Evan Corcoran’s Two May 25 Stall Letters

A number of people have observed that the language in the newly unsealed parts of the Trump search warrant about what Evan Corcoran told Jay Bratt and others on June 3 emphasizes that “he was advised” certain things that (we now know) turned out to be false.

During receipt of the production, FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 stated he was advised all the records that came from the White House were stored in one location within Mar-a-Lago, the STORAGE ROOM, and the boxes of records in the STORAGE ROOM were “the remaining repository” of records from the White House. FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 further stated he was not advised there were any records in any private office space or other location in Mar-a-Lago. The agents and DOJ COUNSEL were permitted to see the STORAGE ROOM and observed that approximately fifty to fifty-five boxes remained in the STORAGE ROOM. [5 lines redacted] Other items were also present in the STORAGE ROOM, including a coat rack with suit jackets, as well as interior decor items such as wall art and frames. [my emphasis]

For comparison, here’s how that exchange was described in DOJ’s response to Trump’s motion for a stay.

After producing the Redweld, counsel for the former President represented that all the records that had come from the White House were stored in one location—a storage room at the Premises (hereinafter, the “Storage Room”), and the boxes of records in the Storage Room were “the remaining repository” of records from the White House. Counsel further represented that there were no other records stored in any private office space or other location at the Premises and that all available boxes were searched. As the former President’s filing indicates, the FBI agents and DOJ attorney were permitted to visit the storage room. See D.E. 1 at 5-6. Critically, however, the former President’s counsel explicitly prohibited government personnel from opening or looking inside any of the boxes that remained in the storage room, giving no opportunity for the government to confirm that no documents with classification markings remained. [my emphasis]

On August 8, FBI emphasized that Corcoran was simply describing what “he was advised.” By August 30, DOJ summarized what Trump, in the person of his attorney, “represented.”

The earlier emphasis on what Corcoran was told lends weight to the interpretation that DOJ believes he is a witness, not a subject, to an obstruction investigation. Yes, if he genuinely was lied to, then he’s probably safe from any criminal exposure himself, but will likely, eventually, have to explain that to investigators.

But that’s not the only thing notable about the newly unsealed sections, as pertains to Corcoran.

For example, his prohibition on searching boxes was not unsealed. Neither in that passage nor in any other place in the unsealed affidavit does the description of how Corcoran refused to let Bratt and the three FBI agents open any boxes appear (I’ve bolded how it appeared in DOJ’s response). Some of the five redacted lines of the paragraph describing the storage room likely describe all the reasons why the storage room doesn’t comply with the CFR on storing classified documents. The coat rack and the wall art are likely included as evidence that the storage room was not exclusively available to those with a Need to Know the classified information Trump was storing in the room. But somewhere, in that paragraph or in another one, the affidavit almost certainly describes that Corcoran prohibited the FBI from opening the boxes. It would be pertinent to FBI’s request to search what was really in those boxes. So a description that Corcoran prohibited the FBI from looking is almost certainly in the affidavit, but remains redacted, even though DOJ’s claim that Corcoran prohibited the FBI from looking inside the boxes was made public in DOJ’s response.

If that’s right, it suggests the FBI must still consider that refusal to be of investigative interest, and so redacted it.

It’s a third reference to Corcoran, though, where the newly unsealed language provides most interesting new context.

51. DOJ has advised me that, on May 11, 2022 an attorney representing FPOTUS, “FPOTUS COUNSEL 1,” agreed to accept service of a grand jury subpoena from a grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia sent to him via email by one of the prosecutors handling this matter for DOJ “DOJ COUNSEL.” The subpoena was directed to the custodian of records for the Office of Donald J. Trump and it requested the following materials:

Any and all documents or writings in the custody or control of Donald J. Trump and/or the Office of Donald J. Trump bearing classification markings including but not limited to the following: Top Secret Secret Confidential Top Secret/SIG/NOFORN/ORCON Top Secret/SI-G/NOFORN Top Secret/HCSO/NOFORN/ORCON Top Secret/HCS-O/NOFORN Top Secret/HCSP/NOFORN/ORCON, Top Secret/HCS-P/NOFORN Top Secret/TK/NOFORN/ORCON Top Secret/TK/NOFORN, Secret/NOFORN, Confidential/NOFORN TS TS/SAP TS/SI-G/NF/OC TS/SI-G/NF TS/HCSO/NF/OC TS/HCS-O/NF TS/HCS-P/NF/OC TS/HCS-P/NF, TS/HCS-P/SI-G TS/HCS-P/SI/TK TS/TKINF/OC, TS/TK/NF S/NF, S/FRD S/NATO S/SI, C, and C/NF.

