Two Inconsistent Stories on Additional Searches of Trump’s Property

WaPo and CNN both have stories about searches by a professional firm on additional Trump properties, looking for stolen classified documents.

In addition to at least three paragraphs that are affirmatively misleading (one that does not push back on a bullshit quote about how cooperative Trump has been, one that described Trump’s outright obstruction as a “breakdown … in trust,” and one that claims Trump is trying to avoid another high profile search when the further search was ordered by Chief Judge Beryl Howell) WaPo describes only searches of Bedminster and, later, Trump Tower.

Trump’s legal team hired an outside firm to carry out the search of his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., and, more recently, Trump Tower in New York, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information.

In one paragraph, it describes that Trump’s lawyers told DOJ they did not turn up more documents, but in a follow-up, WaPo describes an attestation that may or may not apply to just Bedminster.

Trump’s lawyers have told the Justice Department that the outside team did not turn up any new classified information during their search, according to people familiar with the process, and have said they utilized a firm that had expertise in searching for documents.

[snip]

The group first conducted a search of Bedminster, and Trump’s attorneys have now attested to the Justice Department that no further materials were found, two people familiar with the matter said.

CNN’s story, however, describes searches of four properties.

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump recently hired a team to search four of his properties for any potentially remaining classified materials, according to a source familiar the matter.

The team of two searched Trump Tower in New York, the Bedminster golf club and two other properties amid lingering concerns from the Justice Department that not all documents had been returned to the federal government.

And while CNN’s single source would not reveal what Trump’s lawyers told DOJ about the results, it specifically said that “they” did not make an attestation.

The source would not detail what they have told the Justice Department about the search, but did say they have not attested to the Justice Department that no new material was found during the search.

That double negative — have not attested that no new material was found — might either suggest the lawyers or those doing the search have their own questions. Or it might suggest additional documents were found.

If more documents were found, it would change DOJ’s options on venue for charges, making Southern District of New York, New Jersey, or possibly even Northern Virginia, depending on where any additional documents were found.

Update: WaPo has updated their story to reflect that classified documents were found in a storage facility in Florida. Which might explain a good deal of the discrepancy.

People familiar with the matter said the storage unit had a mix of boxes, gifts, suits and clothes, among other things. “It was suits and swords and wrestling belts and all sorts of things,” this person said. “To my knowledge, he has never even been to that storage unit. I don’t think anyone in Trump world could tell you what’s in that storage unit.”

There was no cataloguing of what was put in the storage unit, Trump advisers said — just as there was no cataloguing of what classified documents were taken to a room underneath Mar-a-Lago.

image_print
129 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    The lack of an attestation to the DOJ strikes me as lawyers being lawyers, both those working for Trump and those at the DOJ. This looks like Trump’s team is trying to cut off any future warrants and searches, by undertaking their own outside search themselves first. If the outside firm found any document with classified markings at all, they ought to have turned them over that day. They could do it quietly, without fanfare, but holding onto them would make them part of a conspiracy.

    Just as DOJ didn’t want to tag along on these searches, to give them any veneer of government oversight, I suspect that the lawyers won’t make any broader attestations about what was or was not found unless and until a future warrant is presented. They are trying to create a record to go before a judge and say “Your honor, whatever the government said they think is there, they are wrong. We hired outsider to look for anything they missed, and here is their report of what they found. . . .” Having some kind of outside record *might* help they try to squash the subpoena.

    • emptywheel says:

      Do read the WaPo. As full of bullshit as it is, it makes it clear they only did the search after being ordered by Beryl Howell, which at a minimum gives this the authority of a subepoena.

      • SMS60 says:

        I read the WP story as being more vague about whether the judge “ordered” the search, or rather directed the lawyers to attest to a search having been done. Along the lines of, “if you are going to tell me there aren’t more documents, show me how you know that.” I’m not sure what proceeding would be going on where Howell would “order” a search. It could be some subpoena enforcement proceeding, but that seems like it would be out of the ordinary.

