Mind the Gap: It Was the Musician, in the Storage Closet, with the Five Eyes Secrets

The indictment against Trump and Walt Nauta reflects many of the public reports based off what witnesses or their lawyers have shared with journalists. For example:

  • ¶12 describes that the Secret Service had no knowledge of or responsibility for protecting Trump’s boxes of stolen classified documents, which is likely based in part on interviews of past and current Secret Service Agents
  • ¶24 describes that Nauta helped Trump pack up in January 2021, something based on interviews of others who helped as well
  • ¶34 provides a transcript of the meeting at which Trump boasted about an Iran document in an attempt to attack Mark Milley, about which Margo Martin was interviewed in March
  • ¶35 describes how Trump showed someone from his PAC a classified map, another topic of interviews that got reported to the press

Details of all these interviews have made press reports, and we can now understand some of why DOJ needed those interviews (though that doesn’t explain why Trump wasn’t charged for disseminating classified information in Bedminster).

But the indictment doesn’t hint at when DOJ found gaps in surveillance footage, the topic of numerous recent interviews, or how those gaps got there. In fact, the maintenance guy who flooded the server room doesn’t appear to be mentioned in the indictment at all (his actions are described in ¶61 and ¶72, without a label for him).

For key days, there aren’t gaps, at least not for the storage room. These descriptions of movement into and out of the storage room, which come with time stamps, likely come from surveillance footage:

These are the videos that led Nauta to revise his testimony last November. After that revised testimony, though, he refused further cooperation. Since Nauta got a target letter, the Trump camp has released a revised story about why Nauta refused to cooperate, a story that Maggie and others dutifully parroted today without notice that it is a revised story, and therefore suspect.

So we still can’t be sure whether those gaps were put there intentionally and if so what they serve to hide.

One potential gap is outside Trump’s residence. The search warrant affidavit has a redaction that might obscure a request for a second location (or a more detailed description of the storage room). The only description in the indictment of boxes moving from Trump’s residence is the June 2 move, which reportedly involved the maintenance guy, and so is based on witness testimony. Other descriptions of his residence were obtained from texts. We know the boxes were in there, for example, because a female family member texted Nauta about them on May 30 last year, but there are no time stamp descriptions of the boxes arriving.

If DOJ tried, and failed, to obtain surveillance footage from outside Trump’s residence, it would have prevented them from learning how many boxes went with Trump to Bedminster that same day, which the indictment describes to be “several.”

There’s also no description of how and when the remainder of the boxes were moved back to the storage closet, even though the subpoena compliance should have gone through June 24. Again, that footage might help identify how many boxes went to Bedminster, only to disappear forever.

Just 12 of the boxes seized from the storage closet on August 8, 2022, had classified records in them, though, so Trump may have pulled any classified records from the remaining 22 boxes that were in his residence.

There’s another gap, though, that I find more interesting.

As I have noted, the first subpoena for surveillance footage requested footage starting on January 10, 7 days before Nauta and another employee loaded his personal car up with 15 boxes, 14 of which included classified records, to turn them over to a standard shipping company to return to NARA.

On January 13 and 15, Nauta and Employee 2 were still actively engaged in the two month process of helping Trump personally sort through upwards of 80 boxes to curate a set of 15 he was willing to send back.

44. On January 13, 2022, NAUTA texted Trump Employee 2 about TRUMP’s “tracking” of boxes, stating, “He’s tracking the boxes, more to follow today on whether he wants to go through more today or tomorrow.” Trump Employee 2 replied, “Thank you!”

45. On January 15, 2022, NAUTA sent Trump Employee 2 four successive text messages:

One thing he asked

Was for new covers for the boxes, for Monday m.


*can we get new box covers before giving these to them on Monday? They have too much writing on them..I marked too much Trump Employee 2 replied, “Yes, I will get that!”

If Nauta or Employee 2 were in the storage closet at all on those days, it should have shown up on surveillance footage.

Maybe it did and it just wasn’t that interesting. Maybe MAL doesn’t keep surveillance footage that long.

But that’s why I’m interested in how DOJ did learn about that curation process (which, after all, is what the lie Nauta is charged with covered up — that first post-presidential curation process). Indeed, that first curation process is critical to ten of the Espionage Act charges, documents 22 through 31, the ones that were turned over in response to the May 11 subpoena. The former spooks who’ve done the most work trying to reverse engineer these documents have suggested this set of documents (all but one of which are from fall 2019, amidst impeachment) might be related; Matt Tait has speculated that three of them pertain to Turkey’s invasion of Syria and Trump’s decision to withdraw from most of Syria. You couldn’t charge those documents without solid proof that Trump affirmatively chose to hold onto them after he returned a first set in January 2022. So this sorting process is key to doing so.

In addition to interviews, the information about how the boxes moved around Mar-a-Lago came from text messages between Nauta, Employee 1, and Employee 2. A picture taken on June 24, 2021 shows how the boxes looked that day, when any boxes that weren’t spending the summer at Bedminster got moved there. Employee 2 took a picture on November 12, 2021 to show Trump how many boxes were there, then sent the picture to Nauta five days later, which seems to have been the beginning of their mutual effort to facilitate Trump’s personal sort of these documents.

It’s the picture taken on December 7, 2021 that I find particularly interesting — especially since Trump raised it yesterday at one of his rallies:

Somehow somebody turned over one of the boxes. Did you see that? I said, I wonder who did that. Did the FBI do that?

The FBI didn’t do it.

Walt Nauta discovered the box overturned with this document sticking out, which now makes up one of the 31 documents charged, long before the FBI had gotten involved.

Document dated October 4, 2019, concerning military capabilities of a foreign country (SECRET//REL TO USA, FVEY)

He took two pictures and sent them to Employee 2, the other person involved in facilitating this curation process.

On December 7, 2021, NAUTA found several of TRUMP’s boxes fallen and their contents spilled onto the floor of the Storage Room, including a document marked “SECRET//REL TO USA, FVEY,” which denoted that the information in the document was releasable only to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance consisting of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. NAUTA texted Trump Employee 2, “I opened the door and found this…” NAUTA also attached two photographs he took of the spill. Trump Employee 2 replied, “Oh no oh no,” and “I’m sorry potus had my phone.” One of the photographs NAUTA texted to Trump Employee 2 is depicted below with the visible classified information redacted. TRUMP’s unlawful retention of this document is charged in Count 8 of this Indictment. [my emphasis]

That person’s phone at first said, “Oh no oh no.” But then explained that “potus had my phone.”

I’m not sure what to make of either of those comments.

Though the indictment said the boxes fell, of their own accord, Trump, in front of his mob, seems to think someone knocked them over. In fact he made a point of blaming others, the FBI.

