding the high court. Biden came out firmly against the idea of court expansion last year.

Proponents of expansion argue that the status quo allows for effective minority rule, with an activist conservative court overruling policies and laws passed by elected Democratic lawmakers—and potentially even changing the electoral landscape to benefit Republicans for years to come.

Other critics of the conservative court have suggested limited terms for justices, who are currently appointed for life, as a way to make the court’s power less entrenched.

The Cruz bill picked up support from ten other Senate Republicans, including Senators Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

“For years the left has been desperate to pack the court to promote their radical agenda,” Hawley said in a statement. “We must ensure that we stay true to the court’s founding principles, maintain the precedent of nine justices, and keep the Democrats from their brazen attempts to rig our democracy.”

Research contact: @thehill

Biden issues first veto, knocks Marjorie Taylor Greene

March 23, 2023

On Monday, March 20, President Joe Biden vetoed his first bill—blocking the repeal of a Labor Department rule that permitted retirement investing tied to environmental and social goals, reports Politico.

The veto was expected, after the Biden Administration fought Republican-led efforts to pass the rollback three weeks ago. The House and Senate votes attracted support from three Democrats, including Senators Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia—moderates who are up for reelection next year.

“This bill would risk your retirement savings by making it illegal to consider risk factors MAGA House Republicans don’t like,” Biden said on Twitter on Monday.

“Your plan manager should be able to protect your hard-earned savings—whether Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene likes it or not.”

While Republicans who led work on the repeal didn’t get it signed into law, it marked a partial victory for conservatives, who have targeted the rule and other policies that they say encourage major corporations to elevate climate and social goals in their business practices.

“This is trying to parallel financial return with an ideological push,” Senator Mike Braun (R-Indiana), who led the rollback push with Representative Andy Barr (R-Kentucky) told reporters in February. “I don’t like that.”

The Biden Labor Department rule at issue attempted to undo Trump-era policy that discouraged retirement plan managers from incorporating environmental and social factors into investment decisions. The Biden rule allows them to do so but does not require it.

Wall Street firms and their trade groups largely stayed on the sidelines during the fight, despite being the subject of criticism from Republican lawmakers. Lobbyists were confident that Biden would veto the repeal; and the industry is also laying low as the issue makes its way through the courts. The state of Texas is leading a multi-state lawsuit to block the rule.

“There’s just no upside,” said one trade association representative, granted anonymity to speak candidly. “Why bother, especially when you’ve got 25 state attorneys general who already have said they’re going to pony up and litigate?”

The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on overturning the veto, per a floor schedule circulated on Friday, March17. Near-unanimous Democratic opposition makes it unlikely the effort will garner the two-thirds support needed.

Research contact: @politico

Biden creates two national monuments in the Southwest

March 22, 2023

On Tuesday, March 21, President Joe Biden designated two new national monuments in the Southwest—insulating from development a half million acres in Nevada that are revered by Native Americans and 6,600 acres in Texas that were once admired by the writer Jack Kerouac, reports The New York Times.

In southern Nevada, Biden protected a large portion of the Spirit Mountain area, encompassing some of the most biologically diverse and culturally significant lands in the Mojave Desert. Near El Paso, Texas, he will establish the Castner Range National Monument on a former artillery range along rugged canyons and arroyos that rise out of the desert near the Franklin Mountains.

The Spirit Mountain area, also known by the Mojave name Avi Kwa Ame, is the largest such monument that Biden has designated to date, and only the second national monument created specifically to protect Native history.

Avi Kwa Ame is considered the creation site for Yuman-speaking tribes like the Fort Mojave, the Cocopah, the Quechan, and the Hopi. Native tribes, environmental groups, and local and state leaders have been seeking the designation for more than a decade.

Castner Range, located at the Army base Fort Bliss, served as a training and testing site for the U.S. Army during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War until it closed in 1966. The range includes archaeological sites, some prehistoric, that feature cave etchings made by Native Americans and stone shelters built by ranchers more than a century ago. The terrain is filled with Mexican yellow poppies; and serves as a habitat for the checkered whip tail lizard, desert cottontail, and Western desert tarantula.

It has also been littered with thousands of rounds of unexploded ordnance. Once the area is made safe for public access, Castner Range is intended to expand access to nature for the historically underserved communities bordering the range, according to a White House statement. In the 1950s, the novelist Jack Kerouac extolled the view from the range in “The Dharma Bums”—writing of seeing “all of Mexico, all of Chihuahua, the entire sand-glittering desert of it, under a late sinking moon that was huge and bright.”

Biden is using the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish the new monuments, which will insulate them from development.

About 33,000 acres of the Spirit Mountain area already were protected under the Wilderness Act of 1964. The newly expanded monument will create a corridor that links the Mojave National Preserve and the Castle Mountains National Monument in California to the Sloan Canyon and Lake Mead national recreation areas in Nevada and Arizona.

That would ensure a migratory path for desert bighorn sheep and mule deer, and protect critical habitat for the desert tortoises, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, western screech owls, and Gila monsters that are native to the region. Some 28 species of native grasses, a number of them rare, also grow there, as well as some of the oldest and largest Joshua trees in the United States.

