Walt Nauta and the Single Box

The section of the less redacted search warrant affidavit showing when Walt Nauta moved boxes in and out of the storage room differs from the timeline shown in the indictment in one key way.

The search warrant affidavit used to demonstrate probable cause doesn’t describe how, on May 22 of last year, the former valet spent over half an hour in the storage room, and then left carrying a single box.

53. On May 22, 2022, NAUTA entered the Storage Room at 3:47 p.m. and left approximately 34 minutes later, carrying one of TRUMP’s boxes.

There are several possible explanations why that description may not be in the search warrant affidavit.

Perhaps investigators didn’t think it important — though that would be hard to believe, given that the affidavit observes something that the indictment does not as explicitly: that all this box moving happened in the same period when Nauta disavowed any knowledge of box movement.

On May 30, 2022, four days after WITNESS 5’s interview with the FBI during which the location of boxes was a significant subject of questioning, WITNESS 5 is observed exiting the ANTEROOM doorway with approximately fifty Bankers boxes, consistent with the description of the FPOTUS BOXES. [my emphasis]

Perhaps investigators simply didn’t see Nauta and the single box on May 22. But note that the surveillance video was motion activated, so any movement on May 22 should show up just like all the other movement did, and in close proximity to his movements captured two days later.

[T]he FBI determined that the drive contained video footage from four cameras in the basement hallway of the PREMISES in which the door to the STORAGE ROOM is located. The footage on the drive begins on April 23, 2022, and ends on June 24, 2022. The recording feature of the cameras appears to be motion activated, so that footage is only captured when motion is detected within each camera’s field of view.

Or perhaps this movement, Nauta spending half an hour in the storage room then leaving with a single box, is one of the surveillance footage gaps that investigators spent much of a year trying to fill and explain.

The different treatment of this one box is more interesting given other details of the timeline.

For example, Nauta retrieved that single box just two days before the original deadline for the subpoena, May 24.

The return date of the subpoena was May 24, 2022.

Nauta retrieved that box the day before Trump met with Corcoran and another attorney who hasn’t been IDed yet, but who may be Boris Epshteyn. At the meeting, a day after presumably getting a box that didn’t show up in the search warrant affidavit, Trump whined that, “I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes!”

54. On May 23, 2022, TRUMP met with Trump Attorney 1 and Trump Attorney 2 at The Mar-a-Lago Club to discuss the response to the May 11 Subpoena. Trump Attorney 1 and Trump Attorney 2 told TRUMP that they needed to search for documents that would be responsive to the subpoena and provide a certification that there had been compliance with the subpoena. TRUMP, in sum and substance, made the following statements, among others, as memorialized by Trump Attorney 1:

a. 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.

b. Well what if we, what happens if we just don’t respond at all or don’t play ball with them?

c. Wouldn’t it be better if we just told them we don’t have anything here?

d. Well look isn’t it better if there are no documents?

Amidst all that whining, Trump agreed to let Corcoran search for documents, but only after a ten day delay. And then Trump delayed his departure to Bedminster so he would be at Mar-a-Lago to sort boxes and to see the scheme through.

56. On May 23, TRUMP also confirmed his understanding with Trump Attorney 1 that Trump Attorney 1 would return to The Mar-a-Lago Club on June 2 to search for any documents with classification markings to produce in response to the May 11 Subpoena. Trump Attorney 1 made it clear to TRUMP that Trump Attorney 1 would conduct the search for responsive documents by looking through TRUMP’s boxes that had been transported from the White House and remained in storage at The Mar-a-Lago Club. TRUMP indicated that he wanted to be at The Mar-a-Lago Club when Trump Attorney 1 returned to review his boxes on June 2, and that TRUMP would change his summer travel plans to do so. TRUMP told Trump Attorney 2 that Trump Attorney 2 did not need to be present for the review of boxes.

57. After meeting with Trump Attorney 1 and Trump Attorney 2 on May 23, TRUMP delayed his departure from The Mar-a-Lago Club to The Bedminster Club for the summer so that he would be present at The Mar-a-Lago Club on June 2, when Trump Attorney 1 returned to review the boxes.

Something that doesn’t show up in the indictment but does in the affidavit is that Corcoran then pushed for an extension on the subpoena deadline.

On May 25, 2022, while negotiating for an extension of the subpoena, FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 sent two letters to DOJ COUNSEL. In the second such letter, which is attached as Exhibit 1, FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 asked DOJ to consider a few “principles,” which include FPOTUS COUNSEL 1’s claim that a President has absolute authority to declassify documents. In this letter, FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 requested, among other things, that “DOJ provide this letter to any judicial officer who is asked to rule on any motion pertaining to this investigation, or on any application made in connection with any investigative request concerning this investigation.”

Just one of the two letters Corcoran sent that day has been released — the one falsely claiming Trump had returned documents in good faith earlier that year, though Corcoran may not have known that was false. Nauta would repeat a version of that claim the next day, on May 26, in his FBI interview, though unlike Corcoran, he is credibly accused of knowing well that was a lie.

All the other movement of boxes, then, occurs during that subpoena extension (and this might be another reason why the May 22 movement is not included on the affidavit — perhaps investigators focused on what happened during the subpoena extension). Nauta empties the storage closet of 64 more boxes, moving all these boxes in the same week when, in an FBI interview, he allegedly denied knowing anything about an earlier scheme to sort through boxes.

On May 24, 2022, WITNESS 5 is observed exiting the ANTEROOM doorway with three boxes.

On May 30, 2022, four days after WITNESS 5’s interview with the FBI during which the location of boxes was a significant subject of questioning, WITNESS 5 is observed exiting the ANTEROOM doorway with approximately fifty Bankers boxes, consistent with the description of the FPOTUS BOXES. FBI did not observe this quantity of boxes being returned to the STORAGE ROOM through the ANTEROOM entrance in its review of the footage.

The next day, on June 1, 2022, WITNESS 5 is observed carrying eleven brown cardboard boxes out the ANTEROOM entrance. One box did not have a lid on it and appeared to contain papers.

And then, after Nauta told a female Trump that Trump wanted to pick from all those boxes, Nauta loaded up several of the boxes withheld from Corcoran’s search onto Trump’s plane to take to Bedminster, never to be seen again.

72. Earlier [on June 3], NAUTA and others loaded several of TRUMP’s boxes along with other items on aircraft that flew TRUMP and his family north for the summer.