Because the indictment puts the picture in the initial section about how the boxes got placed in this storage room, before things like the guitar and coat rack visible in the December 7 picture got added, and not the section describing how Nauta and Employee 2 were moving boxes back and forth from the storage room to Trump’s residence so he could sort them, it obscures that Nauta would have discovered the spill during the time when he and Employee 2 were already starting this sorting process. All this movement had to have attracted a good deal of attention. And as I noted, as part of helping Trump sort through these documents, Nauta took notes on the boxes, which necessitated swapping out lids for those that ultimately did get sent back to NARA. So if anyone was in that storage closet to put a guitar there, or if someone wanted to use this item that was in the room in June 2021, or if someone decided to go in to see what all the fuss was about, then the boxes with the good stuff might be easily found.

This is the kind of thing the FBI would have wanted to check with surveillance footage — whether someone was in that closet and either inadvertently knocked over the boxes with a guitar or something else, or dug into the boxes themselves.

Those are the kinds of gaps that might lead Trump to preemptively blame the FBI.

182 replies
  1. RipNoLonger says:

    Do you have a sense as to whether these gaps are because of actions at MAL or because DOJ has intentionally not presented some material?

    Analyzing the gaps seems to be a wise thing to do. Over the years I’ve learned that anomalies can be more interesting than the expected data – and they are frequently thrown out as not being representative. Of course with trump and this environment, everything is anomalous.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Those of us who went to grad school in lit, comp lit, linguistics and related fields and took the Derrida/Lacan route (even briefly) learned to “mind the gap” as a core tenet of analysis. We mastered (or tried) the art of locating the “aporia,” the place in a text where it seems to just not cohere even by its own rules, and push through the gap for its raison d’etre. (Actually, that latter step was more just me, reverting to my original training as a New Critic. My weaving of historical/biographical context was in strict violation of deconstruction…I think.)

      While real-world applications of this training are scarce on the ground, EW has made hers into a vital and unique resource, one that I only wish more MSM journos would tap.

      • posaune says:

        Good comment, Ginerva.
        I don’t think there is anybody in this country who can eagle-eye spot a hole 10 miles away like Marcy. And make sense of it. It’s an amazing ability. Plus her steel trap mind.

      • Sue 'em Queequeg says:

        Mr. French Horn here would like to second Mr. Trombone’s sentiments, adding as well a note of appreciation for that enlightening first paragraph. Father Guido Sarducci, eat your heart out!

  2. Greg Stone says:

    Wanted to point that the evidence for removing classified from boxes includes Nauta’s request for clean covers for boxes because the old covers described in detail what was within.

    • timbozone says:

      I note that there’s no mention of how any of the boxes given to NARA in January 2022 were consolidated/collated from the trove that they came from. That is, it is entirely possible that the old lids were labelled incorrectly and thus replacing them, relabelled with the a more current content list, might have seemed like the right thing to do. However, Nauta’s comments don’t seem to indicate that as being the reasoning. Does the DOJ have any pictures or other testimony about how those old lids were labelled that might have a bearing on the chronology and/or who had processed the boxes prior to Dec 2021?

      • Drew in Bronx says:

        I doubt that anyone actually processed those boxes prior to Trump’s curation. Trump & WH staff dumped stuff in. Perhaps there were some file cabinets that had their contents transferred in a more or less organized manner, but that hardly qualifies as processing–likely some had descriptive labels, though Nauta’s texts seem to indicate that notes were taken on the lids as documents were shiften around.

        OTOH the archivists are NARA DO process boxes carefully –the first step is to take careful notes on the original order of documents as they come in. Only after that, is any sorting done that may move documents into more logical places–modern practice strongly favors keeping them in the order they were placed by the person/institution that originally had them.

        • timbozone says:

          Doubt is not the same as a known fact. That said, do you think that chance is above 50% that Trump was the only person to go thoroughly through the majority of the boxes so far know about? In theory, some of the boxes were looked through by some of Trump’s attorneys (and their and his assistants?) over the past two years. At some point, the number of boxes seems to have mysteriously gone from 80 to 50. Is that due to consolidation and possible recollation, possibly culling etc? We just don’t know.

        • Drew in Bronx says:

          This depends on what we mean by “thoroughly.” Trump looked in detail when he looked. I think that others who went through them, weren’t doing it in as much detail, following instructions from Trump or his assistant. Nauta spend over half an hour in the storage room retrieving a single box, so he must have been looking for something specific, for instance. It takes a long time to look at every document in a box & recognize what it is, but it doesn’t take long at all to shift contents from one half-empty box to another–esp if the order & juxtaposition doesn’t really matter.

          The first time we moved using movers (paid for by a new employer for relocation) who packed our house for us, I was astonished. In a single day, one guy did what took agonized weeks for us to do previously. It was actually better packing, but adjacent things were put in boxes together, whether they were related by subject matter, sentimental value, or our long term intentions for them or not.
          When they were originally packed in the White House, all reports are that there was little reflection or curation in the packing–adjacent went with adjacent. Curation was Trump’s. I’m pretty sure that it was somewhat similar at Mar a Lago.

  3. soundgood2 says:

    It looks to me like the moving the coatrack could have knocked over the box. From the way the contents are strewn and the position of the top of the box and the plastic wrapped item that looks like it fell off the rack, it looks like the rack knocked over the box. If someone was moving the rack quickly they might have not been able to stop the box from falling over and being dragged. That person might have gotten spooked, left the mess and gotten out of there. The question is, who and why were they moving the coat rack? Was it someone wanting to get to the boxes and needing to move the coatrack to do that? It wasn’t Nauta or the person he was texting as they both evinced surprise at finding the mess. Surveillance video would show who went in and out during that time. Trump blaming the FBI is consistent with him knowing who it was and wanting to cover it up.

    Nauta texts to Employee 2 who responds “oh no, oh no” and potus had my phone. I’m guessing the potus had my phone is an explanation as to why it took him a long time to respond? We don’t have time stamps on the texts, do we? He seems to be indicating that there is a problem with not responding quickly to Nauta. Did employee 2 and or Nauta know someone had been let into the storage room who shouldn’t have been?

    • trnc2023 says:

      Interesting theory, but I’m having a hard time imagining the natural/accidental action that would explain the contents landing the way they did – documents on the side of the box close to the coat rack being under documents in front of the top where they fell out.

      Also, would the employee really freak out about accidentally knocking over a box of newspaper clippings and pictures? Maybe, but I think the more realistic explanation is that the box dump was staged to blame the FBI search team.

      • LizB says:

        The one doc w the red band on the cover can clearly be seen. Stop living in dreamland and admit your buddy is a packrat.

