“Rights” and Wrongs: Where the Stolen Documents Investigation Is Headed

I want to start this post about where the stolen documents investigation may be headed with an observation a commenter here made about this passage of the superseding indictment: the import of the word, the “rights,” coming from an IT guy who would think in terms of access privileges.

The passage comes in the midst of the Keystone Cops routine where Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira try to figure out how to achieve Trump’s apparent order — probably given during a 24-minute phone call to De Oliveira on June 23 and to Nauta face-to-face at Bedminster sometime between 3:44 and 5:02PM on June 24 — to delete the surveillance server. They were stomping around, squawking about how sensitive this mission was. Nauta sent someone texts with shush emojis and De Oliveira told a valet Nauta’s visit should remain secret.

The evening of June 25 — one day after DOJ sent Trump Organization a subpoena for surveillance video — they get a flashlight and go to inspect what the surveillance cameras would pick up; by moving in front of the surveillance cameras, which we now know are motion activated, they would have triggered the cameras, thereby creating more damning surveillance footage.

Imagine the video exhibit at trial, as both Nauta and De Oliveira point a flashlight at the surveillance camera that, weeks earlier, caught both of them moving just half the boxes full of classified documents back into the storage room, two earnest faces looking straight into the camera. That footage wouldn’t be covered by the subpoena they were, at that moment, trying to defy; it would probably be covered by the next subpoena.

Two days later (there’s no indication of how Nauta spent his day on Sunday June 26), on June 27, De Oliveira walks into the IT room and asks Yuscil Taveras in front of a witness (possibly in front of another security camera) to step away so they could speak. They go to what they call an “audio closet” (which could be the decommissioned SCIF) and De Oliveira tells Taveras that “the boss” wants the surveillance server deleted.

Taveras says three things in response:

  1. He doesn’t know how to accomplish that
  2. He doesn’t have the “rights” to do that
  3. To accomplish the task, De Oliveira would have to reach out to one of the Matthew Calamaris

The words, “rights,” here hasn’t gotten enough attention. Taveras was saying that he did not have the computer privileges to just delete the surveillance server: one of the Matthew Calamaris in New York would have to be involved to make such a thing happen.

So after that, De Oliveira checks back in with Nauta (who has flown to Florida to accomplish this task, along with whatever he did on June 26), they stomp around some more in suspicious ways that are visible to yet more surveillance cameras, and then two hours later Trump speaks to De Oliveira for 3.5 minutes. As described, Trump calls De Oliveira, not the other way around.

Remember how I said — of the January 6 investigation — that the January 6 investigation would take more time than the Watergate investigation because, unlike Nixon, Trump is not known to have wiretapped himself?

Well, on the stolen documents investigation, he did, effectively, wiretap himself, or at least all the employees he sent to accomplish his corrupt mission. And then Trump tried, over and over, to Rosemary Woods away incriminating video, at least this first time, captured on video again.

But amid all the Keystone Cops stomping around talking about secrets while on surveillance camera and sending shush texts, what Taveras said is an important hint of where this investigation may go next (as I laid out here).

Thus far, this story — and the conspiracy as charged so far — is just a story of a failed attempt to destroy surveillance video. De Oliveira: Can you delete the server? Taveras: Nope. I don’t have the rights. Stomp stomp stomp, almost all of it on surveillance video.

The Keystone Cops caper ends with Trump calling De Oliveira at 3:55PM on June 27, with no word of what led Trump to call De Oliveira and no word of whether whatever video got deleted was deleted in Florida or New York, or somewhere else.

The superseding indictment doesn’t mention, for example, the text that Nauta sent Calamari Sr — possibly even between 1:50PM when he and De Oliveira were stomping in bushes adjacent to Mar-a-Lao and the phone call that Trump made to De Oliveira at 3:55PM.

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,

Calamari was the guy, Taveras told De Oliveira, who would have the privileges to delete surveillance footage. And sometime in that period, Nauta texted him about the surveillance request.

Thus far, this is a story and a crime about an alleged attempt to delete surveillance footage. But we can be pretty certain that surveillance video was, in fact, deleted. That’s because reporters have reported on witnesses being asked that for months. There would be no reason to obtain nine months of surveillance video — 57 terabytes of raw video, if you can believe the defense attorneys — unless there was a whole bunch more to learn from the surveillance videos.

