18 USC 793(g): Aileen Cannon’s Order Would Not Forestall Flipping Trump’s Custodian of Records

Donald Trump’s lawyers (including the one who failed to understand Trump was exposed to 18 USC 793 and who subsequently made himself a witness in the investigation) are cultivating the belief that they’ve succeeded in stalling the investigation into their client’s efforts to keep highly classified documents in his office and storage closet.

Perhaps they have. I don’t know what will happen. Though I know their track record of predicting what DOJ will do, thus far, has been piss-poor.

What I do know is that nothing would prevent DOJ from interviewing — or even flipping — the Custodian of Records who used to be one of Trump’s lawyers in this matter.

DOJ’s motion for a stay explicitly states that Judge Aileen Cannon’s injunction against using the classified documents seized from Donald Trump for investigative purposes would not shut down the investigation. It lays out several things her injunction would not prohibit.

To be sure, the Court did not enjoin the criminal investigation altogether. For example, the government does not understand the Court’s injunction against the government’s review and use of seized materials for criminal investigative purposes to prevent it from questioning witnesses and obtaining evidence about issues such as how classified records in general were moved from the White House, how they were subsequently stored, and what steps Plaintiff and his representatives took in response to the May 11, 2022 grand jury subpoena. The government also does not understand the Order to bar it from asking witnesses about any recollections they may have of classified records, so long as the government does not use the content of seized classified records to question witnesses (which the Order appears to prohibit).

DOJ maintains that Cannon’s order does not prevent them from questioning witnesses or otherwise obtaining evidence about:

  • How classified records were moved from the White House to Trump properties
  • How classified records were stored after they were removed from the White House
  • What steps Trump and others took in response to the May 11, 2022 grand jury subpoena
  • Recollections about classified records not relying on those seized on August 8

One person who would know a good deal about these matters, and might have an interest in being rather forthcoming about them if she were interested in minimizing her potential legal exposure, is Trump’s Custodian of Records.

By title, at least, that person would know how classified documents were stored — in Mar-a-Lago and any other Trump properties — after they were removed from the White House. And few people would know more about what steps Trump “and his representatives took in response to the May 11, 2022 grand jury subpoena” than one of those two representatives, the one who signed a declaration certifying that:

Based upon the information that has been provided to me, I am authorized to certify, on behalf of the Office of Donald J. Trump, the following:

a. A diligent search was conducted of the boxes that were moved from the White House to Florida;

b. This search was conducted after receipt of the subpoena, in order to locate any and all documents that are responsive to the subpoena;

c. Any and all responsive documents accompany this certification; and

d. No copy, written notation, or reproduction of any kind was retained as to any responsive document.

I swear or affirm that the above statements are true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

In fact, that Custodian of Records might have real concern she faced legal exposure for one or more crime tied to lying to the FBI:

And all that’s assuming the Custodian of Records isn’t one of the people who shows up on video surveillance moving boxes in and out of the storage room before the “diligent search was conducted” of those boxes.

If the Custodian of Records does show up on that video surveillance, than she might face legal exposure to:

If the Custodian of Records conspired to withhold 103 classified documents, of which 18 were classified Top Secret or above, that Custodian of Records might decide she really wanted to limit her liability in that potentially draconian obstruction-plus-Espionage legal exposure.

All the more so if the Custodian of Records believed she might also have exposure to charges under 18 USC 1512(c)(2) and 18 USC 1512(k) — each of which carries up to a twenty year sentence — for involvement in an attempt to prevent the January 6 2021 vote certification and recognized that information about such activities was of value to other ongoing criminal investigations.

NYT, in an otherwise bizarre story claiming the following in its lead paragraph…

A dark joke has begun circulating among lawyers following the many legal travails of former President Donald J. Trump: MAGA actually stands for “making attorneys get attorneys.”

… revealed this piece of news:

Ms. [Christina] Bobb recently retained a lawyer, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Being Trump’s lawyer — being Trump’s associate generally — seems to be a non-stop game of prisoner’s dilemma, a constant weighing of whether he’ll sell you out or provide means to loot the country with impunity.

Years ago, when Trump was President, that prisoner’s dilemma turned out to be pretty easy. He would pardon anyone who lied to keep him out of trouble. So no matter how grave your legal exposure, your real criminal exposure was just a few years (and that’s before Billy Barr started selectively freeing Trump associates under COVID release programs).

But Trump is not President anymore, and short of successful civil war, even in the rosiest possible scenario would not become President again until 2025. In fact, Trump’s own legal problems and his success shutting down women’s access to abortion even makes more immediate potential relief — in the form of a House majority that could undermine DOJ’s ongoing investigations — far less of a sure thing.

Trump’s success at stalling access to classified documents seized on August 8 — and his current lawyers’ rosy prediction they’ve delayed such access until Republicans might win one house of Congress — certainly would be part of that prisoner’s dilemma. After all, until such time as DOJ were able to use 18 Top Secret documents in an Espionage Act indictment, the Custodian of Records probably couldn’t be charged for 18 USC 793(g).

But as I’ve noted before, the Espionage Act was written to dramatically alter these kinds of prisoner’s dilemmas, both because affirmative knowledge of stolen classified documents is enough to reach criminal exposure, and because the conspiracy prong of the statute exposes co-conspirators — even ones who don’t share the same motive as the person who actually possesses a cache of stolen classified documents — to the same stiff punishment as the people who actually possess those documents.

So a smart student of prisoner’s dilemmas might understand that it doesn’t pay to wait to see how Trump’s current efforts at delay work out.

One thing’s clear though: DOJ doesn’t intend to entirely halt the investigation into violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction. Indeed, they have a fair amount of leeway to pursue obstruction charges while Aileen Cannon delays the other part of the investigation. And they have described next steps to include obtaining information uniquely available to Trump’s Custodian of Records.

Go here for emptywheel’s other coverage of Trump’s stolen documents and related resources. 

176 replies
  1. Leslie Ehrlich says:

    You have observed that the documents from MAL do not include anything from November on (if I remember correctly.) Widely circulating is video showing boxes accompanying Trump from MAL to Bedminster just after the June serving. Lastly, the subpoenas asking Trump to return documents were silent on location. Given all of this, what do you surmise DOJ is doing wrt Bedminster and other locations Trump might have cached stuff? Is it possible DOJ has already been there but Trump chose to keep silent because those materials were even more damning? Are they at least getting warrants to search those properties now? Thanks

      • John Paul Jones says:

        About halfway through the video clip, a man is seen carrying something which has about the same heft and size as the boxes; it’s brown. If (big if) that is the fabled “letherbound” box, then it’s equally likely that the boxes at some point went back to MAL, i.e., they are not additional boxes we see but rather a subset of the same boxes seized three months later.

