Prosecutors Interviewing Witnesses Who Knew Trump Was Hoarding Documents

This article claiming that a grand jury in DC might vote on Espionage Act charges against Trump as soon as today, from a reporter who hasn’t focused closely on the stolen documents case, has gotten far more attention than this WaPo story, saying that the bulk of charges will be filed against Trump in Florida.

The preference for the former over the latter likely stems from the fact that it tells people what they want to hear.

But you should treat the WaPo story, from Spencer Hsu and three others, including Mar-a-Lago scribe Josh Dawsey, as more reliable. Hsu is a very cautious journalist; he’s highly unlikely to get ahead of himself on the report that the bulk of charges will be in Florida, which conflicts with the Indy claim. Plus, WaPo uses none of the caveats that Feinberg uses. WaPo’s story also matches what we know about venue for the suspected crimes.

You should treat the WaPo story as more credible, most of all, because WaPo’s description of Taylor Budowich’s testimony yesterday that makes it clear the grand jury in Florida is considering Espionage Act charges.

As it describes, Budowich withheld a statement Trump wanted to release last year, claiming he had returned all documents.

Prosecutors were at least partially interested in Budowich because of his role in an episode involving Trump in early 2022, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because grand jury proceedings are secret. After sending boxes of materials from his Mar-a-Lago home and private club to the National Archives and Records Administration, which catalogues and preserves presidential records, Trump drafted a lengthy statement saying he had given “everything” back to the federal government, The Washington Post has reported.

But Budowich did not release Trump’s statement after consulting with lawyers and advisers for the former president, people familiar with the episode said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations. At least some of Trump’s advisers did not believe he had returned “everything” at the time, the people said, even though the archives had been asking for months for Trump to give back any government material in his possession, as required by federal law.

Several days later, Trump issued a different statement that did not include the claim that everything had been returned.

Around the same time, a Trump lawyer rebuffed the former president’s request to tell the archives he had returned everything, The Post has reported, because the lawyer was not sure such an assertion was true.

Prosecutors have reviewed a draft of Trump’s statement, which contains at least one tangent about Germany and an overseas oil pipeline, the people familiar with the matter said. Multiple witnesses have been questioned by prosecutors about the statement, the people said, and asked whether Trump ever asked them to lie or mislead anyone about whether he continued to maintain classified information in his possession. [my emphasis]

The discussion over the statement — which WaPo suggests, with their link to their earlier report, included Alex Cannon — suggests multiple people at Mar-a-Lago believed he was hoarding documents. WaPo focuses on the way Trump’s people edited out his claim that he had returned all the documents. That statement wouldn’t present the same legal jeopardy as his later claim, issued via Evan Corcoran and Christina Bobb, to have complied with a subpoena. But it would have ceded NARA’s claim to any remaining documents.

The process of having this discussion left a paper trail for prosecutors to show a more generalized awareness that Trump retained documents — one that may fill in gaps if there is surveillance footage from the “dress rehearsal” missing.

All those people (many of whom would also be key witnesses in Jack Smith’s investigation of Trump’s fundraising fraud) are now on the hook to come clean about their knowledge or go down with Trump. Given the target notice, they may be especially motivated to do so in coming weeks.

I’m interested, though, in WaPo’s mention of the reference to what sounds like the Nord Stream pipeline. In what was likely the statement that Trump did release, he raised the imminent invasion of Russia and claimed credit for preventing any such invasion while he was President.

Because Trump doesn’t have a filter, and because Trump had just sorted through which documents he wanted to retain, any mention of something specific like the Nord Stream may match documents that he held onto. And that would, in addition, tie to some pretty interesting motives, which prosecutors could use at a hypothetical trial.

126 replies
  1. Spank Flaps says:

    “The Independent” is owned by KGB Russian oligarchs, the Lebedevs.
    Lebedev Jr was “peer-washed” by Boris Johnson when he was PM. Also worth mentioning is Boris Johnson has been a regular source of bad propaganda since he was a hack in the 90s, and is still very active.

    • Narpington says:

      Not quite. Lebedev sr. was KGB, but there’s no (public) evidence his son is. The paper is co-owned by (Saudi) Sultan Muhammad Abuljadayel and Justin Byam Shaw.

      The Independent is pretty much clickbait now with little regard for the truth and should no longer be regarded as serious media.

  2. phred says:

    Astute observation EW.