The initial production also included some 57 terabytes of compressed raw CCTV footage (so far there is approximately nine months of CCTV footage, but the final number is not yet certain).

And there would be no reason for Trump, on August 26, to get Nauta to verify De Oliveira’s loyalty (stomp stomp stomp) before arranging to provide him a lawyer if what came next, what happened after Trump’s phone call to De Oliveira on June 27 isn’t even more damning.

Indeed, that’s why it matters that — buried in a Devlin Barrett story opining that De Oliveira’s, “alleged actions could bolster the obstruction case against the former president” because apparently Devlin hasn’t learned his lesson about presenting evidence of more serious crimes and calling it obstruction — Trump (unusually) came back to Mar-a-Lago twice between June 3 and August 8: once from July 10 to 12, and once again on July 23, and that De Oliveira told the FBI he had given away the key to storage when they showed up on August 8.

The Keystone Cop caper, in part because it is so colorful and in part because it is charged as an unsuccessful attempt, has distracted most commentators from the fact that there was a more successful attempt, and that more successful attempt didn’t hide the movement of boxes in and out of the storage closet. As I’ve noted, all the movement of boxes in May and June shows up in the search affidavit relying on what DOJ did get from Trump, save one: Nauta’s retrieval of a single box on May 22.

The superseding indictment describes that the subpoena asked for footage from “certain locations,” plural, of which the basement hallway is just one. And the most recent unsealing of the affidavit reveals that the only cameras included on the hard drive of surveillance footage turned over on July 6 were four cameras in the basement hallway. So one way or another, footage of those other locations was not turned over in response to the first subpoena.

Everyone treats this indictment as a terminal indictment — and if that’s as far as Jack Smith gets, it’s still far more damning than most everyone imagined on June 8. But multiple public references — the discussion on July 13 of continued efforts to fully exploit Nauta’s phone, the reference in DOJ’s descriptions of discovery that suggest there’s a grand jury somewhere other than DC or SDFL, and the suggestion that interviews have continued after June 23 — suggests that the current instantiation of the indictment is intended to be part of an ongoing investigation.

I noted from the first indictment that it was a “tactical nuke” designed to persuade Nauta to cooperate. Not only hasn’t the effort worked, but Stan Woodward has adopted a position on classified discovery — that Nauta, in addition to his attorneys, should get to see all the stolen classified documents — that I think makes it more likely DOJ would supersede to add a conspiracy to retain classified documents charge with him, because the elements of offense are all satisfied in the existing indictment.

Here are the obvious things that obtaining credible cooperation from Nauta would obtain:

  • ¶25: Details of Trump’s intent as Nauta helped pack up documents from the White House
  • ¶46: Why Trump was trying to hide when he instructed Nauta to replace the lids of the boxes
  • ¶54: What he was sent for on May 22
  • ¶61: What Trump instructed Nauta before he moved half the boxes back into storage for Evan Corcoran to search
  • ¶73: What boxes got loaded on the plane to Mar-a-Lago on June 3
  • ¶78: What Trump told him at Bedminster that led him to fly to Florida and try to bury the surveillance video (as well as what else he did on June 26, which is not accounted for)
  • ¶86: What both men discussed in the bushes
  • How Nauta came to text Matthew Calamari
  • ¶91: How Trump came to ask Nauta to ascertain De Oliveira’s loyalty and whether Trump had similarly offered him legal representation
  • What Nauta witnessed as Trump’s bodyman, especially in Bedminster

Here are the obvious things that obtaining credible cooperation from De Oliveira would obtain:

  • ¶76: Details of the 24-minute call he had with Trump, while Trump was at Bedminster
  • ¶86: What both men discussed in the bushes
  • ¶87: What Trump said on the phone call and whether De Oliveira had a role in the successful deletion of video, and how he knew what to delete
  • ¶91: What the terms of his representation are and whether it led him to lie (a question, other reports have made clear, many witnesses have been asked)
  • Why Trump returned to Mar-a-Lago twice before the August 8 search
  • To whom he gave the key to the storage room and on whose orders
  • Whether the October flood of the server room was an(other) attempt to destroy surveillance footage and if so, whether he was instructed to do so

De Oliveira might be a key witness to lead Nauta to reconsider his decision to protect Trump.

