Special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into disgraced former president Donald Trump’s handling of classified material is racing to a conclusion. In March, Trump's attorney Evan Corcoran was compelled to testify in Smith’s investigation. After Trump received a subpoena from the Justice Department, Corcoran was the person tasked with collecting and locating classified material that was taken from the White House.
News then broke that Smith’s investigators had gotten their hands on “dozens of pages of notes” Corcoran took detailing his conversations with Trump. This news came on the heels of yet another former Trump attorney, Tim Parlatore, announcing that he would no longer be representing the twice-impeached former president due to “differences” with other advisers in Trumpland.
On Tuesday, The Guardian reported that “two people familiar with the matter” say Corcoran’s notes and testimony suggest the lawyer was told to search the Mar-a-Lago storage area for classified documents, and was steered away from searching Trump’s office. The latter piece of information could be used against Trump as evidence of obstruction, since Corcoran was only able to provide the Justice Department with 38 classified documents.
The FBI subsequently seized more than 100 additional classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, many of which were found in the Donald’s office.
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The Guardian reports that it is not clear who may have told Corcoran not to widen his search beyond the storage room, and an unnamed Trump “spokesperson” called the report “completely false and rooted in pure fantasy.” The fact that there is not a named spokesperson at this point is indicative of the divisive inner workings in the world of Trump.
Coinciding with The Guardian report, The Daily Beast reports that five sources tell them Trump’s legal team has become a paranoid mess, filled with all of the telltale signs of a backstabbing environment:
fear of ”snitches”
The main culprit for many of the misgivings, according to The Daily Beast, is Trump’s closest legal adviser Boris Epshteyn, who one source described this way: “Boris pissed off all the Florida lawyers. People are dropping like flies. Everybody hates him. He’s a toxic loser. He’s a complete psycho.” Sounds fun!
Trump has spent his career not paying people what he owes them, throwing people who work for him under the bus, and allegedly breaking the law over and over and over and over again. The people around him have either gone off to jail, needed to be pardoned, or are suspected of being corrupt actors around the world. Here’s a rundown of Trump’s legal team when the investigation began:
Lindsey Halligan. She has the distinction of being one of the only lawyers working for Trump onsite at Mar-a-Lago when the FBI raided.
Christopher Kise. He’s the big dog who was brought in, reportedly paid a $3 million retainer fee upfront, and then quickly “sidelined.”
James M. Trusty. He’s a former Justice Department prosecutor who has spent his time arguing that every single thing Donald Trump has ever looked at is protected by “executive privilege.”
Christina Bobb. Bobb came into the Trump world as a “fervent believer” in the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen, and has been one of the subjects of Smith’s investigation into obstruction.
Joe Tacopina. Tacopina is the newest addition to Trump’s team of rivals. In one of his first appearances on television, in service of the Donald, he seemingly exposed Donald Trump as a business fraud.
At the root of the problem for Trump is the fact that he’s about as phony as a four-dollar bill. When you are untrustworthy and have proven so time and again, the people who agree to work for you are usually the same. As for Trump’s main defense against the special counsel’s investigation, the known liar has alternately stated that he maybe did or maybe didn’t have classified materials he shouldn’t have had, but that even if he did—or didn’t—it was fine for him to have them because he said so.
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How can Democrats win the messaging war? It turns out there's actually a science to it, as strategic communications consultant Anat Shenker-Osorio tells us on this week's episode of "The Downballot." Shenker-Osorio explains how her research shows the importance of treating voters as protagonists; how Democrats can avoid ceding "freedom" to Republicans by emphasizing "freedoms," plural; and why it actually makes sense to call out "MAGA Republicans" (even though, yes, it's all Republicans).