    Given Trump’s tendency to ramble, along with his limited curiosity to fully understand what aides briefed him on, it seems likely that anything he says (or texts) is related to anything he has recently seen (whether on Fox or elsewhere).

    He isn’t the sort to have thoroughly thought over world affairs and then talk about what he thinks. He reacts to whatever he comes into contact with. A human incarnation of Newton’s third law (every action has an equal and opposite reaction ; )

  3. OldTulsaDude says:

    My concern over venue is that AG Garland has a hand in order to show how reasonable the DOJ is being and how he is confident justice can and will be served in Florida. But surely not, right?

    • PeteT0323 says:

      Not everyone in Florida is a MAGAT (waves hand). But, while I am an hour or so north in Broward County from the SDFL Courthouse it does sit right smack in the middle of Miami-Dade County which has become a rather wacky R stronghold. Tarrio is from this neck of the woods too – among others.

      I dunno who/how Federal trials draw their jurors, but I assume from the local pool.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        There will probably be a juror questionnaire, which would hope to weed out anyone with a prejudiced interpretation of events. Whether such a questionnaire would succeed is another matter, of course.

      • JVOJVOJVO says:

        I’m not concerned where, or which judge, etc., just as long as the DOJ keeps doing its job!
        Of course the cynic in me thinks: “maybe Garland is handicapping the potential violence and wants to keep the whacko MAGAts IN Florida and not give them a reason to travel to DC. Let them destroy their own place.” Maybe?!

      • P J Evans says:

        I think federal courts draw their pools from their entire district. I was on a commuter train once with someone who’d been called for a federal case in L.A. (multiple districts meet here) and lived in the central coast.

    • emptywheel says:

      As I posed it to someone else today, if you have a choice between,

      1) Not charging 793
      2) Charging 793 but having it at best moved to FL
      3) Charing 793 before a SDFL jury

      I take the last choice. Not least because it takes a lot of Trump’s accusations off the table. I honestly think the story Smith is prepping to tell will be fairly compelling.

      Meanwhile, Smith has a pretty damn good idea where he’s heading in Jan6, and those charges have already met success w/DC juries.

      So he will face a jury in DC, just on the other charges.

      • pdaly says:

        I’m not sure I understand the difference between 2) and 3), unless in 2) you meant DC and not FL or ‘charge in DC but move it to FL’?

        • Fraud Guy says:

          As I understand it, if charges are filed in an improper venue, they could be forced to move to the proper venue, delaying action, or at worst dismissed.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        I am sure Jack Smith will be compelling and I can understand the logic and allure of having SDFL as the venue, but I still have reservations. And I’m a bit puzzled by the IT guy, Yuscil Taveras, having appeared before a grand jury in DC (as noted in the 5/31/23 NYT.) I guess that might be explained by his knowledge of other things that may relate to the bigger picture or even J6.

        My court experience in FL also sucked, so that’s in my emotional memory databank. But a lot of awareness has since emerged in the general population, so I’m hoping that means something. And that is also evident in how local elections played out here recently. So that is good.

        It won’t be long now. The tension is almost palpable.

      • obsessed says:

        Is the possibility of drawing Aileen Cannon a random “pull a name out of a hat” type of process? And if so, what are the odds? How many names total in the hat? Or would it start at a lower level and only risk her getting involved on appeal?

      • Tim Benson says:

        Will he? J6 was around 900 days ago, and Jack Smith STILL has not indicted anybody. The J6 Select Committe obtained sworn testimony from several Republicans and compiled voluminous evidence that Trump committed multiple crimes and recommended several criminal charges against Trump last December doing much of Smith’s work for him before he was even appointed. On April 7th, 2022, it was reported that the DOJ had launched a criminal probe into Trump’s mishandling of classified documents. 420 days later, Trump was told he is a TARGET. Trump’s lawyers met with the DOJ on Monday. (Trump simply could have told them to do so and accuse the DOJ of misconduct.) A NEW Grand Jury was just empaneled in Florida. It seems the DC Grand Jury was disbanded without taking a vote on charging Trump. I’m betting we will all be at 4th of July barbecues asking, “WHEN will they indict Trump? Thought they were going to do it a month ago.” It is NOT going to happen. Smith will “run out of time” and much later, will write two scathing reports full of SHOCKING BOMBSHELLS detailing Trump’s lawless misconduct. And that will be that.

