DOJ Moves for Contempt as Injunction Finally Lifted

I’m in transit and Google Fi is being useless so won’t say much about the two developing stories in the stolen document case.

But as WaPo and CNN are reporting, DOJ has asked Beryl Howell to hold Trump’s office in contempt for refusing to certify their searches for classified documents.

I guess my instinct that yesterday’s serial disclosures about additional stolen documents was just a cover story turned out to be correct.

Meanwhile, the 11th Circuit’s order vacating the Special Master order will now go into place and over the next day, DOJ will finally get the ability to question Trumpsters about the unclassified documents interspersed with classified documents.

118 replies
  1. giorgino says:

    You have to love the English language, its abuses included. TFG said “they should give me immediately back the documents” lol

  2. rip no longer says:

    And which of trump’s eager beagles would certify that they searched that casket buried in Bedminster?

    “Trump’s side has taken the position that such a request is unreasonable — that no lawyer could sign such a blanket certification in good faith or advise any client to do so, as opposed to attesting that a search of a given location has been completed in good faith.”

    • Unabogie says:

      This is a ridiculous conspiracy theory but I’d be lying if I didn’t believe it was entirely possible. I think most of the theory rests on the twin bizarre realities that Trump stole top secret documents and kept them in pool closets and storage lockers, and Ivana Trump died and Trump buried her in a nondescript hole on his golf course. That’s just weird. It’s so weird that it’s almost impossible to accept it on its face without imagining ways in which it’s a ruse.

      • wa_rick says:

        The thing about Trump…is that anyone’s first instinct(s) about his actions and motives usually turn out to be correct.

        • eyesoars says:

          … usually turn out … to underestimate his awfulness.

          Frequently because what he’s actually done is so awful he’s had to get out in front of the story with a made-up story to head off the real one.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        I read that one possible reason for the choice of burial site is a tax break from calling it a cemetery. Apparently the requirements for such a designation for tax purposes in that area are easy to meet. This guess has exactly the amount of pure money-oriented self-interest to be believable. Clever subterfuges are not Trump’s long suit, but who knows. One can imagine so many things that might pop into Trump’s head to bury in that casket. Actually, anything would be believable. Absolutely anything.

          • HikaakiH says:

            My memory of the coverage around Ivana Trump’s interment at Bedminster was that having the property designated as a cemetery, in addition to favorable tax treatment, provided some privileged position in the event of the owner of the property facing bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings.

        • Rayne says:

          Designation as a cemetery wasn’t a tax break for the golf course business as much as it was protection for the course as Trump org assets from seizure and forfeiture, IIRC.

            • Rayne says:

              It’s sick, isn’t it? Using his dead ex-wife’s body as a human shield after he betrayed her and treated her badly?

              What’s it say that he might have been worried about the course being seized?

              • HikaakiH says:

                After losing the 2020 election, somewhere deep inside, he’s known the walls are closing in. We’d all like it to happen sooner than later, but he hasn’t won anything substantive for a while now and I don’t his losing streak is about to change. [I’d add a fingers crossed emoji here if I could.]

          • ernesto1581 says:

            NJ 45:27-20. Exemption from certain taxes.

            e. Land dedicated to cemetery purposes and structures, buildings, and equipment used for the maintenance of that land or the operation of a cemetery shall be exempt from sale for collection of judgments.
            g. When bankruptcy, receivership or other court proceeding necessitates the selling of cemetery company lands, the court shall require the purchaser to incorporate as a cemetery company.

            • -mamake- says:

              One would think there would be a specific threshold (# of corpses) to earn the desgnation of a cemetery.

              • HikaakiH says:

                Having a minimum number of bodies buried on the site would create an incentive of the wrong sort if you happened to be one or two short of the requirement. Mind you, the Trump’s were just one short of the requirement prior to Ivana falling down a staircase, so who knows if we haven’t already seen this play out? (This is idle speculation with zero factual basis.)

      • smf88011 says:

        I don’t think that Don The Con buried anything with Ivana’s remains in the casket. He would have put it under the casket.