        Incidentally, the guys carrying look like SS agents.

    • emptywheel says:

      The video was from May 9, 2021, not 2022.

      So while it comes after the initial NARA request for docs, it doesn’t come after Trump understood that there was a criminal investigation.

    • civil says:

      Can you clarify what you’re referring to by “the June serving”? Should it be relevant to your comment, the DOJ subpoenaed documents on May 11, 2022, but the video is from May of 2021, shortly after NARA contacted Trump about missing documents. I expect that if Bedminster was searched, then we’d know about it from a local reporter, just as we first learned about the MaL search from a local reporter. We cannot know what the DOJ is now doing behind the scenes, but they’d need more than video of Trump taking boxes to Bedminster a year earlier to get a warrant for Bedminster. No doubt the ongoing investigation is looking into whether there may be classified documents at other Trump properties.

      • Rugger9 says:

        AFAIK, Individual-1 wasn’t supposed to have any records subject to NARA or classified ownership especially after Biden cut off the IC briefings. The video could be used to leverage a search of Bedminster since it’s not clear that all of those boxes came back to M-a-L but as a supporting item. We only can see that something went north 15 months before the M-a-L search.

        This is where Bobb will have to decide how loyal she is going to be. If her attorney is competent, they would know that the chances of Individual-1 regaining power is zero absent some other nonstandard event, even if TFG does pardon her since he dangles pardons like candy. It’s also not clear whether a possible ‘President DeSantis’ would let her out so Bobb might as well come clean now to save her skin. I’ll give it a month or another unpleasant revelation and then Bobb sings.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I believe Marcy’s observation was that they do not include press clippings from later than November 2020.

      • timbo says:

        And the implication is that there may be records not found in this search from the period of Nov 2020 until Twitler was ousted from the WH on Jan 20, 2021… so where are all those clippings and documents, etc?

        • Ravenclaw says:

          Not sure I buy that as a direct implication. It assumes that TFG kept snipping things out of newspapers with his little scissors the whole time, which would mean scanning headlines about how he was a loser while searching for scraps of “good” news. Maybe he got busy “working” on the various plots to remain in power and temporarily suspended the clipping habit. No reason I can’t put a new document into a box I’m filling with old clippings.

  2. Cosmo Le Cat says:

    Q: Is the DOJ wrongly acquiescing to Judge Cannon on EP?

    44 U.S. Code § 2204 (e):
    The United States District Court for the District of Columbia shall have jurisdiction over any action initiated by the former President asserting that a determination made by the Archivist violates the former President’s rights or privileges.

    It seems to me that the Special Master should only be looking at attorney/client privilege issues and the return of non-PRA and non-government records per Rule 41(g). Furthermore, Trump should be filing a motion in DC. Is there a time limit for his doing so?

    • emptywheel says:

      We don’t know where this is headed. We know that the law is on DOJ’s side.

      As I laid out in this post, as an initial matter DOJ has just isolated the issue of Executive authority to determine matters of classification, something that should be uncontroversial even to the 11th Circuit.


      If Cannon doesn’t grant DOJ’s stay on the classified issue, then DOJ can halt the special master process by appealing that too, by refusing clearance for a Special Master it doesn’t want.

      Having isolated that issue, they can then try to isolate the PRA issue based on Cannon’s response to the scope of the Special Master.

    • The Baffled King says:

      With the materials returned to NARA in January, Biden weighed in on the matter of executive privilege, after which the Archivist made a determination, as is her role pursuant to the PRA. To challenge that, Trump would indeed have needed to file in DC, as prescribed by 44 U.S. Code § 2204 (e).

      None of the above applies to the Mar-a-Lago materials. First, no determination was made by the Archivist, so Trump wasn’t bound by the PRA to file in DC. The point is that 44 U.S. Code § 2204(e) requires him to file in DC if the Archivist is involved, but it doesn’t preclude him from filing elsewhere if the Archivist isn’t involved. Second, it’s technically correct that Biden hasn’t weighed in on executive privilege – as noted by Judge Cannon (page 17; footnote 15).

      DOJ’s proposal for the Special Master includes: (a) NARA working with the Special Master to decide if alleged personal items are Presidential Records; and (b) the Archivist taking custody of Presidential Records that are subject to claims of executive privilege – at that point, Biden can weigh in, the Archivist will make a determination, then it will be off to the DC Court!

        • timbo says:

          If you think like a defense lawyer here, I bet you come up with some wiggle room. Example: when is a former government document considered scrap paper of which one might claim ownership having written a personal note upon it? Obviously, this does not apply to classified or declassified documents that have not followed strict protocols to convert them to not government records (and the Archivist might have such procedures described somewhere on how this sort of process of disposal/shredding/burning/de-governmentalization might work…which, hmm, come to think of it, might be a way to introduce the Archivist back into this case and get this moved quicker to DC Circuit? So, hmm, maybe Twitler’s team might want to avoid any of this sort of namby-pambying about what is and is not a government record.) I note this because, in our household, we try to recycle as much paper as possible, and often have notes written on what might be considered once official financial bank statements, bills, etc, cut up into smaller scrap squares of paper. (They often as not end up backside first on the fridge scrawled with pleas for frozen peas the next time someone deigns to go shopping.) Etc.

            • timbo says:

              The part about no determination made by the Archivist possibly isn’t true? Seems like Cannon is assiduously avoiding find out one way or the other.

              Next, we have “Implied EP”… Allegedly “technically correct” and unmitigated nonsense seem to be what Cannon is combining here with regard to implied EP. The Executive Branch has waived EP for all this stuff—Cannon and Twitler’s other clowns have no standing whatsoever to even introduce it at this point in front of a federal court in 11th Circuit. And, if they have standing at all, where is there any proof that Twitler even made an attempt to get the Executive Branch to agree to asserting it and got any affirmative response? There isn’t any. None. They sued to say they could assert it…but that was shot down by the Supreme Court a few months ago! It’s not a thing for Cannon here to even try this sort of nonsense…yet her she is, trying to imply it without standing. (At least I think that’s how a real lawyer would describe what she’s doing here; I’m not a real lawyer so…)

              Cannon’ rulings here are mostly muddled and nonsensical. Hopefully she faces some disciplinary consequences at minimum for interjecting herself into this in such a crazy way.