The return date of the subpoena was May 24, 2022. DOJ COUNSEL also sent FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 a letter that permitted alternative compliance with the subpoena by “providing any responsive documents to the FBI at the place of their location” and by providing from the custodian a “sworn certification that the documents represent all responsive records. ” The letter further stated that if no responsive documents existed, the custodian should provide a sworn certification to that effect.

52. On May 25, 2022, while negotiating for an extension of the subpoena, FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 sent two letters to DOJ COUNSEL. In the second such letter, which is attached as Exhibit 1, FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 asked DOJ to consider a few “principles,” which include FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 ‘s claim that a President has absolute authority to declassify documents. In this letter, FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 requested, among other things, that “DOJ provide this letter to any judicial officer who is asked to rule on any motion pertaining to this investigation, or on any application made in connection with any investigative request concerning this investigation.” [my emphasis]

The description of the May 11 subpoena and Jay Bratt letter accompanying it got unsealed with this release. None of that description is new, though the fact that this is the first mention of both Bratt and Corcoran in the affidavit means the following earlier discussions, including an April 29 explanation from NSD — probably Bratt — about the national security urgency of reviewing the documents returned in January would not have appeared before that in the affidavit (though could later in it).

April 11, 2022: FBI letterhead memorandum asks NARA for access to Trump documents

April 12, 2022: NARA informs Trump of access request

April 29, 2022: NSD to Evan Corcoran letter laying out NatSec urgency (not public)

April 29, 2022: Evan Corcoran letter to NARA asking for further delay (not public)

May 1, 2022: Evan Corcoran letter to NARA asking for further delay (not public)

May 5, 2022: Evan Corcoran asks for access to the Trump records for representatives (not public)

May 10, 2022: Steidel Wall to Corcoran advising him she would give FBI access starting May 12

The May 10 letter from Steidel Wall to Corcoran was included in the government’s response to Trump’s Special Master request but not among the items that DOJ asked Chief Judge Beryl Howell to unseal as grand jury material. It appears that it has become a focus of the public discussion because John Solomon made it one.

The passage above also unsealed the first sentence of paragraph 25 (the rest of that paragraph was unsealed in the first release). We already knew about one May 25 letter from Corcoran — DOJ diligently included it with the affidavit, as instructed by Corcoran, and so it was unsealed in the first unsealing.

That Corcoran actually sent two letters that day was already made public in this letter to Beryl Howell, though probably few other people noticed. This is probably the first that most people will realize Corcoran sent two letters that day. More importantly, the newly unsealed sentence makes its relation to the subpoena more obvious.

The subpoena deadline was May 24. By that day, document custodians from all of Trump’s properties should have shown up at their local FBI office with the remaining classified documents Trump retained. If they had, we might never have heard of all this. But on May 25 — the day after the subpoena deadline — Corcoran, after having stalled the FBI’s access to the 15 boxes for a month, was still asking for more time to respond to the subpoena issued two weeks earlier. All the while he was making false claims that this aspect of the investigation had leaked.

It’s against that background that Corcoran sent not one but two letters. This one is the second he sent that day. It doesn’t mention the pending subpoena, at all. Rather, it did the following:

  • Argue that because public trust is low (thanks to Donald Trump) any actions by DOJ must not involve politics
  • Complain that the news of the NARA referral (which NARA shared with Congress after warning Trump for months they might resort to doing so) was publicly reported
  • Claim falsely there were, “Leaks about an investigation that involve the residence of a former President”
  • Assert that the President has absolute authority to declassify things (without claiming that Trump had declassified things)
  • Lay out the (IMO) most catastrophically shitty legal advice made public this year, that Corcoran believed only 18 USC 1924 was implicated in this investigation
  • Cite an IG Report stating that DOJ has to remain free of political influence
  • Include two paragraphs that, Corcoran requested, be shared with any judge ruling on a motion or application in connection with this investigation.