More importantly, one or both might be irreplaceable witnesses to answer a number of closely intertwined questions:

  • How is Trump is using lawyers to command loyalty and does it create conflict or obstruction issues
  • What surveillance footage has Trump prioritized for destruction and why
  • Why did Trump steal the documents, how has he used them, and where did the ones that went to Bedminster disappear to
  • What role does Trump’s PAC have in exploitation of the documents
  • What role does Trump Organization have in exploitation of the documents
  • Who else has had ready access to these documents

All this superseding indictment shows is that Trump had something to hide that goes beyond his desire to hoard the classified documents. Jack Smith may require the cooperation of one or both of these men to fully understand what Trump is really hiding.

This fairly remarkable post from the WSJ opinion page demonstrates the stakes of trying to answer it. It’s a pitch to elect someone other than Trump in the GOP primary, and premised on an utterly bullshit claim that Biden has politicized justice. But it gets a good distance of the way to an important discovery: even the Keystone Cops attempt already included in the indictment totally debunks Trump’s public defense, because if he believed in June 2022 that he had the right to keep these, he wouldn’t have dug himself — and thus far two staffers — deeper into a legal hole.

If Mr. Trump sought to destroy evidence, it undercuts his defense on the document charges. He contends that the Presidential Records Act gives him the right to retain documents from his time in office. But if Mr. Trump believed that, he would have played it straight. If the indictment is right that he hid the files from his own lawyers and tried to wipe the security video to stop anybody from finding out, then he didn’t buy his own defense.

From a Murdoch rag, this is a really important insight. But then WSJ predictably refuses to take the next logical step: That Trump’s obstruction makes it clear he didn’t just do this out of pigheadedness.

Prudential questions about the wisdom of this prosecution remain. Mr. Trump appears to have kept the files out of pigheadedness, not because he wanted to do something nefarious like sell them to an adversary. The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago to recover the documents.

The episode reflects poorly on Mr. Trump. But is this conduct that truly gives President Biden no choice except to ask a jury to jail his leading political opponent in next year’s election? At least Watergate involved a burglary.

We can’t even rule out a burglary, if Trump learned that he compromised these documents by storing them in his beach resort! Especially since De Oliveira claimed he had given the key away to others. We can’t rule out selling them to an adversary! We sure as hell can’t rule out trying to exploit them for the success of his PAC.

The indictment and an attempt to try this before the general election is an important goal, though potentially unrealistic given the CIPA challenges.

But it really is important to learn what Trump did do with these documents, who got the key, where they disappeared to.

This indictment doesn’t answer the question of why Trump stole these documents or what he did with them. All the superseding indictment did is make the question more urgent.

Update: Fixed Trump’s location from whence he called De Oliveira — the first call would have been Bedminster.

194 replies
  1. David Brooks says:

    Does the WSJ really go so far as to put President Biden personally in the role of prosecuting attorney? Apparently so.

    • ButteredToast says:

      My eyes rolled to the back of my head reading that. But I’m sure the WSJ editorial board heaped condemnation on Trump for actually demanding (for eight years) that his political opponents be jailed. s/

      • gertibird says:

        Everything the wsj EB writes and has written for years is in support of Trump. The opinion articles are so off it’s ridiculous, but they keep writing them. And there is a host of commenters, maybe bots that one after another project Trump’s crimes onto Hunter and Pres. Biden and of course Hillary Clinton. Murdoch has really ruined the wsj. Under his ownership it has more or less become a more expensive and with some business reporting FOX site.

        • ButteredToast says:

          The WSJ still does some good reporting, but its opinion page is indeed Fox News on paper.

        • Harry Eagar says:

          I don’t think the Journal was ruined by Murdoch. I started reading it in the early ’70s, and it was relentlessly promoting the Laffer Curve and predicting daily that gummint borrowing was going to make it impossible for private businesses to borrow. I don’t know how far back you would have to go to find the Journal correct on anything, but it would be a loooong way.

        • HikaakiH says:

          Murdoch went off Trump quite some time back, but with no other Republican candidate looking viable, his outlets will muddle along in a blur of wanting anyone other than Trump but knowing they can’t have that. Kind of where a lot of Republican leadership is located. Murdoch has always (and I mean this goes back many decades in multiple countries) swung with whatever works for him. He’s not an ideologue – he just looks like one when it aligns with his financial interest.