      • Lady4Real says:

        The fact that Ivana’s remains were cremated and the pallbearers (6-8) appeared to struggle under the weight of the coffin was a detail that appeared suspicious. Most people do not bury cremated remains in a coffin and if they do the weight would be negligible for 6-8 grown men.

        Now, I’m not saying that the burial plot (for tax purposes) or the weight of the casket points to there being top secret documents buried on the property, just that tfg does soo much criming it would not be unreasonable to suspect him of doing such a thing.

    • Ravenclaw says:

      Um, no. I mean, it’s a fun “theory” to bandy about while stoned but makes no real sense. If I want to keep documents for their possible value in the future, I don’t bury them in a public place from which they cannot readily be retrieved. And if I want to get rid of the documents because they are dangerous evidence, I just put them in the fireplace and light a match.

  3. Rugger_9 says:

    This step was pretty predictable once the report came out, considering how many opportunities the DoJ gave to come clean more quietly. However, Individual-1 apparently has decided to draw the lines of ‘privilege’, ‘personal docs’ and ‘declassified’ in the sand. When the wave of DoJ searches come it won’t matter after the 11CA decision that SCOTUS chose not to intervene (Thomas would even if not asked), the lines will all be swept away into the surf.

    We could do a pool on how long and how expansive the searches will be, because I have no doubt now they are coming soon.

    • ThomasJ7777 says:

      I will offer my tea leaves regarding how extensive the coming DOJ searches will be.

      * All of Trump’s properties, including the ones his lawyers claim have already been searched.

      *Ivana Trump’s grave
      * The homes and offices of several of his aides
      *The homes and offices of his adult children
      *The homes and offices of two of his lawyers (Corcoran, Bobb)
      * Also, phones, emails, computers, electronic devices of all of the above.

      • timbozone says:

        Re: all of Trump’s properties

        What exactly is a Trump property? Legally, there’s a lot of murk there so you would likely want to broaden the search locations to include places where he resides and/or has unfettered access to/control over.

  4. BobBobCon says:

    “I guess my instinct that yesterday’s serial disclosures about additional stolen documents was just a cover story turned out to be correct.”

    It’s amazing how it’s been easily seven years since Trump has been covered by politics beat reporters, and yet the needle has barely moved away from the default assumption that things coming from his camp are said in good faith.

    I think editors and reporters are less resistant over time toward moving to an understanding that he’s lying. But they still cover every new issue with a presumption of good faith, as if they’re covering a Shiawassee County Drain Commissioner proposing a temporary one cent reduction in assessments for farms larger than 300 acres.

    • Dr. Pablito says:

      Hey, BobBobCon, I like that. I’m gonna have to update my McGuffin elected office from “Vector Control Office, Paducah, Kentucky” to “Shiawassee County Drain Commissioner”. And we can only hope that a finding of contempt will mean a whole lot of guys in stenciled windbreakers pawing through a lot of TFG’s properties. As to the exhumation, I bet they could just start with a little discreet ground-penetrating radar.

    • Rayne says:

      Wait, wait, wait the actual fuck…did you pull Shiawassee County Drain Commissioner out of thin air or are you in Shiawassee County?

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      Thank you for this clarity. I try to dream up comparisons to demonstrate how surrealistic this all is; all of them fall short. This comment quite clarifies one of the stunning aspects of Trump coverage. I was thinking after my attempt to compare the situation to what it would look like if Al Capone did that, and realized that handling top secret and higher documents the way Trump has is much worse than anything Capone ever did, because it affects more people and probably results in wasting more of the people’s money than Capone ever stole. This makes the situation all the more ridiculous. I think it’s the credulous coverage that lends such an air of unreality. And btw, it’s possible that the leak of these documents could even result in more murders than Capon did.

      • Raven Eye says:

        “…because it affects more people and probably results in wasting more of the people’s money…”

        That’s a depressing statement. In this situation the government “can’t not” continue the search for classified documents or items — even if Trump was no longer available to be prosecuted.

