“A Coat Rack with Suit Jackets, as Well as Interior Décor Items Such as Wall Art and Frames”

As expected, MJ Bruce Reinhart has released a less redacted version of the Trump search warrant affidavit.

The newly unsealed information pertains to the two grand jury subpoenas — the May 11 and the June 24 one. The description of the second one confirms what I’ve been noting: that the video surveillance subpoena was dated June 24, not June 22 as Trump’s people have been saying.

It requested video going back to January 10. Trump’s camp had said they only turned over two months of video (which may be true — they may simply not archive more than two months of video). But DOJ attempted to get video from before Trump packed up the first set of boxes returned to NARA, suggesting they’ve known all along how he was sorting this.

Trump provided DOJ with the video on July 6, just about the date I guessed they would have gotten it. That means DOJ only took a month to write the affidavit to search Trump’s home.

There’s a slightly different description of the classifications of the documents that Evan Corcoran turned over. It reveals that at least one of those documents was marked FISA, as was true of the first batch.

The newly unsealed passages also reveal that along with all his stolen documents, Trump had, “a coat rack with suit jackets, as well as interior decor items such as wall art and frames.”

Finally, it appears that Jay Bratt or the FBI specifically asked Corcoran if he knew of documents stored “in any private office space.” He said no.

Update: Here’s the government reply on their motion for a stay. My favorite sentence is where DOJ has to point out to Judge Cannon that she can’t invoke Executive Privilege for Trump, nor can a Special Master.

In any event, it is Plaintiff—not the Court and not a special master—who would need to make an assertion of executive privilege and supply reasons supporting that assertion. He has provided none.

And then they spend a whole paragraph describing how, if Trump is really trying to assert ownership over classified documents via a claim he both declassified and designated them privileged, then he can’t withhold via an Executive Privilege claim from an investigation into 18 USC 793.

Plaintiff’s suggestion that he “may have categorized certain of the seized materials as personal [records] during his presidency” pursuant to the PRA, D.E. 84 at 15, if true, would only supply another reason that he cannot assert executive privilege with regard to those records. If Plaintiff truly means to suggest that, while President, he chose to categorize records with markings such as “SECRET” and “TOP SECRET” as his personal records for purposes of the PRA, then he cannot assert that the very same records are protected by executive privilege—i.e., that they are “Presidential communications” made in furtherance of the “performance of his official duties.” Nixon v. GSA, 433 U.S. at 447, 456; see 44 U.S.C. § 2201(3) (defining “personal records” as records “of a purely private or nonpublic character which do not relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President”). In any event, whether Plaintiff declared documents with classification markings to be his “personal” records for purposes of the PRA has no bearing on the government’s compelling need to review them, both for national security purposes and as part of its investigation into the potentially unlawful retention of national defense information.


62 replies
  1. Andrew C says:

    A few talking heads were pointing to the section in the affidavit where Corcoran says that no documents were stored in a private space and highlighting that the affidavit says that Corcoran relayed he was *advised* that no documents were in a private space. The implication, in their telling, was that Corcoran was told this lie by Trump, and DOJ is pointing the finger at him, as evidence of obstruction. Does this carry any water with you?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It does seem as if every Trump lawyer avoids conducting due diligence before attesting to facts, and just relies on whatever TFG says. I suppose that’s in the belief that he’s untouchable, or that if he isn’t, all is lost anyway.

      But it begins to look more like aiding and abetting than reasonable reliance, especially as his lawyers studiously avoid filing sworn affidavits of fact to back up their improbable claims.

      • L. Eslinger says:

        Trump may be slippery, if not untouchable (so far), but this doesn’t provide an umbrella for his attorneys. For an attorney to attest that information provided to them by another party (particularly Trump) is factual, without doing a deep dive to verify every detail, leads one to wonder “WTAF were they thinking?”

    • PeterS says:

      Isn’t the wording odder than that? Counsel “stated that he was not advised there were any records in any private office space or other location”, as opposed to being advised that there were no records in those places.

      • bmaz says:

        As Marcy said earlier, it is not as simple as that. But it arguably ought be. The only time a lawyer ought sign an affidavit is as to his own conduct, never that of client or their conduct. You don’t do that.

  2. Andrew C says:

    A few talking heads were pointing to the section in the affidavit where Corcoran says that no documents were stored in a private space and highlighting that the affidavit says that Corcoran relayed he was *advised* that no documents were in a private space. The implication, in their telling, was that Corcoran was told this lie by Trump, and DOJ is pointing the finger at him, as evidence of obstruction. Does this seem accurate?

  3. Rugger9 says:

    So much to address here… Bratt’s question pinned Corcoran down into a charge of lying to investigators which is what sent Martha Stewart up the river in the past. MAGA takes new meanings in that respect. The other thing is that FISA is pretty much classified by definition, since it uses the super-secret FISC court to handle things like data collection of foreign nationals and doubtless has information on sources and methods. Even though Individual-1’s current defense team (including media) keeps trying to pretend there were no classified docs at M-a-L, this alone would satisfy a basis under the Espionage Act IMHO, though IANAL.

    OT, Ken Starr is dead, good riddance to bad rubbish. LGM already has weighed in with three (3!) posts about him, I can’t wait for the extended versions.


