Donald Trump’s Documents Defense Goes Up in Flames: ‘Shocked at the Stupidity’
Former President Donald Trump is in serious peril over the investigation into his alleged criminal mishandling of classified documents. And
Former President Donald Trump is in serious peril over the investigation into his alleged criminal mishandling of classified documents.
And things just got worse.
All along, Trump has offered the defense that he thought he could keep the classified documents and that he was unaware of any formal procedure to declassify them.
But new notes from Trump’s legal team have set that defense on fire.
Last year, the Department of Justice issued a subpoena to Trump over the documents. After he failed to comply, the DOJ was warned that the former President could not keep documents related to the case.
And now we know that Trump’s lawyer at the time, Eric Corcoran, told the former POTUS that he could not keep the documents, destroying Trump’s assertion that he thought they were still allowed in his possession. Which puts Trump squarely in the crosshairs of a potential obstruction charge.
After a federal judge dismissed Corcoran’s attempt to claim attorney-client privilege to avoid sharing any sensitive information, he testified before a grand jury in the course of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation. According to experts, the fact that Corcoran warned the former POTUS about the documents “could be significant” in Smith’s probe because it shows that he was aware of his subpoena obligations.
Salon reports, “‘Trump knew. He’s always known,’ tweeted MSNBC legal analyst Katie Phang.
‘Very damaging’: Legal experts say new Mar-a-Lago evidence could ‘blow up’ in Trump’s face at trial.
The warning was included in about 50 pages of contemporaneous notes written by Corcoran.
Corcoran in June found about 40 classified documents in a Mar-a-Lago storage room. He met with Justice Department investigators and later drafted a letter affirming that no other materials were at the property. But the FBI later found about 100 more classified documents while executing a court-authorized warrant in August.
Prosecutors are investigating whether Trump intentionally sought to obstruct the subpoena. They have particularly ‘fixated’ on Trump valet Walt Nauta, who told prosecutors that Trump personally told him to move boxes out of the storage room before and after the subpoena was issued.”
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According to The Guardian‘s Hugo Lowell, “Corcoran’s notes ‘revealed how Trump and Nauta had unusually detailed knowledge of the botched subpoena response, including where Corcoran intended to search and not search for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, as well as when Corcoran was actually doing his search.'”
To prove obstruction, prosecutors would have to show that Trump himself told Nauta to remove boxes he expressly knew included classified documents covered by a subpoena with the intention of hiding them from his attorney’s search, according to Lowell.
Salon adds, “MSNBC host Mike Brzezinski interviewed Lowell about his report, noting that ‘every time I read into this, I’m just shocked at the stupidity of those, honestly, of former President Trump, moving documents in and out of his office before and after the subpoena, and I guess having people do it for him.’
Lowell explained that the previously unreported warning is a ‘problem for the former president.’
‘And it becomes a problem for his legal team and there’s a whole bunch of other stuff in the notes about how the valet had unusually detailed knowledge about where the lawyer was conducting his searches for classified documents,’ he told MSNBC, ‘and I think the special counsel’s office is looking at this as the core, the heart of the obstruction investigation.'”
While there’s still a lot of pieces left to be put together for Jack Smith’s investigation, this is a grim turn for the former POTUS and his legal team, which is said to be fraying at the seams.