  4. MattyGMattyG says:

    Regarding venue. Is it possible DT is looking at separate charges in the documents case? FL for some of the local handling issues and DC for national level espionage.

  5. joel fisher says:

    The Justice Dept. will have one chance to do this and they have already fucked it up if they bring charges in FL.

    • SonofaWW2Marine says:

      DOJ’s approach to prosecution is supposed to be that it would have a substantial likelihood of conviction in any courtroom in any of the country’s 94 judicial districts. It’s supposed to avoid forum- or judge-shopping. And especially in a case like this, it needs to play things like venue absolutely straight. So it needs to bring the right charges in the right fora, even if playing things straight might make it harder to convict because it’s on the defendant’s home turf. If you might lose depending on venue, you shouldn’t charge at all. AG Garland, as in the McVeigh case, likely wants to withstand appellate scrutiny, post-appellate collateral attacks on any conviction, and the judgment of history.

      • Rwood0808 says:

        Agree with what you are saying, but I don’t think it’s realistic in today’s world. If “optics” are the deciding factor on venue I feel that’s a mistake.

        Only one party worries about the optics and that’s why the other runs over them repeatedly. Did Cannon worry about how it looked? No. She did whatever she wanted and to hell with public opinion.

        As much as I’d like to see Smith do evertyhing in DC I doubt he will. Just once I’d like to see the GQP have to eat one of their “I’m doing it because I can” answers they so love to dish out.

      • bmaz says:

        Well, no, it as to where it will be formally charged, and whether the facts and admissible evidence support the charge(s). DOJ Guidance 9-27.220 makes absolutely no mention of “94 judicial districts”.

        There are often multiple “proper” venues. There is even a statute that addresses the same, 18 USC §3237(a). Would it apply here? I don’t know, that would be up to the prosecutors. So, yeah, DC could very much be the “right fora”. It appears it will not work that way and Smith and DOJ is going to take another ill-advised trip to SDFL, but don’t gaslight people that it has to be that way.

        • GeeSizzle says:

          As much as we cringe at the idea of the SDFL being the venue again, I am trying to be optimistic that an expectation that this will cause trouble can be mitigated somewhat by information that Smith has that we are unaware of. If he has put together a solid case with compelling evidence, it might not matter that it is SDFL. Just as a hypothetical, if the 793 was not just gathering and/or losing, but had clear evidence of transmitting, plus evidence of a price tag, in whatever form, I’d worry much less that it is SDFL.

          Of course, there is a reason I’m not an optimist. :-|

        • JonathanW says:

          bmaz, I recall last fall you saying several times that you thought DOJ had messed up their case in the special master/Judge Cannon proceedings at a strategic level. Does this look to you like a similar type of mistake made by the same people? Apologies if I’m either remembering your points wrong and/or doing their complexity and nuance injustice. I’m really just eager to hear you elaborate on this point (of their ill-advised trip to SDFL) more if you care to. It may be more obvious to the legally trained people here, but it’s not to me.

        • bmaz says:

          No, you have read my thoughts correctly. I appear to be in the minority, but will stand by them.

        • quickbread says:

          IANAL, but because of the Cannon debacle, the venue is obviously fraught with risks. I hope it speaks to the strength of Smith’s case that the charges were brought based on a FL grand jury’s decision. (And yes, I do know that’s different than a trial jury.) Like so many here have been saying for months, the classified documents charges are relatively straightforward, so hopefully the unfavorable venue is less important.

          By charging one case in FL and one in DC, does this potentially expedite the timeline to both trials compared to if they were being tried in the same venue?

        • bmaz says:

          No. If anything, probably extends the timeline with mutual and competing different jurisdictions.

      • SonofaWW2Marine says:

        I’m not gaslighting anyone, and I understand that what’s now called the Justice Manual does give leeway on venue. My opinion on the better DOJ approach is based on over 35 years practicing law, 22 of those at DOJ, which taught me that if you’re worried that you might lose depending on venue, you shouldn’t charge the case at all.

        My opinion is also based on the now-AG’s supervision of the McVeigh prosecution for the Oklahoma City bombing. Back then, many uninvolved DOJ lawyers, myself included, were quite surprised that Garland’s team acquiesced to a court decision to move McVeigh’s trial to Denver from OKC. In the conversations that folks in law offices often have, we thought an appeal would have succeeded, & ought to’ve been taken. We also were concerned about Denver jurors & Judge Matsch. But Garland’s team did just fine up there, & McVeigh had one less issue between him and his death penalty. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see Smith take a similar approach.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah? Well I have practiced criminal law for over 35 years too. If you are so up on it all, then why did you completely misrepresent what the DOJ manual specifies? Why did you gratuitously throw in the complete bullshit about “all 94 districts”?