So it may or may not be a significant detail, but the day before Trump orchestrates this scheme to keep 35 boxes shielded from Corcoran’s search, Nauta spent half an hour in the storage room retrieving a single box.

Some weeks after this scheme, on June 21, the day before DOJ asked Trump Organization for surveillance footage, per the discovery letter, Nauta appeared before a grand jury, his second (and only other) interview with investigators.

A bunch of reports last year, such as this one from Devlin Barrett that likely confuses Nauta with Molly Michael, described that Nauta changed his testimony in what would be this grand jury appearance, admitting that Trump ordered him to move boxes.

When FBI agents first interviewed Nauta, he denied any role in moving boxes or sensitive documents, the people familiar with the situation said in interviews before Nauta’s name became public. But as investigators gathered more evidence, they questioned him a second time and he told a starkly different story — that Trump instructed him to move the boxes, these people said.

But those reports came at a time when DOJ was still trying to get more testimony from Nauta.

Prosecutors have indicated they are skeptical of an initial account Mr. Nauta gave investigators about moving documents stored at Mar-a-Lago and are using the specter of charges against him for misleading investigators to persuade him to sit again for questioning, according to two people briefed on the matter.

So, particularly given that a grand jury appearance would have been in — and so would be charged — in DC, it’s not really clear whether Nauta did correct his story before the grand jury. If he didn’t, Jack Smith could prosecute Nauta individually on a perjury charge that might go to trial within months, not the year the Espionage Act trial is expected to take.

Whether or not he cleaned up his testimony, on June 21, Nauta appeared before the grand jury.

Having locked that testimony in, on June 22 prosecutors asked Trump Organization — probably Alan Garten, from whom discovery has been deficient in past investigations — for surveillance footage.

DOJ COUNSEL has advised me that on or about June 22, 2022, counsel for the Trump Organization, a group of business entities associated with FPOTUS, confirmed that the Trump Organization maintains security cameras in the vicinity of the STORAGE ROOM and that on June 24, 2022, counsel for the Trump Organization agreed to accept service of a grand jury subpoena for footage from those cameras.

Shortly after that, per reporting on some of the last grand jury testimony banked in DC before DOJ took steps to charge the Espionage charges in Florida, Nauta called Chief of Operations for Trump Organization, Matthew Calamari Sr.

To resolve the issue about the gaps in the surveillance footage, the special counsel last week subpoenaed Matthew Calamari Sr, the Trump Organization’s security chief who became its chief operating officer, and his son Matthew Calamari Jr, the director of corporate security.

Both Calamaris testified to the federal grand jury in Washington on Thursday, and were questioned in part on a text message that Trump’s valet, Walt Nauta, had sent them around the time that the justice department last year asked for the surveillance footage, one of the people said.

The text message is understood to involve Nauta asking Matthew Calamari Sr to call him back about the justice department’s request, one of the people said – initially a point of confusion for the justice department, which appears to have thought the text was to Calamari Jr.

Then, less than two weeks later, on July 6, Trump Organization provided DOJ with surveillance footage showing Nauta moving a great many boxes out of the storage room, and moving fewer than half of them back in before Evan Corcoran searched them. That’s pretty damning stuff! It provided some of the most compelling evidence in the affidavit justifying a search on the former President’s beach resort.

DOJ only got two months of footage, not the five they had asked for (which would have covered the tail end of the earlier sort of boxes). That’s unsurprising: even normal businesses only retain such footage for a limited period of time.

But in addition to obtaining fewer months than they had requested, the footage Trump Org turned over reportedly had other gaps, gaps that have not yet been charged or even mentioned, at least in unsealed form, in any official DOJ filing.

What’s unclear is whether that May 22 footage, showing that Nauta spent half an hour in the storage closet only to come out with a single box, was originally one of those surveillance gaps or not.

148 replies
  1. dimmsdale says:

    Your close-reading skills are staggering, Marcy; thank you for this. It all prompts a question (which may have been answered elsewhere, apologies if I missed it): if there are at least four surveillance cameras in sight of the storage room, how many surveillance cameras are there at MAL in total, and would DOJ be able to access footage from some of those cameras?

    • Leu2500 says:

      Even better question: what of the (likely) security cam footage from Bedminster?

      We know of the search at MAL because of a FL politics reporter, whose reporting Trump confirmed. But as EW has previously written, we don’t know if there were any subpoenas/search warrants for Bedminster.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nauta seems awfully confident for a guy who appears to be a main Trump cutout for obstructing the investigation into Trump’s theft of government documents and secrets. He could be in the pokey quite a while, waiting for the next Republican president to pardon him. If it’s not Trump, why bother?

    • emptywheel says:

      I increasingly think they’re sure the Saudis will deliver the election for them.

      Conspiratorial? Sure. But what Walt is doing is insane.

      • SaltinWound says:

        What mechanism would the Saudis use to deliver the election? Are they better positioned to do it than Americans would be?

        • Rayne says:

          You can see two mechanisms at work right now: the reshaping of political discourse in social media, and the manipulation of public sentiment by throttling oil production and increasing oil prices.

          I’ve already seen an article in NYMag whining about Bidenomics and how the lack of improvement in Americans’ finances reflects badly on Biden. Never mind record corporate profits quarter after quarter including fossil fuel profits.

        • SaltinWound says:

          Reshaping political discourse in social media seems to me like something Americans could do at least as well as Saudis. But I hadn’t really considered oil production and elections. It’s true they can influence our economy in the short term, including which presidents get credit or blame.

        • Rayne says:

          Look at how financing or buying into Twitter has changed political discourse — and Americans aren’t getting around that, they’re flailing at other alternatives and haven’t organized behind a locus yet. Americans simply aren’t grasping what’s going on in order to respond.

          The Saudis (and Russia and Iran) already know the price point at which they can crater the economy. We saw tipping point in 2007-2008 when gas prices went above $4/gal and oil was well over $100/bbl. The price level is different but the fundamentals remain the same.

          This is why Biden has been retrograde with oil and gas production in the US — it’s the gun he fires back at the Saudis. It’s up to us to hurry and migrate to better public transportation and EVs to remove the Saudis’ economic power over our politics.

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          And the fed (head appointed by Trump) continuing to increase interest rates to price consumers out of any ability to make purchases.
          With inflation being created by corporate price gouging while fed promising and creating, a sure way for Republicans to blame Biden for, a recession and massive unemployment due to the fed’s ploys.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          Not exactly sure what point you are trying to make here, but do remember that the US economy is the best, with the lowest inflation in the world now. Raising and lowering interest rates is the only tool that is available to the Fed.