      • RitaRita says:

        The Indictment says that Nauta found the documents fallen on the floor on December 7, 2021, well before the FBI was sent to search Mar a Lago.

    • Drew in Bronx says:

      I can’t tell much from this one photo, but looking at the boxes still in place, it looks like a really amateurish job of stacking the boxes in the room. (They have larger ones on top of smaller ones and they aren’t stacked squarely on one another). I can’t see if it’s only one box or two that spilled.

      My baseline theory, absent further evidence is that a badly stacked pile just collapsed as a cardboard box sagged under the weight of the boxes above it. Not as romantic or sleuthy an idea as a Chinese spymaster climbing in the room or something–but spymasters put things back where they found them.

      • Rayne says:

        To me the scene looks like whatever happened/happens in this space is always rushed. The jackets are rolled into a tight space, a ceiling medallion isn’t stored with other repair materials but with all manner of oddments, the stringed instrument seems like an afterthought conveniently stowed near wherever the band might be playing.

        Which makes me wonder if these boxes were hurriedly stashed into this space and poorly stacked in the process in order to hide them from someone(s) — Trump’s attorneys, or DOJ, or someone else.

        I also find it odd we’ve not seen a dehumidifier in any of the spaces where documents were stored in spite of Florida’s humidity level which could make paper and cardboard soft and soggy.

        • Drew in Bronx says:

          “soft and soggy” – seems appropriate for Trump.

          It’s unclear what the air conditioning situation is with any of these things. Moisture often results in mildew or mold which is the worst thing that can happen to paper. (Books survive fire better, in fact). The reckless way all of this has been done makes all manner of disasters likely.

          While shoving things in places hurriedly could account for lots of this, and keeping them out of sight of rule following attorneys, etc could be a motive, general recklessness is also just as likely.

          As grand and pretentious as Mar a Lago is, it isn’t that big in terms of institutions. 25 hotel guest rooms. I worked at an institution that built a hotel with 63 rooms and we were told it was too small to be viable. There just may not have been enough room for all the crap that Trump brought with him–and especially not with easy access to his residence/office.

  4. SaltinWound says:

    Is there any reason Trump couldn’t have been the one who texted “Oh no oh no” and then the employee took back the phone and texted “sorry potus had my phone”?

      • SaltinWound says:

        Do we know the time stamps? If there was a delay between the photo of boxes and the reply then the “sorry” would have been for not getting back right away. But if the “Oh no oh no” was a quick response, then the “sorry” was an explanation that the prior text was from POTUS

    • KayKinMD says:

      I see people suggesting that Trump is the one responding “Oh no Oh no”

      Come on. Does that really sound like him? He’s not an “Oh No” kind of guy; he’s much more bombastic. He’d be swearing & blaming somebody & screaming for somebody to clean it up.

      • SaltinWound says:

        I don’t believe he texts like he talks. He’s not a millennial. My hypothesis is he texted oh no oh no and then handed the phone back to his assistant and screamed and swore at her to clean this up. Texting minimally and swearing verbally.

    • matt fischer says:

      If Jack Smith believed that FPOTUS texted “Oh no oh no,” I doubt he would have phrased it as “Trump Employee 2 replied…” instead of something like “the texted response from Trump Employee 2’s phone…”

  5. hcgorman says:

    I wonder how often trump used phones from his employees and why? It seems to me this particular employee might have been concerned because trump had his phone and would have seen the photo of the boxes in disarray or perhaps even tampered with.
    My guess on the meaning anyway.

    • emptywheel says:

      My guess (and I think WaPo has confirmed) that this is Molly Michael, who was his Exec Assistant in the WH and remained so after the move. So he would have fairly routinely used her phone.

      Though I’m still not sure who wrote the “oh no” comment.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Molly Michael was my guess, too, because of all you have been telling us again and again. So, I’m glad the Post confirmed it. But it is so shocking that nobody ever intervened. No family, friends, allies. The total absence of integrity is mind boggling.

        The “oh no, oh no” sounds like Trump to me.

      • David F. Snyder says:

        I thought maybe it was Trump who texted “oh no oh no” and then that but of a time gap before he returned the phone to Employee 2. But that’s a supposition on my part, for sure.

      • trnc2023 says:

        “Oh no oh no” doesn’t sound like something DT would type in that situation, but if voice to text was activated, it sounds like something either he or the employee might say.

        ETA: IOW, it was just speech picked up by the text app, so not necessarily an intentional communication.

  6. soundgood2 says:

    It looks to me from the photo that the box was knocked over by someone moving the coat rack quickly. The lid and contents are strewn in the direction they would fall if they were pulled by the rack. The person pulling the coatrack out was unable or unwilling to clean up the mess. Did they see the classified markings and get spooked? Did they worry the noise would attract attention? It wasn’t Nauta or employee 2 as they both expressed surprise at the discovery. When Employee 2 texts potus had my phone, this might indicate that they are concerned that they did not respond quickly enough to Nauta. If so, why were they both so concerned? Did they know that someone unauthorized was let into the storage area? Who put the rack in there and when? The person was clearly moving the rack out, not in, when the box was knocked over. It’s possible that they were pushing it in and had a problem so quickly pulled it back out or they were moving it out to get to the boxes. Surveillance video could show who that was. Trump blaming the FBI could indicate that he knew there was a problem particularly if he had employee 2’s phone when the text came in.

    • timbozone says:

      There’s no direct evidence that employee 2 was surprised by the mess. As someone else eluded to, it appears that Trump had employee 2’s phone, and possibly read the text and responded to Nauta using employee 2’s phone. I suspect that DOJ knows who texted and more on this matter than us public speculators.

    • Hollygolightly says:

      The fact that Trump was using someone else’s phone is interesting. I wonder if it has opened the door to Jack Smith checking their phones/usage during J6? Since there were no Whitehouse phone logs, perhaps a subpoena for someone like Molly or Walt’s phones would be illustrative.

  7. Paulka says:

    One observation and one question.

    It appears that more than one box has been knocked over. there is a 2nd box to the left of the obvious box that was knocked over behind the stack of boxes and in front of the coat rack. In fact there may be more than one additional box with it’s contents spilled. Looks like it may be a stock of boxes that tipped.

    Is that a flipping copy machine in that picture???? or just an oddly shaped box?

    • Beverley54 says:

      I am not so sure they were knocked over by the coat rack, you can see the lid of the box off to the right but the contents spilled out directly in front. It seems off if it was just tipped over.

    • wasD4v1d says:

      It looks like it might be a file cabinet or a worktable/cabinet with something angled like a paper catch tray beyond it. The focus on the items seem slightly different.

