June 7, 2023 / by emptywheel


Dry Run: The Filing Room Came to Trump

Given the reports that former Trump spox Taylor Budowich was questioned by the head of counterintelligence Jay Bratt before a Florida grand jury today, it’s worth revisiting the public statement included in the August 2022 search affidavit to search Mar-a-Lago (my emphasis).

He released this statement after NARA’s discovery of classified documents was made public.

He specifically denied that “the President of the United States, was working in a filing room.”

This earlier response to the NARA appears to be the “dry run” that Beryl Howell invoked in her opinion finding a crime-fraud exception for Evan Corcoran’s interactions with Trump in advance of Trump’s defiance of the May 11 subpoena.

When the chief US judge Beryl Howell forced Corcoran to testify to a grand jury, she opined in a 86-page legal memo that she believed when Trump went through boxes to give materials back to the National Archives last year, it was “apparently a dress rehearsal” for the subpoena.

The Post attributed the “dress rehearsal” line to officials, though it was in Howell’s legal opinion that was reported in March.

We also know that DOJ obtained 5 months of surveillance footage, going back to 8 days before Trump returned these classified documents.

So it may well be that much of what has happened since has involved an attempt to hide that, yes, Trump really was working in a filing room (or at the very least, a filing room came to him).

Update: Hugo Lowell is the first major person covering this stuff to confirm that Trump was told he’s a target. This will all solidify in days ahead. For the moment I’m interested in the timing. He would have been told last week he was a target, and then NYT published their rebuttal of his work, and then Trump’s lawyers either went and did a standard pitch or spewed a conspiracy theory (which John Solomon is pushing).

In other words, what we say in the last 4 days is a response to the target notification.

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Originally Posted @ https://www.emptywheel.net/2023/06/07/dry-run-the-filing-room-came-to-trump/