        • Ravenclaw says:

          I believe s/he is referring to the way the Fed continues to push interest rates upward in pursuit of the (arguably outdated) 2% inflation rate target, even though we seem already to have stabilized at 3% with a ‘soft landing.’ It’s as if the Fed wanted a recession. (I’m not making this as an assertion about the Fed. It’s just the sort of thought that crosses one’s mind under the circumstances, and it looks like xyxyxyxy buys it.)

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          The Fed has made it clear that they want a recession, a mild one, as if they can stop a recession to just be mild..
          “The central bank’s staff predicted that banks would keep pulling back on lending, tightening financial conditions and causing real gross domestic product (GDP) to decline modestly for the next two quarters. They also forecast that unemployment would rise this year, peak in 2024, and hover around that level throughout 2025.

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          My point is that the fed is trying to shape the political discourse in social media by giving Republicans talking points that under the Biden admin prices of everything and mortgage interest rates have skyrocketed while your wages haven’t.
          As Bill Clinton campaigned, “it’s about the economy, stupid.”

        • Rayne says:

          the fed is trying to shape the political discourse in social media

          Uh, no. What exactly would constructive action to slow inflation look like give the one tool they have to use?

          While you’re blathering about the fed shaping political discourse negatively on inflation, you’re completely ignoring jobs numbers which have remained strong. But that’s exactly what the GOP wants the public to ignore, too — what a coincidence.

        • Rayne says:

          You realize home buyers had been priced out *before* the Fed increased interest rates at all? Because demand was higher than the volume of housing available, and wages had not kept up along with the increased demand for housing?

          My kid was outbid on houses in 2018 with people paying over asking price; they were outbid again in 2020 several times until they settled for a fixer-upper out in the country with some squirrelly issues nobody wanted to touch. That’s in the Midwest. I can’t imagine how bad it’s been in more heavily populated coastal states.

          The Fed’s increased interest rates have encouraged investors to pull money from investing in REITs (REITs are one key factor causing real estate property price increases) and putting their cash into bonds, in turn slowing down cash driving up prices by demanding higher profits for investors.

          Our problem is the lack of narrative to explain this. But thanks for pointing out how that deficiency works by merely repeating what the GOP is doing while blaming the Fed.

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          Yes I realize home buyers had been priced out *before* the Fed increased interest rates.
          But with mortgage rates at 2 1/2%, it was still doable for some than at the current 6% rate.

        • Rayne says:

          And now with rates at 7% — which is what they were locally when I checked last week — home sales have slowed and prices are dropping.

          Funny how that works. Funny how folks can remortgage when rates drop once greedflation also takes a fucking break.

        • Bombay Troubadour says:

          “Record corporate profits quarter after quarter”
          But the experts say wage increases and labor market strength are the main causes of inflation. More interest rate pain ahead so the central bank can tame inflation back to the magical 2%.
          Saudis billions, Trumpism, Elmo, Twitter, red state fuckery in elections…..what could wrong in ‘24 ? In 2016 Facebook and Cambridge Analytical were just the tip of the iceberg social media election influence schemes. Putin with the Internet Research Agency and GRU haven’t gone away. Lots of people and groups trying to screw with US election outcome credibility.

        • Rayne says:

          But the experts say wage increases and labor market strength are the main causes of inflation.

          Name these so-called experts, because they need to be shamed for their stupidity or for their bullshit effort to whitewash corporate greed and/or promulgate right-wing talking points.

          It’s simple on the face of it: if prices were not increased, corporations would report lower profits or losses if production inputs rose in cost. But prices were increases no matter whether underlying cost of goods sold increased or decrease, AND the profits have been frequently described as “record” or “record breaking.” Corporations are price gouging consumers. They can’t even blame energy costs because oil has dropped from $119/bbl high last May to $73.65 or so today.

          In fact, that’s one of the biggest arguments it’s greedflation: Oil dropped 38% over the last year and prices haven’t dropped in tandem.

          Braindead stupid. This is Accounting 101 / Econ 101 material.

          p.s. Your uncontested repetition of right-wing talking points doesn’t help.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          They can pay for almost anything, using cutouts as needed. The mis- and disinformation systems Trump used in 2016 would by now be improved and expanded. Red state executives and legislatures are more experienced and committed to ensuring a GOP victory, regardless of the law or consequences. The raw exercise of power seems to be all that matters.

          Plus, Rayne’s observation about manipulation of oil prices, which affect the price of gasoline, plastics of all kinds, agricultural fertilizers, etc. That is, entire economies.

        • David Brooks says:

          Even more annoying is that they can pay for it all using our money due to our having enthusiastically shoveled it in their direction to feed our oil addiction

        • Rugger_9 says:

          Let’s not forget the vanity spoiler campaigns of RFK Jr (who is supported by Jill Stein), Cornel West, and whoever the patsy-du-jour will be barfed out by ‘No Labels’. It’s about splitting the D vote just enough to get their guy in.

          If the media is flooded already as both you and Rayne astutely point out, it also helps to have a well-known alternative. Just like Andrew Cuomo was able to trade on Mario’s good will, so RFK Junior will be able to trade on his father’s progressive credibility.

        • ButteredToast says:

          I think RFK Jr. will end up having little effect, fortunately, despite benefiting from name recognition. Every time he opens his mouth, he sabotages his chances in the Democratic primary and illustrates that he’s running for the wrong party’s nomination. The fact that almost all of his vocal support is from openly rightwing figures and anti-vax conspiracy theorists won’t help his credibility with the Democratic base. A potential “No Labels” candidacy in the general is much more worrisome, IMO.

        • Rugger_9 says:

          There is a very short list of ‘battleground’ states for 2024, and the margins are quite thin in all of them.

          RFK isn’t relevant on a national scope, but he is very relevant in the granular way the electoral college is decided. Remember that if HRC had less than 20k more votes in the right places, we wouldn’t be talking about Defendant-1 now.

        • P J Evans says:

          The problem is that his family’s name recognition in the last 40 years is mostly regional, and that region isn’t all that interested. (His father has been dead for 55 years. That ship sailed long ago.)

        • Rayne says:

          Democrats on the left are going to have to replace the media and spread the message themselves about these vampiric candidates, while encouraging voting blue up and down the ticket. Right now, we also need more candidates running on the left — no seat should be uncontested.

