In the last two weeks, Donald Trump’s lead attorney in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case quit. Then it was learned that another Trump attorney was misdirected by Trump when he was told where to search for classified documents. And everyone involved seemed to be expecting indictments as special counsel Jack Smith reportedly nears the end of his investigation.
The reason his attorneys are heading for the door became even more obvious on Wednesday when, as Hunter reported, it was learned that Smith’s investigators have an actual tape of Trump admitting to keeping a top-secret document related to a potential attack on Iran. That tape reportedly settles any questions that:
Trump understood that he was withholding highly classified defense information
Trump has revealed that information to others
Trump knew that the documents had not been declassified.
That’s not nearly all that’s happened in just the past few days. There are still more reports of documents being shifted around in anticipation of a visit from the FBI, concerns around workers dodging security cameras, and even more evidence that Trump trotted out classified material for visitors, all of which makes the potential for a warrant with Trump’s name on it more likely.
Trump is already facing 34 felony counts of document fraud in New York. That’s before the potential charges that could result from an investigation in Fulton County, Georgia, and the other half of Jack Smith’s investigation tied to Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election. But with reports that the classified document case is nearly complete, that case may win the race in being the next to force Trump to appear before a judge.
Any charges stemming from Trump’s actions concerning the documents found at Mar-a-Lago are likely to split across two areas. One is the violation of the Presidential Records Act. This applies to almost all the material, classified or not, that Trump took away from the White House without first providing it to the National Archives. This could result in a number of charges, including conversion of government property and removing and concealing government records. On top of this, Trump’s repeated deceptions in the handling of the documents could lead to charges of obstruction of justice, false statements to authorities, and criminal contempt.
That’s just the unclassified documents.
With the classified documents, Trump is facing even more serious charges of unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents, as well as additional charges related to false statements and contempt.
The reported nature of that Iran document could also lead to charges for collection of national defense information and other violations of the Espionage Act. Some of these charges are serious on their own, and if prosecutors are able to go the full gamut by showing that Trump knowingly removed documents related to areas of national defense and showed those documents to others for gain, the penalties are not going to be a slap on the wrist.
Here’s just one line of events that seems likely to be near the top of Smith’s agenda.
That recently turned-over recording reportedly shows Trump knowingly took classified documents related to defense strategy around Iran. CNN reports that Trump discussed the document at a meeting, including revealing that the document contains pages prepared by Gen. Mark Milley concerning a potential attack on Iran.
Last week, The Washington Post reported that Smith’s team has evidence that Trump showed classified documents to “visitors” at Mar-a-Lago.
Visitors to Mar-a-Lago included members of the Saudi Arabian government that is sponsoring LIV Golf events which happen exclusively at Trump facilities, pumping millions into his coffers.
How hard is it to believe that Trump may have given Saudi visitors a quick peek at what the United States knew about Iran’s defenses? How hard is it to believe that he didn’t?
Though reports began surfacing two weeks ago that Smith was nearing the end of the classified documents case, new information continues to appear almost daily in terms of what the investigation has uncovered. That includes reports on how workers at Mar-a-Lago repeatedly moved boxes from the supposedly secure storage facility, including some moves just a day before the FBI’s arrival. There are also reports that at least one of those workers became concerned about what might be seen on security cameras after helping a Trump aide remove some documents from the room. Whether the removed documents were turned over to the FBI or removed completely from Mar-a-Lago isn’t clear.
It’s no wonder that Trump’s lawyers keep running away. What’s amazing is that he manages to get someone to represent him in the first place.
We have Rural Organizing’s Aftyn Behn. Markos and Aftyn talk about what has been happening in rural communities across the country and progressives’ efforts to engage those voters. Behn also gives the podcast a breakdown of which issues will make the difference in the coming elections.