Trump’s “Beautiful Mind Paper Boxes:” Jack Smith’s Points of Leverage

In this post, I laid out how DOJ really really really tries to plead out 18 USC 793(e) cases if it can do so, to avoid doing any more damage to national security, on top of the original compromise. That’s true even with a garden variety Green Beret who brought classified documents about a gripe home from work. All the more so if it’s the former President who compromised hundreds of highly sensitive documents.

But as we’ve seen over the ten months since the search of his beach resort, Trump is highly unlikely to do that.

What would it take — Jack Smith’s team may have brainstormed before they filed this — to get Trump to enter into a plea agreement?

So I want to return to my argument that the Mar-a-Lago case is tactical — a tactical nuke, I called it. Partly, I think it is designed to give Walt Nauta very good reason to plead and cooperate, to what end and import I only have guesses.

Partly, I think charging 31 incredibly sensitive documents is a different kind of threat to Trump than it is to most people, because of his narcissism.

Those 31 charged documents are, taken together, a bunch of stories that prosecutors can tell about why Trump stole classified documents. The reason prosecutors included some are pretty easy to guess. Document 19, which concerns US nukes, is classified Formerly Restricted. Under the Atomic Energy Act it could not be declassified by the President alone, so that document will be legally easier to prove to be National Defense Information covered by the Espionage Act than others might, even if jurors don’t get the import of protecting information on America’s nuclear weapons. Some, like document 11, an unmarked document that captures military contingency planning of the United States, seem to be another example of stuff that is obviously NDI, information that is closely held precisely because doing so is necessary to protect US security, regardless of classification level (and may have been selected because it doesn’t include classification marks). Others, like document 3 and document 23, appear to have Sharpie notes, which may provide some hints about why Trump stole them. Matt Tait thinks document 7, memorializing October  28, 2018 communications with a foreign leader, might record a call with Putin or Mohammed bin Salman, post Khashoggi execution, both of which could be highly embarrassing for Trump. Based on its date, Tait argues that the other document pertaining to nukes in Trump’s stash, document 5, likely pertains to Russia. Brian Greer thinks the charged documents turned over on June 3, most of which are from the fall 2019 period during impeachment, could be a coherent set. Whatever else document 8 is — it is described as an October 4, 2019 Five Eyes document — the spillage picture from the storage closet would amount to proof that by storing it insecurely, Trump made it accessible to at least two people who no longer had clearances.

Whatever these documents are, his closest aides considered him to be obsessed with them. Employee 2 — according to WaPo, this is Trump’s then-Executive Assistant, Molly Michael — described the boxes as Trump’s “beautiful mind paper boxes” as she debated with a colleague about where to stash them. Trump went to great lengths to curate and keep these documents; they became tied to his self-imagination of power, it seems. He told Evan Corcoran, “I don’t want anybody looking, I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes, I really don’t, I don’t want you looking through my boxes.” As bad as it is for Trump that the government seized these documents from him, it might pose a far greater injury to his ego if they were shared in court for all the world to see who he really was. We’re all going to get to look at Trump’s boxes if this goes to trial. All of us.

And while the timing of this prosecution cannot be predicted (aside from that the CIPA process will take a lot of time), such an injury to Trump’s ego might be greater if “his” boxes were to become public in the middle of the general election, which is about the earliest that might happen.

So, bizarrely, as hard as it would be for the spooks to declassify these for trial, it might do as much damage to Trump’s psyche to have the contents of “his” “beautiful mind paper boxes” shared for the entire world to see. It would shred the sense of power that he derived from them (and in many cases, would show that many of his public claims about what — say — Mark Milley had really said were false). And so keeping them secret might be something about which Trump and DOJ could come to some kind of agreement.

But that’s not the only point of leverage that Smith has.