        Trump truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Trump already killed far more people than Capone ever did. His malignant response to Covid when it was raging in “blue states” and among Black communities resulted in thousands of unnecessary deaths. That was a willful decision by him and Jared Kushner, a pair of sociopathic narcissists who would blame each other for mistakes they shared in the making.

        • Rayne says:

          Let’s not forget the thousands who died his first year in office because of his emergency response failures in Puerto Rico related to Hurricane Maria.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            Absolutely. But those weren’t “Americans,” in his view. Not like those desirable folks from northern Europe, who have the distinct advantage of being white and … well, white.

            • Rayne says:

              A-yup. Everything we needed to know about him was exposed that first year, from his first week in office with the Muslim ban, to the ill-begotten raid in Yemen the same month, to Hurricane Maria. And then his handling of the Paradise wildfire in 2018 in which elderly and disabled were most at risk and died.

  5. John Paul Jones says:

    Okay, so Trump’s searchers refuse to attest that their search was complete, and additionally turn up two more documents responsive to the original subpoena. Will a holding of contempt amount to giving DOJ enough probable cause to get search warrants for the additional Trump properties which his “team” claimed to have searched? Caveat: IANAL, just an avid reader of the best blog ever for helping folks understand what “rule of law” means and how it works.

    • AlaskaReader says:

      Rule of Law:
      the restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws.

      As to how that works? …it’s pretty inconsistent.

    • timbozone says:

      If it’s criminal contempt then things start to slow down a bit is my guess…so I’d think that the issue of probable cause is separate and distinct here. If it is critical that the government learn whether or not Trump has missing classified and NDI records that would seem to be something that’s more important than waiting for a criminal contempt ruling to finalize. If it’s a civil contempt ruling then that’s just giving more time to Trump to comply and has less weight with regard to probable cause. Again, that would make probable cause a separate issue from contempt. Note that my understanding is that probable cause requires a lot less than a criminal contempt ruling. On the other hand, probable cause posits that a crime has indeed been committed.


      The above are just jumping off points. I got side-tracked by reading the ruling by SCOTUS in

      No. 16–402. Argued November 29, 2017—Decided June 22, 2018

      so am off on my own wild-goosechase it seems now.

    • Tech Support says:

      With a relentless tactic of delay, delay, delay, you would think right?

      Apparently though when the ruling is, in effect, “fuck you and the judge you rode in on,” and the media sphere is openly laughing at you for being put on blast by your own appointees, the emotional price to be paid for a little more delay is too high.

    • smf88011 says:

      His attorneys saw the writing on the wall and knew it would be pointless. In fact, I suspect that it would have been even more than just a time killer; it could have been sanctionable if they filed. Basically the ruling was something along the lines of “Hey idiots! This shouldn’t have happened, your pet judge should have ever gotten involved, that we are requiring the pet judge to vacate her decision, and it is ridiculous for you to even have gotten this far. Don’t do it again! If you do, you will have to face consequences of it!”

  6. Michael1976 says:

    IANAL- can Trump be held in contempt without affecting double jeopardy? From what I’ve read, CIVIL contempt doesn’t incur double jeopardy, right?

    • Peterr says:

      The request for contempt is against the Office of the former president, not the person of the former president. The language matches that used in the search warrant. Holding the office in contempt would have no effect on any hypothetical criminal charges that might be filed against actual persons some time down the road.

      • harpie says:

        Which Human Persons would be thought to be included in an Entity referred to as “the Office of the former president”?

        • Fancy Chicken says:

          Ok- I have the very same question and really hope someone answers this.

          Is it his attorneys, or Molly his assistant, or Walt who’s already under the gun for moving boxes? Or is it like a corporate entity?

          And does it have teeth if it’s The Office of and not a person(s)?

          Plus, because it’s under seal, we have no clue what the government is requesting for sanctions, or do they even get to suggest possible punitive actions?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Might be one reason Trump hasn’t staffed that “office.” He always thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room, even when he’s looking for the corner in a round one.