    • MrBeagles says:

      Yeah, same question about what appears to be a couple machine

      And if it is a flippin copy machine, lordy are there tapes??!? >> assuming it was used is there copy in the copy machine, which would have a timestamped record of usage

  8. Spank Flaps says:

    “Did the FBI do that?” (6 months before the FBI were in the building) 🥱

    Also, sending 15 boxes of classified docs to NARA via a standard shipping courier! (face palm)

    • FL Resister says:

      Those boxes many containing US Classified information look as used as any of the people who have consensual relationships with Trump.

    • MrBeagles says:

      First thought is how is knowingly sending 15 boxes of classified docs to NARA standard shipping not a charge? At the very least it colors the other charges..

  9. rosalind says:

    i’m not getting that Dec. 7th photo. The person who took it is standing just outside the door, with the door opened up to the right. Would think normal momentum entering this closet would have you making a step or two inside before realizing the mess. Also seems like the items on the bottom right would’ve have peeked out under the door. Also wonder whether when he opened the door it caught the lid and slid it to the right. Is this storage unit supposed to be same one as the copier one? Dimensions seem much smaller.

  10. paulka123 says:

    Sorry for the above name mishap.

    WRT the nuclear document. Trump bragged to Woodward that the US has developed a new nuclear weapon system (reported in Daily Beast on September 9, 2020.

    Obviously I have no idea whether that is the document in question.

      • taluslope says:

        Hum, did I just come up with a defense? Sh*t!

        Oh well, perhaps I can be hired to sift through public records and show that everything Trump said was public information.

        Legally doesn’t matter because DJT didn’t return classified material when requested, but there may be lots of information out there that could be used to confuse a jury.

        Shiite encore!

  11. Hormiguita says:

    > Though the indictment said the boxes fell, of their own accord, Trump, in front of his mob, seems to think someone knocked them over. In fact he made a point of blaming others, the FBI.

    To speculate, might Trump himself have knocked them over? He’s all into projection.

        • Shadowalker says:

          They were asked by the two Corinthians standing inside, “where’s the bathroom”? Someone else said, “just look for a room full of boxes”.

        • bmaz says:

          Also, too, who puts their old files in the freaking bathroom??

          There is nothing about Trump that makes any sense. At all.

        • Shadowalker says:

          Reading material? Though he has been accused of flushing documents in the past. You’re right, nothing about Trump makes any sense.

        • bmaz says:

          By some law or regulation, I have to keep old files five years after closure. I often keep them ten, but not in the freaking bathroom.

        • Shadowalker says:

          I don’t think he was storing them for any law or regulation. That’s what the PRA is for.

        • P J Evans says:

          Friend had a rack of magnetic tapes in the shower in one bathroom, but that was because it was the only place it fit. (They weren’t classified and it wasn’t accessible from outside his office.)

        • Purple Martin says:

          Forevermore, let the picture of the bathroom with the chandelier, toilet, and stacks of boxes, be labeled…

          The Trump Presidential Library

        • Knox Bronson says:

          There is such an aura of shabbiness and decrepitude in those pictures. That aura is a manifestation of Trump’s soul sickness. I’ve read that, in their Trump Tower offices, everything was kind of dingy and run down.
          Trump once gave a pair of diamond cufflinks to a friend/acquaintence, pulling them out of his own cuffs and making a big deal about them being diamonds. The guy went to get them appraised for insurance purposes and was informed that they were fake. “Billionaire” Trump wears fake diamond cufflinks.
          His sickness engulfs all and everything around him. I do not understand how people fall into his orbit of decay and, then, stay until he has consumed them.
          And they keep coming.

        • AgainBrain says:

          … Finally, the FBI agent, having spit out the lime, and loosened the noose binding him to the coat rack, puts down the feculent guitar, pulls up his pants, and says “…and I bill it as ‘The Aristocrats'”.

          Sorry, had to extemp quickly, can flesh it out if y’all insist. Please don’t.

        • FLResister says:

          So many dense schemes.
          Looks like Mr. Smith may be catching up with them.
          My version would be someone rummaging through the boxes caught by surprise staged a toss up.

        • xbronx says:

          In the writers rooms for 20 years. Never apologize. A simple, “Just pitching” answers everything. And the pitch was good.

          [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. With only (83) comments at this site to date, you will not be grandfathered to keep your existing username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

        • Buzzkill Stickinthemud says:

          Coat rack: It’s cold in here.
          Guitar: What? Amp it up!
          FBI: I think the box just barfed all over the floor.

        • posaune says:

          When I was 16, (and a young trombone player) I took flights from StL to Traverse City (Interlochen), changing flights at O’Hare. One time, I missed the connection & had a 10-hour wait. I decided to go into the city, went first to Sam Goody, and then to Marshall Fields, riding up and down the escalator with my trombone case. Getting to the 4th floor, the store security, pulled me aside to follow them to an in-house police room, where I was questioned about what I was carrying. Upon opening, of course, it was my Conn 88H trombone. They examined the case very thoroughly and asked if I could actually play. I did — gave them a snatch of Bolero.

        • SFTexian says:

          In early ’93 newly elected Bill Clinton was at the Fairmont in SF near where I live. I had an 8:00 am downbeat with the Red Garter Band and got on my motorcycle & headed down California St. Seeing cops at every corner I thought Bill’s about to come this way, I’ll play “Hail To The Chief when he goes by. Got off my bike, started to unzip my brown leather trombone bag and suddenly noticed how intently the cop was looking with his hand on his gun. Oops! Sorry Bill. Back on the bike and off too work!

        • ExRacerX says:

          I’m sure Trump has a tin ear and can’t play any of those, but David Lindley (R.I.P.) could make them all sing.

        • pdaly says:

          I was going to say something similar. Case seems smaller than one would expect for acoustic guitar. Maybe electric guitar or banjo case. No reason to think it can carry exclusively a musical instrument. Plenty of space to carry papers…

        • bmaz says:

          Lol, who would put a Les Paul, much less a SG (notorious for going out of tune), in a soft case as opposed to a hard shell?

        • Sue 'em Queequeg says:

          Proportions are not those of a guitar, or any other string instrument I’ve encountered. Tiny body, long wide neck. It may not be an instrument case at all.

    • LizzyMom says:

      I think the reason why he says the FBI pushed the docs on the floor goes back to the photos published post-raid of documents on the floor of his office during the raid. Those docs were laid out by the FBI as a sampling of what they were finding in the boxes they were removing and were part of the evidence gathering process.

      He was getting zinged for “improper storage” of those docs and thought he could head it off, after the photo was published, by saying, I never left docs laying around on the floor — it was the FBI (which, of course, nobody debated because it was part of the evidence gathering), they’re trying to set me up! This was solely directed at his True Believers, and it (seems to have) worked. Thus, when docs are photographed strewn on the floor again, he’s going to return to his previous lie, reinforcing for the minions that he’s not at fault, he’s just being set up.

