Jump to content
Head Coach Openings 2024 ×
  • Current Donation Goals

    • Raised $2,716 of $3,600 target

Open Club  ·  45 members  ·  Free

OOB v2.0

Donald Trump thread v2.0


Muda69

Recommended Posts

7 hours ago, swordfish said:

https://nypost.com/2022/02/13/eyes-turn-to-hillary-clinton-not-trump-in-the-russiagate-scandal/

So there you have it. 

Russiagate, the collective delusion that Donald Trump was secretly a Russian agent aided and abetted by the Kremlin, the topic of uncountable inches of Washington Post and New York Times copy and the entire primetime lineup of MSNBC, was a dirty trick by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Not just part of it. All of it. One of the most diabolical, successful misinformation campaigns ever concocted. 

We already knew that the Steele dossier was garbage. Christopher Steele was paid indirectly by the Clinton campaign to dig up dirt, which he did by turning to other Clinton operatives, laundering every outlandish rumor about Trump he could find into an “investigative” document. 

He shopped it to the FBI, which couldn’t verify his sources or any of his stories, but the agency dragged out the investigation to cast maximum suspicion on the new president. In the meantime, Steele found willing accomplices in the media to push his propaganda. The dupes at BuzzFeed even decided to print the whole pack of lies, with the flimsy rationale of “Well, why not?” 

We got to the point where New York magazine was running a cover story that was one long piece of fan fiction that Trump was secretly a real-life version of “The Americans,” a sleeper agent now seated in the highest office in the land. The Times and Washington Post won a freaking Pulitzer! 

A made-up story 

Now another piece of Russia, Russia, Russia is kaputski. A computer server operated by Trump’s company was secretly communicating with a Russian firm, claimed Slate magazine and endless Twitter threads of would-be tech experts. 

But as special counsel John Durham outlines in his latest indictment, that was just a story made up by tech executive Rodney Joffe, who desperately wanted a job with the Clinton administration. He hacked Trump’s servers, cherry-picked privileged Internet data he had access to, and molded it to look like something nefarious. 

He was coached by lawyer Michael Sussmann — who was being paid by the Clinton administration, although he lied about that to investigators. Sussmann goes to the FBI as a “concerned citizen” — not a “Clinton stooge” — to try to get them to bite. The ultimate goal: Be able to leak to the Times that Trump is under official investigation. 

Durham “definitely showed that the Hillary Clinton campaign directly funded and ordered its lawyers at Perkins Coie to orchestrate a criminal enterprise to fabricate a connection between President Trump and Russia,” says Kash Patel, the former chief investigator for the House Intelligence Committee. 

Beyond outrageous 

Of course, Hillary didn’t get what she wanted — the presidency. But her operatives didn’t stop, going on CNN to give “very concerned” interviews about a theory they knew was bull. All to undermine Trump’s presidency. It would take three years for the Mueller report to finally put the lie to rest, and we’re now, five years out, at the point where Durham is detailing the full conspiracy. 

If this had happened to a Democrat, the press would be losing its mind. A candidate for president weaponized the nation’s Justice Department to pursue an investigation into their political opponent based on what they knew were lies. Americans were wiretapped! Some were entrapped for flimsy claims of perjury. The director of the FBI went into the Oval Office to tell the president that there was a sexual rumor floating around, so that it could be promptly leaked to the media. “Outrageous” doesn’t cover it. And still no shame from Hillary Clinton and her supporters, because it’s Donald Trump — anything is fair game to take him down. 

All these things we’ve been lectured about over the past four years: Norms being broken, internet misinformation, perversion of government — it was all happening. It was the Democrats who were doing it. Think anyone in the left-wing media will notice?

Notice this story is basically showing up at one place......I don't think anyone else is going to notice.....

 

Obamagate.

POTUS Trump tried to warn everyone that would listen.  Time is up.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

POTUS Trump was right about everything.  The establishment, MSM, "elites", etc. all mocked him.  They blamed him of everything they were doing.  That is an old Nazi technique.  Oh yeah.  They called him a Nazi too.  Interesting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One has to wonder if Leslie Stahl would like to apologize to the former President for her remarks where he actually told her the FACTS about this incident, and she she denied it and then never followed up on the "new" information.  (That is now a fact) or maybe she should just retire......