        • Rugger_9 says:

          RFK Jr is also supported by the odious hypocrite Jill Stein. I think both have hit if not gone beyond 70, which if this is about Biden and Defendant-1 being too old, they are too.

      • NkcEd2023 says:

        On the Saudis, this brings up potential motive for keeping documents. Legacy and mainstream media along with the tier 1 -3 media pundits continue to Trumpsplain the “why” Trump had the documents…because he is a braggart. I find this a means to an end in which the end is financial gain. Would Saudis make an in kind contribution of sorts to Trump’s candidacy? 100% they would…especially if documents Trump was “bragging” about to anyone and everyone was on Iran.

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

      • bmaz says:

        It is seriously nuts. If Aileen Cannon were smart she would appoint an FPD, even as advisory counsel. No judge wants to do that, but preventing the coming BS would be a good reason to do so.

        She or the magistrate should have already. Nauta can be walked out of this. His current path is bad though, and is is not being well served by Trumpy counsel.

        • David F. Snyder says:

          Good point, though cultists rarely behave in their own best interest if it would hurt their cult leader. Walt seems determined to swallow the poisoned Kool-Aid.

          “Chances slip away, a time will come to pass
          When there’ll be none.
          Then addicted to a perfumed poison
          Betrayed by its aftertaste,
          [He] shall lose the wonder and find nothing in return.”
          (lyric fragment from Genesis song Heathaze)

      • Daniel Dosen says:

        Pure speculation – but I think what’s more obvious is that US intelligence will have confirmation that the Saudis had and were discussing top secret documents they obtained after their visit to Bedminster. Now it’s just connecting the dots.

        [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. “Daniel” is your second user name; you published your last comment as “Daniel Dosen” which complies with the site’s standard of a unique 8-letters minimum username. Because there are a number of Daniels in this community, your username has been reverted to your first name. Please advise if you wish to use a different name. Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • Mehitabel says:

        Marcy, could you talk more about that please? (Rayne, so sorry, I posted once many years ago, can’t remember the name I used. So, I’ll take this one now, if that’s OK.)

        [Welcome back to emptywheel. This is the same username you’ve used in previous comments. Please continue to use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • Ruthie2the says:

        At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone – Nauta, or the next sucker, or the next – fall on their sword for Trump, even without assurances of a pardon after The Restoration. Fox News has addled the brains of a whole lot of people, from “the poorly educated “ all the way up to, say, certain Supreme Court justices. Cult members have been known to do crazy things for their leader.

        Still, thanks for the anxiety attack re: the 2024 elections!

        • Fran of the North says:

          Not to mention that the principal reaction to having ‘pwned the lefties’ is to lionize the perp and then provide them with a cushy cash gig as a RWN contributor.

      • MyraBoByra says:

        So….Trump may not be a flight risk, but is Nauta? Wouldn’t Trumps buddies in Saudi Arabia find a place for him, rather than risk Walt deciding to plead out when he finally realizes the jail time he could be facing.

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      • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

        Artificial-intelligence-assisted maniacs and malefactors of great wealth are seizing the instruments of communication, attacking democracy, rule of law and truth itself in a global, fascistic movement. It used to be that all roads led to Putin, but now it has metastasized.

        The tendrils of Stalinism now reach into the American evangelical movement. Flynn’s information warfare methods have carried out successful test modeling of anti-vax propaganda. Social media now can descend into QAnon paranoia on a turn-key for any issue just like there won’t be a jury verdict the people will believe about Trump, the Big Lie. Trump is immune to everything because he is King Dipshit.

        On the other side, maybe truth is still truth. Scientific truths have verifiability criteria. Inferential statistics came after the institution of priests examining the entrails of sacrificial animals. I think a jury trial must be the second oldest human institution for finding fact. The way fascists could remake the world is with the terror state. Is that the meaning of the street-fighting videos showing up in my timeline in Elon’s Twitter? At least you can still block it.

      • vinniegambone says:

        House of Saud- House of Bush now becomes House of Saud, House of Trump.

        If this fuck gets reelected prepare to suffer….more.

        • vinniegambone says:

          Taken all together the comments here on this make me realize that despite how easy and pleasing it is to disparage Trump and his supporters, all of us seem to share the same primal nauseousness about our country’s and personal futures.

          Despite all the evidence, we all know there is a chance, and base driven effort to let this devil not just walk, but to lead the world.
          The fate of the world is in Jack Smith and his team’s hands.
          Turns out 666 is not the Devil, WWW is.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      There was an article yesterday, can’t find it now, describing Nauta’s extended search for an attorney. “He” wanted a defense counsel, not a former prosecutor, which bmaz might appreciate. S/he had to be comfortable working with Trump’s attorneys and being paid by another Trump cutout, one of his PACs. Described as a “cultural” issue was that the lawyer not be inclined to argue that Nauta should plead out, but fight to the end, supposedly explaining the desire for a career defense counsel.

      Not a rational requirement for someone who knows what he did and must know that, by now, the Feds know almost as much, and who should also know how Trump treats his people, fails to pay his bills, and will throw anyone, anyone under the bus. Reminds me of the convert who’s more Catholic than the pope. But Trump seems to identify and hire such people with a startling consistency.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Never in doubt. The only doubt was about your willingness to serve, given that arrangement, even in the unlikely event Trump’s cutout paid your strategically-priced retainer up front. I bet you know more family law than Danda, too.

          Unsaid in the article I’m remembering was that Nauta’s attorney be willing to take dictation from Trump’s attorneys. Superficially, Danda looks willing to do that.

        • Ravenclaw says:

          Well, she was a public defender for 2-3 years. And her firm’s site states that she does criminal defense as well as domestic violence and other “family” matters. Is she any good? No idea. Florida A&M is not a highly regarded law school, but she was already in Florida as an undergraduate, so maybe local made sense to her?

          Also: Since she’s being paid out of PAC funds (not by the co-defendant), my guess is that her bills will be honored. At least as long as she goes along with the ‘strategy’ of the larger team.

        • zeke di leo says:

          At the risk of stepping on (perhaps many) toes, the reputation of a law school is a poor metric by which to measure ability. There are too many examples to count of shitty lawyers who graduated from “prestigious” law schools. I will die on this hill.