  12. David Brooks says:

    “though that doesn’t explain why Trump wasn’t charged for disseminating classified information in Bedminster” I think bmaz has addressed various versions of that question, along the lines of its being a lot of largely redundant effort. I’m thankful that he left my version of that question alone.

    I also seem to remember that retention and dissemination are encompassed in the same statute, hence also arguing for the redundancy explanation.

  13. soundgood2 says:

    There are definitely at least 2 boxes overturned. Most of the papers strewn on the floor look like they came from the box that is behind the box in the foreground (top box?). It looks like opening the door might have pushed the lid from the top box. I see another lid and the tip of someone’s shoe. Where is the second picture he took? Why was it not included in the indictment?

  14. Unabogie says:

    I found it curious that it was just assumed that the boxes fell over. That looks like someone ransacked the place. And if I was illegally carting around boxes of top secret documents and found the place ransacked, I’d quickly delete any surveillance tapes that could show which of MBS’s bagmen went in to use the copier that is right there next to the secret nuclear documents and oh my god I just typed that out and now my eyes are bleeding.

    • RitaRita says:

      The indictment says that Nauta “…found several of the boxes fallen and their contents spilled on the floor.”

      No speculation in the indictment as to what caused them to fall. Trump speculated last night that it was the FBI that caused the boxes to fall, even though they were involved for another 6 months. Perhaps an unintended admission that someone may have caused the boxes to fall?

      Given the fact that Nauta and the other employee were moving around boxes, the reasonable explanation is that they may have caused the boxes to fall and not been aware of the mess until 12/7. Or it could have been whoever jammed the suit rack, guitar, and pictures in there. At a minimum, the photos and frequent moving of the boxes establish that the highly sensitive information was not properly safeguarded.

      • GeeSizzle says:

        One of the things about boxes stacked on top of each other (and I know this from experience, including a lot today), is that after moving them around, you may think they are stable, but in fact, they are ever so slightly in motion, compressing, shifting…and then there is the tipping point.

        • P J Evans says:

          They’re poorly stacked, also. In that photo, you can see a larger box on top of a banker’s box. In other photos, there are two or three kinds of banker’s boxes (of different weights), and some that I can’t identify but may be other brands.
          A friend who’d worked at the storage warehouse for a bank showed me how to pallet-stack boxes (better for storage), but that only works when you have space, like on that stage.

    • John Paul Jones says:

      It’s possible Nauta put the box back in a hurry, and didn’t set it square. Shortly after he closes the door and walks away, it finally slips out of balance and tumbles to the floor. It could even be that he heard the noise, and quickly convinced himself it was nothing, and continued walking away.

      • RitaRita says:

        More than one box had fallen.

        The explanations for why range from stacking incompetence to inadvertent disturbance to intentional disturbance (as suggested by Trump himself). We can’t rule any explanation out and that is worrisome, from a national security perspective.

      • Rayne says:

        Why is there a bright pink square around that device in Marcy’s uploaded copy of the photo? *wink*

        Whew, there are more stories yet to emerge.

      • ExRacerX says:

        “So that’s one US nuclear capabilities document and the Macron folder for $5 million? I’ll have Walt run down to the storeroom and print ’em up.”

        I am dead serious.

  15. Mike Stone says:

    Here is what I do not understand. Why hasn’t the DOJ obtained a search warrant for Bedminster? It would seem that they would have enough probable cause to obtain a search warrant and the Government needs to do everything possible to recover these documents.

    Or is it possible, that they did recover the missing documents? Say some person at Bedminister turned them over or something else.

    • Shadowalker says:

      No one knows, other than the ones running the investigation. My guess is they know nothing will be found there.

    • AgainBrain says:

      IANAL, but perhaps they’re holding off on seeking warrants for Bedminister and Trump Farce One, on the premise that Nauta flipping might greatly solidfy their probably cause argument — as in, they already have one, but it isn’t as solid as what they know they’ll have if Nauta flips, so they’re holding that back for the moment.

      Is there any reason against or harm caused to them or their case if they supersede the indictment down the road? Perhaps adding charges validated after searches of Bedminister or the jet provide further evidence of wrongdoing?

      • taluslope says:

        Sorry for repeating myself from earlier, but there is no way the DOJ/FBI won’t attempt to retrieve classified if they have testimony that document X was seen at location Y yesterday.

        What purpose supersedes national security?

  16. Savage Librarian says:

    This article claims that Molly Michael is Employee 2:

    “Where Trump’s indictment got insider info: A secretary, valet and lawyer” – The Washington Post, 6/10/23

    “A secretary [Molly Michael] —identified in the indictment as “Trump Employee 2” — told prosecutors that Trump himself had been packing and looking through boxes, contrary to assertions from his own lawyers. A young political aide, referred to as “the PAC representative” in the indictment, told prosecutors that Trump showed him a classified map about a military operation in a foreign country and told him to stand back because it was a secret document. At a recent CNN town hall, Trump said he did not remember doing such a thing.”


    • Savage Librarian says:

      Judging from the timing of his GJ appearance and his reaction to it afterwards, my WAG is that Taylor Budowich may know who this is (as noted in the WP article) and it’s making him squirm:

      “young political aide, referred to as ‘the PAC representative’ in the indictment”

  17. vigetnovus says:

    So I did a bit of digging. The nearest Mar-a-lago event to December 7,2021 I can find was the 800 (!!) person Turning Point action event on December 4th (gulp). Prior to that it was a Herschel Walker fundraiser on Dec 1st, and subsequently a Ken Paxton (!!!!!) fundraiser on Dec. 10th.

    These are obviously huge security issues.

    • 90’s Country says:

      I’m just trying to wrap my head around (an odd expression if ever there was) the fact that a former POTUS, with all his attendants and all his former power, stores shit in boxes that get knocked over or fall over like all us ordinary slugs. I open the closet before Christmas to get the damn decorations out and it looks just like that. I open the storage door in my garage and stuff is spread all over. What kind of doofus ex-POTUS is this guy? No, don’t answer, I already know.

      • Konny_2022 says:

        That’s what I was thinking as well. However, this mishandling of documents began already when Trump was still in the WH, according to sec.2 of the indictment: “Over the course of his presidency, TRUMP gathered newspapers, press clippings, letters, notes, cards, photographs, official documents, and other materials in cardboard boxes that he kept in the White House.” And we know from the early reports on his habit of ripping up documents and throwing them in a wastebasket that he drove some persons responsible for and knowledgable about the proper document handling nuts (and maybe dismissed them later anyway).

  18. soundgood2 says:

    At one point some of the boxes were moved to the “business center” In the hotels and resorts I am familiar with, the “business center” is a place with computers, internet access and copy machines that is open to guests to use.