        • Clare Kelly says:

          First paragraph in the WaPo piece:
          “ Lawyers for former president Donald Trump conducted a search of at least two of his properties for classified materials in recent weeks, after they were instructed by a federal judge to attest they had fully complied with a May grand jury subpoena to turn over all materials bearing classified markings, according to people familiar with the matter.”

          • P J Evans says:

            I’m not sure they have strong reasons to do a thorough search, or that they even knew what to look for.

            • jecojeco says:

              One strong reason is to try to avoid an FBI search and they will know what to look for and they will find what they’re looking for and probably much more.

      • mass interest says:

        From Washington Post: “Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell told Trump’s legal team to continue to search for documents after the Justice Department expressed concerns that the team had not fully complied with a subpoena earlier this year. Howell, according to people familiar with the matter, did not give specific orders on how a search should be done.”

        If Judge Howell didn’t specify how the search should be conducted, does her order have the authority of a subpoena?

        • SMS60 says:

          It would be for the same subpoena issued in May 2022, which was not limited to any particular location so would encompass classified materials held at the other facilities. It’s the use of the phrase “told Trump’s legal team” to continue searching that seems off to me. I think if DOJ says we think there is more and DJT says there is no more, the Judge would likely tell DJT say under oath (“attest”) to the fact search was made and there are no more. Then its up to DOJ to provide evidence that its wrong. And if that evidence is strong enough to establish probable cause, get a warrant and go search yourself.

          • [email protected] says:

            yes, and an under oath TESTIMONY on the stand before a grand jury by lawyers or the searchers the lawyers hired would not necessarily be labelled an ‘attestation’ by an attorney-news-source to a layman reporter.

            so, the stories/reporting as i understand them/it at the moment would not necessarily preclude that 1) the lawyers testified, or that 2) the searchers [a] attested in writing or [b] testified….

            admittedly, I’m not addressing work product or a.c. priv here (because Beryl Howell has already stripped these in J6 investigations, so I’m assuming she could have done so here, as well).

      • SMS60 says:

        FWIW, from my non-criminal law background, I just don’t see all this happening (as described in the articles) as part of the initial subpoena procedure. A judge does not participate in a group project to retrieve documents, other than potentially telling a recipient to state under oath that they have complied. And why now? But I could see this arising as part of DJT resistance to a GJ subpoena to Alina Habba (who has already submitted an affidavit saying she searched all these locations – although not for classified docs). Particularly at a time when lots of witnesses are getting called. I could see Howell wanting someone to go on record and under oath that there aren’t classified docs before ruling on whether DOJ can question Habba (who unquestionably was acting as DJT’s lawyer when she submitted that affidavit) over attorney-client privilege objections.

    • smf88011 says:

      This could be a “Oh shoot! We still have documents at Trump properties that we shouldn’t have! Trump wants to keep them though! We will just tell the DOJ that we conducted a search and hope like heck that they don’t call us on it!”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Without a credible attestation from the search team, Trump’s lawyers, and Trump, the search results have little value. Given the track record Trump and his lawyers have for telling the truth, I’m not sure their attestations would be credible in any case. Nor does it add to their credibility that they searched four sites – or two – with all of two people.

      Had Trump’s lawyers wanted to be more credible, they would have used more staff and searched the sites simultaneously and without notice, so as to preclude Trump from playing hide-the-eight-ball. If they did, it should have been part of the story, and DoJ should have details of the date and time of each search, and amount of time devoted to each.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        I don’t see how Judge Howell can accept a lack of a final answer on a specific task tied to a subpoena. If the search was complete, there has to be an answer, e.g. no docs or docs that are possibly responsive. Whether there are classified docs present would be a subset and I would be surprised in Judge Howell didn’t ask for an accounting of those knowing about M-a-L.

        My speculation is that DoJ did not tag along to give Individual-1 a last chance to play nice before DoJ drops hammers on him.

        • timbozone says:

          DOJ declined to tag along…as per DOJ and FBI policy when there are issues of private firms complying with subpoenas of production. At least according to the news report i just read.