Because Trump decided to announce his Presidential run early in a bid to stave off criminal charges, Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith to oversee both criminal investigations into Trump, the stolen documents case and the January 6 case. At the very least, that means that in the not-too-distant future, Smith will file additional charges against Trump and his close associates, in DC. Since Trump will be dealing with the same prosecutor, Smith, in both, if he wanted to settle one case — say to stave off having his “beautiful mind paper boxes” exposed in Florida — Smith could attempt to include a settlement in a second case in any negotiation.

You still have to get Trump to a position where he wants to settle, but having the same prosecutor oversee both cases simply gives him more flexibility, flexibility that might be able to find a just result for the country.

And the way in which these cases intersect may provide Smith additional tools. Several witnesses in the stolen documents case also have exposure in one or another aspect of the January 6 case. Trump Representative 1 is — again, per the WaPo — Alex Cannon. The January 6 Committee documents showed Cannon to be a key player in (not) vetting fundraising pitches for false claims; but he was also involved in attempts to limit the damage of Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony.

No one has yet identified Trump Attorney 2, but it may be Boris Epshteyn, who had his phone seized last September and already sat for two days of interviews with Smith’s prosecutors. Trump will go to court today represented by Todd Blanche, who also represents Boris. And Boris’ close associate and partner in crypto-corruption, Steve Bannon, received a subpoena from the Special Counsel last month.

Perhaps the most important of these players common to both criminal investigations, however, is Michael, and that enigmatic comment, “Oh no oh no … I’m sorry potus had my phone” is one of the reasons why. Michael was one of Trump’s most important gatekeepers leading up to January 6, and the logs of his calls from that period were mysteriously not kept. When the January 6 Committee questioned her about events, Michael professed not to remember a lot of things from that period. When the January 6 Committee asked her about her phone — the phone that Trump would sometimes use — she explained that her lawyer had pulled off any texts relevant to the event, but did not provide more. Because Trump made Michael a central player in his effort to steal classified documents, Jack Smith appears to have obtained her phone, a phone that would show some of Trump’s communications, as well as her own.

Indeed, that reference to Trump having her phone on December 7, 2021, may be as much about what he was doing with it as what she said to Nauta once she got it back.

More importantly, these overlapping players have witness testimony about more than the attack. Most if not all of them, as well as most if not all of their known attorneys, are the beneficiaries of the suspected campaign finance fraud that has become a second prong of Jack Smith’s investigation — the investigation into how Trump raised money from small donors promising to use it on election integrity and instead used it on paying lawyers for other criminal exposure (and, as noted, that’s the area where Cannon’s known legal exposure is greatest). We may learn more about how DOJ feels about that today, if DOJ asks for a conflict review of Stan Woodward’s representation of Walt Nauta.

The indictment charged Nauta. But it is very coy about the degree to which the other named witnesses, especially Michael and Epshteyn, have cooperated or might be exposed elsewhere.

And that’s important because of the other elements that don’t show up in this indictment. Michael is the one who ordered Chamberlain Harris to make copies of Trump’s schedules, for example, which in the process resulted in the dissemination of classified information. Michael is the most likely candidate to be the person who compiled one Secret and one Confidential document into one with messages from a pollster, a faith leader, and a book author. One uncharged crime in Trump’s existing indictment describes him sharing classified information with a representative of his PAC (and the paragraph immediately following that one hints that the information may have subsequently been shared with the press). The last thing Jay Bratt did before obtaining this indictment was to interview Taylor Budowich about shared knowledge of Trump’s employees that he was hoarding documents.

As far as we know, Trump appears to have kept the most spectacular of these documents for himself. “I don’t want anybody looking, I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes, I really don’t, I don’t want you looking through my boxes,” Trump told the attorney he had hired to search them. But the more mundane documents — such as the Iran document that disappeared forever after it was publicly aired at Bedminster in July 2021 — appear to have been exploited by the same Political Action Committee that was already the subject of Smith’s increasingly interlocking inquiries.

Trump lied to his small donors about how he was going to use their money. But he also appears to have taken documents when he left the White House — documents that belong to you and me — that he has since put to his own personal and political benefit. Some of those documents are classified.