Here’s what those paragraphs say:

Long-standing DOJ policy requires that DOJ attorneys be candid in representations made to judges. Pursuant to those policies, we request that DOJ provide this letter to any judicial officer who is asked to rule on any motion pertaining to this investigation, or on any application made in connection with any investigative request concerning this investigation.

The official policy ofDOJ further requires that prosecutors present exculpatory evidence to a grand jury. Pursuant to that policy, we request that DOJ provide this letter to any grand jury considering evidence in connection with this matter, or any grand jury asked to issue a subpoena for testimony or documents in connection with this matter. [my emphasis]

Effectively, the entire letter — written at a time when Corcoran was trying to negotiate a delayed response to a subpoena — was a pitch to a judge that there could be no probable cause that Trump had committed a crime, because 18 USC 1924 didn’t apply to him (remember, this is the statute Trump made a felony in response to Hillary’s home server) and because he hypothetically could have declassified all the most sensitive secrets.

The reference to Kash Patel, immediately following the mention of this letter, makes more sense now; it might explain that when Debra Steidel Wall told Corcoran on May 10 that no one could review Trump’s papers without proper clearance, he acceded to that.

What’s interesting about this letter (aside from how catastrophically bad that 1924 advice was) is its audience. Corcoran would have known that a judge was already involved; Beryl Howell oversees grand juries in DC, including the one that issued a subpoena to the former President. But he didn’t ask that the letter be shared with any judges who already reviewed subpoenas. Rather, he was asking that it be shared in case of some motion or application.

Corcoran envisioned — at a time he was stalling on compliance with a subpoena — that DOJ might soon go before a judge with some kind of application, something like a search warrant, in hand.

They were playing a game of chicken.

That suggests that DOJ was already threatening to come get the stolen classified documents they knew to remain at Mar-a-Lago. It suggests that this letter, with its catastrophically bad 1924 advice, was an attempt to stave off that, when in fact it instead ensured that DOJ would include a footnote explaining that the Espionage Act (unlike 1924) pertained to National Defense Information, not classified information, which would also make Corcoran’s nod to Trump’s unlimited declassification powers pointless as well.

I continue to get some satisfaction that during the period Corcoran was giving Trump such catastrophically bad legal advice pertaining to stolen classified documents, he was helping write 30-page filings in the Bannon misdemeanor case that also didn’t work, not even with Carl Nichols. But I’m perverse like that.

Anyway, that detail — that Corcoran wrote a letter to a hypothetical judge reviewing a warrant application even while he was negotiating an extension to the already passed subpoena deadline — is important background to whatever search Corcoran did and whatever representations he made on June 3, all a stunt that (he probably assumed) would stave off any search, including his refusal to let the FBI look in the boxes that he claimed to have searched.

I have no idea what Corcoran knew on May 25 and what he knew on June 3. But the fact he sent a letter envisioning a hypothetical judicial review of a search warrant application suggests he knew that he had to stave off a search even before the FBI showed up on June 3, when he refused to permit a consensual search.

Go to emptywheel resource page on Trump Espionage Investigation.

97 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    Corcoran’s second letter reminds me of my doctoral student days. When you come to your oral defense, the received wisdom passed down from doctoral student to doctoral student is that when you get a question about why you didn’t include something, it can be helpful to have an answer ready like “While that is an interesting question, it is beyond the scope of this research.” Of course, you can’t use this answer when the question is about the central thrust of your research.

    That series of bullet points above suggests that Corcoran missed that second point.

    DOJ: We need all these docs that belong to the US Government, and are especially concerned about those that implicate national security. Can you please provide them?
    EC: You know, public confidence in the DOJ is low.
    DOJ: Yes, but that’s not the point. We still need all the docs that belong to the US Government. Can you please provide them?
    EC: We are sad that the NARA referral is being talked about publicly.
    DOJ: Yes, but that’s not the point. We’re talking about national security, and we still need those docs. Can you please provide them?
    EC: We are sad there are leaks about an investigation about Mar-a-Lago.
    DOJ: Sorry to hear that you are sad, but that’s not the point. We still need those docs. Can you please provide them?
    EC: You know that the President can declassify *anything*, right?
    DOJ: Even if that is true, that doesn’t matter. We still need those docs. Can you please provide them?
    EC: You know that the President is not an “employee” as defined by 1924, right?
    DOJ: That may or may not be, but we still need those docs. Can you please provide them?
    EC: Your own IG warns that you folks have to avoid being political.
    DOJ: Yes, and we still need those docs. Can you please provide them?
    EC: Please tell whatever judges you talk to that we don’t like this.
    DOJ: You’re not answering our question here: Can. You. Provide. The. Docs. You. Took. From. The. White. House. That. Don’t. Belong. To. You?