        • bawiggans says:

          DOJ/FBI don’t “tag along” on someone else’s search with someone else’s agenda led by someone else’s agents. That would be a fool’s errand and would lend credibility to a process over which they had no control. Their non-participation in this search is a non-issue.

      • Badger Robert says:

        I have to agree with our esteemed Earl. It reads like another shuffle in the shell game.

        [FYI – I have changed the username on this comment to match the one you’ve used 877 times so far. I suspect you unintentionally used a real name. /~Rayne]

      • Drew in Bronx says:

        I think this may be the thing. (Since it is a repetition of what they have done before) They want to portray–mostly to the public–that they have done these things: i.e. searched and said what they have and haven’t found. “So why is everybody being so technical? We did it and said it, like they said!” But assiduously avoiding actually making an attestation for which they could be held accountable by a judge.

        Only Aileen Cannon among judges will go for that bushwa, but it makes the political point for Trump’s public and sort of freezes certain people in the middle who “want to be fair”.

    • BruceF says:

      Knowledge, on Trump’s part, that the Archives has some inventory control and knows additional documents remain out there somewhere!

      • Kope a Pia says:

        This search was about documents marked classified so I am assuming that missing Presidential records where not included in the search.

  2. Clare Kelly says:

    Ty, Dr Wheeler.

    When/if the IRS chooses to audit my tax returns, I shall tell them I examined them and found no issues…after I call the WaPo.

    • JonathanW says:

      Further advice: if the IRS subsequently decides to execute a search warrant for evidence that you incorrectly claimed itemized deductions you should file a civil action in federal court asking the judge to enjoin the audit. Specifically you can claim that the receipts are your personal property AND that the unprecedented raid on your home is embarrassing to you and your reputation with your HOA is being tarnished so the audit should be stopped for those reasons.

      Mods I’m using my phone so my IP address may look different but it’s really me! Also I hope my sarcasm isn’t ruined by incorrect use of legal terms :)

  3. DaveInTheUK says:

    Good news: I’ve just searched my house for anything illegal, and I swear to you all I didn’t find anything. Honest, guv…

    There’s an episode of Blackadder Goes Forth where they suspect a spy is passing secrets to the Germans, and our eponymous hero is tasked with investigating. On having his impartiality questioned, Blackadder tells Captain Darling “Believe me, I will be asking MYSELF some pretty searching questions later on.”

  4. StevenL says:

    Bear in mind that the May subpoena concerned only documents with classified markings.

    Even if the reported lawyer representations are accurate, FPOTUS may still be in possession of large quantities of stolen presidential records–some of which may even be highly sensitive to the point that classification would be appropriate, but that were never formally classified.

    • SteveinMA says:

      That’s something I have been wondering about. Classified docs are not the only illegally retained items found at Mar a Lago. Lots of other stuff illegally retained was discovered om the earlier searches, so one could reasonably predict that further searches would find similar documents. Worth noting the lawyers did not attest to the existence of non-classified docs Trump should not have possession of, though granted this was not (apparently) requested that they do..

  5. Scott Rose says:

    In a first instance, who are the anonymous sources for CNN and the Washington Post on the things alleged for this story?

    Who is currently motivated to have the public believe that Trump looked for more documents he is not authorized to have, and that none were found? As anybody can see, the search as described was not thorough enough to be conclusive.

    I further note Trump’s ongoing lack of remorse in having stolen documents to which he has no right. His spokespeople’s demonization of the DOJ included in these stories is grotesque.

  6. oldtulsadude says:

    From my reading of WaPo, the order from Judge Howell is not new; only the searches are new.
    The lawyers attested nothing additional was found; they have yet to attest all secret documents have been returned.

  7. viget says:

    My parse is they found new material at (likely) one of the two unnamed properties. It may or may not be classified (hard to tell).

    Clearly the sources for WaPo were trying a limited hangout by not mentioning the 2 unknown properties, which I’m guessing the CNN source wanted to distance themselves from.

    Or alternatively, the WaPo sources are spokespeople/PR flunkies told to say something and the CNN source is a search party member and/or a lawyer that actually knows what happened. So it’s possible the WaPo sources weren’t *deliberately* obfuscating the facts.