      • nedu says:

        > The language matches that used in the search warrant.

        Istm you’re mis-speaking: you presumably meant the grand jury subpoena.

        To keep things straight–The warrant language is “attachment A” reproduced at (among other places) FLSD 9:22-mj-0833 DE 17 (p.3). The grand jury subpoena is reproduced at (again among other places) FLSD 9:22-cv-81294 DE 48-1 attachment C (pp.11-12).

        That latter document, the grand jury subpoena, is directed to “The Custodian
        of Records [newline] The Office of Donald J. Trump”.

        But while it does seem to be a reasonable inference that a motion to show cause or similar contempt proceeding would would be directed towards the subpoena recipient, my understanding from news media accounts is that the motion remains under seal. Is there a publicly available copy? To compare the language?

        • nedu says:

          [Sorry folks, looks like “conservation of errors” in action: cut’n’paste mistake on “9:22-mj-0833”. If anyone’s looking, that instead should read “9:22-mj-08332” with the inadvertently elided final digit.]

      • Arteberry says:

        The question remains what is the legal difference, if any, between Donald J. Trump and the Office of Donald J. Trump? I may have missed something in the news, but none of the reporting I’ve seen indicates the “Office of Donald J. Trump” is a corporation, LLC, or other entity that is a separate person, legally speaking, from Trump himself. It’s not even clear if Trump ever filed a fictitious business name statement for the “Office of Donald J. Trump.” Even if he did, a dba does not create a separate legal entity; it only creates a right to transact business under the dba name. Trump certainly styled various communications as coming from the “Office of Donald J. Trump” but so what? In the circumstances now appearing, directing a subpoena to the “Office of Donald J. Trump” would not seem to be legally different from directing a subpoena to Donald J. Trump.

        As an individual/sole proprietor, he still can designate another person (not necessarily an employee) as custodian of records. But that job comes with certain statutorily implied representations to the court about the methods and completeness of the search. There is case law to indicate those representations cannot be unilaterally disclaimed. The reason normally given for the true control person, in this case Trump, not to certify the search himself is that it could violate his 5th amendment privilege against self-incrimination. However, there is also case law to suggest that saying only that you made a complete search and produced all responsive documents does not by itself implicate 5th amendment protections. In any event, it looks like this new contempt proceeding will in the end have to focus on Trump the individual.

  7. soundgood2 says:

    It looks like the 11 Circuit remanded back to the district court for dismissal. Does this mean Judge Cannon is going to have to issue a ruling on the dismissal? I really want to see that happen.

  8. skua says:

    Hey bmaz, maybe this is treason, RICO and misprision combined, and the defendant will be held in custody until they comply?

    [eyes shut, hands over ears, chanting loudly, running for shelter]

    • Legonaut says:

      In the words of Jim Croce, “you don’t pull the mask on that old Lone Ranger”.

      I’m not sure if cholla cacti are flammable, but I wouldn’t want to try it. Run for shelter faster! :-)

      • harpie says:

        [Love that song!]

        Bad, bad LeRoy Brown
        Baddist man in the whole damn town,
        Badder than old King Kong,
        Meaner than a junk yard dog

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Sure is catchy, right? And it includes the phrase “the east side of Chicago.” For us who lived there, this was a howler since it denoted not a stomping ground but a deep Great Lake.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            East of Chicago? Great political road map. Like the taxi taking you east of Montauk, or the politician who claims to be from the part of PA that’s south of Philadelphia.

            • Purple Martin says:

              Although…I always liked fitting “the major American city due north of the Canadian border” into a conversation. I did a lot of consulting work in a tall skyscraper there, while gazing south into Canada.

      • Doctor Cyclops says:

        Every time I see that word I hear Cole Thornton ask Mississippi, “Were you AIMING for that cholla?”

      • P J Evans says:

        I think he’s more of a saguaro: prickly, but not vicious. (Opuntias, AKA prickly pears and chollas, have barbed thorns, and even the ones that look like fuzz are barbed. So when they get you, you suffer.)