And so — especially given the suggestion that Smith needed his indictment to go back to a grand jury still working in DC — Jack Smith may have more points of leverage over Trump and his closest associates, including points of leverage that remain almost entirely hidden.

Update: As I was writing this, Lawfare published a similar piece on shoes yet to drop.

121 replies
  1. harpie says:

    DOJ really really really tries to plead out 18 USC 793(e) cases if it can do so, to avoid doing any more damage to national security, on top of the original compromise. […] But as we’ve seen over the ten months since the search of his beach resort, Trump is highly unlikely to do that.

    What if doing “more damage to national security” is the actual plan?
    That certainly seems to me to be the case with Anti-Patriots like Trump, Stone, Bannon, and Flynn.

    12/30/20 BANNON to TRUMP: We are going to kill the Biden presidency in the crib.

    • Ravenclaw says:

      Wait. Why would DoJ want to damage national security? Team Trump, sure, but the line you quote is about how prosecutions are handled.

      • harpie says:

        Oh, ooops! …that was not clearly stated! I’ll try again.

        If TRUMP, et al want to do, [or don’t care about doing] damage to national security, then they would not want to plead guilty.

        • loveyourstuff says:

          Trump’s intent to damage national security, as he has already done, is only in the service of his ego, be it admiration of those to whom he shows or discusses the documents, or, because the acquisition of riches is his primary access to narcissistic admiration/adoration, in the monetization of the documents. As Marcy argued in this piece, protecting his ego would be THE reason he would take a plea.

          • Shadowalker says:

            I think any plea bargains will only happen after the election (and only if Trump loses), government would require Trump reveal where and whom he gave access to, return any documents still in his possession, government has unrestricted access to all his properties (might allow a representative present), would offer to plead lower charge with no jail and probation.

  2. Spank Flaps says:

    Agent Smith: We’re willing to wipe the slate clean, give you a fresh start. All that we’re asking in return is your cooperation in bringing a known terrorist to justice.

  3. newbroom says:

    And they all get put in boxes, little boxes all the same
    There’s a green one, and a pink one
    And a blue one and a yellow one
    And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
    And they all look just the same

    • GSSH-FullyReduced says:

      At the early age of 8yrs old, Donny learned the art of 52-card pickup. If you don’t think for a second that Jack Smith also didn’t learn about this game in his career dealing with similar personalities, you’d be fooled once again. Scrambled the docs, after he carefully curated & culled them; question is where, in D.C. or MAL?

  4. Eichhörnchen says:

    I wonder what “beautiful mind” refers to? It sounds like shorthand for a possible memoir title.(criiiiiinge!)

    • ToldainDarkwater says:

      Well, there was a film called, “A Beautiful Mind” (, starring Russel Crowe about the life of mathematician John Nash (a real person). I’m not sure Trump would find this reference complementary, though he wouldn’t mind the phrase itself.

      • Unabogie says:

        In the end of that movie, John Nash is seen acting completely paranoid about a bunch of worthless garbage.

        It has long been my contention that the people closest to Trump have been witnessing a man completely out of control and spend most of their time covering it up. One day we’ll learn the full extent of this psychosis and it will shock the world.

        • Norskeflamthrower says:

          I would caution against using terms that imply that the former president, who I shall from here on give the title of “Nameless”, suffers from a mental disorder that would make him legally not responsible for his actions. Nameless is a perfect example of what happens to those who have wealth and power long enough to actually believe that they have been given such because of who they are and that no one and nothing can take it away. That’s not a pathological mental disorder.

          • Unabogie says:

            I am just going by the words of people who have broken with him. They all describe someone who is not mentally or emotionally fit. And I’m not talking about ordinary heels like Ted Cruz, who do I NOT think is this way, nor Ron DeSantis or his ilk. I don’t even think MTG is this way. But I do think Trump is displaying routine disturbing behavior that is actively covered up by those around him.

            • Norskeflamthrower says:

              Sigh, I guess I don’t articulate so good. The “craziness” Trump has exhibited is a craziness that comes from living a life of wealth and power and being rewarded for his craziness all along. It is a craziness that most wealthy folks, in this country at least, suffer the longer they hold that wealth and power.