      • viget says:

        The plot thickens… “At least” 2 items, and the search was of “at least” 3 properties.

        “At least” is doing a lot of heavy lifting in that article.

        Still think there’s more…likely at property #4. I guess it’s also possible there were 2 storage units at MAL, one with and one without classified docs.

        Unfortunately that would keep jurisdiction in SDFL.

        • Topchap says:

          New here, but wondering. If I robbed a bank in Las Vegas and stashed some of the loot in the Arizona desert, some in a cave in New Mexico and the rest in a closet in my home in Colorado, why wouldn’t my subsequent trial be expected to be held in Nevada? Isn’t the initial crime the theft (from the White House), with jurisdiction in D.C., with possible additional charges of illegal storage of stolen goods (in SDFl) and other venues?

          • Rugger_9 says:

            Short answer, it will probably be in DC going forward. The reason the FL judge (not Cannon) was involved was to approve the search warrant at M-a-L.

      • timbozone says:

        What’s of interest is whether or not those same lawyers saw documents at all locations that should be at NARA but don’t happen to be marked as classified. I’m betting they may have. And I’m also betting that they aren’t mentioned in any communications with Howell until he or some other judge specifically asked about the status on that. The subpoena in question is only for classified marked and related DNI documents, not for all PRA covered records, correct?

  8. GWPDA says:

    I wish we knew what firm – or what kind of firm -it might be that specialises in searching for ‘missing’ documents. All I can think of would be Pinkertons or a modern equivalent.

    • jecojeco says:

      You send only two people to search 4 locations when you don’t want to find anything. No reputable firm would do that, so we have to assume the unnamed firm is not reputable. Apparently nobody will attest that all documents have been found so the search is eyewash especially given the team trump track record on this case so far. Further attempt at delay.

      FBI sent 40-50 agents to search a few MAL rooms with cameras running,everything documented up the ying-yang. Team trump sends two unnamed square badges to poke around 4 different locations and they report back “everything’s OK, boss”.

      Why is team trump so apprehensive about an FBI search if all gov docs have been located? My guess is there are more sensitive documents in his possession beyond what NARA and DOJ know about. If trump has docs in Florida lockers why wouldn’t he have docs in more than his office and the crypt at MAL. Saying he lost track of where all the gov docs he stole are isn’t a very good excuse for docs popping up in a Florida storage locker.

      Rudy’s assertion that trump’s custodianship of the stolen US documents was practically as good as the government’s was funny when he first said it and it’s side-splitting funny now. Does US keep secret documents in storage space rentals around DC?

      Beryl (she, her) would be a complete fool to accept this search as adequate.

      PS why hasn’t DOJ searched trump’s electronics for illegal copies of documents, he’s clearly spinning out of control with lots of sensitive info

      • xbronx says:

        Trump’s use of burner phones might be the high point of his technological know-how as it’s fairly well documented that he is tech-averse. This may not be the case, however, for those around him. Adding to your point, I think the electronics of those around him should have their tech searched for illegal copies. (I tend to be a techno-peasant myself but even I laugh at the far-too-many movies that have people searching for that one flash drive when whatever’s on that drive could have been shared with untold numbers of users in a matter of minutes)

  9. Just Some Guy says:

    Haberman’s now weighing in on the NYT website, with the following:

    “Former President Donald J. Trump hired people to search three of his properties after being directed by a federal judge to look harder for any classified material still in his possession, and they did not find anything, according to two people familiar with the events.

    “The searches, which were completed around Thanksgiving, were conducted at Mr. Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J.; at Trump Tower in New York; and in a storage area at Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence in Florida, according to the people familiar with the events.”

    • viget says:

      So, this pretty much confirms my thinking, thanks Trump stenographers! The dog that didn’t bark strikes again.

      Something clearly was found at unknown property 4. Not sure if classified or not, but it’s something the DOJ probably needs to know about.

    • timbozone says:

      Initially missing was any description of the search at a Florida storage locker. Why is that is a good question to ask Habermann?