  19. soundgood2 says:

    There’s a photo that was posted on CNN and other places that is supposedly from the indictment that shows the boxes in the storage room taken from the back of the room. In it you can see how precariously some of the boxes on the end nearest the door are stacked. They are sticking out from the rest of the boxes. They could have been snagged on the coat rack and pulled down. Also some of the boxes don’t appear to have lids.

    • RitaRita says:

      The contents of that box closest to the door are strewn in what looks to me like a less than random way.

      • Nessnessess says:

        Yes. And the green and white shopping bag had been moved between the time the full room pics were taken, and the time of the strewn boxes photo, where the bag can be seen in the upper left, towards the near edge of the stack of boxes. It previously sat on the other end of the box.

        Are the boxes that fell the ones seen next to the green bag in the full room photo?

        There’s something about the positioning of the “strewn” objects that seems less than organic to me. I wonder if these pics have been cropped from the originals.

        I wonder when Nauta will flip, or flip out.

        I wonder when I will.

  20. Shadowalker says:

    “Though the indictment said the boxes fell, of their own accord, Trump, in front of his mob, seems to think someone knocked them over. In fact he made a point of blaming others, the FBI.”

    Trump and Melania were both watching a remote feed of the search to Bedminster in real time. Either he knows the FBI didn’t do it, or he forgot and made it up on the fly.

    • bmaz says:

      Interesting that nobody has ever placed Melania under oath and made her talk. Would she plead the marriage spousal privilege? Why not ask her?

      • Shadowalker says:

        I know she was quite offended that they even searched amongst her personal things, but unlike her husband, less vocal.

        Might not be worth the trouble getting testimony from her.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        I’m not so sure Melania was involved in any serious discussions as her role is to be ‘pretty and elegant’ in the view of someone who thought chandeliers in a bathroom would be classy. It also fits into the mob boss id. Defendant-1 never considered his wives and interim squeezes as anything else. There was no title other than FLOTUS as far as I know for Melania.

        However, Melania also might make some statements that wreck explanations peddled by the defense, so it wouldn’t hurt to find out how pissed she was about the boxes ruining her decorating. I also would not be surprised that Melania has some anger against her husband and IIRC the spousal exemption is for compelled testimony only. Maybe the lawyers can correct me on that point.

        Ivanka OTOH was given the job as a senior adviser (as was Jared) so it would be more fruitful to dig there if the arrangements are the target.

        • Tawalamildi75 says:

          Elegant? Only compared to some.

          What about the absurdity of the chandelier and the realtor beige shower curtain?

        • Rugger_9 says:

          That was a dig at Defendant-1. However, one of the things found in whodunit movies is the big confab in a room where everyone is let loose to talk (the Thin Man series was known for this) in the expectation that someone would slip up. That’s why asking Melania some questions might prove useful.

  21. Alan_OrbitalMechanic says:

    “though that doesn’t explain why Trump wasn’t charged for disseminating classified information in Bedminster”

    I wondered about that too but my best guess is they realized that Trump would just claim that it wasn’t a real document that he was holding up. He was just making a point sort of like Rep. McCarthy — the long dead one — saying “I have in my hand a list of communists…”.

    It would seem that he didn’t make the mistake of actually showing the document to someone who could testify about its contents. If they had such testimony I am sure he would have drawn that charge.

  22. Amicus12 says:

    There are already plans to bring bus loads of protestors to the courthouse the day of the indictment. Note Trump’s gun holding hand gestures in the photo.

    The spilled boxes evidence would seem to serve multiple purposes. It’s hard for Nauta to say that he didn’t know the boxes held classified documents in the face of the photograph.

    But the spilled boxes, and bathroom storage, and Bedminster passages strongly foreshadow another sinister story. It suggests that the Intelligence Committee presumes that the NDI information (or at least some substantial portion) is presumed missing and compromised. To what extent they have confirmed this by other means we may never know. The expert put up to explain the significance of the documents at trial may address this (or not).

    Yes, who was doing what during the gap periods, is quite the concern. “You stole documents and there’s substantial evidence to believe that NDI information has been disseminated.”

    • RipNoLonger says:

      “It suggests that the Intelligence Committee presumes that the NDI information (or at least some substantial portion) is presumed missing and compromised.”

      Hasn’t that been the assumption by every rational person that has bothered to read the news (even the M$M). As soon as many of us saw that buffoon taking the office, many of us knew that he would misuse his power. And this is not D vs. R. This is just thinking vs. zealotry.

      • Amicus12 says:

        There were at least three fundamentally different ways you could present this case, based upon what is known publicly.

        First, you could present the case as largely obstruction focused with the date of the alleged willful retention from the time of the fraudulent noncompliance with the subpoena. At that point in time, any claim of inadvertence has gone out the window.

        Second, you could present this case as a conspiracy to willfully retain NDI. That could have been charged in DC. But to say conspiracy conjures up bad recollections of collusion. And it lets Trump use the De Niro line: if I stole say I stole.

        Third, its a stolen documents case. It was an intelligence theft planned from inside the White House and its parameters as known are chilling, and its parameters as unknown are even more so. That the case Smith has brought and one that it appears he is willing to try. I don’t think the case was overcharged to get Nauta to flip. Nauta either will flip or he won’t but Smith had to have a case in hand to bring this because the stakes are so high.

        Whatever case Smith brings has to be done hand in glove with the IC. The indictment strongly suggests to me that the IC is wigging out: Trump had access to pretty much anything. What did he take? Where did it go? How do we make sure it doesn’t happen again?

        In any event, in the next few weeks we should know a great deal more. Will DOJ move for Cannon’s recusal? What will they say about the apparent conflicts of Nauta’s counsel and the funding of Nauta’s counsel. Do they intend to try this as a CIPA case (in which case it may not be tried by the time of the election).? What about Trump’s counsel and their need for clearances (or not)?

    • RitaRita says:

      I think the more sinister story is plausible. Even if no NDI document is missing, given the sloppy security and the frequency of guests in the vicinity, the possibility that the information may be compromised should be considered.

    • emptywheel says:

      That’s why I keep raising the Nghia Pho letter. I think they decided they had to shut this all down last September, and that’s why you see 31 docs in an indictment. Bc Trump burned it all down.

      And there’s some indication that one of only the classifications NOT included is HCS-O.

  23. soundgood2 says:

    Many of the box tops in the various photos are damaged. Tops to bankers boxes get damaged when they are removed multiple times. If the boxes were packed, lids put on and then simply moved from place to place, the tops would most likely be intact, particularly the ones on the top of the stacks

    • Buzzkill Stickinthemud says:

      Ok, totally OT. But “box tops” reminds me when I was a kid, and cereal boxes offered goodies by mailing in box tops. Took 6 weeks or more, if only I could remember what I received for my efforts. Maybe a plastic gizmo, something mechanical? A top?

