Donald Trump’s ‘Goose is Cooked’: Aide Provides Information to DOJ that Increases Chances of Indictment Significantly, According to Expert
Ever since the FBI raided Donald Trump's private residence, Mar-a-Lago, in early August for an investigation into the handling of
Ever since the FBI raided Donald Trump's private residence, Mar-a-Lago, in early August for an investigation into the handling of classified documents, there's been one question on everyone's mind: will a former President of the United States be criminally indicted?
Thus far, Attorney General Merrick Garland has had the poker face of a champ, not giving away any hints as to whether or not they plan to issue a criminal indictment.
And there are compelling reasons to avoid an indictment, even for those most ardent critics of Trump.
But one aide may have just swung the investigation into "Garland has no choice and must indict" territory – and here's why.
Aide Provides Damning Information to Department of Justice over Documents Investigation
So far, most of the public discourse about Trump's handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago has been focused on whether or not he has a right to the documents as a former POTUS.
But one aide's testimony may have just flipped the script.
The Washington Post reports, "A Trump employee has told federal agents about moving boxes of documents at Mar-a-Lago at the specific direction of the former president, according to people familiar with the investigation, who say the witness account — combined with security-camera footage — offers key evidence of Donald Trump’s behavior as investigators sought the return of classified material.
The witness description and footage described to The Washington Post offer the most direct account to date of Trump’s actions and instructions leading up to the FBI’s Aug. 8 search of the Florida residence and private club, in which agents were looking for evidence of potential crimes including obstruction, destruction of government records or mishandling classified information."
What this means is that there's not only first-person testimony but also video evidence that Trump intended to obstruct and willfully hid documents from the government.
Trump will continue to assert that the documents are his to do as he wishes, but he did not follow proper declassification procedures which puts his claims in serious jeopardy.
A special master has been appointed – at the request of Trump's legal team – to oversee document processing and ensure that any documents not relevant to the investigation and/or containing privileged information are appropriately shielded.
But so far, court cases have been working against the former President. Even Trump-appointed Federal judges have been hesitant to interfere with the Department of Justice's investigation, and Trump has appealed to the Supreme Court to intervene. So far, the SCOTUS has not responded.
Experts Weigh in On Likelihood of Trump Indictment
Between this ⬇️and the testimony of Alex Cannon (to name just two recent developments) Trump’s MAL goose is cooked.— Andrew Weissmann (@AWeissmann_) October 12, 2022
As I have oft said, the issue is no longer the proof, but DOJ’s will.
Trump worker told FBI about moving MAL boxes on Trump’s orders https://t.co/H0HyWUNgse
And experts believe that the newest testimony may force Garland's hand and require an indictment, whatever the peril of indicting a former sitting President.
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti posted his opinion on Twitter, and it isn't favorable for the President: "A Trump employee told FBI agents that he moved boxes of government documents at Mar-a-Lago to Trump's residence at Trump's personal direction.
During the employee's first interview, he lied to the FBI, denying handling documents. His story changed during the second interview."
This testimony, combined with other facts (such as the false certification to the DOJ) suggests an effort to hide the documents from the federal government.— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) October 12, 2022
This evidence is an aggravating factor that could weigh in favor of charging Trump.
Mariotti added, "The employee is unlikely to be charged if he continues to cooperate. But his testimony suggests that Trump tried to keep documents from the DOJ, which had already served a grand jury subpoena for the documents *before* the employee was ordered to move them."
He concluded, "This testimony, combined with other facts (such as the false certification to the DOJ) suggests an effort to hide the documents from the federal government.
This evidence is an aggravating factor that could weigh in favor of charging Trump."
Former federal prosecutor Richard Signorelli concurred, writing on Twitter, "This increases the chance of Trump being indicted after the upcoming election unless Garland is dead set against it."
This increases the chance of Trump being indicted after the upcoming election unless Garland is dead set against it.— Richard Signorelli (@richsignorelli) October 12, 2022
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Read here: https://t.co/v45WioH5tV
And former Robert Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann was perhaps the least reserved in his take on the situation, writing, "Between this ⬇️and the testimony of Alex Cannon (to name just two recent developments) Trump's MAL goose is cooked.
As I have oft said, the issue is no longer the proof, but DOJ's will."
Day by day the evidence that proves Trump personally orchestrated the theft and concealment of top secret documents becomes stronger. Any shadow of a doubt about his guilt is rapidly vanishing. https://t.co/sE8LD6nP52— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) October 12, 2022
Harvard Law's Laurence Tribe pulled everyone's thoughts together, writing, "Day by day the evidence that proves Trump personally orchestrated the theft and concealment of top secret documents becomes stronger. Any shadow of a doubt about his guilt is rapidly vanishing."
While experts have suggested an indictment is likely for the former POTUS before, this time it's almost inevitable. Garland may rightly fear the Pandora's box he will open by indicting a former sitting President, but there comes a time when the sum total of crimes can no longer be ignored.
Whether or not Garland has reached that point with the investigation remains to be seen – but experts sure seem to believe he has.