  2. TimothyB says:

    Also interesting that the “rights” trail leads to one of the Calamaris. Jr. is a security guy, Sr. is CEO of Trump organization. There’s also a corporate information technology manager, Mamadou Doucoure (source: LinkedIn) and a CIO, Eric Brunnett (source ditto.) So asking the wrong guys for the “rights.” (Sorry)

    Possibly two overlapping structures in Trump Org, ordinary business and trouble. Possible also Calamari, Jr. is the guy at HQ known to the keystone cops. Possible they reached out to more than one source and SP contemplates more pressure on Calimaris — NY effort thought about Calamari Sr. and then passed (https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/24/politics/matthew-calamari-trump-org/index.html)

    As always, thanks for clarity of thinking and command of the facts, Marcie.

    • emptywheel says:

      I noted yesterday–and will probably do a post–that in the Mueller investigation, Mueller only got certain damning records involving Cohen by sending the email warrant to Microsoft, which Trump was an enterprise customer of. That warrant is likely to be one of the things that finally led Microsoft to sue to make it harder to gag Microsoft from telling its Enterprise customers.

      But that’s recent historic memory in DC, including a few of the prosecutors on Smith’s larger team (indeed, NSD would have still been involved in the Cohen investigation bc it was still primarily a FARA investigation, so Jay Bratt would know this). So they may well have done a parallel warrant the first moment they found any problem with the production.

    • BobBobCon says:

      I’ve wondered why Calamari was involved, since the odds are probably a million to one against him having the technical expertise to be an admin who can type the commands to change the properties on folders or files.

      I think this reinforces the idea that the files sat with a third party with the perfectly understandable security policy that they won’t honor a phone call from some rando. Arequest has to come from a previously identified top person, and there is a specific authorization process to validate the ID of that person.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the FBI understood this process better than Trump and his people, and I’m curious if they had already warned a third party against deleting anything.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      I read the exchange between IT Guy and De Oliveira differently. “I don’t have the rights” is always the answer you give to an end user who’s asking you to do something illegal, unethical, or against company policy. There’s definitely a company IT security policy that applies to those files.
      However, IT Guy isn’t pointing De Oliveira to the person with the access rights to delete surveillance video files. He’s pointing him to the business person who is responsible for security policy. That’s why De Oliveira plays his trump card (no pun intended). He says “but this request is coming from the CEO”. And the IT Guy almost certainly knows that even if the CEO can change the security policy on a whim, the CEO can’t violate the policy. Or at least, he knows that IT is always the fall guy unless IT documents who made the request, based on what policy or exception. If you work in IT long enough, something like this will happen and everyone needs know how to handle it. Be like the IT Guy here (at least in the story so far. Still a chance to revise my opinion if other facts come to light.)

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I agree. It’s more likely a reference to the authority to change or make an exception to policy rather than authority to implement an unusual request in accordance with policy, one that involves obvious legal peril. But even that normal self-regard means this IT guy is unlikely to stay long in TrumpWorld.

        • Shadowalker says:

          He could also be referring to computer user privileges. Depends on how they setup who can read and write on the system.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            To borrow a perspective from William Ockham, the simplest explanation is probably that the IT guy wasn’t splitting hairs. He wanted no part of whatever the fuck these guys wanted done,

          • bbleh says:

            Certainly that was the way I interpreted “rights” the first time I saw it. That’s a term that comes naturally to a sysadmin. And I’m not sure whether the distinction between doing something unethical within policy or doing something outside policy really matters, because I read it as simply “I can’t” as in “I’m unable.” My account doesn’t have the necessary privileges, I don’t have the necessary password, whatever: I simply am unable to do what you want, so go talk to someone else.

            (Whether he was telling the truth, and if not why not, is another matter.)

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      • BobBobCon says:

        I agree a smart IT guy will be careful, and I think a smart IT guy will also work in a structure where he is required to be careful. He can be truthful about not having the rights to just format the whole system, and needing someone else to log in and enter their own password.