    I shudder to think what my doctoral committee would have done with Corcoran.

    • Rayne says:

      Feels a bit like dealing with a preschooler’s unending Whys, doesn’t it? The kind of filibustering which happens at nap or bedtime?

    • timbo says:

      So what I want to know is…whose idea was this slow rolling by Corcaran? Was it him or his client’s…because, either way, it certainly seems like an attempt to obstruct the government from getting the records stolen from the White House back. No doubt, Corcaran and Twitler will try to hide behind A-C here…but the general smell of the whole thing seems highly dubious at best.

  2. glenn storey says:

    Well, like most people who aren’t completely stupid, I assume everything Trump says is bullshit, because, you know, it is. If Evan Corcoran believed Trump, he’s either very stupid, very gullible, or he knew Trump was lying and went along with it anyway.

      • Peterr says:

        Two more words, as a warning: accounts receivable.

        (Billable hours are great, but you have to be able to collect on them.)

        • Rayne says:

          Hence the degree of gullibility — if Corcoran believes he’ll receive 100% as billed, he’s credulous.

          Or what might also be called a mark.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Just heard from TV that Chris Kise got 3 million (up front, it sounded like). One more sign that it’s time for Corcoran to lawyer himself up–he’s already been replaced by Kise and Trusty.

        • Alan Charbonneau says:

          Kise may be really good. But with Trump as a client, he’d have to be. Imagine all the deranged “Truthings” or whatever the hell they’re called that will be posted. Interviews on TV, podcasts, etc. – it’d be a nightmare even if there weren’t so much evidence.

    • Bev54 says:

      It seems that the DOJ, in their filing, are giving Corcoran the benefit of the doubt, but if Trump lied to him, he surely has figured that out. Why would a lawyer continue to represent a client that has blatantly lied to him, putting him in such a precarious position? That makes me wonder if he is far more involved in the crime of obstruction.

      • timbo says:

        They’re not giving him the benefit of the doubt here. DOJ is just being persistent. At the point where this became so obvious a delaying tactic, the point at which Corcaran gave them a document to show judges who might issue seizure warrants, that’s the time that DOJ had enough and…went and to such a warrant. And, IMO, if you look at Corcaran’s attempt to get the DOJ to obstruct with that letter, things aren’t looking so rosy for Corcaran when it comes to A-C either now. IANAL, but that letter seems like an attempt to get DOJ to be the >agent< of obstruction in Federal court. As such, that letter might be evidence of a crime in and of itself. And I hope any grand jury who starts looking at the letter, if any, gets to the bottom of who and how that letter came about.

        • Alan Charbonneau says:

          Corcoran may have broken new legal ground in asking the DOJ to obstruct its own investigation. It’s certainly a new one on me.

        • timbo says:

          This is the sort of letter that is handed out as part of a conspiracy to obstruct IMO. Basically, if the DOJ doesn’t hand this letter to a member of the conspiracy, the DOJ gets in trouble. If the DOJ hands the letter to a judge who is not part of the conspiracy then the judge is left to wonder what is going on over at DOJ. Either way, unless Corcoran is investigated, he gets away with it.

  3. Yogarhythms says:

    “FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 stated he was advised”… wrote two “Stall” letters which were sent to DOJ counsel May 25 2022. Subpoena’s deadline for response May 24 2022. Somehow “day late … short” isn’t floating for me with the rest of the effluent flooding at MAL.

  4. Troutwaxer says:

    Since some of this was previously being litigated in Beryl Howell’s court could the DOJ go to her for help with their Cannon problems? (It seems unlikely, but maybe one of our lawyers can fully clear this up.)