      Back to your regularly scheduled program…

    • P J Evans says:

      There’s a limit to how high boxes can be stacked before the lids get damaged just from weight. (Standard-duty:400lb (five or six boxes); heavy duty: 850lb.) Moving boxes around would change the stacking order.

    • Nessnessess says:

      The non-white boxes, the regular cardboard ones near the door, seem to be the spillover from those pictured in the photo with the waterpipe.

      But in the strewn photo, the white serving dish or whatever that is, on the box next to the guitar, was not there in the full room photos.

      It’s hard to tell from how the full room photo is cropped if the gtr was there or not.

      What would cause boxes to fall like that, absent a human presence?

      Also, to my eye these indictment photos rhyme compositionally with that DOJ photo from last year showing all the folders and box with the Time mag cover. Is there anything to be read in this similarity? Is that just the nature of evidence photos?

      A garment fell off the coat rack. Apparently. The garments still hanging are not closely spaced, yet the one on the ground is beneath the last one hanging on the rack, which was moving in which direction to get jammed up against the bottom of a box that fell from somewhere apparently not directly above it?

      It’s as though someone was pushing the coat rack fast enough and recklessly enough to careen against boxes with enough force to dislodge them so that they fall in front of the coat rack. Is that possible?

      • GeeSizzle says:

        Or something on the coatrack got wedged between two boxes when they were rearranged, and pulling the coatrack pulled the boxes in tow.

  24. Rugger_9 says:

    I think the simplest explanation fits best as buttressed by the links above: Defendant-1 either did it or ordered it done to provide the ‘plausible lie’ that the feebs did it. He can then scream bloody murder about that, leveraging in some claims about evidence planting and bribery too and the MAGA tribe including the RWNM will slurp it up.

    Judge Cannon might too. It’s still a rumor that the defense (whoever they’ll be, and let’s not forget they’ll ask for a lengthy delay to study the case) will re-litigate the Corcoran notes over attorney-client privilege. I’d ask the lawyers here whether SDFL is bound by the DC circuit ruling, and what effect it would have on the evidence SC Smith’s team can present. I don’t recall that SCOTUS weighed in on that specific issue, because IIRC Defendant-1 didn’t appeal it.

    That circus will also run with the claim of planted evidence or a staged room (because the FBI knocked the boxes over dontchaknow) to get Cannon to throw out the search fruits as tainted. What would that do to the case?

  25. RoseGold says:

    I read a comment last night which referred to trumps strange plucking motion as the invoking the mime-fraud exception.

    • RitaRita says:

      Michael Cohen would probably say that it’s the mob boss’ non-verbal way of communicating his wishes.

    • greenbird says:

      not quite the straw that broke the camel’s back, but a very sneaky professionally-done play with words, sure to keep a smile on my lips as i count sheep, and wait for Toosdy.

  26. OnKilter says:

    Some questions raised by the indictment…

    Obviously the boxes mentioned in the indictment were stored in scattered and unsecured locations for many months.

    I wonder if the FBI or DOJ is trying to identify anyone (beyond Trump) who may have surreptitiously accessed those boxes and stole or copied sensitive material contained within.

    Foreign spies?
    Or some of Trump’s minions/friends/family?

    And how much more is still missing?

    It seems from the indictment that there are still more missing boxes and that all documents have not been found.

    Does anyone in the DOJ, FBI or NARA actually know of any specific documents that are still missing and believed stolen by Trump? Will we, the public ever find out?

    If Trump is convicted, can he be made to talk and produce the missing material?
    Or can Trump barter information for a plea?

    • emptywheel says:

      Yes. That’s the entire point of this post. They tried/are trying to figure out how badly burned this stuff is.

    • RitaRita says:

      That may explain Trump’s remark last night about entering into a plea agreement where the feds give him money. Maybe he knows who might have accessed the documents.

      • P J Evans says:

        He’s assuming the feds would work like the lawyers he’s dealt with in the past, where they paid him to go away.

      • Leu2500 says:

        Trump also keeps bringing up that Nixon was paid for his presidential papers (pre-PRA) so he should be too

        • Rayne says:

          Papers generated during the course of Trump’s presidency — presidential records — as part of his executive duties are NOT his papers. They’re ours.

          He’s trying to extort money from the US for our own property.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        Guessing that trump has no idea of who might have gone into these rooms, other than telling some of his ‘friends’ that “there’s some serious shit in this bathroom/ballroom/closet”.

        • Rayne says:

          Just so damned irritating knowing there are events like this one linked below all the time at Mar-a-Lago and no obvious additional security.

          From January 2018 https://goo.gl/maps/zxBsf9EHg7fzk3gbA

          Right behind the band on either side are the doors to the storage space. None of the guests’ photos I’ve seen online show these doors blocked off to guests or staff.

          In this one from March 2022 he’s about 30-50 feet from one of those doors while he’s getting his narcissistic supply fix. Fuck the documents, he’s too busy doing his presidential kayfabe.


  27. Southern Exposure says:

    I think this was my handle for my one other comment here. Apologies if my memory was faulty. At least I am at 8 characters!
    Not a lawyer and didn’t sleep at a Holiday Inn last night and frequently struggle to keep up with the advanced and highly trained legal minds here, but appreciate the sober, fact based analysis, devoid of childish nicknames for Trump and the rigid dedication to the law as it is and not as we wish it were or that carries some semblance of each individuals sense of equity.
    On the other hand, I am quite adept at game theory, which I am trying to apply to Jack Smith’s actions here. I am hoping that the much more astute legal minds here can tell me if this is a possible reading of what he is thinking (particularly as it regards why the acts at Bedminster are mentioned but not charged). Here goes:

    1) This is the opening act. Smith was OK filing this in SDFL because a) he wants it to go as fast as possible and b) it removes the double jeopardy venue potential (acknowledging bmaz has dismissed this as a real concern) and c) he wants to pressure Nauta to flip (which may or may not work).
    2) He is holding back on Bedminster for a variety of reasons including a) He doesn’t have all he needs to prove that case and Nauta flipping may help with that and b) it is a different and far more serious crime than having the docs and it is likely harder to prove (based on the evidence publicly available) and 3) these charges would become the headline charges in the case if he included them and overshadow the very serious and dare I say open and shut nature of the existing charges.