    • Frank Probst says:

      I think the “tell” for me in this snip is that this all happened “…around Thanksgiving…”. The fact that things like this are STILL happening suggests to me that someone isn’t buying the story about Trump having turned everything over to the DOJ, and Trump’s lawyers are still playing cutesy with their language to make it SOUND plausible that they searched every nook and cranny when what they did was only a cursory search.

    • BruceF says:

      And those hired by Trump to conduct this search were properly cleared to search for/handle TOP SECRET government documents?

      Or, had Trump telepathically declassified them?

  10. Inspector Clouseau says:

    Well it now looks like the line about nothing being found at tower or bedminster was a way to throw off the media as classified docs were now reported to be found in the FL storage locker. I get that the main stream media bit on that and ran with their story from their “sources” – but at what point will the judicial branch stop allowing them to wag the dog here? After how many letters, subpoenas and judges instructions continuing to turn up classified material will they drop the hammer. If this were anyone else they would be counting the number of decades they were going to spend behind bars playing keep away from the DOJ like this.

  11. ExpatR&RDino-sour says:

    It seems reporters can now pretty much print anything they want and just say a person told them blah, blah. Didn’t WoodStein nearly blow Watergate by getting the signal from a single source wrong? The rush to get a story out seems to outweigh making sure a) it IS a story and b) the facts are correct. Thankfully, I can check what Dr. Wheeler writes and separate the chaff out.

  12. obsessed says:

    So confusing. To get a search warrant you have to have fresh information that the thing you want is in a certain place, right? It’s not enough that only Trump had access to the secret docs, that the government is certain it no longer has them, and that they weren’t at Mar-a-Lago? Even though it can be deduced that Trump must have the missing docs (or has destroyed them) a judge would still refuse to approve a search of the other properties because it’s too invasive, as opposed to Mar-a-Lago where someone apparently told them precisely where to look? On another topic, let’s say you have evidence that you committed a crime and that the cops know you have it. You’d destroy it, right? So if these still exist, they must be something of great value as opposed to something inculpatory?

  13. Bears7485 says:

    I’m a bit confused. Do private firms exist that can be hired to search for classified documents? How does security clearance work with such a search?

    • Buzzkill Stickinthemud says:

      What classified documents? Trump declassified everything using the same powers the kids used in Escape to Witch Mountain.

    • Raven Eye says:

      Actually, there are people with clearances scattered all throughout private firms. However, you do wonder if firms that have those kind of personnel readily available on staff would take on work for Trump.

      There is also the question of handling, storage, and chain of custody for any materials found. For some levels of information, a debriefing would be required, which would need to be acknowledged by signature and witness.

      • Bears7485 says:

        Thank you for the response. It never really occurred to me that that type of service would be needed.

        Thank you for your work here as well. The knowledge and perspective presented here are so unique in a sea of for-profit journalism.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        If they’re not lawyers, they would normally be hired by Trump’s lawyers, so as to preserve A-C privilege. Also increases the odds of being paid close to on-time and the full amount of the bill, although every Trump vendor by now should be demanding payment or a retainer up front.

  14. cbear says:

    Who did Trump hire to conduct the search? Four Seasons Total Landscaping?
    “They were already on property and sprucing up things when, with Rudy’s advice and counsel, we hired them. “

  15. Thorvold says:

    Based on Jason Leopold’s FOIA’d e-mails, it looks like one of the locations that boxes were shipped to after Jan 20 was an off-site storage facility near Mar-a-Lago close to the Palm Beach Airport (1520 Belvedere Rd). It is possible that this is one of the 4 properties that was searched this time. I could definitely see where “storage room at Mar-a-Lago” and “storage facility” could get confused in general even if one is on-site and the other is off-site, and I wonder whether the DOJ has actually searched this storage facility since we haven’t seen any reporting that specifically mentioned it before. Since Trump was co-mingling classified docs and personal items, it would not be a stretch for docs to have been mixed in with the boxes of personal effects that they were sending down for long term storage at the off-site facility.