  5. jeco says:

    DOJ will be treated to a circle jerk of lawyerly lies. Cork will say he was advised by Custodian Chrissy that all responsive documents had been returned. Chrissy will say she was advised by the President’s office that classified documents had been returned and she had no reason to doubt their veracity and never directly verified their assurance. “Who did you speak to in the President’s office?”. “I don’t recall but I never spoke directly to the President”. I was records custodian only for MAL and my assertion only covered those documents,I was new to the position, which I no longer hold. It was my understanding that the presidents counsel would draft separate attestations for the other locations Custodians if he thought they were needed but we never actually discussed it. Perhaps there was a miscommunication between DOJ and president’s counsel about these documentation formats. It’s just a question of paperwork mixup on the DOJ end which they should clarify and not blame the President and his staff.

      • jeco says:

        trump: “Chrissy, you’re young and very beautiful, no jury would ever vote to convict you – just sign it, right, Evan?” Evan: “Right, Mr President, in all my years of experience I’ve never seen a jury convict anyone like you Chrissy, and we’ll create so much confusion, you know – the reasonable doubt thing”. Chrissy “OK, I’m not worried now that I know the President personally has my back”

  6. Fran of the North says:

    It’s the legal equivalent of rope-a-dope.

    Allow your opponent to expend all their energy while you rest. Then when they are all out of legal challenges, (and your message has been amplified and regurgitated ad nauseam by a compliant press, you declare victory and move on.

    While it has worked well for decades, the big problem FPOTUS has now is that he’s got a tenacious, well trained boxer who isn’t about to give up as an opponent.

  7. Former AFPD says:

    All attorneys owe a duty of candor to the court, not just DOJ attorneys. That means all lawyers have to use honesty and accuracy in their pleadings, and written and oral statements to a judge. Geez.

    • Peterr says:

      You sound like Don McGahn when Trump asked him to stop taking notes. From NY Magazine:

      “Why do you take notes?” Trump asked, according to the Mueller report. “Lawyers don’t take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes.”

      McGahn replied that a “real lawyer” takes notes because they create a record.

      “I’ve had a lot of great lawyers, like Roy Cohn,” Mr. Trump said. “He did not take notes.”

      I suspect one could replace “take notes” with “use honesty and accuracy in their pleadings” and it would be just as true.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Roy Cohn was different, in all ways. Trump only knew him after his glory days, after he’d lost his BFFs and most powerful compatriots: the arch-conservative and highly compromised J. Edgar Hoover and Francis Cardinal Spellman. None of those guys wanted their sins written down.

      • Former AFPD says:

        Peterr: I was responding to this statement in one of the Corcoran letters, quoted above: “Long-standing DOJ policy requires that DOJ attorneys be candid in representations made to judges.” These rules are equally applicable to every lawyer, as we know. I’ve pointed out factual and legal misstatements made by opposing counsel to many a federal district court or appellate judge, only to stand back and watch the fireworks begin. The cavalier way in which such a statement is made amazes me. It’s one of those comments that can come back to haunt the litigation.

        • Peterr says:

          Agreed, absolutely. Instead of starting with “You sound like . . .” I should have said “This reminds me of . . .” My apologies.

          And the truth of your comment here is seen when person quoting it tries to backpedal from their own filings, affirmations, and sworn statements . . . which I look forward to watching soon.

        • Former AFPD says:

          Peterr, Thank you. No apology necessary. I wanted to make sure my observation was made in context, not just for you, but for others reading here.

      • obsessed says:

        “I’ve had a lot of great lawyers, like Roy Cohn,” Mr. Trump said. “He did not take notes.”

        He was also disbarred, although he never went to jail. Dying at 59 makes his avoidance of prison time a bit less impressive.

  8. civil says:

    IANAL and have only a limited understanding of grand jury proceedings, but I’m surprised that Bratt said “in lieu of personally appearing on May 24, the custodian may comply with the subpoena by providing any responsive documents to the FBI at the place of their location. … The custodian would also provide a sworn certification …” As noted, Bobb uses passive voice (“Based upon the information that has been provided to me …”) to avoid saying who provided the information. Had she actually been before the grand jury, presumably she would have been questioned about who provided the info. Ditto for other questions that her certification leaves unanswered but seem relevant, such as whether there are other document custodians for other Trump properties (Bratt’s reference to a single custodian suggests that the answer is “no,” but it seems wiser to check), whether a diligent search was conducted at other Trump properties (not just of a search “of the boxes that were moved from the White House to Florida”), etc. Or was the choice not to have her testify in May strategic, letting her word the certification as she wished, with the expectation that they’d have her appear before the grand jury later if needed?