        • Purple Martin says:

          Growing up in Arizona, I knew to stay away from the ‘jumping cactus’ long before I knew the word, cholla. (because a small piece grabs you and breaks off from the rest so quickly you’d swear it jumped at you).

          • Glen Dudek says:

            Had a chunk of cholla jump onto my upper arm while looking for a golf ball a few months ago. I didn’t have any appropriate tools, and you can’t just grab it with your hand and pull it off. I managed to lever it off with the business end of a 5 iron, but I promised myself to carry pliers with me in the future.

  9. greenbird says:

    how did Kyle obtain a copy of the judgement … ?
    oh i bet i know and i see no hope for me.
    so off i go to copy-paste to ‘paint’ …
    but AM GLAD to have found your post, marcy. thanks!

  10. Leoghann says:

    If the Office of the 45th President is held in contempt of court, exactly what does that entail? Wouldn’t it be just a daily fine of an amount paltry to a billionaire grifter?

    • Peterr says:

      The office staff and office space is funded by the US taxpayers (see 3 U.S. Code § 102, note):

      (b) The Administrator of General Services shall, without regard to the civil-service and classification laws, provide for each former President an office staff. Persons employed under this subsection shall be selected by the former President and shall be responsible only to him for the performance of their duties. Each former President shall fix basic rates of compensation for persons employed for him under this paragraph which in the aggregate shall not exceed $96,000 per annum except that for the first 30-month period during which a former President is entitled to staff assistance under this subsection, such rates of compensation in the aggregate shall not exceed $150,000 per annum. The annual rate of compensation payable to any such person shall not exceed the highest annual rate of basic pay now or hereafter provided by law for positions at level II of the Executive Schedule under section 5313 of title 5, United States Code. Amounts provided for ‘Allowances and Office Staff for Former Presidents’ may be used to pay fees of an independent contractor who is not a member of the staff of the office of a former President for the review of Presidential records of a former President in connection with the transfer of such records to the National Archives and Records Administration or a Presidential Library without regard to the limitation on staff compensation set forth herein.

      (c) The Administrator of General Services shall furnish for each former President suitable office space appropriately furnished and equipped, as determined by the Administrator, at such place within the United States as the former President shall specify.

      IOW, it’s hard to see how a fine would work. The GSA pays the bills, not Trump, and a fine would not remove the obligation under this law for the government to provide staff and space at the former president’s place of choice.

  11. Tom-1812 says:

    I gather these searches of Trump’s premises for classified documents haven’t been carried out the way I’ve seen police carry out searches of private homes for illegal drugs, with furniture upended, closets ransacked, drawers and cupboards emptied out on the floor, ceiling tiles knocked down, beds and mattresses tossed, clothing and other personal items scattered about, and everything left as is for the homeowner to clean up.

  12. Amicus says:

    I think this dispute raises a very interesting question as to whether DOJ is setting the stage for a charge (or charges) under 18 U.S.C. § 793(f). This presumes that NARA/DOJ/other three letter agencies can establish that there are missing documents “relating to the national defense.” But a showing under the gross negligence or knowledge standard of subsection (f) would seem much easier to establish than the willfulness standard of subsection (e). (I’m willing to be corrected on that point, but on their face they are different standards of scienter.) And the fact that documents are missing would seemingly make the whole gray mail problem associated with putting NDI into evidence largely go away. In any event, I would not want to be a Trump attorney or employee looking down the barrel of (f)(2).

    18 U.S.C. § 793 (f) states that:

    Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—
    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

    • Purple Martin says:

      A question for someone smarter about this than me. Might one purpose (or perhaps just a happy coincidence) be to allow issues around MAG-A-Lago stolen docs to be addressed by the Honorable Beryl A. Howell, Chief United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia?

      That’s as opposed to a judge from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, which I understand is the presumptive jurisdiction for a potential indictment on a charge related to illegally retaining subpoenaed U.S government documents.