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

and the left saying this and that about phone records regarding 1/6/21......more fake news.

cnn reporting it.

to the people that believe all this 🐂💩

boy are you all gullible and need to check your critical thinking skills...

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/31/politics/mystery-call-gap-trump-jan-6-white-house-phone-logs/index.html

There could be various reasons that explain the gap in the call log itself.
One possibility is that Trump was speaking to people from a cell phone. As CNN has previously reported, Trump had a habit of using his and other people's phones to make or receive calls.
Another explanation could be that Trump had aides place direct calls from the Oval Office, bypassing the switchboard.
A former White House staffer who served in the Obama administration told CNN that if then-President Barrack Obama wanted to make a call to someone from the Oval Office, he would normally ask an aide seated nearby to dial the person. The aide would then call the number and hit transfer to connect the caller to the President.
That call would not go through the White House switchboard and therefore would not be recorded on the White House switchboard log, the former staffer said.
Another factor seems to be where Trump was when he made certain calls. All the calls noted from the January 6 log indicate they were made from the White House residence, suggesting Trump relied on the switchboard to put those calls through. The missing calls appear to start when the diary notes Trump has moved from the residence to the Oval Office.

It's funny that the almost exclusive news this past week from the January 6 committee was the mystery wondering why the guilty party (Former President Trump) wasn't brought up on treason since there was such a gap in the WH phone records on January 6.  Afterall, he had to be using "burner" phones since he was such a criminal.  (Without questioning why there were similar gaps on a daily basis prior to and after, as well as the fact that the previous President, Barack Hussein Obama, had the same habit).  

SF wonders if there will be any apologies to DJT over this.  Maybe they will go back to bad-mouthing Mrs. Thomas next week......

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, swordfish said:

https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/31/politics/mystery-call-gap-trump-jan-6-white-house-phone-logs/index.html

There could be various reasons that explain the gap in the call log itself.
One possibility is that Trump was speaking to people from a cell phone. As CNN has previously reported, Trump had a habit of using his and other people's phones to make or receive calls.
Another explanation could be that Trump had aides place direct calls from the Oval Office, bypassing the switchboard.
A former White House staffer who served in the Obama administration told CNN that if then-President Barrack Obama wanted to make a call to someone from the Oval Office, he would normally ask an aide seated nearby to dial the person. The aide would then call the number and hit transfer to connect the caller to the President.
That call would not go through the White House switchboard and therefore would not be recorded on the White House switchboard log, the former staffer said.
Another factor seems to be where Trump was when he made certain calls. All the calls noted from the January 6 log indicate they were made from the White House residence, suggesting Trump relied on the switchboard to put those calls through. The missing calls appear to start when the diary notes Trump has moved from the residence to the Oval Office.

It's funny that the almost exclusive news this past week from the January 6 committee was the mystery wondering why the guilty party (Former President Trump) wasn't brought up on treason since there was such a gap in the WH phone records on January 6.  Afterall, he had to be using "burner" phones since he was such a criminal.  (Without questioning why there were similar gaps on a daily basis prior to and after, as well as the fact that the previous President, Barack Hussein Obama, had the same habit).  

SF wonders if there will be any apologies to DJT over this.  Maybe they will go back to bad-mouthing Mrs. Thomas next week......

 

 

Shhh.  The sheep don't like facts.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

 

https://briancates.substack.com/p/why-i-believe-michael-sussmann-will?utm_source=%2Fprofile%2F34778084-brian-cates&utm_medium=reader2&s=r&fbclid=IwAR3M2-NI57eEu-PolJ37BdqRlGo9__2htQBS4meOGlCwk0CSB6nEmSLBawc

Why I Believe Michael Sussmann Will Change His Plea To Guilty Before His Trial Begins

His Own Coconspirators Do Not Want To Testify At This Trial

 
May 12

 

Why am I so confident in predicting that Sussmann was going to change his plea from ‘not guilty’ to ‘guilty’?

Well I have three main reasons for this expectation. Let me list them.

First, Sussmann has no real defense.

None. Nada. Zip. Bubkis.