          The McVeigh matter is not relevant whatsoever. I know/knew lawyers on both sides of that case. And relating that to the instant case is truly bogus. It was done pursuant to an official court order, not by lame and chicken prosecutorial dithering.

        • nord dakota says:

          Are you saying that the “94 districts” was the reason for your criticism? Since he was not strictly citing the manual, would your response have been different if he just said DOJ’s approach was that they should have a substantial expectation of winning regardless of where the case was prosecuted?

    • Amicus12 says:

      There are a lot of considerations at play. If you’re going to charge on 793 then you also want to charge on obstruction as well. The two charges are reinforcing. Until I read a post that MW linked to on her twitter feed yesterday, I had not focused on 18 U.S.C. Sections 1512 (c) and (i) and how that solves the obstruction venue conundrum. Unless you want to go down the conspiracy charge route, or use a theory of interstate contacts/communications, it seems hard to package the unlawful retention and obstruction charges together in DC.

      For whatever reason, based on the presentation to a grand jury in SD Fla., it appears that Smith & Co. want to present a straight up 793 charge combined with a 1512(c) charge. It’s a very clean story. And as the other commentator responding to you pointed out, DOJ, in theory, disavows forum shopping.

      • bmaz says:

        Um, why not “go down the conspiracy charge route”? It is absolutely justified on the known extant facts, and would locate everything in DC District. In fact, I would argue that it is an inefficient use of prosecutorial discretion to not do that, and abusive to the court system and defendant to fight in multiple jurisdictions.

        Garland and DOJ royally, and unnecessarily screwed themselves in their own rear the last time they went to SDFL. They will be doing it go on a second ill advised venture there.

        But, to date, I seem to losing with this simple and proper argument.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          It does seem a simple argument, with the additional advantage of being tactically wise.

          After reading this comment, I got that old familiar feeling developed over years of seeing former administrations dodge accountability for criminal conduct. Is the whole idea to go through the motions, then have Cannon bail them out from having to see, heaven forbid, a former president be found guilty of his crimes? Paranoid, I know, but paranoia arising from decades of experience.

        • bmaz says:

          I very much doubt this would ever go to Cannon, she is not my fear. The jury pool and 11th Circuit are.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Well, that’s still reassuring. I’ll take serious obstacles over insurmountable ones. Jury selection will be critical.

        • Bombay Troubadour says:

          Venue/Jury shopping, Judge shopping, circuit court neutrality in question? A pre determined scotus in the wings for back-up as needed.
          Lady Justice may need to adjust her blindfold and scale settings.

        • Rugger_9 says:

          IIRC our last prolix discussion on this topic, the venue for NARA / PRA cases was the DC circuit by law. Perhaps I’m off-base.

        • Amicus12 says:

          Obviously, only Smith, and Monaco, and perhaps Garland know what will be brought where and why. One consideration about a conspiracy charge is whether they are willing to bring a conspiracy charge in DC, without also bringing a substantive 793 charge, if they believe that there is not a solid basis for venue for the 793 charge in DC. Venue must be proper for every count. United States v. Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp., 871 F.2d 1181, 1888 (2d Cir. 1989).

          The other point worth considering, is that jury nullification is a genuine risk in DC as well is in SD Fla. The jury pool in DC is small and lawyers routinely serve (which is unusual elsewhere). There are lawyers in DC (and others) who you would not want on a DC jury hearing charges agaiinst Trump.

        • bmaz says:

          Jury “nullification is illegal and directly contrary to instructions. It can happen anywhere, but would be FAR less likely in DC than SDFL. There is no reason it all cannot be brought in DC under a conspiracy umbrella. To any extent any specific charge is not, it would constitute related conduct for purposes of sentencing enhancement. To me, all the caterwauling about “ooo, Trump could bring motions!” (he will anyway), “oooh, wrong venue!” (that does not end a case, just results in ability to file it elsewhere if so determined) or that it simply HAS to be bifurcated, is nonsense.

        • pterosonus says:

          Jury nullification requires all 12 jurors to say “we know he’s guilty but we don’t care”. More likely in SDFL
          is hung jury after hung jury until charges are dropped. I think (hope?) that even in red Florida that is improbable.