  13. Doctor My Eyes says:

    The NYT in my email feed this morning comes off like a naive 7th grader.

    For years, democracy and freedom have been in retreat around the globe, and — in many minds — even here in the United States, where just last week a former president proposed the “termination” of some rules in the Constitution.

    Um, clearly democracy is in trouble here in the good ol’ USA, and the former president in fact did not present some kind of considered proposal to suspend parts of the constitution. The mob boss, seeing the wall closing in, sent out a desperate screed proposing the abolishment of all rules and regulations, including the Constitution. Exactly the media BobCon described upthread.

    I hope you don’t mind my putting this here. I’m seething and needed an outlet.

  14. Rugger_9 says:

    OT: Sinema has gone ‘Independent’ which made Warnock’s victory all the more important. It did not have any definitive statement about who she’ll caucus with unlike Sanders and Angus King but she did want to keep her committee assignments so Schumer must have blessed this somehow. I can’t see anything that McConnell could give her as a reward and there is a lot about the GOP she probably can’t tolerate. Whether the debt ceiling can be dispensed with now is another matter.

    bmaz, how will this play in AZ, would it get Ruben Gallegos to run for her seat? LGM seemed to think she’s finished as a politician.

      • Rayne says:

        She also said she thinks she’s keeping her positions on committees in spite of leaving the party. I’m sure this isn’t a veiled threat or anything so sketchy. ~eye roll~

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Yeah, a thoroughly unlikable person who is 100% self-serving. That she is positioning herself to have a chance to survive a primary challenge seems a good argument. She did wait until Warnock won, which may indicate that there is a limit to how much she wants to piss off Dems. In her case, “independent” means “dependent on which way the wind blows”.

          • Purple Martin says:

            I’ve long thought Sinema had little intention of running for reelection but, by acting as the Senate’s de facto (in Jonathon Chait’s words) “personal concierge of the superrich,” she was laying the foundation for her own entry into that world.

            I think that’s likely still the case, and this is simply a pragmatic, no-risk way of keeping a realistic just-in-case reelection option open—something that would not be possible if she had to run in a Democratic primary.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        I couldn’t find her committing to that–only a bunch of nonsense about “both sides” succumbing to “partisanship” and extreme fringes, etc. She stands for nothing. I can’t help reading this as her public statement that she is available for the highest bidder.

        If Gallego runs in 2024 and she runs as an independent, Doug Ducey or Kari Lake would be glad.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          She told Politico (basking in the attention she has brought on herself) that she wouldn’t caucus with the Reps and that the Senate structure wouldn’t change, so that amounts to the same thing. Unfortunately, she also said her values and behavior won’t change.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            I wouldn’t want to rely on that commitment for a bank loan to buy insulin. She changed parties for a reason, and it’s probably to maintain her status quo. That I would bank on.

            • Rayne says:

              I think Tim here may have figured out a likely and ugly scenario:

              TimInHonolulu | Tim Hogan 浩勤 | @[email protected]
              Kind of stuff I worry about. Sinema knows she won’t be re-elected and knows that she can sell her seat to Koch for a bundle. If she resigns before the Dem Governor is sworn in January, Ducey could appoint an “independent” to serve out the term. Kari Lake changes to Independent.

              Dec 09, 2022, 11:39 a.m.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                My, that’s ugly. Enhances the career of another vile, destructive personality, with Trumpian levels of restraint. Dems would lose majorities in committees and Harris would remain tethered to DC. But to quote, When Worlds Collide, it’s always better to know.

              • bmaz says:

                Lol, I don’t think so. That is not the money play. Also too, Ducey, Sinema and Lake do not like each other. At all. Well, to date anyway.

        • Rugger_9 says:

          The split vote is the threat here. In Maine, that’s how Paul LePage (equally unlikable and self-centered as the ‘Human Bowling Jacket’ – h/t Charlie Pierce) was elected Governor twice.

      • StillHopeful says:

        When I read about Ms Sinema’s announcement I thought about the Walker-Warnock special election.