              With regard to A-C, she might actually have a bit more sure footing. Even there tho, she’s treating Team Twitler and the Trump Organization (or whoever is the legal entity that washes Twitler’s underwear for him) as if it/they are the equivalent of a law firm…which it is decidedly not. She’s trying to expand the definition of A-C to cover a non-law firms records. Maybe there’s some there there but it’s a long stretch. How the heck are courts or law-enforcement supposed to investigate any corruption of any significance if incorporated or privately held agencies can simply claim that any lawyer product they hold records for is somehow A-C and requires a special master?

              I hope she faces some sort of disciplinary hearing for her expedited interjection here on behalf of Team Twitler. Yeah, they have bad lawyers and/or a poor position, but that doesn’t mean suddenly a Federal Judge is supposed to interject on their behalf and stymie a national security investigation while attempting to prevent an on-the-take ex-President from being embarrassed when his place got tossed because he’s been (and continues to be) a petulant loud-mouth poser who took and withheld government records.

              • timbo says:

                wtf? that’s not supposed to be under bmaz…threading is messed up here.

                Sorry, bmaz! This was for The Baffle King. Maybe. I don’t have time to check at the moment. Ugh.

          • dpa says:

            This is perhaps not the best forum for your posts. bmaz has been protecting this site and FDL before it for a couple of decades now, and may come off a bit gruff sometimes. But perhaps you know that, and are just trying to tweak his nose? If so, you might trying posting something like “Merrick Garland and the J6 Committee are doing an OUTSTANDING job and I can’t wait for this to be all tied up with a RICO indictment.” Or words to that effect. Go away.

            [Let the moderators handle this. Stay on topic. /~Rayne]

            • timbo says:

              Totally agree with you on all that dpa but…
              You forgot to mention what an amazing job Nancy Pelosi has been doing at policing Presidential and Executive Branch overreach for the past several decades, dpa! Shame on you! Yessiree, it’s a good thing that she’s always got impeachment on the table, I tell you what!

              [Did you not get the memo that moderators would handle this? Or would you like our resident cholla to go off? Let’s get back on topic. /~Rayne]

      • P J Evans says:

        The whole reason for the search warrant was that he hadn’t returned everything to NARA as he had claimed in the *previous subpoena*. NARA (and the Archivist) are completely involved in this!

      • The Baffled King says:

        P J Evans, I’ve read the public filings. I agree that, in the casual language of a blog comment, “NARA (and the Archivist) are completely involved in this”.

        What do you think the courts are interested in – the casual language of the internet, or the precise wording of legislation?

        Put another way: can you find anything in the Archivist’s May 10 letter to Trump establishing that her determination applies to anything besides the records already at NARA?

        • bmaz says:

          Nobody owes you an answer to anything. You think we are playing in your little sandbox. We are not, and not going to.

        • Rayne says:

          Wow. Amazing weasel words from someone who claims to have read all the *public filings* and conveniently ignored the communications between the Archivist, Congress, DOJ, and Team Trump — not to mention the NYT stories which reported Trump had destroyed and flushed presidential records while still in the White House.

          An example of weaselry at 4:08 p.m.: “…Biden weighed in on the matter of executive privilege…”

          You mean Biden declined to exert executive privilege over the records, allowing NARA to do its job under 36 CFR Part 1270 of corralling missing presidential records unfettered by any additional limits placed on it by the current executive?

          The May 10 letter is NOT the four corners of this investigation; it does not lay out the limits of where NARA and the DOJ can go to obtain missing presidential records, national defense information, and classified materials assuming they have evidence to show probable cause, and the public has NOT seen all the evidence or heard all the sources. A federal court already saw enough evidence presented in an affidavit to allow execution of a search warrant on Mar-a-Lago. There may be enough evidence to search elsewhere, and the DOJ will have to be as rigorous in drafting another affidavit to obtain a search warrant as it was ahead of the search at Mar-a-Lago.

          • timbo says:

            noun: baffle; plural noun: baffles

            a device used to restrain the flow of a fluid, gas, or loose material or to prevent the spreading of sound or light in a particular direction.

            • Rayne says:


              simple past tense and past participle of baffle

              baffled (comparative more baffled, superlative most baffled)

              1. thoroughly confused, puzzled
              2. (not comparable) having baffles

            • Ravenclaw says:

              Somehow the gas is still spreading, though I suppose some effort has been made by HRH to occlude the light…

  3. Stephen Calhoun says:

    How do the tranches of documents returned to the DOJ prior to the August tranche figure in the ongoing investigation(s)? Do they occupy separate investigatory tracks? Are these tranches effected by Judge Cannon’s orders in any way?

    Could the DOJ build strong case(s) based just in the returned documents?

    • paul lukasiak says:

      Absent evidence that Trump improperly disclosed classified/national defense records that were subsequntly voluntarily returned, prosecution based on the records Trump “voluntarily” returned would be nearlly impossible, given the precedents established in other administrations when it came to items that were inappropriately removed from the White House at the end of a Presidential term.

      • timbo says:

        So…you believe Trump had clearance to view these documents, let alone possess them >afterafter< his clearance was revoked? Did any of the other lawyers who may have seen them have clearance? What about the custodial staff at Mar-a-Lago? Cleared?

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Trump had no clearance to revoke. His access lapsed the moment he left office. Biden chose not to extend to him the limited continuing access customarily provided to former presidents. For obvious good reason.

              • timbo says:

                Here is, once again, a link to an article that covers the tradition of the courtesy intelligence briefings extended to former Presidents prior to Biden revoking this perk for Twitler.


                If is not clear that any former Presidents have ever gone through a formal security clearance process prior to Twitler, and certainly no one would even think of doing such for someone like Ike, etc. In other words, former Presidents have been, up until Trump, at least in the modern era, from mid-20th century til now, to have a rather high level of need-to-know clearance, even without having gone through a formal vetting process. (In the case of Richard Nixon, I’m not sure what happened to his ability to get courtesy intelligence briefings but am thinking that he too was cut off from them, at least in any formal sense.)

                Ex-President’s have been read into briefings upon request by tradition now for many decades, possibly since the Eisenhower administration. This tradition was broken when Trump tried his Jan 6 coup. And he does not have access as some former Presidents likely still do. It is not clear to me that any of these ex-President’s were vetted for such clearances beyond the briefer’s own inclinations, although certainly cautious briefers will have asked their superiors what they should or should not tell an ex-President, etc.

                • matt fischer says:

                  I simply take exception to your use of the term clearance in the context of POTUS and FPOTUS, timbo.

                  Security clearances are issued by certain government agencies. Presidents don’t get clearance because access to classified material is inherent to the position under Article II. And, while it has been customary to extend former presidents limited access, that access does not involve a security clearance either.

    • emptywheel says:

      They are not affected. It would be prohibitively difficult to charge Trump using them (at least for 793e) bc it would be really hard to prove that Trump refused to give stuff back given that he did give it back in response to a subpoena.