    Here is the link to Jason Leopold’s twitter thread with lots of fun e-mails to read.
    https://twitter.com/jasonleopold/status/1578200219216248833

  16. GWPDA says:

    The swords most likely were gifts from a foreign nation and would also be possessed in contravention of law.

    • J R in WV says:

      Wouldn’t much of the odd stuff found with the documents by the FBI potentially be gifts to the former president — which are legally owned by the government?

      Of course Trump’s administration was never interested in tracking those gifts, being unaware that they were required to be turned over and not taken home at the end of his term!

  17. Leoghann says:

    How many false reports and statements has the Big Liar dictated to various professionals in his employ over the past decade? These “search contractors” were hired by Trump’s lawyers, who work for Trump. Said lawyers have characterized The two contractors as being very good at searching for documents. Actually almost anyone can look for paper. The very idea that anyone’s word can be taken seriously in that buck passing game is absurd.

    • GeeSizzle says:

      I think that article was updated on the sly. Pretty sure my first read through said that no documents were found. Pretty big edit I’d say. What struck me while reading was the stenographer effect. (“people close to Trump”) – ummm, who dat? And also, the vague passive voice (“searches that were completed”) etc. Maggie really sickens me. Anyone got a wayback machine handy?

      • harpie says:

        Most recent reader comment:

        anthony / Brooklyn /3m ago
        Your earlier article said NO documents were found. The Trump cadre hired an independent team to search for more documents. They found 2 apparently. […]

        • Rugger_9 says:

          Well, I would say that the probability of another FBI search just went way up, because if stuff is STILL being found a housecleaning is in order. As noted above, all of the 500 or so entities in Individual-1’s empire could have places to hide stuff even before considering storage lockers. It will be a big job with lots of warrants.

          Whether the TrumpOrg blob would do that is a question that is already answered: note how they tried to dodge the convictions by creating Trump Organization II to hide assets.

          • Raven Eye says:

            Does this mean that a some point in time someone is going to want to look at Trump Organization books to see what was spent where on storage and haulage within a date range?

            • Rayne says:

              Assuming it was Trump Org and not another entity affiliated with the Trump presidency like a PAC — though whatever it was should have to cough up invoices, payments, bills of lading, receiving documents.

              • Raven Eye says:

                Oh Lord. I hadn’t considered the PAC.

                Understanding Trump’s obsession with Other People’s Money (OPM), wouldn’t that be the first place he’d turn to for funding anything remotely related to his political activities? I have to think that dragging the PAC into these criminal investigations would be an (another?) investigatory nightmare, but how could you not do it?

      • Just Some Guy says:

        I quoted the article directly all of an hour and forty-some-odd minutes ago:

        “Former President Donald J. Trump hired people to search three of his properties after being directed by a federal judge to look harder for any classified material still in his possession, and they did not find anything, according to two people familiar with the events.

        “The searches, which were completed around Thanksgiving, were conducted at Mr. Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J.; at Trump Tower in New York; and in a storage area at Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence in Florida, according to the people familiar with the events.”

        Must be embarrassing for, I dunno, someone at the NYT to constantly have to clean up Maggie’s messes.

      • PieIsDamnGood says:

        The Wayback Machine is amazing even if you aren’t going very far back!

        Dec 7th 17:00:04
        “Former President Donald J. Trump hired people to search three of his properties after being directed by a federal judge to look harder for any classified material still in his possession, and they did not find anything, according to two people familiar with the events.”

        Dec 7th 20:15:43
        “Former President Donald J. Trump hired people to search four properties after being directed by a federal judge to look harder for any classified material still in his possession, and they found at least two documents with classified markings inside a sealed box in one of the locations, according to a person familiar with the matter.”

        https://web.archive.org/web/20220000000000*/https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/07/us/politics/trump-classified-documents-search.html

        • GeeSizzle says:

          Thanks, I thought maybe I was losing my mind. Multitasking past middle-aged is not advised, but no choice.

          Good grief, Maggie’s stenography held up for barely 15 minutes.

          In other news, I simply CANNOT see your username and not read it as “PIELS is damn good.” Which is so not true and hopefully it is no longer being “brewed.”