Biden also has used the Antiquities Act to create a national monument at Camp Hale, Colorado and to restore three monuments that were diminished by former President Donald Trump: Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, Bears Ears, and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

To date, the Bears Ears national monument in eastern Utah has been the only national monument to explicitly address its Indigenous roots. (Today, the monument is jointly managed by a council made up of delegates from five tribes.) The designation of a second one appears designed by the Biden administration to send a message to Indigenous communities that have long fought for a meaningful say in the management of their ancestral lands.

The creation of the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument could spur pushback from renewable energy companies seeking to gain a foothold in one of the nation’s best regions for wind and solar power at a time when Biden has promised to speed up the country’s transition to clean energy.

But there is currently no wind or solar development within the proposed monument area and much of the land was excluded from energy development under a federal conservation designation, said Melissa Schwartz, a spokesperson for the Interior Department.

There is one pending application for a 700-megawatt solar project on part of the designated land that has been identified as an exception from the conservation designation, the Schwartz said.

And a California-based solar company, Avantus, has sought access to part of the land that will be included in the expanded Spirit Mountain monument in order to use existing transmission lines and access roads from a shuttered coal-burning power plant in nearby Laughlin, Nevada. But the Interior Department has not yet begun processing the company’s application.

Outside the boundaries for the proposed national monument, the federal government has identified nine million acres of public lands in Nevada for large-scale solar development and nearly 16.8 million acres of public lands for potential wind development.

Research contact: @nytimes

McCarthy tells Trump supporters not to protest if ex-president is indicted

March 21, 2023

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) said this week that supporters of Donald Trump should not protest if the former president is indicted—following Trump’s call for people to take to the streets and rally against what he claimed would be his imminent arrest in a Manhattan investigation, reports The Washington Post.

In an all-caps message on his social media platform, Trump called on followers to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!

“I don’t think people should protest this, no,” McCarthy said during a news conference on Sunday, March 19. “And I think President Trump, if you talk to him, he doesn’t believe that, either.”

Posting on his Truth Social platform on Saturday, Trump wrote that he “WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY” and called on people to “PROTEST.” Despite the post from his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, his advisers said Trump’s team did not have specific knowledge about the timing of any indictment.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) is investigating Trump’s role in hush money paid to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

The case centers on a $130,000 payment from Michael Cohen, a former Trump attorney, to Daniels—and Bragg is probing whether Trump broke campaign finance laws to reimburse Cohen for keeping Daniels quiet about allegations that she and Trump had an affair. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels and has described the payments as extortion.

Trump’s demand that people take to the streets to denounce a possible indictment stoked fears of violence and echoed rhetoric he used while addressing supporters shortly before a pro-Trump mob attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Five people died in the attack or in its aftermath, and 140 police officers were injured in the assault.

“Nobody should harm one another,” McCarthy said Sunday, following Trump’s call for protests. “We want calmness out there.”

While McCarthy appealed for peace, he also slammed the investigation into Trump and accused Bragg of unfairly targeting the former president. “Lawyer after lawyer will tell you this is the weakest case out there, trying to make a misdemeanor a felony,” McCarthy said during the news conference.

Lawyers and advisers to Trump, who is running for president again in 2024, have expected for days that he will be indicted in the case.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Grand jury heard phone call of Trump pressuring Georgia Speaker to overturn Biden’s victory

March 20, 2023

The Fulton County special grand jury heard a phone call between former President Donald Trump and the late Georgia House Speaker David Ralston as part of its investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, the jury’s foreperson, Emily Kohrs, told NBC News on Wednesday, March 15.

During the December call, Trump attempted to pressure the then-speaker into calling a special legislative session to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state, Kohrs said. 

The call recording, which was first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, lasted about ten minutes, Kohrs said. She recalled that Trump asked Ralston who would stop him from holding a special session. According to Kohrs, Ralston responded, “A federal judge, that’s who.”

Ralston, a Republican who spent more than a decade as Georgia’s House speaker, died in November. Ralston’s former spokesperson and the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

The grand jury, which conducted a criminal investigation into whether Trump and his allies made any “coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections” in the state, completed its work in January—submitting a report on its findings to District Attorney Fani Willis.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled last month that parts of the grand jury’s report could be made public. McBurney also said in the ruling that the report includes recommendations for “who should (or should not) be indicted, and for what,” but those parts would remain sealed for now.

A group of news organizations had petitioned him to make the report public, and he agreed with some of their reasoning.

“[W]hile publication may not be convenient for the pacing of the district attorney’s investigation, the compelling public interest in these proceedings and the unquestionable value and importance of transparency require their release,” McBurney wrote.

Willis’ office had asked that the entire report remain under wraps for the time being.

In unsealed parts of the report released last month, grand jurors said they believed that some witnesses may have lied under oath.

“A majority of the grand jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it,” said a section of the report released last month. “The grand jury recommends that the District Attorney seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling.”

In an interview with NBC News’ “Nightly News” last month, Kohrs said the grand jury recommended indicting over a dozen people, which “might” include the former president.

“There are certainly names that you will recognize, yes. There are names also you might not recognize,” Kohrs said in the interview.

She said the list of recommended indictments is “not a short list,” and there were “definitely some names you expect,” declining to name anyone specifically in accordance with the judge’s instructions.

“I don’t think that there are any giant plot twists coming,” Kohrs said. “I don’t think there’s any giant ‘that’s not the way I expected this to go at all’ moments. I would not expect you to be shocked.”

Research contact: @NBCNews