      If they were to, say, find more records at Bedminster, those would not be affected.

    • Rita says:

      I doubt that DOJ would bring a criminal case for the records that Trump returned.

      But the fact that Trump returned some documents on request but not others may have evidentiary value.

  4. paul lukasiak says:

    Can a Custodian of Records claim attorney/client privilege when questioned about the disposition of the records s/he is in charge of?

    It seems to me that, at least when it comes to Presidential Records that actually belong to the Nat’l Archives, Bobb would not be able to hid behind privilege, especially if she knew that such records were intermingled with “personal effects” that might somehow be considered privileged.

    But IANAL, so… what are the actual facts here?

    • Rita says:

      I used to be in-house counsel to a company and was always concerned about inadvertent compromising of the attorney-client privilege, especially through mixing roles. But the flip side is that a client like Trump might want to muddy the waters by having an attorney sign as “Custodian of Records” and assert the attorney-client privilege as a delaying tactic.

      In the Bobb case, the affidavit that she signed was couched in a lot of weasel language. She didn’t assert that she had independent knowledge of the records or how they were kept. She is just describing what she was told. I wonder if the DOJ looked at that affidavit and decided at that point that the attorneys were playing games.

      • timbo says:

        Is there enough weasel room for her to avoid an obstruction charge though? Seems like maybe it ain’t a good idea by her to not be forthright immediately about the disposition of some government records here at all. One wonders if she’s been called to testify before a grand jury looking into all this yet/or, if not yet, then soon?

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Does that weasel language include the passive construction “a diligent search was conducted,” the use of which conceals by whom?

    • timbo says:

      I think it’s hard to tell whether Bobb knew anything about the actual true disposition of records here. The big question is what was she allowed to search through, if anything, before she decided to pull out her crayon and sign her career possibly away? Someone did search something though, right? That packet in June came from somewhere…but how and where? IANAL either but is seems that Bobb’s on the hook bigly for false statement as an attorney of record. That’s not a good place to be for her IMO. And there is no A-C for provable false statement AFAIK. (Again, not an attorney so…) There might, however, be plenty of 5th 5th-ing in her struggle to explain her crayon mark to a Fed Grand Jury and/or any other legal/professional inquiries she may be facing now.

  5. TimB says:

    Thank you for this interesting essay, as always penetrating and insightful. It made me think, as I think was the intent, about time.

    Flipping typically takes a long time. The negotiations between prosecutor and potentially flipping witness are complex. So this is something the feds can usefully work on while waiting. Yet one reason flipping takes a long time, i.e., that the true circumstances of the negotiations are only slowly revealed by broader investigative processes and sometimes by court decisions, will get stretched out by the Cannon sideshow. The far more important deadline for getting these prosecutions done, if that is what the facts and the law require, is not the new House of 2023, which might be hostile to them, but the possible new President of 2025. While far away in calendar time, that is not so far away on the clock defined by white collar prosecutions, flipping witnesses, and other difficult and time consuming tasks.

    • emptywheel says:

      It depends. Depending on what that video shows, they could charge obstruction pretty quickly.

      But that’s why I keep raising the affirmative exposure of Espionage Act. No one wants to get stuck with Trump’s theft, and the exposure is so draconian.

      • TimB says:

        Useful points. The potential flipper’s exposure obviously improves the prosecutors’ bargaining position. And being able to charge quickly — and I think you have clarified that some of these crimes are also comparatively simple to try, compared to other white collar offenses — helps with the clock. But the bargaining can be a long lasting activity, especially if the bargaining is about what the flipper will do for the prosecutor and then getting that done. BobCon usefully raises the example of Rick Gates, who was indicted in 10/2017, cooperating from 2/2018, in court (Manafort and Stone) in 2018 and 2019 and sentenced in 12/2019. I agree with BobCon that there is a lot of unknown background, but my real point is that it is not outlandish to worry about January ’25.

    • BobCon says:

      Rick Gates was indicted at the end of October 2017 and was cooperating in February 2018.

      So roughly 3-4 months is one possible timeline.There’s a lot of background we don’t really know that goes into these negotiations.

  6. The Baffled King says:

    To emptywheel:

    I’m not sure if it really adds anything to your analysis, but were you aware that Trump’s Custodian of Records was referred to by DOJ as “a witness whose identity has not yet been revealed in any court filings”? See Judge Howell’s DC grand jury docket; 09/06/2022; Supplemental Notice Regarding Proposed Redactions with Attachments; page 1; footnote 1. It seemed noteworthy because I figured DOJ could have made their point about the redaction without using the word “witness” (which is a loaded term).

    • timbo says:

      Interesting if true. However, someone may have been Custodian prior to Bobb. And that someone may be a cooperating witness at this point. Either way, recent Custodian Bobb, Esq might be compelled to tell who it was who told her that everything had been searched thoroughly…and why Bobb believed that person in Bobb’s own official capacity as Custodian.

  7. Former AFPD says:

    How does an attorney know they are in trouble? When they start wrestling with whether the crime-fraud exception applies to the representation of the former or current client. If an attorney is trying to find a way around the crime-fraud exception, the attorney may have had or may have a conflict of interest.

    • emptywheel says:

      It will be interesting whether DOJ tries to make Corcoran’s conflict an issue going forward on the Special Master dispute.

    • Arteberry says:

      I keep wondering why the partners in Corcoran’s medium-sized (40 to 50 lawyers) firm in Baltimore want to continue to ride with Corcoran on this. Possibly Corcoran convinced his partners that if he has a conflict it stems, at most, from his being a witness, not a target. If I were a partner in that firm, that would strike me as very cold comfort indeed. In order to take on Trump’s representation, new co-counsel Christopher Kise had to abruptly leave the large, national firm Foley Gardner and set up his own private practice. And Kise, as far as we know, doesn’t have any conflicts (though give him time…). I can’t see Corcoran remaining in the case and staying with his firm much longer. In fact, I can’t see him remaining in the case much longer.

      • emptywheel says:

        All really good questions. But as I pointed out earlier, Corcoran tolerated ADDING Robert Costello to Bannon’s defense after having been told by DOJ they treated Costello as a witness.

  8. Retired guy says:


    The MAL Records Custodian appears similar to a number of individuals who pleaded guilty early in the mature J6 prosecutions. All three were:
    1. Long-time fervent supporters of the former president.
    2. Only recently (before the crimes) brought into an inner circle, to commit crimes.

    I make the analogy with Oath Keeper Young (late FL recruit) and Proud Boy Greene (NY guy indicted with Pezzola), both of whom agreed to plead guilty early, probably cooperating, possibly testifying.