              • adambulldog says:

                I think this phenomenon is called “acquired situational narcissism.” It happens to people (mostly rich and famous people) whose ideas and volitions are never challenged by friends or coworkers or family.

                If you always get everything you want, it is hard not to conclude that you really are the best and most deserving. Otherwise the cognitive dissonance is overwhelming.

                • P J Evans says:

                  He bullied his challengers even as a child, to the point where they quit or were fired.

                • timbozone says:

                  See Jules Pfeiffer’s “Harry the Rat with Women”, 1963 for an exposé on this phenomena.

              • jdmckay8 says:

                Sigh, I guess I don’t articulate so good.

                (t’hee hee).

                Sigh, without my glasses I don’t look so good.

                [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. You changed your username to “jdmckay8” back in November; I am editing this comment’s “jdmckay000” username this one time. Make a note of your username and stick with it. Thanks. /~Rayne]

              • Tania_19JUN2023_1650h says:

                I’m not sure I can entirely agree with you. Yes, Trump has entitlement issues. But his father also had dementia, which is hereditary. So while some of what you say is accurate, I think we are reaching a level of delusion from Trump that is more than just the ordinary “I always get away with stuff because I’m rich & special.”

                [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 is too short and 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]

                • Distrusty says:

                  And that still wouldn’t be psychosis. It’s inaccurate and also paints people who experience psychosis as self-worshipping megalomaniacs who pathologically abuse any person or system they come into contact with. No, TFG’s pathological abuse isn’t psychosis — nowhere near it.

                  • Norskeflamthrower says:

                    Thank you for stating that so clearly. I thought it was obvious but I guess my articulations ain’t so good.

        • GSSH-FullyReduced says:

          Recall Nancy Pelosi pitied him several times; something about “I hope he finds therapy for his obvious illness” or something like that.

      • Ravenclaw says:

        Please note: The film was based on a book. Yes, Nash developed a severe paranoid psychosis that (among other things) involved an obsession with finding supposed patterns relating to national security in assorted documents. That’s in the movie as well as the book. If you read the book, you’ll note that he was also a grandiose narcissist before the psychosis set in. It’s really an excellent nickname for the former president at this time. Unfortunately, unlike Nash, he is highly unlikely to make any sort of recovery, learn to be a decent person, etc.

        • loveyourstuff says:

          “[A] severe paranoid psychosis that (among other things) involved an obsession with finding supposed patterns relating to national security in assorted documents: A Beautiful Mind.

          Thank you, Ravenclaw, for this. As far as I’m aware, you’re the first to explain “beautiful mind boxes.” Stunning revelation!

      • Eichhörnchen says:

        This was my first reaction as well. I know the film, but couldn’t see where Trump would (intentionally) apply such a reference to himself. On the other hand, those who deal with his batsh*ttery on a daily basis ….

      • Eichhörnchen says:

        Thanks for this! Trump’s utterances over the years have been begging for tree diagrams. Would love to see this come out in testimony!

        • Robot17 says:

          For anyone who may be interested… from Psychology Today. Sound like anyone you know?
          … [to understand] Dark Triad (Machiavellian, narcissistic, sociopaths) personality expression, one must distinguish its three separate types from each other. First, narcissists — in the popular sense — correspond exactly to what you’d expect: They’re vain, grandiose, entitled, and possess an unearned sense of superiority. By contrast, Machiavellians are predominantly manipulative and deceptive, and often seek self-gratification at the expense of others. Worst of all, psychopathic personality types — sometimes called sociopathic or antisocial — are characterized by callous, remorseless impulsivity and a near-total lack of empathy. All three of these personalities, according to Darlene Lancer on Psychology Today, tend to “act aggressively out of self-interest,” and will “violate social norms and moral values” by lying, cheating, stealing, and bullying their way to get what they want. [These are combined in a Dark Triad individual.]

