Top Republican Party lawmakers and officials screamed to see the search warrant. They screamed again to see the "affidavit." When both of those made Donald J. Trump look guilty not just of making off with government documents but making off with classified government secrets, they screamed that the documents themselves should be made public so that they and the rest of Trump's supporters could determine whether these were "real" classified secrets or imagined ones.
Now that a photo of what was actually found at Mar-a-Lago was publicly released, not even that turns out to be good enough. House Republicans like Jim Jordan will follow Trump through whatever crimes against our nation Trump wants to commit.
The Republican Party is the party of willing treason. There's no cutting around that, any more than Jim Jordan can let his eyes wander across a dozen all-caps secret and top secret document cover sheets to decide that the real story here was a TIME magazine cover in the corner of the picture.
If you ever begin to doubt that Jim Jordan's whole political existence derives from witnessing crimes and helping to cover them up, keep this one in your sock drawer. The man is a mob lawyer for a mob party willing to endanger national security in literally any way you can name.
As the photograph shows, this is not a "documents" case. This is an espionage case, one that is going to result in a detailed damage assessment for every document seen in that photo and for all of the others as well. There's no way to tell who Donald Trump showed the documents to, in a Mar-a-Lago that in the past week saw Trump host yet another petty con artist posing as an "Anna de Rothschild." There's no way to tell whether photographs of any of these documents made their way to Trump's other golf resort as means of currying favor with specific Saudi guests.
But the Republican Party does not care. They have been given every opportunity to care, and instead remain single-mindedly devoted to presenting it is the government who is overstepping their bounds by not letting the leader of a failed insurrection ignore any and every law he wants to. They were fine with international extortion. They were fine with Trump whipping a known-armed crowd into a fury and directing them to the U.S. Capitol to block his own removal of power.
It may yet come out that government has evidence that Trump indeed exchanged some of these documents for foreign favors; there is no credible voice in the country who can claim Trump had no such intent. And even then, the party will back him and demand that he be allowed to sell whatever national secrets he desires. They will make it a slogan and put it on hats.
Sure enough, Republican partisans immediately stepped forward to say that the evidence of Trump's guilt, the evidence they all wanted to see, was biased against him. It was "staged!" Showing photos of the evidence is unfair to the man who squirreled it away!
I think we all understand at this point that Donald Trump likely did not personally put the documents on the floor alongside an evidence ruler and identifying tag. The government identified the photo as being of documents taken from "a container in the '45 office'" at Mar-a-Lago.
As for why the secret and top secret documents (behind their identifying cover letters) were on the floor, we can speculate from the long evidence list provided by the government that there were simply too many secret and top secret documents found to fit on a table so they had to make do. (We can also speculate, but with less certainty, that the reason the documents were photographed next to a box containing a framed magazine cover featuring Trump is either because they were found together or because, again, the room was just so damn crammed with evidence they didn't have enough room to really feature each tagged set as lavishly as non-government art critics may have desired.
Not every team of federal investigators is able to hire Annie Leibovitz for their document shoots, but if Republicans would like to propose that at least espionage-level crimes be documented by her or a contemporary, Democrats would probably agree to such a law.
Are Republicans backing treason? Yeah. They don't care. Whatever hurts their enemies and helps Trump is what they're going with. They'll bring the whole government down if that's what it takes to protect Trump from the consequences of unambiguous, intentional, and nation-harming crimes. This is nothing to them. This is no different from any other day of any other week.
Jim Jordan's personal treason caucus is especially devoted to the notion that it is the government, not Dear Leader, in the wrong. There is no introspection here. They're on Trump's team no matter what crimes he commits.
Well, the documents weren't "dumped", because all the actual classified contents are still carefully hidden behind their designating sheets.
And the TIME Magazine covers were, again, in the picture Because They Are Evidence.
Did Trump try to hide classified documents with designations indicating a danger to human intelligence sources if disclosed by mingling them with other, nonclassified errata? Yes, we already know that's what he did from multiple previous reports.
And we know Trump was trying to hide the classified documents from the government. As a fact. Because his legal team asserted to the government that all such papers had been handed over, but:
The photo is the proof that the government was right. Papers were being concealed. The government had to go in by force to obtain them. Trump has acted criminally. Again.
What the Jim Jordan treason brigade would like to deflect with next is the tacit admission that Trump did indeed take classified national security secrets, did indeed hide them with other papers and take him to his for-profit golf club, did indeed attempt to conceal their presence from government investigators and did indeed block government efforts to re-secure the papers until government seized those documents directly, but the Department of Justice "knew the documents were missing for 18 months" and "did nothing."
We don't have a good timeline on just when the government knew these documents were missing—if government security protocols were being followed, they would have been branded as "missing" the minute Trump took them out of the deliverer's hands and ordered them taken to the White House residence, and we've yet to hear an explanation on how the Trump White House could have managed to lose hundreds of pages of documents in such a fashion without anyone giving a damn. But Republicans are right to note that the Department of Justice seems to have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the scandal under wraps, perhaps even at the expense of national security.
Anyone who was not named Donald Trump would be in ankle bracelets after the discovery of just one such document. To have successfully carted off hundreds of pages and have the Department of Justice and our entire national security apparatus be stymied on what to do about it is yet another crime so outlandish that our systems can barely comprehend it, much less respond to it.
So why did the government finally decide that the situation had escalated beyond the point where "negotiating" with Trump's team was an answer? It is likely because of the above-mentioned government evidence that Trump's team had responded to their prior requests to return documents by returning some, but hiding others.
But it also may be because, as Trump reemerged into his pre-presidential life of courting foreign wealth and hosting foreign notables, the federal government learned something that convinced them the security of those documents was now more threatened than it was before. It would be foolish to discount that possibility.
Every time we learn more about the Mar-a-Lago documents, we learn that the case is worse than we were previously told. This is not a spat about personal papers with a federal archivist: This is about classified national security secrets. This is not a case where Trump's team might have been "confused" over whether or not the documents were classified; here we see them still with government classification markings, screaming their presence. This is not a case of Trump wanting mementos or knickknacks; these were papers dealing with, at minimum, government satellite imagery and information useful in identifying foreign intelligence agents.
There's nothing to suggest that Trump did not take and hide those documents with the express intent of using them for monetary gain. To sell them, or bargain them away. They are not magazine covers that flatter him. They are not tokens of cherished events. They are national security documents, and he took them from government after a coup attempt failed to keep him in power, and all but perhaps two Republicans in the entire party are not just defending those acts but are furiously looking to discredit the government that, once again, caught the treasonous ratbastard doing it.
It is a party that will gleefully harm America in whatever way is necessary to "win" the news cycle of the day. Extortion, sedition, and treason; there is literally nothing the Republican Party will not embrace if the alternative is admitting Dear Crooked Leader did wrong.
Jail him. There are no mitigating circumstances, and there is no excuse. Put him in prison.
Trump and his followers proved on Jan. 6 how dangerously close they came to overturning our democracy. Help cancel Republican voter suppression with the power of your pen by clicking here and signing up to volunteer with Vote Forward, writing personalized letters to targeted voters urging them to exercise their right to vote this year.