Durham has him completely trapped on the false statement charge with incontrovertible forensic evidence. Including a text message that Sussmann sent to the FBI’s General Counsel James Baker the night before their meeting at FBI headquarters back in September of 2016.

In that text message, Sussmann states - in his own writing, mind you! - that he wants this meeting for himself, he’s certainly not reaching out and asking for this meeting on behalf any clients. Read the text message for yourself:

 

https%3A%2F%2Fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-43

Now, Sussmann’s latest gambit is an attempt to introduce notes from former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe into the trial evidence because McCabe says in those notes that Sussmann **did** say he was working for clients on the Alfa Bank hoax.

Here’s why that doesn’t matter: Sussmann changes his story based on who he’s talking to and when. When he sent Baker the text message on September 18, 2016 at precisely 7:24 p.m., he LIED, and said it wasn’t for any clients.

When he testified before CONGRESS in December of 2017, Sussmann told the truth, that he was working for clients when he made his approach to Baker.

So later on at some point after his meeting with Baker, Sussmann told McCabe or others at the FBI the truth? And McCabe took accurate notes, reflecting that Sussmann said he was there on behalf of his clients? That’s awesome! Good for him!

But does that **change the fact** that in a text message to James Baker on September 18 at precisely 7:24 p.m., and then the next day in Baker’s office at FBI HQ, Sussmann LIED to Baker?

It does not.

Just because Sussmann tells the truth about the matter later to others does not mean his lie to Baker - delivered in writing and then in person the next day - is somehow cancelled out. It’s **still** a false statement to a federal official.

That text message and Bill Priestap and Trisha Anderson’s notes are damning. The text is from the night before the meeting took place, and the notes were written down immediately after it was over when Baker briefed Preistap and Anderson on what Sussmann had told him.

So Sussmann’s going to be 100% convicted if this goes to trial. Unless a DC jury just practices nullification and ignores all the evidence Durham will present to it and lets Sussmann walk out of the courtroom a free man simply because he’s a Swamp creature.

I doubt that would happen, because it would mean Durham blew the jury selection process.

Second, All Of Sussmann’s coconspirators do not want to come testify under oath at this trial.

Testifying under oath about the tricky matters they were involved in with the Alfa Bank hoax and related issues opens them up to perjury charges later.

Now, I’m sure that Marc Elias, Robby Mook, Laura Seago and all the others that are on the government’s witness list - or who might later be added to it - have done their best to keep up to date on the case filings as far as they reveal what Durham knows already.

Please Dear God, don’t let them call me to testify under oath…amen!

But here’s the thing: no matter how well your legal team briefs you, or how prepared you think you are, or how confident you think your grasp is of what the prosecutor knows…there are **always** things he knows that he hasn’t revealed yet.

Trust me on this: The Clinton campaign’s former general counsel Marc Elias is gonna use any remaining pull or clout he has on Sussmann to pressure him to take a deal. Elias does not want to get up there on that stand under oath and answer questions where he’ll having to pick his words with extreme care as he tiptoes through a verbal minefield.

It’s the same for former Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, and other Clinton campaign, DNC, Fusion or Perkins Coie persons that might end up on that witness stand. Durham’s team will try to steer these witnesses with questions into places they do not want to go. And because they don’t know what the prosecution does and doesn’t not know at this point, making an untruthful answer could have really serious consequences.

After all, Durham’s putting Sussmann on trial on a felony charge of making a false statement to a federal official when he wasn’t under oath in a courtroom. If Durham catches a witness telling him a provable lie under oath in Judge Christopher Cooper’s courtroom? There will be fireworks.

Perhaps that’s the point?

Third, nobody has ever escaped John Durham

There’s a reason Durham has the reputation he does. He’s earned it. The only guy who managed to escape getting his ass shipped to prison was a crooked FBI agent who died before Durham could convict him.

This is why in the end, just before the plunge, I believe Sussmann is going to blink. He knows he’s facing a stacked deck and that Durham has it all. He can’t really win and he knows he can’t win.