          This type is celebrated in the “Red Pill” subculture of which few people have ever heard. It started out as a “pick up” culture that revered male oriented dominance and served as a push back for post- modern feminism which the culture felt had feminized men. The 3 percenters, Oath Keepers and the like kow-tow to this world view. You won’t find any examination of it in the mainstream media as its largely been ignored. The name “3 Percenters” is code and refers the idea that 3% of the males are fit for the title “alpha” in regards to others, especially women.

          A little investigation will reveal the appeal of DJT to many of these people. Look it up.

    • John Lehman says:

      “beautiful mind”..boxes … ”my precious”

      “I don’t want anybody looking, I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes, I really don’t, I don’t want you looking through my boxes,”

      How very much like Gollum

      • timbozone says:

        Grousing comes with most subpoenas. Most people who receive them openly complain to others about it. It’s nothing new to grouse about having to comply.

        I am not a lawyer but have been called in when onerous subpoenas have to be complied with. Have you ever been personally subpoenaed to produce documents or other information that will take you a lot of time and cost you a lot of money to produce in a civil or criminal action? (The ones I’m personally aware/have been involved with were civil in nature thankfully!) Seriously, I’m getting tired of everyone talking about this reputed quote from Trump as some sort of marker of guilt or something. Please stop. Please use some empathy—imagine if you were required to go to great expanse, both in time (that could much more be productively used elsewhere) and money (which you didn’t budget for and are not made of), to produce information that a court or hostile camp is requires you to produce under legal compulsion.

        I’d say that in at least half the cases of which I’m personally aware of that the person(s) or organization(s) obligated to make the production were not all that keen on providing this sought after information. In at least one case I can think of, the subpoena appeared to have been requested by the other side for punitive reasons; they could get away with making the demand but the information they were supposedly seeking was plainly not going to be there if anyone had any inkling about the workings of the businesses involved…the subpoena was issued because there was no advocate hired by the receiver of the subpoena…since they did not have enough spare time and money to hire someone or go down to object in court themselves.

        To repeat once more—there is often expense and an obvious loss of privacy involved in such productions—they are not pleasant; there is a high bar in most jurisdictions that I’m aware of before such subpoenas for production will be issued because of how expensive and annoying having to comply often is. Grousing comes with most subpoenas. Most people who receive them openly complain to others about it. It’s nothing new to grouse about having to comply.

  5. Ebenezer Scrooge says:

    I’m sure that there are wheels within wheels with this prosecution. But I don’t see how Trump will ever take a plea, no matter the conditions. This goes against his most basic training, from his father and Roy Cohn. Never apologize; never back down.

    • BobBobCon says:

      Trump backs down all the time. Melania got him to back down, Putin of course yanked his chain, even on a legal front his attorneys were able to knock him off his path as far as dealing with Mueller.

      What we may see is something like his Covid response where he started out 100% in denial and then went through a dysfunctional process of saying it was real and he was the only one fixing it.

      He will never say he’s backing down, but that’s different from what he does. We don’t know if he’ll take a plea deal — it’s going to be a very hard sell. But we also don’t know the full extent of the pressures on him to settle.

    • Scott Rose says:

      Trump swore up and down that he would “never” settle the case against The Trump Foundation, where investigators found him and other Trumps operating a tax exempt organization through “a shocking pattern of criminality.”

      Not only did Trump not go to trial; as part of the settlement, he acknowledged to the court that he broke laws.

      So, Trump does in fact back down.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Trump backed down when one of his companies or foundations was at risk. This and similar prosecutions are about Trump personally.

        Short of Trump having a choice between twenty years in prison or no prison time, he will not cop a plea. Not only would it assault his ego, it would put a huge dent in his public persona – and his ability to scrape millions from the threadbare pockets of millions of forlorn MAGA Goopers.

        • quickbread says:

          I agree. His entire persona is built on doubling down and sticking it to the deep state. Entering a deal would shatter his brand. It’s ironic that his own false projection over many years is the very obstacle in the way of doing what would be best for himself now.