    • John Paul Jones says:

      Bratt said they could duck the subpoena by handing back the responsive documents, but only if said documents were also accompanied by a sworn statement saying they had complied. One way to look at this is that he was handing them a shovel and saying, “Okay, if you would like to dig yourself deeper into the hole, here’s a handy tool for you.” So yes, obviously it would’ve been better if Bobb had testified. But in lieu of that, she pretty much admitted to committing a crime.

  9. Badger Robert says:

    But it looks like no attorney for the claimant complied with the DofJ request that they certify that all responsive documents had been produced and given to the DofJ. The attorneys did not say they had done a proper search and had personally supervised the collection of responsive documents. Instead they certified something that was unresponsive, namely what they had been told to certify. So the statements outlined by Ms. Wheeler and other statements by attorney Bobb were obstructions to the investigation and offenses against the affirmative duties imposed by 18 USC 793.

  10. Tom R. says:

    As I see it, this is like a store with a big sign “up to 70% OFF!!!“. Anybody with an age above 9 knows that anything you might actually want to buy will have a much more modest markdown.

    In the same way, the letter that Corcoran prepared for Bobb to sign is full of the most transparent double-talk, and Bratt is not the village idiot. Short of putting winky-face emojis at the end of each sentence, I don’t know what more Corcoran and Bobb could have done to indicate that their client might be veracity-impaired.😉😉😉

    In theory, Bratt could have asked the obvious follow-up questions:
    * “Hmmm, authorized to certify … authorized by whom?”
    * “Hmmm, a diligent search was conducted … conducted by whom?”

    OTOH he could have realized that Corcoran and Bobb were intentionally tiptoeing along the foul line. They were implicitly telling him the production did not really comply with the subpoena, and he needed to come back with a search warrant.

    They’re lousy lawyers, but they don’t want to go to prison.

    • timbo says:

      They might well go to prison if they lie in any grand jury proceedings. Or if they start lying to Federal agents or judges. We don’t know if they’ve done so already…although it certainly appears that they’ve waded into obstruction territory of an espionage investigation so far. And that’s not a good place to be.

  11. paul lukasiak says:

    I’d like to advance a theory as to why there are two Corcoran letters on May 25.

    Trump dictated the second one, after reading the first one, and finding it not to his liking.

    I doubt that Corcoran is a bad enough lawyer to think that the PRA is the only relevant law in this case. That’s the kind of thing that one of Trump’s complete crackpot lawyers/advisors (e.g. Kash Patel, or Christina Bobb) would come up with, and that Trump would insist be the theory of the case.

  12. Alan K says:

    Would it be reasonable to assume that some entity in the US Gov is concerned (or knows) that TrumpCo has been “selling” information – in return for some inside track on some oligarch NYC real estate deals? That this is why the chicken game is such high stakes?

  13. Savage Librarian says:


    Big Guy, Big Lie,
    Big Gig, Big Rig

    He hesitated now to zip off
    to the beach, wondering if the tip off
    he heard had sent Corc to nip off
    too much and caused him to lip off.

    Big Guy, Big Lie,
    Big Gig, Big Rig

    As he began to strip off
    his makeup & take a long sip off
    his soda, while he watched a clip off
    TV, he shouted at everyone to blip off.

    Big Guy, Big Lie,
    Big Gig, Big Rig

    Just when he thought it might slip off
    the radar, and he could just flip off
    the Fed’s, will Fred’s chip off
    the old block get stung by a big ripoff?

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Corcoran might have been correct to not allow the DoJ to open boxes, etc. He was responding to a subpoena, not a search warrant. But his prohibition and his probable body language would have been obvious tells that there was more there there, especially with a horder and pathological liar like Trump.

    • Tom-1812 says:

      “… the former President’s counsel explicitly prohibited government personnel from opening or looking inside any of the boxes that remained in the storage room …” I’ll bet that hardly seemed suspicious at all!