 

He probably doesn't want to get "Suicided".......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

https://nypost.com/2022/05/31/jurors-ignored-evidence-to-acquit-ex-clinton-lawyer-of-lying-to-the-shameful-fbi/?dicbo=v2-124c7eca689465bbc4dd2ed5f0642bcc

The media will treat this as vindication for treating special counsel John Durham’s probe as a nothingburger. But Sussmann’s defense — and the fact that the jury bought it — makes this scandal even worse.

Sussmann argued that no matter what he actually said, the FBI knew he was a partisan actor. Everyone was aware he was working for the Clintons, and that this wasn’t an unbiased tip-off. And indeed his legal team introduced evidence that showed the FBI obscuring Sussmann’s involvement. Higher-ups told agents that the tip had come from an anonymous informant, or even the Department of Justice, giving it far more credence than it deserved. Why? Because they were frantic to tar Trump. FBI Director James Comey and others “cheered” on the investigation, the trial revealed.

So by professing his innocence, Sussmann proved the FBI’s guilt. The nation’s highest investigative agency acted as a partisan weapon during the 2016 campaign, using the flimsiest of dirty tricks from the Clinton campaign — the Steele dossier and the server story — to conduct wiretaps, interview Trump campaign staff and, most importantly, leak it all to the press.

So the defense says "Yeah he lied, but it doesn't matter what he said, because the FBI already knew it".......Amazing.......Did we just witness the death of Justice?  SF Did not see this one coming.  I mean, I thought the evidence was pretty clear......But....Oh well......

SF is not sure which is worse the indictment of the FBI or the jury buying the "the FBI already knew it" defense to acquit Sussmann .....

Or maybe that was the point that Durham wanted to make?  The FBI is culpable in this one as well?  If so, what's next?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

DeSantis: America’s Conservative Leader: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/desantis-americas-conservative-leader/

Quote

Yesterday was my first day at a CPAC event, ever. I expected it to be MAGA-friendly, but man, I had no idea, no idea at all. This kind of thing was everywhere:

Screen-Shot-2022-08-05-at-8.13.51-AM-102

I honestly don't get it. I mean, I get being fed up with the pre-Trump GOP establishment. I get liking a lot of things about Trump. I can even understand why someone would have voted for him in 2016 and 2020, and I don't actually have to try hard. Though I believe he was rightly impeached for his disgraceful January 6 conduct, I am not, nor have I ever been, a Never Trumper. I'm in a weird no-man's land of not liking Trump, but of disliking even more the Republicans and the media who arrayed themselves against him. Nobody is happy with me on that! I get it. But I yam what I yam.

What I find impossible to understand is why there is so much Trump nostalgia among the conservative masses when there is, right now, an actual Republican governor who stands for a lot of the aggressive populist conservatism that Trump symbolized, but who -- unlike Trump -- actually knows how to use political power, and is willing to do it. I'm talking about Ron DeSantis of Florida.

Yesterday, Gov. DeSantis took the extraordinary -- but constitutionally valid -- step of suspending a local, Soros-backed progressive DA who had publicly refused to enforce Florida law governing abortion and gender ideology regarding children. Here's the governor on Tucker last night explaining why he did it:

Crazy Ron DeSantis actually expects that DAs should enforce the law, even if progressives don't like those laws! Whoever heard of such a thing? It's almost like Ron DeSantis isn't embarrassed to be conservative, and that he understands that conservatism is about more than reducing taxes and blessing the priorities of business. In fact, by laying into Disney after it stuck its mousy snout into Florida's ban on pushing gender ideology on captive public schoolchildren, the Florida governor showed something unheard of among senior Republican politicians: the guts to kick woke capitalism in the nuts.

 

More, please.

.....

Ain't that the truth! I saw only one DeSantis t-shirt in all of CPAC yesterday (though to be fair, I didn't see all the vendors). Everything else was MAGA, or "Let's Go, Brandon". The 2024 energy among the most politicized conservatives -- the kind who come to CPAC -- is all around a Trump restoration. This is going to be hard for DeSantis to counter if he chooses to run for president in 2024. The truth is that while Donald Trump mostly just talks about things, Ron DeSantis actually gets things done. Trump talks the talk, but DeSantis walks the walk.