      • Magnet48 says:

        How about as an inpatient at a psychiatric hospital? I think a realistic judge should recommend this.

        • bmaz says:

          No. No judge in their right mind would ever recommend that. Please do not do shit like that here.

        • bmaz says:

          I am absolutely at a loss how people glibly say things like this. Trump is a serious problem, this is not a serious response.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Your comment probably sounded better in the original Russian. It is so far out of whack with the criminal justice system in the United States, it is hard to know what else to say. Please stop.

    • emptywheel says:

      18 USC 2071 on its face would, but many people argue it is unconstitutional. it would be worth more for causing Republicans to pause before nominating him.

      It would have to be charged in DC.

  6. Alan_OrbitalMechanic says:

    Any sane person in Trump’s position would take a plea deal if offered. But we are dealing with Trump here not a sane person.

    It is certain such a deal would include no jail time, hefty fines, no public office, and other stipulations.

    Personally I have never had any expectation that Trump would ever see the inside of a jail. Even today he won’t be mug-shot or fingerprinted or even patted down at the court house. So I wouldn’t really be disappointed if a deal was reached that included all that as depressing as that is. He has been, is, and always will be getting special treatment in our multi-tier justice system.

    We will see. Fox News settled when they realized what a trial would look like. Let’s see if Trump does.

    • Bobby Gladd says:

      I cannot shake the nagging feeling that Trump still thinks he can heroically beat these charges. He continues to have an endless supply of other peoples’ money via which to wear the system down.

      I would love to be wrong.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Irrational beliefs are central to Trump’s psyche. He will always believe such things.

          • Rwood0808 says:

            Enough that the quotes in the indictment from his staff and ilk still refer to him as POTUS.

            Force of habit, or are they instructed to?

          • LaMissy! says:

            Even if he doesn’t believe he’s still the president, he also doesn’t believe he lost the election. Deeply embedded in his psyche is “I am not a loser.”

      • timbozone says:

        Trump is using these charges and this trial to consolidate control of the GOP party apparatus further, to harden the resolve of the rank and file currently running most GOP GOP state committees in the US. Folks like Ryan are fighting it but, frankly, at least publicly, Ryan’s initiative to date appears to be gaining little traction. Note that Ryan rationale for opposing Trump isn’t because Trump is a criminal and seditionist. Instead, Ryan’s rationale is that “Trump is hurting us (the GOP) in elections”.

    • loveyourstuff says:

      “Even today he won’t be mug-shot or fingerprinted or even patted down at the court house.” Um, he’s being taken into custody. I think that means at the least that he’ll be fingerprinted–unless the NY fingerprints do double-duty.

      [FYI – please be careful with content entered in Name/Email/URL fields. You entered your email in URL which I have now removed. Trust me, you don’t need the kind of trolling we get here. /~Rayne]

      • Tania_19JUN2023_1650h says:

        My concern is an agreement like that will play into the MAGA crowd – help them get more people on their side.

        [Moderator’s note: please see message in your previous comment. /~Rayne]

  7. Unabogie says:

    Question to the lawyers:

    Getting totally over my skis and assuming a conviction in both of Trump’s criminal trials, would a guilty verdict in NYC change the sentencing in SDFL?

    I’ve seen mention that sentencing guidelines would take into account that Trump has never been convicted a crime and so would get a downward range of a sentence, but if Bragg wins in NYC, even if the two trials happen at the same time, would he not enter sentencing phase with that fact no longer true?

    • emptywheel says:

      Fani Willis has suggested that both state cases have to pause and let DOJ go first. If so, then no. If so, she might share her evidence with Smith now, so he can use it now.

        • Norskeflamthrower says:

          You have raised the question of the statute of limitations in other comments about some of the other actions taken or pending in this mess. Could you please explain your question above?

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            For starters, the statutes of limitation will continue to run on all crimes Willis might hope to charge him with. It doesn’t toll, or stop running, because Willis might choose to delay a prosecution.