          [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. “pterosonus” is your second user name; you’ve commented previously as “Terry Hall.” Pick a name and stick with it. Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • joel fisher says:

        If a guy is committing crimes all over the place, you don’t have to charge them in the worst place.

        • Amicus12 says:

          Look, my best guess, and that’s all it is, is that they don’t want to bring a conspiracy charge without also bringing a substantive 793 charge, and they have doubts about bringing the 793 charge in D.C. That’s all I’ve got for an explanation, if that is how this unfolds.

        • bmaz says:

          And how is it that the essential elements of a §793 charge cannot be incorporated into a broader conspiracy? Listen, I admit I appear to be on the losing side of this argument, but I find it specious and cowardly if that is what Smith and DOJ do. Consolidate with the best locus, and where the real victimization resides, and that will be in DC.

        • David F. Snyder says:

          I’m with ya, bmaz. A venue in FL isn’t necessary, so why do it at added expense and complexity. I’d guess charges against some MaL aides/workers who were abetting might fall in FL, but not Trump’s.

  6. Clare Kelly says:

    Also from The WaPo article Marcy quoted:

    “The Justice Department’s manual calls for charges to be filed where the alleged crimes or parts of the alleged crimes were committed…”


    “For example, improperly removing documents from Washington could be charged in the nation’s capital. But wrongfully retaining documents in Florida after the government demanded them back, or showing classified information there to an unauthorized person might be more properly charged in Florida.”

    I think filing the “bulk of the charges” in SDFL serves several purposes.

    Time will tell.

    [I meant this in reply to joel fisher]

  7. Chetnolian says:

    I am puzzled. Why are we invited to choose between the newspaper items?

    One says there is a likelihood of charges in Washington, the other that the majority, but not necessarily all, of the charges are likely to be in Florida. These two reports are entirely consistent.

    • Suburban Bumpkin says:

      This paragraph explains the preference for the Washington Post article.

      “But you should treat the WaPo story, from Spencer Hsu and three others, including Mar-a-Lago scribe Josh Dawsey, as more reliable. Hsu is a very cautious journalist; he’s highly unlikely to get ahead of himself on the report that the bulk of charges will be in Florida, which conflicts with the Indy claim. Plus, WaPo uses none of the caveats that Feinberg uses. WaPo’s story also matches what we know about venue for the suspected crimes.

      You should treat the WaPo story as more credible, most of all, because WaPo’s description of Taylor Budowich’s testimony yesterday that makes it clear the grand jury in Florida is considering Espionage Act charges.”

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      Does anyone want to try to convince me that having Judge Cannon run a Trump trial would result in absolute disaster, including enough irrational misapplications of law to have everyone on this site tearing their hair out? The entire trial would have to be conducted with the hope of appeal in mind. I don’t see how even a simplified case could survive such a seemingly committed, hostile judge.

      I vaguely remember that when Trump went judge shopping to get Cannon before, he had to travel miles from M-a-L to file. I can’t figure out if Cannon would necessarily be the judge in a SDFL trial.

      • Elvishasleftthebuilding says:

        There would be no appeal if Trump is acquitted. This is a criminal not a civil case.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        Sort of like “We paid good money to get this judge on this court for exactly this purpose. Why wouldn’t we expect excellent service? And we’ll leave a tip (apply for SCOTUS next time I’m around.”)

        • bmaz says:

          Good fucking gawd, will people PLEASE quit whining about Aileen Cannon? I don’t agree with how Smith did this, but it is very much NOT aimed to involve Cannon. You have been sucked into a false rabbit hole where the villain de jour is Cannon.

  8. Katie_29APR2021_1126h says:

    Two questions raised in Tim Parlatore’s recent TV appearances:
    1. Parlatore asserts that a former president has two years after departing office to review documents in order to determine which are personal and which are presidential.
    2. Parlatore asserts that NARA did not provide Trump with a local NARA-controlled facility in which to store his presidential records.

    Basically, he’s saying that it’s all NARA’s fault and that, as always, Trump is the victim of NARA’s treating him badly.

    When I listened to Parlatore’s arguments, I – a Trump cynic – thought that they sounded somewhat plausible, so I fear that Trump supporters, repeatedly force-fed these arguments by right-wing media, will swallow them hook, line, and sinker. Does anyone know of any public sources that counter these assertions???? Thanks!