        I’d add that standard large org systems will be deliberately set up to prevent a single low level IT guy from deleting recordings.even if they wanted to. Vendors will assume the default is that a museum, pharmaceutical warehouse, or hospitality facility never wants to risk a single point of failure due to a poorly paid employee helping out on an inside job by wiping the recordings. Systems are set up to take this option out of the hands of the day to day people.

        • Kope a Pia says:

          Generally working for Donald Trump is where smart goes to get corrupted on the other hand you could say that no one smart would work for him.

          • Travis says:

            I’ll note that corrupt people tend to be even *more* worried about IT security than honest ones, though, since they tend to assume everyone else is also corrupt!

            I work in government IT, so I’ve had a couple of bosses whose ethics were questionable, and who were borderline paranoid about locking down admin rights on the systems they controlled.

        • Stephen Calhoun says:

          To what degree does the Trump Organization deploy systems administration best practices?

          Are the organization’s computer systems protocols (etc.) codified in documentation?

          Surveillance video might be excepted from standard back-up procedures, or not?

          I’m curious about what Trump thinks he meant when he asked for a “server to be deleted.” I assume TFG is not technologically sophisticated just from his blunt and head-shaking request.

          Are there ‘best practices’ that criminals tend to use when using computer systems?

      • timbozone says:

        Yeah, it instantly smells odd for anyone to come to IT and ask that camera data like this be suddenly erased, as a lot of time and money goes maintaining this data and such, not to mention the initial and ongoing infrastructure/maintenance costs just to have such systems deployed and functional in the first place. Clients, insurers, police, etc, count on these systems to assist in recovery of assets and to deter unnecessary, preventable losses. Any IT/senior security people worth their salt would definitely want any request to delete this data in writing, and from the most senior people within the organizations they support, prior to even getting close to deleting such data.

      • IainUlysses says:

        Sometimes you do have the rights and just have to say, “no,” or an expletive laden equivalent. Followed by someone three steps up the management chain getting on the call and saying they didn’t mean that at all and never hearing anything about it ever again. At all.


        I’m with the people who think the IT guy was being literal. They didn’t have the ability.

        In a well run organization (so who knows here) there will be data retention policies reflected in settings on the storage account, S3, or backup vault. Updating those leaves a log trail. There’s often ways to get around that, especially if you thought ahead. Maybe someone did, and Nauta etc should never have asked the IT guy but weren’t competent enough conspirators to realize that.

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        Yes, if he had said “I won’t do it because it’s wrong”, he probably would have been fired on the spot. Blaming it on access rights allows him to keep his job without doing anything illegal.

    • Patrick Carty says:

      Is the US Secret Service not still providing some degree of protection to Trump and his family? If so, they would seem to me to be the final say in who deletes what data from what security server. Surely the staff at MaL would be cognizant of this, and careful not to disappear something that was just subpoenaed by another branch of the federal government. I work in IT and sanitizing an active server better have a good excuse, let alone a server the DoJ is asking about. I wouldn’t do it either.

      • Rayne says:

        Secret Service’s job is to protect the former president. It is not to safeguard Mar-a-Lago or MaL’s contents.

        • pdaly says:

          To keep Trump safe while in Mar-a-Lago and protect his home from intruders even when he might be off site, I wonder whether this implies the Secret Service maintains their own cameras to monitor parts of the premises?

        • Patrick Carty says:

          Yes, that’s what I said. Much of security involves not just what’s happening now, but what preceded with the former president and what the cameras might reveal. I said the Secret Service might be the final say in what happens to content on a security device and I stand by that. So do they.

          • Rayne says:

            We’re going to agree to disagree. The surveillance camera system wasn’t property of Secret Service or SS would have operated and managed it, not Trump org personnel.

            • Patrick Carty says:

              Not really disagreeing, but if something happened there and the Secret Service asked to see last week’s surveillance video, I’d hate to be the person to tell them I erased it. Maybe Carlos will say differently, but I see your point too.,

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    To rephrase an incorrect aphorism, the crime is always worse than the cover-up. That’s why the cover-up, with a potential 20-year sentence for obstruction – is worth doing.

    Paging Dr. Liddy, Dr. Hunt, Dr. Liddy. Creepy.

    • emptywheel says:

      I sort of forgive the WSJ for their quip, bc in fact on Watergate that may not have been true.