        • Ravenclaw says:

          Not arguing with that! I observed that since she was already in Florida, a local school made sense. Not an expert on law schools, but as far as I can tell Florida A&M is not quite a bottom-feeder. It accepts too many people who struggle to pass the bar exam (rates range from 50-75% over the years), but also a fair few who do fine. And Ms. Danda appears to be one of the latter; she became a PD within a year of graduating. How good she is in the courtroom is more than I know, but I hope to see future posts here clarifying that.

        • zeke di leo says:

          Yes, although I was responding to your comment I should have made it clear that it was a general comment rather than directly at you. It’s a common reaction: “so and so is obviously qualified and not an idiot; she graduated from Duke!” etc. Yeah, and Stewart Rhodes went to Yale, and Sidney Powell graduated from UNC, and John Eastman from the University of Chicago (ick, spit), and on and on like that.

          I have no idea what her reputation is but if she has an ounce of common sense and can relate to Florida jurors (shudder), she’s likely to be infinitely more competent than the clown car of lawyers stuck in orbit around Trump-world.

  3. Peterr says:

    Reading this gave me an image of Trump as the covetous dragon Smaug from The Hobbit, sprawled across his treasure and completely aware of where every last little item is.

    And woe be unto his staff if (God forbid!) one little iota of his precious horde is moved without his permission or (*gasp*) missing entirely.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        I have always thought of him more as Jabba the Hutt when he has Princess Leia on a leash. But in Trump’s case, Leia looks like Ivanka and she is sitting on all the boxes.

        • Rugger_9 says:


          Given how generally limited Defendant-1 is for figuring out what’s important beyond feral interests, I’m wondering how he could have decided what to keep in those boxes at his resorts. I remember how much ‘executive time’ was booked into his calendar, and whether Oval Office communications were always monitored especially the red phone.

          After getting turfed out of the WH, was there any attempt to monitor the communications even though by then it was clear Defendant-1 had clear ‘connections’ (ahem) with FSB types. Even allowing for the general political viewpoint of the NSA and FBI, J6 ought to have made it clear that attention would be needed regarding this guy’s activities.

        • Rayne says:

          … was there any attempt to monitor the communications even though by then it was clear Defendant-1 had clear ‘connections’ (ahem) with FSB types.

          Are you serious with this? After all this site has written about warrantless surveillance you’re going to advocate for an American citizen, even if he’s an asshole, to be monitored without a warrant? You do know what it takes to get a warrant, yes?

          Known “FSB types” could be monitored by NSA but do you really think they’d abandon basic spycraft to communicate with Trump?

          Don’t waste the space here with this.

    • N.E. Brigand says:

      “Thieves! Fire! Murder! Such a thing had not happened since first he came to the Mountain! His rage passes description — the sort of rage that is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something that they have long had but have never before used or wanted.”

      J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Hobbit,” Ch. 12, “Inside Information”

  4. RitaRita says:

    Walt is another Allen Weisselberg, willing to spend some time in jail, if that is what it takes to protect Trump. Walt has a mixture of misplaced loyalties and gratitude. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump had not done favors for his family or has promised to do favors. Maybe Nauta thinks that he can wait to see how the political campaign is going before he makes the choice to cooperate or not.

    • Peterr says:

      There seems to be a continuing procession of folks around Trump who know his history but stick by him anyway until it is too late.

      “Sure, he stiffed a half dozen contractors before he asked me to work on his next building, but he likes me so I’m sure I’ll get paid.”

      “Sure, he screwed over his last four lawyers, but they gave him bad advice instead of good advice like I give, so I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

      “Sure, he cheated on his last three wives, but they were shrews and had it coming, so I’m sure he’ll stick with me.”

      It’s the eternal “Yes, he’s a bad boy but I can change him” relationship mentality, which is eternally demonstrated to be . . . false.

      • BobBobCon says:

        He clearly recruits people with a specific psychology, and I think it’s a common practice across the GOP, to the point where a significant part of Congress is there because they’re permanently subservient.

        It’s one of the reasons why I think explanations of GOP behavior in terms of being bought or blackmailed are so often wrong. Some of them hold out for big paydays or have major skeletons in their closets, but most of them are selling their souls for a penny. The real reward is being included, and the ultimate threat is being expelled.

        Taking a huge hit for the boss is its own reward — it’s the ultimate reinforcement of the pathology that attracted them in the first place.

        Although when reality finally hits them, there’s an opportunity to find apostates, and their words are probably the most effective counterweight to people like Trump.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          It seems to be an innate skill, a drive, that forms part of Trump’s predatory character.

        • BobBobCon says:

          I don’t think it’s even a particularly clever one.

          But he learned a long time ago that when you hire people with this kind of psychology, critics will always miss the buttons he’s pushing while they’re harping about how it’s always the money.

        • Bombay Troubadour says:

          Trumps predatory nature is enameled by his lofty stature among history’s great con artists. ‘Artists’, because how well skilled they are disguising the con from the mark.
          Walt is under the spell. Like so many others. Maybe he thinks it’s noble to go down with ship and it’s captain.

        • SaltinWound says:

          I’m not sure how much of this is specific to Trump though. Scooter Libby was tight-lipped until the end. At some point did not squealing become considered a conservative virtue?

        • BriceFNC says:

          Loyalty to party (and big dollar funders) ahead of loyalty to nation are prerequisites to minority rule in hypothetical democracies! A lack of moral clarity is also essential to thrive within the cult!

        • ButteredToast says:

          For many rightwing pundits and politicians, the “nation” only includes their own party and/or those who subscribe to their ideology. The frequent references to “real America” or “real Americans” imply that those who hold differing views, have different backgrounds, etc. don’t belong.

        • RitaRita says:

          I would categorize Republicans like Elise Stefanik as an amoral opportunist, with loyalty only as long as it serves her purposes.

          Then there are the sad sacks like Giuliani, Kerik, and Lindsey Graham whose best days have past and are looking to stay relevant and hang on to power.

          People like Eastman, Cleta Mitchell, and Sydney Powell are true ideologues who discovered that Trump could aid them in their agenda.

          Ty Cobb, one of Trump’s first impeachment lawyers, talked on CNN about how people get sucked into Trump vortex. It sounded like he may have watched The Godfather and Goodfellas too many times but it rang true. First, comes the flirtation with the trappings of power and wealth, then asking the recruit to do just one little thing that skirts moral, legal, or ethical boundaries. People who don’t walk away at that point are likely hooked. I think Walt Nauta, Weisselberg, and the Calamaris are in that group.