            When she’s running out of time to prosecute, will she still be in office? How far along would any criminal trials be when she discovers she’s getting squeezed by the clock?

            • Norskieflamethrower says:

              Thanx. I thought that was what Bmaz was referring to but I wasn’t certain. I have thought for some time that her best course would be turn her stuff over to Smith and the feds in any event.

      • cmarlowe says:

        According to WSB-TV, quoting Willis’s office today, FWIW:
        “The federal indictments will not have any impact on the Fulton County election investigation.”

  8. Marilyn Showalter says:

    Trump isn’t charged with retaining classified documents. He’s charged with retaining documents the disclosure of which would injure the United States. So, wouldn’t fully disclosing them blow the premise of the indictment? (And cause injury to the US?) (And wouldn’t Biden have to declassify them?) Also, Trump’s not wanting anyone to see the documents is explained by his desire to cover his crimes, which seems more pressing at the time than his just being egotistically covetous of the documents. If documents are disclosed, it will have to be through a careful redaction process.

    • matt fischer says:

      “So, wouldn’t fully disclosing them blow the premise of the indictment?” No.

      Injury to the US has been perpetrated, and FPOTUS is responsible (as is Walt Nauta). That is the premise of the indictment.

    • loveyourstuff says:

      Marcy has already argued that there is a CIPA process, and, in addition, that the IC has reason to posit that Trump has already damaged national security with these documents; furthermore, these documents can be redacted to be used as trial evidence.

  9. loveyourstuff says:

    “Because Trump decided to announce his Presidential run early in a bid to stave off criminal charges, Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith to oversee both criminal investigations into Trump, the stolen documents case and the January 6 case.” Your remark recalled for me “for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction.” And, as the instruction attributed to Geezus continues: “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” seems, to me, apropos to Trump’s difficulty in finding a Florida lawyer.

    Speaking of which, DeSantis is a Florida attorney. He should step up and offer his representation.

    This piece, Marcy, is brilliant, just brilliant! I will return to it again and again to refresh my flagging spirit.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      Since DeSantis worked at GTMO prosecuting terrorists (although some details are, ahem, murky) he would certainly would have had the level of clearance to handle this case. As a thought experiment similar to the ‘lady or the tiger’ , what would Ron do as Defendant-1’s attorney? Save him or throw him under the bus?

      I’d say Ron’s calling Greyhound, so to speak.

      • Catford Calling says:

        Worse than murky, no? The reporting I saw had De Santis not ‘prosecuting terrorists’ so much as ‘enabling the torture of prisoners’ and he seems not even to have denied that.

  10. Rwood0808 says:

    I had an interesting talk last night with a friend and we discussed how trump might be incarcerated. I opined that he would face at best minimum security and most likely home confinement. My friend said the opposite, for one major reason.

    Once convicted and jailed he still represents a clear and present danger to field operatives, the IC, and the country at large. They can’t control what he already knows or what goes on in his head (shudder) but they can stop what comes out of his mouth.

    If trump were to run his mouth from behind bars as an act of revenge, and I have no problem envisioning that, what can be done to isolate him and prevent that? If he were to threaten to do so can something preemptive be done?

    • Shadowalker says:

      I doubt Trump would face any serious threats in prison. Bernie Madoff was giving other inmates investment advice and was a celebrity. Same went for Martha Stewart, who the other inmates created a virtual human shield to any reporter who asked questions about her.

      If convicted, Trump will appeal and that would be tied up for years. All the while not getting even close to club fed.

      • P J Evans says:

        They wouldn’t put him in any place where he could be in danger. Madoff and Stewart weren’t likely to get threats from others.

    • Martin Cooper says:

      It’s an amusing thought experiment to imagine where Trump might be appropriately incarcerated upon conviction. It would have to be in a Federal facility where his protection from harm is assured but where other routine restrictions upon Federal offenders, such as limited and monitored communication with the outside world, are imposed. I propose Wake Island Airfield in the United States Minor Outlying Islands. It is owned by the U.S. Air Force, operated by the 611th Air Support Group and occupied by a small contingent of USAF personnel and government contractors unlikely to represent a physical threat to Trump. A couple of Secret Service agents could be assigned there on a rotational basis to satisfy the formality of providing protection to a former President but I would allow Trump the freedom of the island, including the ability to interact as desired with the other residents. Melania could visit—it’s a four hour flight from Hawaii.