    Speculation: all three are true believers, recently recruited into implementing the conspiracy. All three are well educated, capable people (JD, MBA, CTO). They were perhaps not in the conspiracy long enough to really understand the risk or believe they can prevail in a street fight or fair legal fight, as those leaders who have not pleaded guilty appear to believe. As they confront the prisoner’s dilemma, they (at least Young and Greene) quickly figured out they were misled by others, feeling tricked into participation, so they don’t owe the co-conspirators any loyalty. By contrast, those at the Rhodes/Nordean level have their identities so married to the righteousness of their (misguided) cause, and are able to resist the substantial pressure to cooperate across the months pretrial.

    It would be an interesting irony that the former president is finally brought down by a few smart, capable, well-educated people who quickly figured out they had their emotions manipulated by evil people.

    I reiterate my suggestion that this story, when it is finally fully told, will make a spectacular tragic opera.

    • John Lehman says:

      …”will make a spectacular tragic opera.”

      And the defining aria inspired by a Kermit the Frog…sung by the tenor playing TFG

      …It’s not easy being orange…it’s not easy being orange…

      (a transition to a defensive tone with faster rhythm)

      ….but, but, but…she didn’t tell me! …it was all her plan! …it was all their fault!… it was all it was all their plan!…and about that bus…(pause sadly slowing the rhythm)…they should have known…they should have known…
      …(than back again to)…it’s not easy being orange…

      What should the title of the opera be?

      • Rita says:

        I can’t pass up an opera discussion.

        I don’t think that this affair would be a tragic opera. I think of Trump and his minions as perfect for an opera buffa along the lines of Mozart or Rossini. Marriage of Figaro and Barber of Seville come to mind, where the lords and ladies plot affairs, seductions, and rapes but the ordinary people end up thwarting them, making them look like fools, and live happily ever after.

      • pdaly says:

        It may have come up before: although there is no word that rhymes with ‘orange,’ the phrase ‘door hinge’ works. It could be worked in as a verse about swinging doors and exiting the WH in Jan 2021.

        Perhaps the main antagonist doesn’t rhyme or even sing at all in this opera. For the entirety of the piece he just breaks customs by yelling and storming about (except when in private consultation with his Russian and Saudi beaus).

        The singing might be performed by enraptured wannabes on the one hand and by the trampled souls that were in his path.

        • BirdGardener says:

          If you take out your handy rhyming dictionary, you can first look up OR (I don’t know how to make diacritical marks on this device) for words that rhyme with ‘or,’ like abhor, door, for/four, more, Thor, & war (and many others of two or more syllables). Then look up ANJ and see what you can put together. My old dictionary offers the words change, grange, mange, range, & strange; the rest are two or more syllables. Or if those near-rhymes offend, use INJ rhymes: binge, cringe, dinge, fringe, singe, tinge &, twinge.

          So there are possibilities!

      • Retired guy says:

        Concur on Shakespeare treatment opportunity.

        My opera notion hangs on the Oath Keeper arc. Nobody was as committed or organized among the brawlers than the OK. Yet, operationally, they achieved very little on Jan 6 – the Proud Boys clearly achieved a goal of riling up a nearby crowd, breaching, and occupying (for a while) the Capitol.

        Rhodes, Meggs, “Person 10”, Caldwell, and probably others are compellingly flawed boastful characters, with Rhodes ex-wife and SoRelle providing some gender conflict. The married couples (Parkers, Meggses) offer exposition opportunities in duets. Jessica Watkins is a fascinating character, perhaps a narrator, telling the story from her own tragic perspective.

        In this arc, the former president and his immediate allies would be a remote, mostly offstage presence, though somehow always part of the story. Proud Boys are an intermittent chorus of noisy drunken ruffians, with maybe a couple solo songs. Heavy metal cameo by Jon Schaffer. In the last act, the civil lawsuits could be personified as ghosts, foreshadowed in early acts. Maybe all the lawyers are ghosts. Lots of opportunity for over the top production design.

      • Lawnboy says:

        I think we need to draw on USA for inspiration, a la Mel Brooks, Young Frankenstein. Mitch as the Professor and TFG as his creation.

        I can’t get this out of my mind, “Putin on the Ritz”(pun), the song and dance of the monster trying to class it up with the top hat and cane! I love that movie.

        My next thought was West Side Story. I see the two rival gangs being the divided GOP, the Dems as another minor tribe. Of course Trump is a leader of one group, and Mitch as the lead of the established hood .

        When your a MAG
        Your a Mag-a-the way
        From your first stolen debt
        To your last dying day…


      • timbo says:

        “By the close of the First Act, I was getting bored by the tedious repetitiveness of the gratingly angry nature of the production. During first intermission, I resolved that if things didn’t improve by the end of the Second Act, I was most definitely leaving. Regrettably, things did not go well after that—I fell asleep somewhere in the middle of the dreary 2nd Act…and, upon awaking, suddenly found myself living in an authoritarian police state.” —Everyone Was A Critic

    • puzzled scottish person says:

      It’s a long time since I listened to it but I wonder if Ligeti’s Le Grande Macabre might be a useful reference point here?

      If I recall correctly it revolves around a corrupt, decadent society (Breughel land) in imminent fear of approaching destruction by some sort of falling star.

      And it begins with a prelude for car horns:

      A good excuse to listen to it again, at least :-)

  9. Raven Eye says:

    At several times in my working life I was an account holder and custodian for classified material. One thing I made sure of was that I knew the requirements for receipt, storage, destruction, and transportation “cold”. I read the references (and there are typically at least two layers of them), did the inventories, confirmed with my boss, and even physically checked that the containers I was assigned did, in fact, meet the specs for the material in the environment the holding was in.

    In the case of a “Custodian or Records” in the current situation, there are many more requirements. It would seem that no self-respecting attorney would sign on for that position without doing a deep dive and knowing the job responsibilities — again — “cold”. Or is this something that talking head lawyers don’t bother with?

    • emptywheel says:

      Especially relevant given that Bobb has a military background and had a role at DHS. She can’t claim to be ignorant of those rules.

      And the thing is, she may not actually have BEEN the Custodian of Records. She may have just signed the declaration because someone had to.

      • Peterr says:

        So you’re saying Bobb could be in trouble for not only signing off on a fraudulent document stating falsely that all materials had been turned over, but also for misrepresenting herself?

        This should be a simple matter to clear up by the DOJ. “Could we please see a document appointing you as the Custodian of Records?” They could ask politely, or get a subpoena, but one way or another they can get this cleared up.

      • rdpayne says:

        How could she not be in trouble for signing as the custodian of records if she was not?
        I just don’t understand.