I saw that Viktor Orban had a long visit with Trump in New Jersey prior to Orban's appearance at CPAC. Orban genuinely admires Trump, and seems to be counting on Trump regaining office. That might not be a bad bet, but as I've said in this space in the past, Orban is much more like DeSantis than Trump. Yes, he's a taboo-breaker, as Trump was, but more than anything Orban is like DeSantis in that he combines anti-establishment conservative principles with actual political and legislative skill. A lot of liberals are understandably freaking out about the possibility of a Trump return (though I was talking to a couple of reporters yesterday, and they were speculating that distressed media outlets like CNN desperately need Trump to come back to save them). If you really do believe that Trump poses an existential threat to democracy -- I don't, but let's say that you do -- then you are right to freak out. A lot of conservatives might take that freakout as a sign that Trump is the right call for 2024. The thing is, a President DeSantis would be a far greater threat to progressive priorities, precisely because he's good at politics, and because he offers aggressive conservative governance without all the ridiculous drama Trump created.

In fact, if Trump really believed in ideas, not solely himself, he would announce that he wasn't going to run in 2024, and throw his support to DeSantis as his worthy heir. That would make DeSantis unstoppable. But Trump won't do that. If it comes, the GOP presidential primary showdown between Trump and DeSantis is going to be hella good politics.

Trump is too much of a narcissist to think that any other conservative could be POTUS besides himself.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/5/2022 at 11:00 AM, Muda69 said:

DeSantis: America’s Conservative Leader: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/desantis-americas-conservative-leader/

Trump is too much of a narcissist to think that any other conservative could be POTUS besides himself.

 

It appears the left reeeeeaaaaalllllllyyyy doesn't want to turn Trump's spotlight off.  The January 6 committee is coming up empty, so the left uses the FBI to "look" for classified documents.  They are hoping all of America today believes Trump broke the law.  "Why else would the FBI raid his home - He has to be guilty of something"  All the while ignoring that while he was President he had the ultimate authority on what was classified or not.

Our “Justice” Department. Loses Hunters laptop. Hides Epstens flight log. Ignores Hillary’s emails. Incites BLM violence. Allows judicial intimidation. But raids Mar a Lago looking for dirt. Wake up America. It’s now or never.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, swordfish said:

It appears the left reeeeeaaaaalllllllyyyy doesn't want to turn Trump's spotlight off. 

The leftist MSM doesn't really want Trump gone.  His four years in office were a ratings bonanza for the likes of CNN and MSNBC.

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Muda69 said:

The leftist MSM doesn't really want Trump gone.  His four years in office were a ratings bonanza for the likes of CNN and MSNBC.

 

Beat me to it.  Love the guy or hate the guy, the left's obsession with him used to be a mystery but this is spot on.

Edited by temptation
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tweet from Mike Pompeo

Executing a warrant against ex-POTUS is dangerous. The apparent political weaponization of DOJ/FBI is shameful. AG must explain why 250 yrs of practice was upended w/ this raid. I served on Benghazi Com where we proved Hilliary possessed classified info. We didn’t raid her home

  • Kill me now 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/11/2022 at 9:19 AM, DanteEstonia said:

All of the Right's ignorant memes. But Trump was in charge when a mob stormed the US Capitol.

You keep hanging on to that one don't ya?  Better hope the "committee" doesn't come up empty again.

Every time they go after this guy and get excited, he seems to escape trouble and his fan base strengthens.

No Trump fan myself and I think he's not very bright at times, but that's not a crime.

"We've got him this time!'

 

Edited by temptation
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/12/2022 at 8:48 AM, temptation said:

You keep hanging on to that one don't ya?  Better hope the "committee" doesn't come up empty again.

This aged well.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/08/12/search-warrant-shows-trump-under-investigation-for-potential-obstruction-of-justice-espionage-act-violations-00051507

@temptation

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Donald Trump's Handling of Classified Material Looks Worse Than Hillary Clinton's

https://reason.com/2022/08/14/donald-trumps-handling-of-classified-material-looks-worse-than-hillary-clintons/

Quote

According to a search warrant inventory that was unsealed on Friday, the FBI found 11 sets of classified documents, ranging from "confidential" to "top secret," when it searched former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach last Monday. The top-secret documents included some that were labeled "SCI," or "sensitive compartmentalized information," an especially restricted category derived from intelligence sources.