  18. Doctor My Eyes says:

    I continue to be amazed and dismayed at the kind of absurdities we interested parties end up discussing when it comes to Trump. He stole classified documents, lied about it, blew off respectful attempts to discover them, and finally was proven beyond any doubt to have them in his possession. And now we have private citizen Trump shrugging his shoulders, “I dunno where more classified documents might be, but as good will gesture I’ll hire professional finders to look for more.” In other words, the former president clearly didn’t give a shit what happened to classified documents of the US government that he stole. And here we all, me included, become fascinated with the details of the surrealism, who did what when, how many, the press coverage. It is outrageous to think of a private citizen hiring a firm to look for classified documents he may or may not have “misplaced”. The entire story is beyond outrageous. Even Haberman’s considerable normalizing skills are put to the test. Yikes!

    I wonder if there’s a team that could find my car keys.

  19. viget says:

    I kind of want to know exactly how thoroughly the items in this storage unit were searched. It’s not unreasonable that classified documents could actually be hidden inside other items.

    I think Judge Howell might want to know too. And the FBI.

    • jecojeco says:

      trump lawyers seem petrified of a broader search,why? More docs and stolen gov property beyond what DOJ and NARA know are missing. I also think trump wholesale copied sensitive gov docs, each copy of a classified doc being a violation. Howell would be the world’s biggest fool to accept this garbage from team trump as a satisfactory alternative to FBI search.

      It’s not just a question of finding all the incriminating evidence, it’s about retrieving sensitive/defense type info.

      Years from now sensitive defense docs turn up after trump locker contents get auctioned for storage non-payment…

      • earthworm says:

        yeah — makes me think of the dishes the Bidens had to rent for the recent state dinner (snark in case not obvious).

    • Legonaut says:

      Since the August search, we’ve all had a crash course in the ramifications of mixing documents with classification markings in with other stuff, swords and wrestling belts and all.

      Aren’t the entire contents of the storage unit eligible to be seized and sifted, since the were adjacent to classified materials?

  20. rattlemullet says:

    Most likely trump did it just to contaminate the potential crime scenes. Any future search of these properties by the DoJ would be useless for many reasons now.

  21. Nick Caraway says:

    I note two issues regarding the WaPo story. As I read it, the Post did not challenge Trump’s team when the Trump said that they undertook their own search in order to avoid another “high profile” Federal search. But the DOJ conducted the August 8 search quietly; it was Trump who publicized it so that he could cry victim. Feels to me that the Post let Trump’s team get away with something by allowing that framing.

    Secondly, I am curious about the “storage unit” in question. The story states that GSA helped arrange the rental, and that the unit is located in West Palm Beach. How is it secured, and what kind of temperature/ humidity control does it have? Who knew of it? And assuming the GSA did not know of the classified documents, would they have insisted on a high grade facility, or not?

  22. Savage Librarian says:

    I wonder if anyone checked the ‘pool house’ for documents. Some of the staffers are no longer there, but maybe they know something:

    “Trump’s young guns: The five former White House staffers setting up his Mar-a-Lago office” – Washington Examiner, Rob Crilly, 1/23/21

    “Five junior staffers have followed former President Donald Trump from the White House to Florida to set up his personal office and plan his next moves.”

    “The team is using a property at Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago club to get organized, said a former White House official who is familiar with the situation. “It sounds a bit like a pool house,” he said.”
    …..
    “Margo Martin, a White House press assistant who was a familiar sight at Trump press interactions cajoling journalists into (and then out of) the Oval Office or other locations, is handling communications.”

    “The rest of the team includes Nick Luna, formerly the then-president’s body man (or personal assistant); Will Russell, director of the Trump White House advance team; Molly Michael, who worked as Oval Office coordinator; and Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former chief of staff Mark Meadows.”