      • Ddub says:

        This is the part I can’t get over. Corcoran must have had a suspicion at minimum that the room was straight up radioactive, yet he casually opened the door to a crime scene for Bratt and signed on the line.
        Very stupid or very compromised.

      • timbo says:

        It isn’t. Current 4th Amendment case law requires that LEO have a warrant to search anything on private property if not granted access by someone legally authorized to grant that access. There are exceptions to this but generally that’s the Federal case law at this point (examples of possible exceptions: when in hot pursuit, if there’s obviously stolen or illegal materials in plain sight, imminent danger, etc). IANAL but there are precedents that govern what LEO can legally due under the Constitution. Again, one of those things is they may not search a premise without permission from a legal authority.

  15. Cosmo Le Cat says:

    Another superb article. I continue to be amazed by the brilliant mind of the author, who has the power of deduction only matched by the fictional Sherlock Holmes.

  16. Aneela says:

    I think this is a typo: in the first sentence, the “what” should be a “that”.
    “… about what Evan Corcoran told Jay Bratt and others on June 3 emphasizes WHAT “he was advised” certain things that…”

  17. PeterS says:

    “I continue to get some satisfaction ….. but I’m perverse like that”. Almost never do I think ew is being inaccurate.

  18. Puriya says:

    Should we expect the 11th Circuit appeal today? To allow DoJ access to the classified documents for investigation purposes? Or maybe they’re trying to move some of this to DC, seeing that Donny’s lawyers are talking so much about the PRA?

  19. L. Eslinger says:

    Trump’s Save America PAC has, reportedly, paid out $3 million to retain Chris Kise, though it’s not yet clear how these funds are being administered. Kise started a new firm just to take on Trump as a client, separating himself from Foley and Lardner.

    The Save America PAC is being scrutinized for misleading donors about where their contributions were actually going.

    Kise’s statement that Trump’s actions are not like “some Department of Defense staffer stuffing military secrets into a paper bag and sneaking out into the middle of the night,” is true because this case is likely to be much, much worse. Kise may soon realize that $3 million is not enough when one has Trump for a client.

  20. Carole says:

    The subpoena asks for “Any and all documents or writings in the custody or control of Donald J. Trump and/or the Office of Donald J. Trump…” as if DJT, the person, and the Office of DJT might be 2 separate entities.

    Bobb’s certification and any other mention of the certification that I’ve seen only mention the Office of Donald J. Trump and not the person DJT.

    “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…”

    I’ve been wondering if Bobb can come back and say that she never certified anything regarding what DJT, the person, had in his custody or control?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump constantly muddies the water about what legal entity he uses to do what. He shifts around the entity he claims to be using as and when he needs to to avoid liability.

      In reality, he’s the only real actor, something he probably makes easier to prove because it’s unlikely he pays for and pays attention to the processes required to keep his various entities in existence and legally separate.

    • elcajon64 says:

      My 21yo son has just relocated to Athens for school. We had a loooooong talk about this subject. I only wish I’d heard the term “Sexual Elite” prior to our discussion.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I meant to conflate sexually active wealth elite. But I see how the phrase could mean sexual prowess, in the manner of the alleged prowess of John C. Holmes or Donald Trump, depending on the reach of one’s imagination. Paging Punaise….

  21. L. Eslinger says:

    While out back-filling a trench (which is dirty work involving dirty dirt, but is still clean when compared to Trump’s history), it occurred to me that Judge Cannon has an incentive to become as partisan as she can be without triggering a move to impeach her (and the chances of the House voting to impeach her are probably significantly less than my chance of winning a Powerball drawing). In the absence of some kind of egregious behaviors, she has a safe seat on the bench for as long as she wants it.

    By being partisan, Cannon assures herself of being embraced as a member in good standing within the Federalist Society, and guarantees that she will be well rewarded with lucrative speaking engagements. Basically, she’ll won’t have any financial concerns, unless she develops some kind of costly addiction. Moderation would probably not be lauded.

    Also, if it’s at all possible to go judge shopping then she may influence the strategy behind certain cases, since she’d be seen as a reliable go-to judge for those who may not find a favorable outcome elsewhere. What leads me to wonder about district/judge shopping are stories I’ve heard about patent holders seeking to have their IP cases moved to Texas.

    Well, back to slinging dirty dirt.