    [Welcome to emptywheel. SECOND REQUEST: Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Because your username “Katie” is far too common it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Rugger_9 says:

      There is an invalid assumption you make here: these are not Trump’s records but the USA’s records (Rayne covered this above). They were not released to Defendant-1 by NARA like the other presidents’ records were for their libraries but pilfered for leverage / monetization.

      Possession is not 9/10ths of the law, which incidentally is quite clear on the topic. All records are subject to the PRA, including the ones ripped to bits in the Oval Office.

      Parlatore did not cite any law or case law to support his claims either IIRC, so it’s just more legalistic smoke being blown about as a CYA for him.

      • pterosonus says:

        Parlatore is obviosly still acting as Trump’s lawyer, whether he’s getting paid or not. He just can’t work with those other asshole lawyers.

        • RitaRita says:

          Parlatore is getting a lot of free publicity for himself. And he may be trying to show interested parties (Trump and his supporters) that even though he quit the team, he is still a Trump team player. And it may be that he is previewing Trump’s arguments not really for their legal merit but for their merit with Trump supporters. Like most of Trump’s recent legal battles, there are the legal arguments and then there are the arguments made for shoring up support in Congress and with his supporters.

    • TPA_Kyle says:

      MSNBC and the other networks should stop giving Parlatore a platform. His appearances seem to me to be subterfuge and I’m guessing he is not a white hat.

        • TPA_Kyle says:

          Is it possible or likely that Parlatore’s departure from Trump’s legal team and subsequent candor on TV appearances is choreographed?

        • Matt___B says:

          I saw Parlatore’s lengthy interview with Lawrence O’Donnell last night and despite Lawrence’s frequent interjections of “yes but” and making smirky faces at Parlatore throught the interview, my general impression was that Parlatore is basically doing PR for the Trump team now. But first he had to remove himself from personal liability by handing over the official duties to Trump’s less-capable lawyer team (Boris Epshteyn – looking at you!)

      • Katie_29APR2021_1126h says:

        Totally agree! Because I was skeptical of his claims, I searched the PRA for anything re 2 years to review – couldn’t find any text to support. But less skeptical listeners/viewers might think that Parlatore has a valid point.

    • Rayne says:

      I’ve posted about DARVO before, a pattern of behavior common among abusers, in which the abuser Denies the abuse, Attacks the accuser and the abused, Reverses Victim and Offender. It happens like clockwork:

      We could have seen it coming after all this time. They’re reliably predictable, no crystal ball required.

      Trump appears to be in trouble: The FBI serves a warrant on Mar-a-Lago, seizing papers.

      There’s a moment of hesitation or pause: Trump delivers a ranty statement some time after the FBI leaves.

      The coordinated response is generated: Trump’s lawyers make a false claim about evidence being planted by FBI.

      The zone is flooded: The right-wing’s proxies and media repeat ad nauseam the same false claim.

      The media dutifully picks up and repeats: the zone is further flooded, amplifying the false claim.

      This is a cycle we’ve seen repeated over and over again. The only additional step not included here is the final one in which some pundit will opine about this situation being bad for Democrats and Joe Biden though it has nothing to do with them whatsoever.

      When he claimed it was all NARA’s fault, Parlatore engaged in DARVO on Trump’s behalf; Trump uses DARVO all the time and is a known abuser. Pay more attention to this pattern so you don’t fall for it.

    • coalesced says:

      2. Parlatore asserts that NARA did not provide Trump with a local NARA-controlled facility in which to store his presidential records.

      I found this exchange between Arkansas Congressman French Hill and NARA’s Chief Operating Officer, William J. Bosanko, in a transcript of the March 1st 2023 House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing with NARA officials:

      “MR. HILL: Got it. So that is because humans are involved and so humans make mistakes and we have a lot of stuff classified. Where is Mr. Trump’s NARA warehouse? Where are his materials? Is it in Florida?”

      “MR. BOSANKO: He doesn’t — so this is a really good question because it is a common misperception.
      Each President does not get a facility. So the classified materials from the Trump administration are stored
      in a Washington, D.C., facility. Prior to President Obama, Presidents were building Presidential libraries under the Presidential Libraries Act, and it would include storage space to include for the classified.
      Congress increased the endowment requirements to almost a 60 percent endowment when they would donate that building. And so starting with President Obama, there was a decision to not build a facility. President Trump hasn’t made a decision.”