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/trump-young-guns-white-house-staffers-mar-a-lago-office

  23. Rugger_9 says:

    OT: Hopefully everyone said a prayer for the Pearl Harbor victims (listen to the Navy hymn). Sean Spicer tried but called it D-Day instead. I am embarrassed to say he’s a USN reservist CDR. Ye gods. Popehat flagged it:

    https://twitter.com/Popehat/status/1600564535529963520/photo/1

    At least Sean tried, unlike much of the rest of the media:

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2022/12/7/2140593/-Did-the-Media-Know-Today-is-the-81st-Anniversary-of-Pearl-Harbor-Seems-Not

    • xbronx says:

      Fukuyama was wrong. The “end of history” will not be when liberal democracy is ascendant around the world. (Or any other single political philosophy) It is much simpler. The “end of history” will be much plainer and simpler – when History, capital H History, will give intellectual credence to a Newt Gingrich counterfactual. Or, to quote William Goldman from his critique of Hollywood in another context, a time when “nobody knows anything”. Based on the likes of Sean Spicer and Sam Alito, the Republican Party is already there.

  24. jecojeco says:

    If trump has been hiding significant documents and other stolen US property at numerous trump locs while playing whack-a-mole with DOJ, at what point does civil seizure come into play. Much smaller fry have been roasted by seizures for lesser crimes.

    PS I’ll take the over on 2 documents being found (might be 2 bankers boxes of documents).

    • Sam Wellington says:

      “If more documents were found, it would change DOJ’s options on venue for charges, making Southern District of New York, New Jersey, or possibly even Northern Virginia, depending on where any additional documents were found.”

      Watch Trump get caught saying the docs came from the federal facility in Florida (Cannon land) rather than where they were actually from in NY!

      [FYI – you had another typo, this time in your email address which I’ve repaired. I won’t fix a third one. /~Rayne]

  25. Bobster33 says:

    This current obsession with classified documents seems to ignore the possibility of Trump or one of his minions taking pictures of the classified documents. I survey buildings for the federal government and regularly receive sensitive information. I also take pictures containing sensitive equipment (nothing classified). If you wanted to eliminate my access to that information, you’d have to scrub all of my computers (12), all of my cell phones (3) and all of my memory sticks (>50).

    The FBI/DOJ may be successful (one day) at recovering all of the classified documents. However, without a warrant to cover Trump’s (and his minions’) computers, cameras, and phones, those classified documents may still be available to Trump and his minions.

  26. Doctor My Eyes says:

    Breaking: Chicago business man Al Capone’s lawyers announced that independent auditors hired by them have combed through Capone’s financial records. Two rounding errors were discovered, which have been corrected. Capone has been cooperative with the government in their investigation.

  27. Kick the Darkness says:

    Maybe I just missed it in the WaPo story. It’s kind of a snarky question, but I do wonder. Say you’ve got a client in a bit of pickle and a federal judge is asking them to certify they don’t have top secret government documents scattered around their estate-boxes, drawers, RVs, the maintenance shed for the back 9, etc. Who are you going to call?

    FBI? They said we’re working for somebody else. Spooks N’ A Shell, LLC? Risky strategy. Short term gain, long term pain. A special master looking for a gig job? “Barbara? Hi-its Jim. This is going to sound weird, but….”. I did try googling it. Not much turned up. Although now I do have a Sunbeam Tiger with retreads parked around the corner.

    What kind of firm do you retain to rummage through your stuff to see if you have pilfered secret government stuff?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Not hard for Big Law to find someone. For starters, law firms and private security firms with cleared personnel. The bigger issue is the scope of their work.

      • Kick the Darkness says:

        Thanks Earl. Upon reflection I suppose there might very well be a bankable number of people who, for whatever reason, run afoul of government clearance. Contracts, stuff like that maybe. And then your representation would need…clearance.

        From a professional standpoint I imagine it could be interesting, but you’d have to keep a clear sense of what hat you were wearing at any given time. And as I thought about that, the posts here going back to Michael Sussmann and the taxi receipts came to mind. Maybe that’s kind of along the lines of the Big Law nexus you mean.

  28. Raphael St. James says:

    Judge Howell is breaking the law. Presidents do not own classified materials. That is all we need here. He had(s) classified docs after his presidency, which is illegal. Pretty black and white.

Comments are closed.