  4. Klaatu Something says:

    the once real possibility of a Trump second term is (I think) dead, regardless of where this goes, so Happy Doodle for that

    a public trial will give to Trump the world stage to hurl both his bullshit and our national secrets, so no outcome belongs in the “likely” column yet

    • joel fisher says:

      Second term dead? Keep in mind TFG controls the largest single voting block in the US, namely the 80-90% of the GO, or about 40-45%. of the electorate, who worship him like an Orange God. He could get the GOP nomination without breaking a sweat and anything could happen in a head to head–or worse if lefties decide Biden isn’t lefty enough–to 3rd head.

  5. punaise says:

    New version of Clue: who killed democracy?

    It was President* Trump in the unlocked storage room with a coat rack.

    • xbronx says:

      Strangled in its crib by the ancient Athenians who coined the word – demos+kratia = the people rule – and then made the people who did the ruling only free adult men who were citizens – about 10% of the total population. As a certain Mr Mellencamp might say re: far too much of our history, “Ain’t that America?”

      • J R in WV says:

        One hopes (hard) that if any CIA assets died because of Trump’s illegal lack of care of classified documents, then Trump gets tried for murder, or similar crimes related to the deaths caused by his actions.

        Kenneth Starr, died after an extended illness. One hopes, hard, that it involved a painful disease, and that he was violently allergic to narcotic pain relief medication, as my mom was. I held her basin while she wretched after her frozen shoulder procedure, and she had pressed the button for more morphine. Starr should be so lucky!

        • goatrodeo says:

          Having had a child in the NICU multiple times for extended stays measured in months, it is not a world or an experience I would wish on anyone. It is well enough he, Mr. Starr, is not suffering such a life anymore, and we can still be satisfied to be done with him.
          * our son is home with us now, happily, though prayers have not healed his body, he’s 28 and cannot know life is a mystery and a gift in a puzzle, yet he seems happy, which makes his Mother glad, and most days that is enough!
          thank you for your indulgence, but should we try not to wish suffering on others?

        • BirdGardener says:

          I’m sorry your Mom suffered, J R in WV. That’s awful. It’s very hard to be unable to relieve such suffering, too.

          But I would like to ask everyone: is this a site where it’s okay to wish horrific suffering on one’s political enemies? Would any of us like to see such sentiments expressed about our political allies, or anyone we care about? Is that the kind of discourse we wish to encourage? The kind of person we want to be?

          It’s natural to feel that way sometimes, but we don’t have to encourage the feeling.

        • skua says:

          My wishing violation / horrific suffering on enemies corrodes my humanity and, I think, toughens me up such that when I need to break down in tears at a deathbed I’m instead standing still with a dazed look on my face.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Self-proclaimed Tiger Mom (a strict advocate of over-achievement in one’s children), Asha Rangappa, was an FBI agent, a deanlet at Yale law, and is now director of admissions for the university’s institute for global affairs. She is also an MSNBC commentator. She keeps saying that the DoJ is “late to the game,” regarding its criminal investigation(s) into Donald Trump, and specifically its attempts to recover government documents from MAL.

    Bmaz is unreserved in his critical assessment of Merrick Garland, but Marcy has waged a campaign to suggest the DoJ has been much more active than it revealed publicly. I read the two as not mutually exclusive. But one thing they do not suggest is that the DoJ has been late to any game.

  7. Tim L. says:

    SO WHAT?! Why is this a thread? Would it be less of a crime if he kept them in a locked vault guarded by alligators? Oh, and by the way, while he was casually storing national secrets by the coat rack, the Dept. of Jackasses, led by a somnolent old man who didn’t want the job, DID NOTHING FOR MONTHS except ask him very nicely several times. Do they actually think their 2-year deference in this matter is going to help their case with the public, or the courts? It will actually backfire, and they know it, because they have no intention of indicting an ex-president. EVER. DOJ is there to serve power – not you and I. The talking head apologists for DOJ on TV are pathetic liars.

    Pin this: No one will ever be indicted for any of this. But keep up your brilliant work building your brand parsing legal filings for morons, Marcy.

      • Tim L. says:

        I’m detecting a lot of desperate wishful thinking. The screaming headline of this story for now and forever is that the DOJ screwed this up badly, because they are hopelessly politicized, and always have been. ONE single conviction from the 2008 crash. And they didn’t want to hear it about Madoff until it was too late.

        • timbo says:

          Do you have something better to do with your time than preaching hopelessness on the Internet? Also, strangely, you don’t seem to have much negative to say about Twitler…does this happen to you a lot?

  8. Spencer Dawkins says:

    “In any event, it is Plaintiff—not the Court and not a special master—who would need to make an assertion of executive privilege and supply reasons supporting that assertion. He has provided none.”

    The reminds me of the times – too many to count – where a Trump minion was explaining that they could not comply with an invitation to testify, or (failing that) a subpoena, because TRUMP might invoke executive privilege, even though he never did, because then someone could have dragged him into court to explain why he thought the information under discussion was privileged.

    Honestly, it feels like Trump expected that dodge to work for the next half century, and it’s thrilling to see someone point out the obvious in a legal document.

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