Aug 8, 2023, 7:29am EDT

Shutting down the government wouldn’t save Donald Trump

REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

Sign up for Semafor Principals: What the White House is reading. Read it now.

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The News

House Republicans have talked about defunding Jack Smith’s investigation. It’s hard to imagine that succeeding, but what happens if they don’t fund the government at all, triggering a shutdown after next month?

Not much, most likely. Attorney Robert Driscoll told Semafor the government delayed civil trials during the 35-day shutdown that began in late 2018, but criminal cases — and especially ones as high-profile as Trump’s — would be unlikely to be affected.

“Most of the criminal stuff is viewed as essential, because you’re dealing with speedy trial rights,” he said.

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Some other highly Trump-specific legal questions reporters have been chasing in recent days:

Can Trump talk to his own senior campaign aides about messaging about the trial if they’re also witnesses, or even unindicted co-conspirators, covered by a judge’s order?

How about attacking his former vice president, who’s also a witness? The special counsel brought up Trump’s Pence-bashing social media post in a court filing yesterday while arguing for more restrictions on what the defendant can share publicly ahead of the trial.

And if he’s convicted, would the Secret Service follow him to prison, or would some kind of house arrest be worked out?