      • Arteberry says:

        That is assuredly the case. You think Trump has ever had a “custodian of records”? That would be like Carlo Gambino having a custodian of records. In Trump’s little operation, everything is ad hoc. If it is necessary to have a document signed, Trump picks out the nearest available dupe/fall guy. Had he been consulted, I’m sure Michael Cohen could have explained it to Bobb.

        • bmaz says:

          The custodian of records can be whoever is so designated. You are right though, Cohen is probably smarter than Bobb.

        • Bobster33 says:

          This is starting to remind me of the case against BP oil for letting one of their pipelines in Alaska leak. BP hired a brand new director of maintenance programs. Details of the investigation into the leaked oil led to further outrage.

          When public uproar reached a fervor, Congress invited the new director of maintenance to appear before Congress. The director was fat, middle aged-old, and sweat profusely. Because the director was so new, he had little knowledge of how everything was done. By the end of the hearing, people were sympathetic to him and much of the anger towards BP was misplaced by the visual image of the director floundering in Congress.

          Trump is trying to do the same thing here except Bobb seems really on the hook for lying to the FBI.

        • Bears74 says:

          Reminds me of The Wire scene;

          Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell : Motherfucker, what is that?

          Sean ‘Shamrock’ McGinty : Robert Rules say we gotta have minutes for a meeting, right? These the minutes.

          Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell : N****, is you taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy?

      • Rugger9 says:

        Bannon has a front-line USN background and see how he turned out. However, you are correct that it removes any plausibility for an ignorance excuse.

      • Overshire says:

        EW – re: “she may not actually have BEEN the Custodian of Records.”
        That’s been bugging me from the time her name first appeared in this mess. I’ve been back through everything here tagged with her name, and all I can find is that she was supposed to be, or alleged to be his Custodian. I recall reading somewhere that TFG had named her as Custodian in correspondence with NARA, and they regarded her as such, but he could just as easily have named you or me. Would NARA have addressed requests or subpoenas to “Christina Bobb, Custodian of Records for DJT”? Did she sign that statement for Bray as Custodian, or just as one of his attorneys? Is there any actual record, anywhere we know of, that she was even aware of that appointment, or does the possibility exist that she was underbussed by DJT in advance? And if she wasn’t, what effect would that have on her legal exposure for the gross mishandling of NDI? Or on DJT’s if he appointed her without her knowledge?
        I see Peterr has a similar question, but from a different angle.

    • Overshire says:

      Raven eye, I suspect your difficulty may stem from your assumption that Ms. Bobb has any self-respect. She did, after all, jump from Homeland Security to OAN to Trump lapdog.

    • jeco says:

      There are so many Qs for Chrissy, but I think I’d start w subpoena for employment records, date hired, job description yaddayadda. Then FBI interview giving her plenty of opportunities to lie. Who hired you, what date, who did you report to, who else maintained records with you, were trump/trump org records maintained at other locations, how were deposits and withdrawal of records documented.

      But I’d be surprised if her career as Custodian consisted of anything more than “here, sign this, they can’t do anything to you because you’re my attorney, right Evan?”

      She is a sacrificial goat like Cohen was, they need to make that clear to her, lawyer as bagman. She was also in up to her shaded eyebrows in coup plotting in at Willard.

      The videos of stuff moving in and out of the MAL crypt is a rogues gallery and Cannon forgot to put that on her prohibited list.

  10. Hoping4Better_Times says:

    Christina Bobb may know some incriminating details, but I doubt she will can be flipped anytime soon.
    In the next few days, “the Gang of Eight” will get a briefing from DOJ on the stolen documents stored at Mar-a-Largo by the former guy. While they cannot divulge any details of National Security secrets, I expect Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff and Warner to yell “fire.” Judge Cannon will feel the heat if not the flames.

  11. Amicus says:

    Attorney Habba is another obvious person to interview. As widely reported she submitted an affidavit in a New York state court proceeding that:
    “b. On May 4, 2022, I diligently searched each and every room of Respondent’s private residence located at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, including all desks, drawers, nightstands, dressers, closets, etc. I was unable to locate any documents responsive to the Subpoena that have not already been produced to the OAG by the Trump Organization.
    c. On May 4, 2022, I diligently searched Respondent’s personal office located at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, including all desks, drawers, file cabinets, etc. I was unable to locate any documents responsive to the Subpoena that have not already been produced to the OAG by the Trump Organization.
    d. On May 5, 2022, I diligently searched each and every room of Respondent’s private residence located at Mar-a-Lago, including all desks, drawers, nightstands, dressers, closets, etc. I was unable to locate any documents responsive to the Subpoena that have not already been produced to the OAG by the Trump Organization.
    e. On May 5, 2022, I diligently searched Respondent’s personal office located at Mara-Lago, including all desks, drawers, file cabinets, etc. I was unable to locate any documents responsive to the Subpoena that have not already been produced to the OAG by the Trump Organization.
    f. On May 5, 2022, I coordinated and communicated with Alan Garten via telephone with regard to his search of Respondent’s private residence in Trump Tower including all desks, drawers, file cabinets, and similar locations likely to house files or documents. The search did not identify any documents responsive to the Subpoena.”
    Given what we know about Trump’s commingling of documents, it is not obvious how she could have provided those statements truthfully without going through whatever boxes she came across, including those with brightly colored classified document covers and associated classified documents. Having provided the affidavit it is difficult to see how she could avoid testifying about what she saw in her personal searches. Taking the 5th does not seem an attractive pathway because she finds herself facing possible contempt or perjury charges in New York and/or disbarment wherever she is licensed.. And if she does answer FBI interview questions she faces the risk of false statement prosecution under 18 U.S.C. Section 1001.
    No doubt there are a raft of persons that DOJ can put to the screw.

  12. George Smiler says:

    The Trump contagion is far wider than the alleged scofflaws:

    “Being Trump’s lawyer — being Trump’s associate generally — seems to be a non-stop game of prisoner’s dilemma, a constant weighing of whether he’ll sell you out or provide means to loot the country with impunity.”

    What about the career White House government employees and the theoretical “adults in the room” for four years at the White House? Do they lawyer up like Cassidy Hutchinson and guardedly testify or answer FBI questions with furtive side glances to their lawyers?