On the face of it, Trump's handling of this information, which he took with him from the White House when he left office in January 2021, raises national security concerns at least as serious as those raised by Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state. Trump has long maintained that Clinton's mishandling of classified material when she ran the State Department was egregious enough to justify sending her to prison. But in his case, he says, the documents at Mar-a-Lago, despite their labeling, were not actually classified.

How so? According to a statement that Trump representative John Solomon read on Fox News after the search warrant and inventory were unsealed, Trump had a "standing order" as president that automatically declassified material he moved from the Oval Office to his residence at the White House. That explanation raises additional questions about Trump's seemingly cavalier treatment of sensitive information, which I'll get to later. But first let's compare what Clinton did to what Trump did.

"If I win," Trump told Clinton during a debate a month before the 2016 presidential election, "I'm going to instruct the attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there's never been so many lies, so much deception. [There's] never been anything like it, and we're going to have a special prosecutor. When I speak, I go out and speak, the people of this country are furious. In my opinion, the people that have been long-term workers at the FBI are furious.…We're going to get a special prosecutor, because people have been, their lives have been destroyed for doing one-fifth of what you've done. And it's a disgrace and honestly, you ought to be ashamed."

Trump added that "you'd be in jail" if it were up to him. That theme was a staple of Trump's campaign rallies, where his supporters would chant "Lock her up!" at the mention of Clinton's name.

In July 2016, when then–FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI had not found enough evidence to justify criminal charges against Clinton, he reported that 110 messages in 52 unsecured email chains had been "determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received." He said "eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification."

By comparison, the FBI's list of items seized at Mar-a-Lago includes five mentions of "various" or "miscellaneous" top-secret documents, three mentions of "miscellaneous secret documents," and three mentions of "confidential documents." We don't know how many documents were in each set or the precise nature of the information they discussed. But five sets of top-secret documents could easily contain more sensitive information than eight email chains that may have referred to top-secret material only briefly and/or in passing.

Comey said Clinton's treatment of "very sensitive, highly classified information" was "extremely careless." On its face, that judgment could support charges under 18 USC 793, which encompasses "gross negligence" in the handling of information "relating to the national defense"—a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. But Comey concluded that was not enough to justify prosecuting Clinton:

Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case….In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice.

The Mar-a-Lago search warrant was based on U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart's determination that there was probable cause to believe the FBI would find "items illegally possessed" in violation of three statutes, including 18 USC 793. Although Trump has not been charged with any crime and may never face prosecution, his conduct arguably included some of the aggravating factors that Comey mentioned.

To start with, there is some evidence to support the inference that Trump's alleged mishandling of classified material was "intentional and willful." In January, after the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) raised concerns that Trump had improperly removed documents that were covered by the Presidential Records Act, Trump's representatives turned over 15 boxes. Noticing that some of the documents were marked as classified, NARA referred the matter to the Justice Department, which obtained additional documents from Mar-a-Lago under a grand jury subpoena in June. Around the same time, The New York Times reports, "a Trump lawyer" gave the Justice Department "a written declaration" saying "all the material marked classified in the boxes had been turned over."

Judging from what the FBI says it found last week, that was not true. The FBI presumably presented evidence to that effect, possibly based on a Trump insider's tip, in its search warrant affidavit (which, unlike the warrant itself and the inventory, remains sealed). That apparent misrepresentation may help explain why the search warrant cites not only 18 USC 793 but also 18 USC 1519, which makes it a felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, to knowingly conceal "any record, document, or tangible object" with "the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence" a federal investigation. Such concealment, if proven, would qualify as "efforts to obstruct justice," another aggravating factor that Comey mentioned.

Because the volume, contents, and exact location of the documents seized by the FBI are uncertain, it is not clear whether the records at Mar-a-Lago amounted to "vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct," another Comey criterion. The difficulty of assessing that question underlines how little information we have about the documents that were seized.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, one of the few Republican politicians who does not hesitate to criticize Trump, notes that "we still have a lot of unanswered questions" about the search. "Transparency was and is critically important," Hogan told ABC News on Sunday. Although unsealing the warrant and the inventory was "a step in the right direction," he said, we will continue to see "division and angry rhetoric from both sides" until we have a clearer idea of the FBI's justification for the search.