        There, voters were told they would be determining the control of the US Senate.

        If, a couple of months from now, Mr Warnock declared that he now is an Independent I would consider that a lack of ethics.

        • FL Resister says:

          When Warnock is not even remotely likely to do that.

          This sounds like the case that never was before the Supreme Court now where the hypothetical is the other side of the suit.
          Garbage nonsense.

  15. ThomasJ7777 says:

    I’ve said this before, and it should be repeated:
    Trump, and/or people around him, are the likely sources for Devlin Barrett and the WaPo crowd.

    Because of this, no one should assume that any of their narrative about “nuclear weapons documents” is true.

    What should be believed, is the info we have from the DOJ. Specifically, whatever can be inferred from the classified markings on the documents in the photos released by DOJ.

    So far, that seems to be
    *NSA signals intel
    *CIA covert operations intel
    *FISA intel
    *Defense Dept information
    *Energy Dept information

    There is more detailed info that can be teased out by experienced analysts. (TS/SCI documents and what they usually are. NOFORN documents and what they usually are)

    An experienced analyst can also compare open source intelligence to make an educated guess about what info could have been compromised and when.

    The professionals, of course, have a huge arsenal of tools and they have the documents.

    The whole narrative being bandied about in the media about all of this being about Trump just pocketing trophies and refusing to give them back is BUNK. He is certainly a traitor.

    It may turn out that Barrett and the others are correct, even though their source is Trump, but I don’t think so. Trump may have circulated this narrative in an attempt to discredit any info about the actual espionage, later.

    “Now they are saying it’s about Russian spies. Russia Russia Russia. First they accused me of giving away the nuclear codes. It’s all lies.”

    See how easy that is?

    It is my fervent hope, though, that this braying jackass will not be saying anything to anyone once he is finally arrested and kept in a cell for pre-trial detention.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Barrett and Dawsey’s sources have seemed Trumpy to me since August. When Judge Cannon referenced “leaks” the week after that first WaPo nuclear document story, the self-serving pattern became clear.

      Given that Trump sympathizers within the FBI have seeded Post stories about the Hunter Biden laptop, they might be the link to the investigation Team Trump is relying on.

  16. waban1966 says:

    As MTW always asks, why did the Trump people leak the fact of a contempt hearing? The usual theory (which I learned here) is that the defense lawyers are talking amongst themselves and with others’ clients, to get their stories straight, without witness tampering because it is out in public via the press giving anonymity. And also why the first leak was about 2 property searches, and quickly became 4. But that seem s

    So maybe an alternative is that it is the “real” lawyers (those in court, whether competent or not) signaling to “nonlawyers” (Epshtyn) who are guiding Trump. That a warrant is almost certainly coming to search everywhere. That it is time to move what documents are left. Now that MAL has been searched, you could almost move the stuff from elsewhere to MAL. That’s the kind of thing Trump would think of. Once he is told that the evil DoJ is coming with more warrants.

    Would be interesting to see a flight tracker of Trump’s plane over the next week or so. NYC, NJ, DC for Trump National?

  17. Bill Zeis says:

    Sorry to tangent, but TFG’s touting of the PRA and Judicial Watch raise the issues: (1) Would it have been improper for the 11th Circuit to rule on the PRA issue in the procedural context they were in? (2) Would it be improper for the 11th Circuit to consider, in evaluating issue (1), the possible “court of public opinion” aspects of declining to rule on the PRA?

  18. Purple Martin says:

    Per ABC: A federal judge declines Justice Department’s request to hold Trump’s team in contempt over classified documents

    A federal judge in Washington declined to hold former President Donald Trump or his legal team in contempt of court following a court hearing Friday as the Justice Department had requested, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

    The judge instead urged the Justice Department and Trump’s legal team to resolve the dispute themselves, the sources said.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I can see pushing back on the DoJ for a variety of reasons. But Trump’s defense conduct is beyond zealous representation. In my opinion, he deserved to be sanctioned. This opinion just kicks that can down the road. How many classified documents have to be found where for this court to consider it beyond the pale?