    Again, the treasure all these lawyers and interested parties are seeking to possess in these classified documents is unknowable to us little people. My two best working theories:
    1. Trump took pages of classified documents for his personal legal pearl harbor/Roy Cohen mentored/CYA file. The news clipping and ephemera were designed to hide what was stolen and to later blame it on the movers, if he got caught.
    2. The “adults in the room” at the White House saw Trump’s sloppiness in security and disdain for formal intelligence and concocted a scheme to partially sanitize classified reports, maintained the authenticity of classification markings, delivered their product to Trump and tried to quietly account for un-returned documents on an ongoing basis(the ODNI damage assessment was in fact ongoing and continuous). Trump’s MAL hoard of the news clipping and ephemera were relevant to the stolen classified documents as they established what the intelligence agencies were providing him was chicken feed mixed in with sprinkles of gold dust. Trump ever the victim, had been setup all along by the National Security State! Which doesn’t let Trump off technically on Espionage Act violations, but weakens the DoJ position in plea negotiations, sentencing and politicizing the agency. It also sets up the next witch hunt of who were the criminally disloyal “adults in the room” and is an impediment to the government moving forward.

    My caution here, is be careful on assumptions on the unknowable and look at the clues that have been laying around for years. But, alas I fear this week will be fast paced and banging against the stops.

    • Rayne says:

      Yet another odd comment, George, not the least of which are the theoretical apologias for Trump’s theft of classified documents.

      Like “pearl harbor” in lower case and “Roy Cohen” instead of the correct “Roy Cohn.” Just so odd.

  13. AirportCat says:

    OT but TFG is now claiming he was secretly knighted by QE II. On his Twitter knock-off. Most likely she referred to him as “benighted”.

    • P J Evans says:

      Being knighted is a Big Thing for most people, and it’s done in public, with paperwork and ceremony involved.
      The former guy wants attention and can’t think of any other way to get it right now.

          • Rugger9 says:

            Exactly, knighthood like other titles mean nothing here outside of Esquire which I gather has very specific requirements (not all lawyers qualify). That’s Constitutional, and Esq. carries no privileges with it AFAIK.

            Like the phony Time ‘Man of the Year’ cover it’s another bit of overcompensation by Individual-1 for his lack of actual accomplishments. Looking forward to ‘Individual-1234567’ after sentencing.

            • vvv says:

              There’s typically no set rule, but generally “J.D.” is used when one has a *juris doctor* degree but is not licensed or at least using a law license to practice, and “Esq.” refers to a practicing, licensed lawyer.

              In my So. Side of Chi family, “Esq.” was used on formal invites to juvenile males, with “Mr.” being used for adults.

          • bidrec says:

            Yea, my mistake. Working at an airport I checked in a knight, Martin BaronReesOfLudlow. His name and title were printed so that it was two fields. I was thinking you would not see that in an American passport.

              • Rugger9 says:

                The Life Peer idea is one of the better recent innovations and FWIW the hereditary peerage is on its way out.

                AIUI the Lords now has all of these life peers from all walks (i.e. McCartney, etc.) and for excellence in service and is therefore more in touch even though they can’t stop the Commons from stupid things like Brexit.

              • bidrec says:

                The Royal Astronomer. When I was on Wall St. we also had a knight for a customer; Lord Hanson. In the ’50’s he was engaged to Audrey Hepburn. His name adorns cement mixers in my neighborhood.

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  Hanson and White formed Hanson Trust, a conglomerate (when those were all the rage), with large investments in building materials, Once listed on the FTSE 100, it’s now owned by a German multinational.

                  • bidrec says:

                    HeidelbergCement. Their Wall St. offices were actually on the second floor of a building in Iselin NJ above a PaineWebber office. When they acquired Consolidated Goldfields for 3.5 billion they did the trade through that PaineWebber office which made it the number one office in the country. Note that all of the offices say that. They are always talkin’ their book.

      • AirportCat says:

        I actually prefer this definition in the current context: “in a state of pitiful or contemptible intellectual or moral ignorance.”

        I have this lovely mental image of the Queen turning to Jeeves or whomever and asking them to “kindly see our benighted American friend safely on his way.” TFG on his way out whispers to his aide, Sancho Panza, “what did she mean by that?” and Sancho responds “it means you are now Sir Donald, but you can’t tell anyone because the Constitution says you can’t accept a title without the consent of Congress and you know those jealous pricks will never approve it.”

        • Benji says:

          AirportCat – ‘Sancho Panza’? Thought he was akin to Swifts’ ‘flappers’ but that was a decent comparison for a trump minion, except trump has few in his orbit with that level of wit. Agree on the great mental image by the by.

          Now if we called the house band at any trump property ‘Dirty Sanchez and the Rusty Trombones’ it might tickle the Orange Florida Man but the reference would likely be lost on him.


    • Raven Eye says:

      Ever since the Queen’s death was announced I’ve been waiting for Trump to step on his — errrrr –tongue…

  14. PeterS says:

    Every time I read “Custodian of Records” my brain announces “Bob”, as enunciated by Blackadder.

    Sorry, wildly o/t.

  15. xbronx says:

    No sorry needed for a Blackadder shout-out. Whenever I imagine any “talk” by, between or among any of Trump’s underlings or henchpersons – including those with 45 participating – my brain announces, “Ah, the long winter nights must fly.”

        • Hika says:

          Perhaps Trump is most like evil Prince Ludwig who appears in the last episode of the second series of Blackadder. Played by the brilliant Hugh Laurie, Ludwig is both evil and cunning, but also quite stupid.

  16. Paulka says:

    Just a reminder that Bobb is chin deep in the elector scheme and January 6, so the danger to her is even worse than the MaL debacle and her value to the DoJ that much higher. It also implies she is much more of a toadie to Trump than would initially be envisioned.

    I do enjoy it when bad things happen to bad people.

  17. WilliamOckham says:

    The Trump team’s handling of the “custodian of records” nomenclature in that subpoena is interesting to me. Custodian of records is slightly vague term of art (unless you’re making a porno flick, because in that circumstance it comes with some specific legal requirements). The way that subpoena is written, it might as well have included the Admiral Ackbar meme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F4qzPbcFiA

    There’s no amount of money, promises of fame and glory, or kompromat that would have induced me to sign that document and I’m at a loss as to why any sentient being would.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Only a true believer, with disdain for self-preservation, would take on that role for a guy like Trump, who has spent decades abusing his lawyers, the government, rules, the law, process, in general, and documentary evidence, in particular,

      • Peterr says:

        It is said among poker players that when you sit down at the poker table and wonder who the mark is, that’s when you need to worry.

        Christina Bobb is the mark at the Trump World table.

        • jeco says:

          trump: “Christina, just sign it, it really doesn’t mean anything, you’re really my lawyer not Custodian, right Evan?”

          Evan: “Yes, I believe you are presumed to have attorney client privilege in most situations where there is ambiguity about potentially conflicting responsibilities.”