    • timbo says:

      The House could impeach her tmw and refer the charges to the Senate. It is the Senate that would not convict her, although if the DP is in fully charge there, there might be a real trial instead of the muddled garbage we’ve had so far from recent GOP controlled Senates.

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump is inciting public violence to protect his criminal ass, but denying he’s doing it. He’s only giving his opinion, you see, a prediction, not a request, about how violently MAGA hats will respond were he indicted. Never mind what would happen were he convicted and incarcerated.

    Former Trump Consigliere Michael Cohen has often described this behavior. Like the Mafia don Trump imagines himself to be, he never says what he wants. He only suggests, implies, laments over who will rid him of this turbulent priest. And, lo, and behold, someone does. Every time.


    • TXphysicist says:

      “Nice country. Be ashamed if something were to… happen.. to it.”

      And then a few hours later, after receiving an intel briefing on a domestic terrorism threat assessment so horrific that we’ve been spared any of the details, Dick Durbin steps up to the mic and says, “[Trump’s] careless and inflammatory rhetoric has its consequences.”

      No, Dick. No, it does not.

      Because I think the main takeaway from Hugh Hewitt’s signal boost today is that Trump clearly believes that he’ll be indicted, and he is 100% uncowed. Trump probably thinks an indictment will help his 2024 odds more than hurt him, midterms be damned. It’s utterly pathetic that he might be right.

      I’m so tired of this timeline.

        • timbo says:

          I doubt it. He’s been getting away with this sort of thing for decades. He got elected President of the United States and continued to get away with it. He fomented an insurrection and so far has faced almost no significant consequence legally or politically. Why would this PRA/USG records issue be any different to his mind?

    • StevenL says:

      The questions these orders raise include:
      **Does Judge Cannon understand that, under 44 USC 2201 B, a Presidential Record “does not include any documentary materials that are [] official records of an agency (as defined in section 552(e) of title 5, United States Code” and thus she needs additional categories under 5.b.ii. of the Special Master order?
      **Can FPOTUS find a lawyer who can obtain a TS security clearance, and must the process wait on this?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Like the president, judges do not ordinarily have security clearances. Access comes with the job. Dearie is on senior status, which means he’s still a federal judge, just not full-time. I don’t know how that affects his access to these documents.

        As for Trump’s lawyers, yes, they would ordinarily need to obtain the requisite clearance before being granted access to classified documents. Some of these are TS/SCI, SAP, and possibly nuclear-related secrets. Hard to imagine anyone who would agree to work for Trump being speedily granted such clearances.

        But you never know. Trump just arranged, presumably through a PAC, to pay one of his lawyers $3 million. I’m pretty sure Trump would still be gagging on his Big Mac over that.

        • timbo says:

          Why would Trump care about the $3 mil at all? It’s PAC money, not his money. Heck, he contributed not one cent to that PAC, right?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          You haven’t been following Donald Trump. Everything is his: time, gravity, food, money, power, documents. He considers $3 million paid from his PAC his, just as much as he considers the presidential and federal records he stole to be his.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Aileen Cannon is doubling down on being a Trump acolyte. She declines to order the limited stay the DoJ asked for, and appoints Dearie as SM, with a full fucking 75 days to complete what I assume will be a de facto preliminary assessment. I understand the DoJ has already teed up its appeal to the 11th Cir.


    Cannon invents new rules and priorities, and guts established ones. When she has no authority to rely on, she doesn’t attempt to fill the gap. She just refers to some earlier statement of her own. Her reasoning, to be generous, looks like an audition for a seat on the 11th Cir., courtesy of Ron DeSantis. Circle jerk.

    I’m sure EW will have a dedicated post up before dawn, EDST.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      My recollection is that there are still details about the SM’s work that need to be worked out, including whether and to whom the SM can communicated ex parte.

      That said, if allowed, Dearie might prioritize the review of the documents the DoJ wanted exempted from Cannon’s stay, and release them to the government or make that recommendation to Cannon.

      Given the tenor of her orders, Cannon would resolutely refuse to release a partial set of documents. She has obviously chosen not to protect the public or the process, but Donald Trump personally.

    • timbo says:

      It certainly appears to be a way to delay a national security related investigation…so far. Let’s see what MG the AG is thinking when DOJ files its appeal?

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