      • Rugger_9 says:

        My guess is that a small shred of their case raised a question worth answering like that pony in the proverbial pile of dung. If that were the case I’ve seen judges let it go to answer the question. I think the DoJ will succeed on their next try, however because pretty much any rational argument has already been raised, tested and rejected.

        Res judicata is a pretty large hammer.

  19. harpie says:

    [Help: I don’t know how to get this at the Way Back Machine.]

    [via Wendy Siegelman]
    RE: Human beings at “the office of” TRUMP: William B. (aka Beau) Harrison
    7:01 PM · Dec 9, 2022

    […] [William B. (aka Beau)] Harrison is a former White House operations aide who, according to emails exchanged with the GSA in 2021, was also scheduled to take a role with former President Trump in Florida […]

    But what makes Harrison interesting now is the confluence of two things: the discovery of 2 additional classified documents in a Florida storage facility & his involvement in sending pallets of documents to both Mar-a-Lago and a West Palm Beach storage facility in 2021. […]

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      When the only staff for an essential post-presidential function a thorough search can find is a mover-of-boxes, the former president doesn’t want anyone else in charge, to know what he’s doing, or to have the authority to sign off on it. That junior lawyer who signed a document for the search was drafted in for the moment.

      • harpie says:

        That thread [SEE Rayne’s link below] is interesting in that Harrison and his wife, Hayley D’Antuono and Scavino were with TRUMP when he left the WH for the last time on Marine 1…and that Harrison was among the three TRUMP aides that testified before the Grand Jury last week, on “the same day that a federal appeals court ended Trump’s special master dreams.”

    • nedu says:

      Here’s how I got this at the Wayback Machine. These are desktop interface notes, not mobile. Also note that I did this as I wrote up these notes, so you don’t need to run through all these steps again for this url.

      Browse to

      Click the “Web icon” (tooltip name). It is in the very topmost banner — immediately to the right of the “Internet Archive” logo (which is tooltipped as “Go home”). It looks kind of like a file browser icon, maybe. It’s immediately to the left of the “Texts icon” which, fortunately, looks bookish.

      After clicking the “Web icon”, a drop-down should appear.

      Paste the url into the “Save Page Now” text box, over on the right of the drop-down. Then hit the “Save” button.

      Unfortunately, things don’t always work perfectly. You may encounter messages like:

      There was a delay in registering this snapshot with the Wayback Machine. The snapshot may not be available right now, please try again later.

      In that case, it’s probably best just to be patient. Eventually, you’ll be able to get to:

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Thanks to all on this comment thread! Speaking of the Wayback Machine, I tried to donate to it a few days ago and wound up in murky limbo. Has anyone else had this experience, and possibly solved it?

          I have been trying to fund all my invaluable resources lately. Wikipedia makes it fairly easy to use Paypal; I don’t like using credit cards. EW was a breeze. I can’t figure out why a more obscure and presumably needy place like Wayback would make it hard.

          • Rayne says:

            Did you happen to go to the main page of the Internet Archive at and use the link in the top center navbar which says “Donate”? I just did and it was pretty straightforward. I wonder if doing it through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine isn’t as easy.

  20. Randy Baker says:

    I do not understand why, if DOJ believes there are still documents taken by Trump that belong to the government — particularly if they are material to national security — everyone with possible knowledge of the location of these documents has not themselves received a subpoena, and been compelled to respond under oath. Undoubtedly many of these potential witnesses, from servants to Ivanka, are not lawyers and would have no privilege claim — at least not one that virtually any judge would summarily dispense with, and perhaps even Rule 11 them for making. Ditto for Trump claiming privilege for them. Even the few potential witnesses who are lawyers would have to overcome the crime/fraud exception for what would be ongoing criminal activity.
    Let’s imagine what the FBI might do if it had reason to believe a pipeline protestor or BLM member had absconded with sensitive government records.

Comments are closed.