          Chrissy: “OK, I just wasn’t sure because this is a lot more complicated than OAN and I was worried about the FBI finding the stuff we sent with Habba to hide at Bedminster and the Tower”.

  18. viget says:

    Read on CNN that Mark Warner is saying on the Sunday talk show circuit that the classified briefing to Gang of 8 is off due to special master concerns.

    Not sure why he would say that when DOJ seemed to indicate that it could still happen. Any sealed items on the docket recently?

    Also, no way Bobb flips. She’s has known Flynn since his time in Afghanistan in 2009. She may have also been instrumental in the Eastman plan. And she was a OAN correspondent.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The prospect of ten to twenty years in the federal pen has a tendency to concentrate the mind. If convicted on more than one felony, the sentences need not be served concurrently. That might be common, but it’s possible one follows the other.

      Even if the sentences imposed are not the maximum, if served consecutively, that can mean a lot of time. Hell, Texas imposed five years for a questionable voter fraud conviction.

      • viget says:

        Hmmm…too true. I also forgot to take under consideration that she could be a subject of MULTIPLE investigations, including various J6 and possibly Flynn-derivative investigations…

        And she is definitely an important node and could provide crucial evidence for all of these.

        • emptywheel says:

          I did the math above for good reason. IF she were exposed to everything she COULD be, she’d be looking at:

          >5 years for lying
          >20 years for Jan6
          >20 more years for document obstruction
          >200 years for conspiracy to Espionage (20 docs X 10 years each)

          Obviously no one gets top of range. But that is quite literally why I keep coming back to the way Espionage Act builds in conspirator liability.

        • Andrew says:

          My thought is that ‘Pop’ Warner is giving Barr ammunition for arguing before Judge Cannon.

          [Nope, nope. You’re persona non grata here because you have pointedly avoided changing your username to avoid being confused with the numerous other “Andrews” at this site even after more than five requests. Out, exeunt. /~Rayne]

    • John Paul Jones says:

      Slightly different news, re: Warner and the Briefing, but buried at the bottom of a story on Hilary Clinton:

      In a separate interview on “State of the Union” on Sunday, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner told [Dana] Bash that he has not yet been briefed on the possible damages from Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents. “We have not been briefed,” said the Virginia Democrat, who noted that the special master request has delayed any potential briefing. “I think we’ll get some clarity on that in a couple days, and we expect to get that briefing.”

      That would take us to Tuesday expecting news at least of a briefing, if not the thing itself.

    • civil says:

      No, he didn’t say that. He said that they need clarification from Cannon, but they want the briefing ASAP and it will occur as soon as it’s approved:
      https://twitter.com/MarkWarner/status/1569028214068023298 — relevant part is ~2:50 minutes in.
      But the DOJ in its recent motion said “The government also does not understand the Court’s Order to bar DOJ, FBI, and ODNI from briefing Congressional leaders with intelligence oversight responsibilities regarding the classified records that were recovered. The government similarly does not understand the Order to restrict senior DOJ and FBI officials, who have supervisory responsibilities regarding the criminal investigation, from reviewing those records in preparation for such a briefing.” So perhaps it’s just a matter of Cannon confirming that the DOJ is correct.

  19. obsessed says:

    Wow – thanks for this. I was totally misreading the word “understand” (if you can call what I do wrt to legal documents “reading”). I took it to mean “the government doesn’t understand [why Judge Cannon is being such an irresponsible dick]”. I now see that it means the government doesn’t interpret the ruling to prohibit them from continuing to go after Ms. Bobb. Duhhh. But sometimes the thrill of the “eureka” moment outweighs the humiliation of the face-palming moment. It reminds me of the denouement of “The Conversation” where Gene Hackman finally hears the word “us” with the correct inflection.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Yes! The Conversation has always been one of my favorite movies. I think of it often lately; whatever technological sophistication has been gained, it always comes down to human interpretation. Plus: greatest musical score of all time. (Except maybe The Third Man.)

      • puzzled scottish person says:

        It is a great movie and I’m going to go and watch it again now :-)

        Favourite movie score? I do rather love Drowning by Numbers.

  20. Commander Ogg says:

    I’m just an uneducated layman but it seems to me that Judge Cannon is actively aiding and abetting criminal activity. How can this be legal? Is she saying that it is okay for the former guy to break federal espionage laws by stealing classified documents because he use to be the President.

    Some time in the future Cannon needs to be investigated for being an accessory.

    • timbo says:

      She’s saying that the DOJ is trying to embarrass the former guy and so she’s here to help slow walk this thing as long as possible. And she doesn’t want to hear or see for herself what the documents, the government records and classified materials, might actually be because, gee, embarrassing!!

      Yeah, hopefully she faces sanction of some sort here. As to whether she’s being actively investigated at this point by FBI or similar, it’s incredibly unlikely…unless she’s already been identified as probably involved in active incitement or sedition, and/or as a potential agent for a foreign. My guess is that she’s clean on all three of those…but who knows at this point, right?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Cannon is an Art. III judge with lifetime tenure. The odds that she’s being “investigated” are nil, absent substantially incriminating evidence, of which there is no public record. I wouldn’t spend much time on that.

        Trump or a more fascist successor might go that route with judges that uphold the law, but only if he/they could corrupt the DoJ and the Supremes much more than Trump did the last time.

    • Rayne says:

      Wow wee…Team Trump is doubling down on the cray-cray, calling him the President. Oh, and the bit where they claim, THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT SUFFER IRREPARABLE HARM — what even.

      Thanks again!

    • Overshire says:

      They lean heavily and repeatedly on the PRA all the way through, which would seem to be all DOJ needs to argue that they are in the wrong venue and move the entire case to DC.

    • Jim Luther says:

      For those that have too much self respect to read this for themselves, here is a quick summary of the logic of the argument:

      1. Documents falling under the Federal Regulations Act (FRA) and the Presidential Records Act (PRA) are mutually exclusive.

      2. The governance of all records produced or received by a president is ruled exclusively by the PRA. By mere possession, all subject records are therefore governed by the PRA.

      3. The president has absolute authority to designate records into the subcategories of personal or presidential, and the determination made during the presidency is final. The archivist assumes responsibility for presidential records, and plays no role whatsoever in personal records.

      3. While president, all documents were both declassified and designated as personal. Declassification by the president, nor designation as personal by the president, does not require any bureaucratic procedure.

      4. The PRA requires that the archivist “shall assume responsibility for the custody, control” of documents, but does not require that MUST assume ACTUAL custody and control of PRA documents.

      Therefore, under the ruling law (PRA), it is impossible for criming to occur, and if it did occur, there is no criminal enforcement authority.

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