We do know that the Justice Department was concerned about the security of the documents months before the search. In a June email, according to the Times, Jay Bratt, chief of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the department's National Security Division, asked Trump lawyer M. Evan Corcoran to replace the padlock on a room where boxes of government documents were stored at Mar-a-Lago with a more tamper-resistant model. "Mr. Trump's team complied," the Times says.

The Justice Department also "subpoenaed surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago recorded over a 60-day period, including views from outside the storage room," the Times reports. According to "a person briefed on the matter," that footage "showed that, after one instance in which Justice Department officials were in contact with Mr. Trump's team, boxes were moved in and out of the room." The significance of that fact, like much about the search, remains unclear.

The third statute cited in the search warrant is 18 USC 2071, which applies to someone who "conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys" U.S. government records—a felony punishable by up to three years in prison. Like the obstruction statute, that provision does not hinge on whether a document is classified. It would apply, for example, to the "executive grant of clemency" for Roger Stone that the FBI found at Mar-a-Lago and might apply to various other unclassified items, such as the "leatherbound box of documents" and binders of photos that are also listed in the search inventory.

18 USC 793 likewise does not mention classification, referring only to information "relating to the national defense." But that phrase would be intolerably vague unless it was qualified in some way, and in practice prosecutions are limited to cases involving classified material.

Here is where Trump's defense comes in. "The very fact that these documents were present at Mar-a-Lago means they couldn't have been classified," his office says. "As we can all relate to, everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time. American presidents are no different. President Trump, in order to prepare for work the next day, often took documents including classified documents from the Oval Office to the residence." In light of that practice, the statement says, Trump "had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken into the residence were deemed to be declassified." It notes that "the power to classify and declassify documents rests solely with the President of the United States."

Without denying that point, Trump's critics argue that such a policy would be highly irregular and careless. "Whatever POTUS' 'powers' might be to declassify docs," former FBI agent Asha Rangappa says on Twitter, "there are good policy and practical reasons…to follow a process, and for that process to be documented and reflected on the document markings themselves."

Rangappa says "accountability" requires that declassification of a given document be justified by a rationale dealing with the national security implications, which "allows for objections from others if the reasoning is based on an incorrect premise." She also cites the need to protect intelligence sources from "blowback." In addition to "being dangerous and bad for [national security]," she says, automatic declassification of any documents that the president happens to remove from the Oval Office would cause "confusion and inefficiency and distortions in our intelligence collection, foreign policy, and defense efforts."

If "Trump telepathically declassifies hundreds of docs on his way out," Rangappa adds, President Joe Biden "can telepathically reclassify them immediately, too. See how stupid this gets? Markings would mean nothing. No one would know how to store things."

Accepting Trump's argument that any documents at Mar-a-Lago were ipso facto declassified, notwithstanding markings to the contrary, that information would be legally available not just to him but also to the general public, assuming there was no other statutory justification for restricting access. Unless classification decisions are utterly arbitrary or were clearly wrong with regard to every document that Trump retained, that seems like a pretty reckless way to handle sensitive material. But it would be of a piece with Trump's behavior as president, which reportedly included tearing up and flushing documents that were supposed to be preserved under the Presidential Records Act.

The issues that critics like Rangappa raise go beyond the question of criminal liability. Let's say Trump's purported "standing order" means he is in the clear under 18 USC 793. Let's also stipulate that meeting the mens rea requirements for convicting him of obstruction or "willfully" concealing documents that belonged in the National Archives would be a tall order. Trump's behavior and excuses for it nevertheless provide further evidence, in case any was needed, that he is not the sort of person who can be trusted to hold any position of political power, let alone the presidency.

Back in 2016, when Trump was intent on making his opponent look bad, he claimed to be moved by the concerns of "long-term workers at the FBI," who he said were "furious" that Clinton got off with a wrist slap for recklessly endangering national security. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, Trump dismisses the FBI's avowed concerns as transparent excuses for the partisan "witch hunt" that supposedly has victimized him throughout his political career. One need not be a fan of the FBI to see that Trump's view of what qualifies as shameful and disgraceful is based on no principle beyond his petty personal interests.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...