    I know bmaz and others have said that it is folly to try multiple cases in different jurisdictions and that consolidation is the correct and obvious solution. But could Smith be thinking this way:
    a) I will likely win in Florida and then given the likely punishment I will never have to charge the Bedminster offenses
    b) If I enter into plea negotiations with Trump, I can use the potential Bedminster charges as leverage
    c) Additional information may come to light in the SDFL case that will strengthen my Bedminster case, particularly as it relates to establishing the material was classified and government owned. Also, having won the case, then maybe Nauta flips and further strengthens the NJ case.
    d) If I lose in Florida, I can still bring the Bedminster case in NJ since it is a very different crime. If this is challenged via double jeopardy or some other legal argument about it should have been included in the last case, I could argue he gained additional factual info after the SDFL filing that only then made the NJ case ripe (assuming he is still investigating or something shows up at trial in SDFL). Something akin to “I hadn’t formed an opinion on charging Bedminster until I found out x, which was well after the case in SDFL was underway”).

    If he had included Bedminster in the SDFL case, it would have been tried in SDFL because the “majority of the criming” took place there. But by separating it and not fully developing the case, Smith creates a stronger argument for charging it separately and doing so in NJ. I guess my question for the lawyers here is would this serve as a basis for avoiding a double jeopardy or “failure to consolidate” charge.

    To my mind, it would also explain why Smith appears indifferent to the Cannon risk. The SDFL case is an opening shot, not the main event. It is a win-win for him – he may win and bring the matter to a close or if he loses he may be able to bring a more serious charge with what will then be a stronger and more developed fact case than he has today in a venue that may not involve a judge that prompts concern.

    Sorry, I know this a long read – hoping a few knowledgeable folks will indulge me and that this is a comment worthy of the better minds on this site.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think it’s a bit simpler than that. But yes, I’m thinking this is an opening act.

    • David Brooks says:

      “I will likely win in Florida”

      I hope to live that long (I’m almost 74). Starting Tuesday “Your honor I am from the firm of Sue, Grabbit and Runne (“No ambulance too fast”) which Mr Trump hired this morning and we need time to come up to speed with the evidence and law how does January 21, 2025 sound for the trial date”.

      Procedural appeals to the 11th Circus, appeal of the verdict, appeal to the Supremes…Am I being optimistic as to the correct century?

        • Norskieflamethrower says:

          Thank you for that statement. Holding up the trial because of a new attorney (or attorneys) has been my only real worry about Florida and “Boom Boom” Cannon.

    • RitaRita says:

      To this I would add that the tv lawyers say that DOJ brings the matter to the the grand jury when it is ready and that Jack Smith has to have his eye on the political calendar.

    • David F. Snyder says:

      I’m not a boxing fan, but I think a good analogy might be the feint that consists of throwing a quick 1-2 to the body followed by a devastating left hook to the head. We’ve only seen the first jab.

  28. MrBeagles says:

    It strikes me that trump:

    accusing FBI of planting evidence
    accusing FBI of knocking over boxing (muddying the timeframe)

    is trump’s linchpin to claim a hoax :: deep state conspiracy

    At the point where these assertions become foregrounded, as the case against trump builds in the public’s mind, and these assertions become ever more untenable, trump signals overtly for violence

    • Rayne says:

      It’s important to notice when Trump engages in DARVO — for him it’s a long-established pattern of behavior, typical of abusers. It’s completely formulaic:

      Trump Denied the crimes with which he is charged;

      Trump Attacked the FBI, DOJ, and Special Counsel’s Office who were tasked with investigating and prosecuting the matter;

      Trump Reversed the roles of Victim and Offender by complaining he was abused by the deep state in the form of FBI, DOJ, and Special Counsel’s Office.

      I wrote about this pattern last year after the warrant was served on Mar-a-Lago: https://www.emptywheel.net/2022/08/10/expected-response-is-expected-trump-and-right-wing-darvo/

      He did the same with the Manhattan DA’s indictment, he’ll do the same with the next indictment. You can set your watch by it.

      But if you want to break the link to the public’s mind about it, you need to point out this pattern when it happens for what it is.

      • stillscoff says:

        You can read this as a response to both your comment and Rip’s reply.

        I read the comment sections on a lot of articles on AOL, Newsweek and Yahoo. Both sites are hotbeds for trumptrolls, and DARVO is by far the most common response to info that is damaging to Trump’s claims of innocence – especially the RVO part.

        I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but it is deflection at its utmost and specifically designed to bury the truth beneath a flood of irrelevance and whataboutery.

        ETA – The site moderators on AOL must hate me. I mark their commenters’ falsehoods every single time I come across them.

    • RipNoLonger says:

      As Rayne posted – please understand the classic DARVO defense.

      I’m unsure if you are predicting a behavior or just making comments about possibilities. Sometimes these “just asking a question” sorties are more about injecting crap into the discussion.

  29. bbleh8ch says:

    Trump HASN’T YET been charged for disseminating classified information in Bedminster. And wouldn’t such a charge properly be brought in NJ anyway? I would put much more than even money on the proposition that there are shoes yet to drop.

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

  30. soundgood2 says:

    Just thinking about employee 2’s phone. It looks like Trump had it for some period of time. I’m sure investigators have some idea when he had it based on the text from Walt. Why did Trump have the phone? Did he require employees to surrender their phones when they are near him or did he have it to use it? If he had it to use it, who did he call?

    • P J Evans says:

      He has a habit of borrowing the nearest phone when he wants to use one and his isn’t handy.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        …or when he wants to claim said phone and its owner as cover for his sketchy activities. Whole lotta that in 2015-16 leading up to the election.

  31. GeeSizzle says:

    Why is there what looks like a ceiling medallion on the crushed brown box where I presume the white box that spilled had been??

    • P J Evans says:

      It probably *is* a ceiling medallion. This is a real storage room, with the suit rack and the guitar case and what look like parts of a bed frame and that wrapped mirror behind the guitar case.

      • BobBobCon says:

        It looks like one of those cheap plastic ones that gets affixed to light fixtures and spray painted gold before the ceiling popcorn gets sprayed on. He’s such a cheap short term thinking operator.

      • RitaRita says:

        One of the suits from the suit rack, one that still had the plastic wrap from the laundry on it, was crumpled on the ground – apparently a victim of the spontaneous falling of the boxes. I wonder if the “Oh No Oh No” text in response to the photos was expressing horror at the crumbled suit just back from the cleaners catastrophe.

  32. FA_12JUN2023_0957h says:

    What do you think are the chances of a dissemination indictment coming in NJ?

    [Welcome to emptywheel. 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 “FA” is far too short it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  33. theartistvvv says:

    OK, so my theory about the place with the copier and guitar and the mess is that it’s Kid Rock’s guest room, referred to by the hipper staff as, “Bawitdaba”.

    I say this because the guitar case just isn’t huge enough for the Nuge and there are no trophy heads on the walls and illiterates have no need of copies.

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