  9. Vox Clamantis says:

    uh, y’all might want to note that Trump’s lawyer went on Lawrence last night and emphatically declared that all the docs seized by the FBI were — COPIES OF ORIGINAL DOCS.

    Trump made copies of everything BEFORE he responded to the subpoena. That was the “dress rehearsal”. All the copying of docs happened in FL. There’s your 793 nexus in FL.

    18 U.S. Code § 793 – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information
    ‘(b) whoever for the purpose aforesaid, and with like intent or reason to believe, copies, takes, makes, or obtains, or attempts, or induces or aids another to copy, take, make, or obtain, any sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blue print, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, document, writing or note of anything connected with the national defence’

    • bmaz says:

      Uh, y’all might want to note that such would still be a continuation of a conspiracy starting in DC and perpetrated against the US Government. Thanks for the help though! Oh, and “nexus” is a factor, but is not definitive as to “locus”. Crimes are very often related to, and have “nexus” in multiple jurisdictions. Don’t gaslight people here.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      Copies are every bit as classified and subject to the PRA / NARA restrictions. I don’t see how ‘copies’ would help, except to reinforce that this was intentional action, not an oversight oopsie.

      • nord dakota says:

        Dumb question–throughout this I have wondered what is considered the actual document. Everything except Trump’s sharpie scribbles is created using software, right? Is the actual document considered to be the physical printout that is presented to the president (in the case of records the president sees) or I don’t know, something else?

        • EuroTark says:

          That’s actually a better question than you’d think: What exactly is a document? I have some experience working with Document Management Systems, and have see some very bad answers. Most famously, MS Sharepoint equates a document to a file, because that’s how MS Word works. Personally I see a document more as a bounded collection of information, which can easily be spread across several files. Usuall it’s “just” a finished readable document-file (like PDF) compiled from one or more editable source-files.

          I think it’s most helpful to think of the printout as one manifestation of the original electronic document, which consists of one or more files and metadata.

    • Rayne says:

      Gee, I can’t imagine why Trump’s lawyer went on MSNBC to make such a statement. It’s almost like they’re doing PR work for their client.

      Uh, you’uns might want to think about the expansion of criminal activity COPYING defense information entails, no matter where or when it was copied AFTER it was removed from DC, AFTER the return of presidential records had been requested, AFTER return had been expected on Inauguration Day to begin with.

      Why you might think someone(s) was trying to manipulate the venue, or hiding the original documents.

      Try crying somewhere else.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      You seem follow Trump’s attorney into thinking that retaining copies of presidential records or national defense information would be ok. Not. And as bmaz keeps repeating, there might be jurisdiction in SDFL, but document abuse would have begun in DC or Northern Virginia.

      • quickbread says:

        I actually took the above comment to mean that the copies were the opposite of ok, and that Trump’s lawyer was dumb enough to publicly state that they’d made copies of the classified documents, a direct admission of violating 793.

  10. Charles R. Conway says:

    Marcie: I’m not seeing the reference to Germany, or Nordstrom, in that Trump statement?

  11. Beverley54 says:

    I was reading an article at Just Security (by Andrew Weissman and Ryan Goodman) that mentions that there is a little known case that was argued before SCOTUS (Smith v US) just a few weeks ago, concerning venue and what could happen when they get it wrong. They think the special counsel is taking this into consideration in determining where to bring charges. Maybe the lawyers here could comment on this?

    • bmaz says:

      Lol, it is not “little known” at all. People paying attention have known about it from the start. And the Justices were extremely skeptical about Smith’s argument. Go listen for yourself. The remedy should never be dismissal. Just Security is “just” click baiting.

      • Beverley54 says:

        That is what I wanted to know, IANAL nor an American so I wanted to know if this was really a concern.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        Andrew Weisman was just on MSNBC, and he said that the law in DC is that you have to bring charges for obstruction where it occurs, which in this case is in Florida. The charges for taking the documents could be brought in DC.

        You have expressed less than great admiration for Weisman; does he know what he is talking about ? How can charging guidelines be different in the two locations ?

        • bmaz says:

          What complete garbage by TV Clickbait lawyer Weissmann. If they were standalone charges, maybe. But to blithely act like SDFL is the “only” jurisdiction/venue when it is part of a conspiracy is just baloney. No, Weissman has been a joke since the Enron task force days, where he also tried to falsely glorify himself when the task force royally screwed the pooch.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Absolutely. Essentially dismissing with prejudice a federal indictment because a judge decided a prosecutor chose the wrong jurisdiction is absurd. Dismissal with leave to refile in the correct jurisdiction is the obvious remedy.