        • paulka123 says:

          I don’t think it is anything psychologically complicated with regards to politicians. Their motivation is quite simple-Trump controls the base. And that control is rock solid. Any politician that even hints at going against Trump is terrified of being primaried. Look at the 2 votes to censure Schiff. First vote, like 20 Republicans voted against censure, Trump issues a Truth and suddenly it is unanimous. Their motivation really is that simple.

      • William Bennett says:

        The whole GOP has become the Leopards Eating Faces Party since Trump took over. They’re all sure the leopard will never eat THEIR face. Walt’s a proud member in good standing. No need to worry about those leopards Walt, just carry on.

    • Tom Christopher says:

      I bet Trump has convinced him that they will get that one juror to let them off. He might be right. That is why it is important to indict and try Trump in various states, get him somewhere.

      • bmaz says:

        Oh, yes, brilliant. Let’s expend the limited time and finances of every podunk court in the country in search of your Great Trump White Whale Captain Queeg.

        Or, you know, maybe the professionals should do it.

        • P J Evans says:

          “One from column A, one from column B” as applied to juries (and maybe also courthouses).

        • BriceFNC says:

          Yeah, why should powerful white men have to worry about crimes they commit in PODUNK! Let’s just take down the statue of that blind folded lady! Crimes in PODUNK no longer count! Those little people have no right to justice!

        • bmaz says:

          Lol. Yes, please subvert every dollar and minute of the American justice system Captain Queeg.

        • Bruce T Fraser says:

          No need for justice in Podunk! You need to have pragmatic priorities and let the rich guys skate! Throw away the statue, right? Or, maybe put it in a museum as part of our ancient history!

          [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. “Bruce T Fraser” is your third user name; you’ve also attempted to publish a duplicate under a fourth username as “BruceFNC” though you recently changed you username to “BriceFNC” to comply with the site’s standard. PLEASE PICK A NAME AND STICK WITH IT. Thanks. /~Rayne]

        • greenbird says:

          ” … Let’s just take down the statue of that blind folded lady …”

          it’s the folded blind lady statue, b.

        • BriceFNC says:

          The statue of the blindfolded lady holding the scales. They used to sell them at the Supreme Court souvenir store. Bought one for our children when we visited years ago. I guess it is no longer relevant…at least in PODUNK!

        • Unabogie says:

          So it’s strictly a resources thing with you? In that case, can you list the people you think should be prosecuted for financial fraud instead of Trump? Or are you saying we should never prosecute financial fraud?

        • David F. Snyder says:

          If Smith and team don’t get a conviction, then I doubt any one else will. I’m saying this based on Smith’s previous work. He’s a pro at sniffing out evidence that holds up in court.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        After the J6 insurrection, plus all the criminal behavior that preceded it, not to mention an abundance of fascists on the Supreme Court, I doubt that the prohibition of federal pardons for state convictions would be an impediment to a fascist GOP president. Not one bit. Feral people will find a way. That’s how they roll.

        I’d rather find the best way to preserve the rule of law. And I’d like to see it done with the least amount of violence or potential violence. I’m worried about Atlanta. Unlike Miami and NYC, they do not have the same level of experience in handling this kind of situation. That’s why they have spent resources in sending people to those other locations to seek advice about best practices.

        I’m also starting to think that the recent SCOTUS decision on Independent State Legislatures (ISL) may eventually be used to argue that a President has every right to pardon a person convicted of a state crime. That’s not to say it would be ethical, practical or even lawful. But fascists don’t care about that.

        • Sue 'em Queequeg says:

          The Feral Government — what a thought.

          With Trump, everyone is expendable, but some are more expendable than others. Nauta is different from a Manafort or a Flynn, even a Molly Michael. It wouldn’t surprise me if Trump told him to relax because 2024 is in the bag, I’ll take care of you, you know me, etc., while figuring if somehow all the machinations fail and he doesn’t win, then oops but nothing to lose sleep over.

      • Cheez Whiz says:

        I get the desire, but the justice system is not going to solve the Trump problem, which is not Trump. It’s the voters who want a strong man who makes them feel comfortable and safe. There’s a line of sociopaths and grifters waiting their turn behind Trump. Only the voters can solve the Trump problem, that’s the whole point of democracy. If they don’t solve it, it’s gonna get solved for them, and they are really not gonna like that solution.

        • BriceFNC says:

          Yes, on principle I agree, voters should solve the problem! But voters struggle to overcome legalized voter suppression, the corruption of our system for voting and counting votes, and open insurrection!

        • David F. Snyder says:

          The real problem is voter participation. Saying things like “the corruption of our system for voting and counting votes” is one weapon in the arsenal of techniques used by those suppressing votes (e.g. Texas Tea Partiers*) — such talk discourages voters (“why vote? the whole system is corrupt and my vote doesn’t count.”) and feeds into the Trump line of attack when you think about it. Vote suppression is definitely real and subtle. But messaging is a substantial part to the mechanisms; location and hours of voting locations is an other major one.

          *Gregg Abbott was elected with 26% of registered voters in Texas and Ted Cruz with even less. It’s the non-voters that are the main issue.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          Black voters know all too well that it is the voter suppression. Their turnout put Biden in office, which is why so many states have instituted yet more draconian obstacles to voting.

          It is our job to work like crazy to find workarounds for those obstacles. WE have to be the solution and the bulwark against discouragement.

          Or Trump wins again.

        • Rayne says:

          We have to do it so as not to lose the Senate, too. We’re already hanging on by the skin of our teeth and the 2024 election is bad for Democrats because of how many seats are up for re-election and how weak some of them are.

        • P J Evans says:

          When you can’t register to vote because you have to take time off from work and drive a long distance to get a copy of your birth certificate and drive back and take time off to go to the nearest office where you can register to vote…and then they won’t accept it because you didn’t dot an “i” or something else minor that most states don’t bother with…

        • William Bennett says:

          Strongly agree, David. Likewise, bothsiderism, the pseudo-sophistication of weak minds.

          The strongman presents as the answer to the frustrations of democracy. Authoritarianism seeks to maximize political disenchantment to raise the attraction of the strongman.

          So “Everybody does it” is a permission structure for disengagement, and disengagement is the on-ramp to authoritarianism.

          “There’s precious little choice.”
          “There’s always a choice! This one is a choice between ‘bad’ and ‘worse—’which is a difference much more poignant than that between ‘good’ and ‘better.”

          ― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

        • DrFunguy says:

          OT but did you know he was posthumous co-author of a novel with Spider Robinson? Very entertaining.

        • Jane Ward says:

          And, unfortunately, there’s a huge number of low information voters. And, there’s the “4th estate” most of whom don’t work as hard as EW. I’m quite discouraged.

        • paulka123 says:

          I am sorry but you could not be more wrong if you tried. The demagogue matters. Trump is unique in his ability to control the republican base. DeSantis will not be nearly as successful as Trump. Trump is the unique danger that could tear apart our democracy. He has the unique ability to identify and take advantage of systematic weaknesses and had the power to motivate people to it’s destruction. Yes, the fascism element of the Republican core is strong, but it is uniquely beholden to Trump. DeSantis is a charisma blackhole, Pence is a walking cadaver, Haley? Hutchinson? Essentially non-entities. No, Trump is the unique danger our nation faces.

          In some ways he is far weaker than 2016-2020, cause he was shown to be a loser. Many of his base died in the pandemic (proportionally to liberals), there is less desire for violence after 1/6 given the prison sentences doled out. But he is till a singular threat.

        • BriceFNC says:

          Voter participation varies with income. Trump has promoted a divisive agendathat has motivated more low income people who fear brown skinned folks to support an agenda on behalf of country club repubs who laugh at how easily manipulated they are to get out and vote. Between direct voter suppression and manipulative messaging (both sides are bad, remain cynical voting does not make a difference in your life) many poor folks do not get out and vote. The Democratic party should be fully in support of Dr. William Barber’s heroic effort to overcome obstacles and get poor and working class Americans to vote–and to demand that elected leaders address their priorities!

        • Bombay Troubadour says:

          “Only the voters can solve the trump problem”. Yes, democracy depends on alert and informed constituents. (We’re screwed).

        • Bombay Troubadour says:

          You’re correct, it is not helpful. Sorry for the venting on my part. This will be the last of it.
          The defeatism comes from looking at current nationwide polling. The old saying of ‘all that evil needs to thrive is for good men (and women) to do nothing’ seems nowadays, to be turned upside down. Good people and the DOJ, ARE doing amazing investigative legal work to try to staunch this cancer. It would seem his followers and by default the Republican Party are more enthused for DJT as he adds to his potential crimes against this country. 75 million voters continue to ignore the obvious. They forgive J6. And everything else. And will vote for him again? I struggle with this post-truth Orwellian era of corporate media-driven madness, and the politicians that thrive in it. It’s getting like Hunger Games.
          Living in a very red state doesn’t help. Improving today’s politics and civility versus 30 years ago? I’m afraid the task is Sisyphean. But yes, I still try to do my part locally.

          I’ll be more circumspect in expressing unhelpful commentary in this forum going forward.

        • Grain of Sand says:

          At this point, imo, nationwide polling is a crude indicator. I wouldn’t put too much faith in it. I suggest that you not view the 75 million as a monolith. My own view is that a number of Trump voters will leave the fold, for a number of reasons. I say this from the perspective of another red state dweller.

  5. Ravenous hoarde says:

    “ DOJ provide this letter to any judicial officer who is asked to rule on any motion pertaining to this investigation, or on any application made in connection with any investigative request concerning this investigation.””

    Did Corcoran write this in anticipation of a warrant? If so, was it certain that a magistrate would get that initial warrant or was Cannon a likely possibility at this time?

    Such an interesting thing to request imo, since it seems not many judicial officers would take a former president’s declassification authority very seriously.

    Probably reading too much into it and this was the best version of some nonsense Trump insisted be put in the letter.

    • Peterr says:

      I think your last sentence is spot on.

      Lawyer: Mr. Trump, they can go to a judge and get a warrant if we don’t comply.

      Trump: Then we’ll argue with the judge and drag it out. They can’t have my boxes!

      Lawyer, feeling a bit strained: Mr. Trump, when the DOJ applies for a warrant, we don’t get to be there to argue.

      Trump: What!?! That’s illegal! That’s unfair! That’s . . . That’s . . .

      Lawyer: That’s the way things work, sir. (pause) They have to convince the judge that they have a probable cause to find stolen property, which is all that is needed to grant the warrant. The person being served can challenge the legality of the search, but only *after* the search, not before. If they use what they seize at a trial, we can challenge it then and try to get it excluded. We can’t challenge it now.

      Trump: But . . . but . . . (lightbulb goes off) I know! You write a “to whom it may concern” letter and tell the DOJ that they must give it to any judge before any warrant is issued. That’ll fix it!

      long pause

      Lawyer, exhausted: OK, sir, I’ll write the letter to the judge and a cover letter to the DOJ.

      Lawyer leaves, and runs into one of his colleagues

      Lawyer: You won’t believe what HE just told me to do . . .
      much laughter ensues

    • Shadowalker says:

      It wouldn’t have been in Canon’s jurisdiction. The 11th appellate even bench-slapped her for overreaching in her ruling.

      “ The district court improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction in this case. For that reason, we VACATE the September 5 order on appeal and REMAND with instructions for the district court to DISMISS the underlying civil action.”

  6. dadidoc1 says:

    Excellent sleuthing. I imagine that folks on Team Trump are conceiving a plan that makes Waltine Nauta a foreign asset and a money trail to match.

  7. Frank Probst says:

    Typo/missing word, I think:

    “Nauta told a female Trump that Trump” should have and extra word after “female Trump”.

    • derelict says:

      i stumbled on that too, but i think it’s a reference to an unspecified female member of the trump family (melania? ivanka?), followed by a reference to donald himself — probably more info in the link

      • N.E. Brigand says:

        Yes, a “Trump family member” sent Walt Nauta a text on May 30, 2022 saying that she saw him putting boxes in Donald Trump’s room and advising him that there wouldn’t be room for the boxes on the plane. We know it’s a she because Nauta’s reply beings “Good Afternoon Ma’am”.

        • Rugger_9 says:

          I’m guessing it was Melania, because even as mercenary as Ivanka proved to be she would understand there were cameras and how bad it would look to load in the boxes. As a ‘senior presidential advisor’ known to be close to Defendant-1 she would also have at least a passing idea what was in them.

          Melania so far as we know was never in the inner political circle and so I don’t think the danger to Defendant-1 would have registered as much (or she didn’t care). Given the ‘ma’am’ reference that cuts down the list of possibilities for female staffers who would rate such a greeting.