  11. xxbronxx says:

    OT but necessary – Cormac McCarthy, the brilliant American author, died today at 89. If you haven’t yet read his greatest work, the novel Blood Meridian, get a copy at your local library or independent bookstore and start reading. It is the ultimate in warts and all American literature.

  12. punaise says:

    With apologies to Ray Charles:

    Hit the rogue, Jack – the facts don’t lack: know more, know more
    Hit the rogue, Jack – the facts don’t lack: know more, know more
    What you say?

    Woah G-man, oh G-man, don’t treat me so mean,
    You’re the meanest old G-men that I’ve ever seen.
    I guess if you said so
    You’ll have to pack “my” things and go. (That’s right)

  13. punaise says:

    With apologies to Ray:

    Hit the rogue, Jack – the facts don’t lack: know more, know more
    Hit the rogue, Jack – the damage is done: now mourn, now mourn
    What you say?

    Woah G-man, oh G-man, don’t treat me so mean,
    You’re the meanest old G-men that I’ve ever seen.
    I guess if you say so
    You’ll have to pack “my” things and go. (That’s right)

  14. Savage Librarian says:

    Scott MacFarlane says:

    “Walt Nauta arraignment is continued (delayed) for a couple of weeks. Needs local attorney to do so”

  15. vigetnovus says:

    Just wanted to highlight this gem by Marcy:

    Indeed, that reference to Trump having her phone on December 7, 2021, may be as much about what he was doing with it as what she said to Nauta once she got it back.

    Which got me to thinking. In the indictment, the responses to Nauta’s text about “I opened the door and found this….” is not blockquoted but just says Michael replied “Oh no oh no,” and “I’m sorry potus had my phone”. In other sections of the indictment, there are blockquotes of successive text messages, especially when going back and forth between participants. To me, the lack of blockquoting implies that there may have been something between the Oh no oh no and the apology. Something that Trump might have texted to Walt directly that could have significant probative value…. Not sure if Michael deleted those texts or if Smith has them but doesn’t want to reveal them yet, but either way, that could be very very bad for Trump.

  16. StellaBlue says:

    Looking at all the boxes stacked up reminds me of the number of times in my adult life I have moved. Boxes everywhere, labelled to some degree. The surprise of opening up when we arrived in a new location and finding out what we actually packed in the box. I remember applying for a mortgage during a move and the bank asking for some obscure document, then rummaging through multiple boxes looking. Is it really possible he has any sense of what documents are in each of the boxes? What is his filing system? He can’t possibly have a mental map of what is in each similar looking box. I suspect there is a yet to be discovered mother load with even more sensitive stuff yet to be found at another location.

    • P J Evans says:

      Yes. (I remember when my mother and I moved into town. Some of it me moved ourselves, but we had a moving company for the rest. Unpacking boxes for the kitchen so we could eat – that was like Christmas. Complete with screwdrivers they’d dropped, in the boxes.)

    • Vicks says:

      I’ve heard keeping momentos/souvenirs has always been a habit of Trumps, if this were the case there may a natural chronological order to what’s in the boxes. Trump also appears to be quite visual so I wouldn’t be surprised if could drill down to where an item he felt was important was located.

    • Konny_2022 says:

      Maybe digital copies of the most important documents are on the Mac in the box in the bathroom, labeled “MAC Bedroom”? A notebook is easier to scan than dozens of boxes …

  17. Bobster33 says:

    Question for bmaz and the lawyers, What sort of plea deal would you offer? or would you go to trial and take your chances?

  18. Savage Librarian says:

    “oh, no, oh, no”

    Is it Nauta as in Nautophone?

    Or is it Nauta as in inside Audi?

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