        Otherwise, the courts would be inventing a get-out-of-jail-free card, which, naturally, would apply mainly to the wealthy, with the resources to fight the issue in the first place. They don’t go remotely that far when, say, dealing with evidence that is fruit of a poisoned tree, a legally impermissible search. The remedy there is to prohibit its introduction, not dismiss the case. In fact, in those cases, the courts seem to go out of their way to invent reasons why they can admit it anyway.

  12. harpie says:
    4:43 PM · Jun 8, 2023

    NEW: Lawyer for Trump’s valet under scrutiny in the Mar-a-Lago docs case has alleged in a letter that top prosecutor Jay Bratt brought up his application to be a judge when trying to gain the valet’s cooperation, per ppl familiar. @guardian exclusive [THREAD]
    4:50 PM · Jun 8, 2023

    NEW: Multiple people from DOJ telling me that this incident with Jay Bratt is widely known inside the National Security Division and is being viewed as a problem. Unclear whether it affects the Mar-a-Lago investigation but the chief judge in Washington has ordered briefings.

  13. harpie says:

    This should come as a reply to my recent comment [now in moderation]:

    Linking to second LOWELL tweet, above:
    5:11 PM · Jun 8, 2023

    This is potentially a problem for Bratt if you accept the nefarious interpretation (there’s an innocent one too), but I don’t think it would impact that case. Nauta continued to not cooperate per the article, so Trump would not be able to claim that he was prejudiced. Just noise.

    Losing an experienced member of the team as you’re prepping for trial obviously isn’t ideal, but it’s a big team, and others can step in to this role.

    The graveyards of Europe are filled with indispensable men.

    • N.E. Brigand says:

      Curious that this story about Bratt appeared just a couple hours before the news broke about Trump being indicted. It seemed like one more thing that would delay the process, but apparently not.

  14. JAFO_NAL says:

    Maybe this is off topic but I don’t understand the media concerns about missing or flood damaged file room videos – I thought I read here previously that storage was off site and the servers were not water damaged.

  15. harpie says:
    7:24 PM · Jun 8, 2023

    JUST IN: Trump says on Truth Social he’s been informed he’s been indicted in the documents case.

    Trump says he’s been summoned to federal court in Miami on Tuesday at 3pm

    It’s a seven-count indictment. Trump is already fundraising off it.

    The latest w/ @politicoalex @joshgerstein [LINK]

    Links to:
    Trump says he’s been indicted in classified documents probe The documents investigation has been overseen by special counsel Jack Smith and appeared to be nearing the charging phase in recent days. KYLE CHENEY 06/08/2023 07:37 PM

  16. GeeSizzle says:

    Gotta love the Maggie framing (if you love puking that is) : “It puts the nation in an extraordinary position, given Mr. Trump’s status not only as a onetime chief executive but also as the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination to face President Biden, whose administration will now be seeking to convict his potential rival.”

    This is such utter rubbish. He is basically just a thief. He stole from Jean Carrol. He tried to steal an election. He stole documents. And frankly, he is at this point no different than any other common citizen in terms of status. He’s a FORMER president, not a onetime President or CEO of a fraudulent business that stole from contractors suppliers, etc. The common thread in his whole life is THEFT. He is a grifter. Maggie can just f-off at this point.

  17. P J Evans says:

    So far all the stories about indictment are based on the statement by the indictee. I’ll wait for DOJ’s statement – they’re trustworthy.

  18. obsessed says:

    While we wait for EW to wake up and drink some strong UK breakfast tea (or maybe a bottle of champagne?), the ABC guys says to “expect a detailed speaking indictment with ‘devastating’ evidence, and also a second person charged”. Do we think this is a Nauta type or a Boris type?

    • Rick Ryan says:

      IANAL, but a logical inference from the venue choice and apparent statutes charged (obviously pursuant to the ongoing venue argument too) is that the Special Counsel is charging strictly crimes related to the retention of documents after NARA requested their return (with this indictment). If that’s the case, the conspiracy charge would presumably apply to Trump and someone(s) else who directly assisted in hiding the documents and/or lying that they had returned everything. I believe that’s Nauta (but I have a hard time keeping all these characters straight. Kudos to MW and her superhuman memory).

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