        • Peterr says:

          Not necessarily. In the South, there is a cultural custom where “ma’am” is a common greeting of politeness, offered by men to any adult woman. In the Navy, there is a similar custom, and when addressing a superior female officer, it is a required greeting like “sir” for male superior officers.

        • N.E. Brigand says:

          Not a staff member: the indictment explicitly says “Trump family member,” so I think it has to be one of Melania, Ivanka, Tiffany, Lara, or Kimberly Guilfoyle. I also think that Melania makes the most sense.

        • Rick Ryan says:

          There are also some minor usage errors with the prepositions that are consistent with a native speaker of a central European language (apologies for my poor vocabulary; I am not a linguist): “put boxes to Potus room”, “have a room for them”, “full with luggage”.

          It’s a little interesting, because I’d been under the impression that Melania wants nothing to do with Donald these days, and that they’d be divorced but for appearances’ sake. This suggests she is still involved in his life and work, enough to be trusted in significant legal matters.

  8. sohelpmedog says:

    While it would be nice to see Nauta flip, the prosecution is obviously not relying on that.
    On the hopeful side, one can never know what or who might pop up out of nowhere. Think Alexander Butterfield.

  9. vigetnovus says:

    I think that Nauta did change his story in the GJ. Per the indictment, his FBI interview in May 2022 was specifically about his movement of the boxes prior to the release to NARA in January of 2022. The indictment makes very clear that the FBI had other sources about Nauta’s movement of boxes at that time, specifically Trump Employees 1 and 2 (Molly Michael and Hayley Harrison) and their phones and text messages. My guess is that they had already sat down with the FBI in April of 2022 and told their stories implicating Nauta.

    Perhaps Nauta wasn’t aware of this when he sat with the FBI in late May. Certainly he would be very careful about what he said then because it was in the middle of him moving documents again.

    And then, Jay Bratt calls him into the GJ in June to see if he will perjure himself, which he doesn’t do, probably because by this time his attorneys know what Michaels and Harrison have told the FBI, and so he admits to all of that. But, I am sure, there is more questioning about whether he moved any boxes again after that time, and he lies about that, so now Bratt has his testimony locked in.

    And once Trump gets the surveillance video subpoena, Nauta knows he’s toast, so he clams up.

    Hence why only 1001 was charged in this indictment. That’s the carrot. The stick will be DC based charges for perjury, I’d bet. And do we know if he testified to the J6 committee? That could be in a DC indictment too if he did and he lied to them, or if he pressured other witnesses to lie.

    • emptywheel says:

      1) As noted above, the WaPo story that said he fixed his testimony appears to misunderstand that Nauta, rather than Molly Michael, is the employee who started cooperating. My guess is that SHE fixed her testimony before the warrant.

      2) Trump has the surveillance footage–it was included in the first discovery.

      3) Nauta ALREADY faces far more than a perjury charge, with the obstruction charges, each of which carries up to 20 years. The only/main reason to charge perjury separately in DC is to charge something that can be prosecuted quickly. Though I think Nauta may have other exposure there, too.

  10. ducktree says:

    A minor quibble: “Thirty days hath September; April, June and November . . . ”

    “The next day” following May 30 is May 31 – not June 1.

  11. P’villain says:

    I would *really* like to know the contents of that particular box. If Nauta spent a half-hour looking for it, he must have had some very specific instructions about *what* he was looking for.

    • Peterr says:

      Or the bathroom/storage room was so poorly organized that he couldn’t immediately find that one particular box.

      (Why yes, I do have a room with many boxes that some would call unorganized. Why do you ask, and did Mrs Dr Peterr put you up to asking?)

      • Rwood0808 says:

        OR, the box wasn’t for trump, but rather a cover-his-ass box of copies for himself.

      • Nameoftherain says:

        Also also… Could it be that he was going through various boxes, taking out specific documents, & consolidating them into a single box to squirrel away elsewhere? That’s what I thought of when trying to make sense of the time he spent in there.

        [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. “Nameoftherain” is your third user name; you have commented previously as “firefish” and “name of the rain.” Please pick a name, make a note of it, and use it consistently. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • RitaRita says:

      “Walt, Find me the box with my brown golf shoes, the photo of me with Kim Jong Un, my golf score card where I made that hole in one and 7 birdies, and the plans for war with Iran. I think I had you put it next to the box of golf swag that I’ve promised to give to the Saudi Royal Family.”

      I think I understand Trump’s organizational scheme.

    • Ravenclaw says:

      Quite so! The only alternative explanation (and I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried it in court) would be that he took advantage of being sent on the box-fetching errand to grab forty winks.

      • Sue 'em Queequeg says:

        Good point. Or got a phone call from someone important. Or was told to find a particular document and had to do some rummaging, since the *cough cough* Mar-a-Lago online archive was temporarily down.

  12. xyxyxyxy says:

    With the delays security clearance will create, could SC have only brought charges for refusing to return NARA material and conspiracy as far as moving and hiding the boxes to get around delays and would penalties have been consequential in that case?

    • P J Evans says:

      Requires probable cause, and that means they need some kind of evidence to present the judge.

      • Shadowalker says:

        Recent evidence as well and not something well over a year old. They would need the kind of evidence (both type and volume) they gathered for justification of the Mar-a-Lago warrant.

  13. bgThenNow says:

    Also, one of my favorite EW posts from a few weeks ago: the cell phone content and location data. Nauta doesn’t know about the linkages with J6 defendants who have been convicted in part on that evidence? Location data to fill in some of the camera blanks? The blindness of sycophancy.

  14. WilliamOckham says:

    I’m becoming convinced that there were never any gaps in the surveillance footage. Now that we know the camera was motion-activated, I suspect that what happened was this. The feds subpoenaed all the surveillance video between certain dates. Trump Org sent them all the footage they had. However, there were likely days that some or all of the cameras had no footage because no one entered the cameras’ field of vision.

    When Trump Org created a manifest of the files returned, they would have listed those dates as having no video. Which, given Trump’s penchant for obstruction, would have caused klaxons to go off in the heads of the investigators.

    In reality, nobody creates motion-activated surveillance video without a way to prove that the files stored represent all of the video captured. And that probably explains why the feds wanted to talk Trump Org’s vendor. I certainly wouldn’t have taken Trump Org’s word for it.

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