      But IN THIS CASE, Trump was trying to hide specific things. Sure, it could have just been the proof that he did the sorts on the boxes himself. But I think we’re going to find it’s something much different than that.

        • Carl_03AUG2022_0931h says:

          I got the reference.

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

    • BobBobCon says:

      Incorrect aphorism is right.

      I was pretty bugged that the Washington Post’s nominally liberal Ruth Marcus was literally saying “the coverup is worse than crime” in a column she wrote in the hours after the superseding indictment was issued.

      She can’t possibly know the extent of the documents Trump stole or what he did with them, but she’s already declared herself on the side that says the underlying crime isn’t all that serious.

      • gertibird says:

        Yes. That plays right into the Republican propaganda that Trump’s document case is just the same as Biden’s. ie, nothing to see here, witch hunt, etc. It’s not at all. I too wonder why Trump was so concerned about the video. I hope the SC investigation is able to find out what was on the video, where are the missing documents and has Trump “sold” any.
        Wouldn’t surprise me if we hear it here from from Marcy’s post first.

      • John Colvin says:

        When people say the cover-up is “worse” than the crime, I think they are ordinarily referring to the fact that the cover-up is (1) easier to prove (often occurring contemporaneously with the investigation); and (2) can torpedo any defense as to the mens rea element of the crime, i.e., the cover-up demonstrates guilty knowledge or willfulness as to the original bad acts.
        Certainly, the cover-up of murder would not be more reprehensible than the crime itself.

        • BobBobCon says:

          That judgement would require Marcus to have any idea what was going on. I think Marcus’s column was so superficial and poorly thought out that she has no idea whether the coverup was in fact easier or harder to prove than the rest of the crime.

          She hadn’t considered the evidence at all. She just had a cliche, a deadline, and plowed ahead.

        • David Thiel says:

          I was a kid during Watergate, and I always understood “the cover-up is worse than the crime” to mean that the cover-up demonstrates that the people involved knew they had done something illegal.

  4. TimothyB says:

    And you use a bird pic for “link to Twitter,” not an ugly pic for “link to X”. Yay!

  5. oldtulsadude says:

    If it is accurate that to Trump everything is transactional then there us no way pigheaded fits that profile.

    • Reader 21 says:

      My thoughts exactly. Everything the guy does is transactional—from famously stiffing everyone from contractors to paying his taxes to his lawyers, to demanding an appearance fee to partake in a presidential debate—but we’re to believe this was benign? He was deeply, dangerously indebted, and desperate, but this was simply ego. Yeah. Because ruschian gangsters are notoriously so easygoing towards those who owe them money.

      • LadyHawke says:

        And not just giving Trump a pass for stubbornness, why do people simplify it to his keeping documents only to outright sell them. Of course, money is a big issue – he certainly needs it, but also, how else would he and everyone know he won? (Trump Moscow super-hotel, son-in-law’s Saudi billions.)

        But can’t we well imagine him panicking about losing all sorts of information he intended to use: maybe reports mentioning politicians, other powerful people and their connections? Who knows what kind of leverage he could and does use to keep people in line and get what he wants?

        Power to control people – and the ever-important drive for revenge and seething decades-long grudges. Bring me MY boxes!

        • John Paul Jones says:

          I think he might have trying to revise Godwin’s Law, ie, talk about Trump long enough and Watergate will be mentioned. Competition is open for the name of the revised version.

        • fubar jack says:

          Ya sorry. Was my pet name for tfg a few years ago when he was playing footsie with the nazi’s .
          “Good people on both sides” comment. Trump is a unique brand of shitty and should not be compared to anyone.

        • BirdGardener says:

          I thought it was an oblique reference to the federal judge (Trump-appointed) recently throwing out Trump’s defamation case against CNN for using the term, The Big Lie, which Trump claimed was as good as calling him Adolf.

  6. aduckisaduck says:

    So many threads to untangle and properly re-spool around these events of serious national importance. Thanks to you Marcy Wheeler, the emptywheel moderators, and knowledgeable commenters for diligently ferreting out and analyzing facts and pursuing the many potential implications of complicated (and sometimes purposefully obscured) events and the responsible actors involved. Yes, the details can get overwhelming at times–at least for me–but it is only through them that clearer renditions of the big pictures emerge. Thanks again for everyone’s work.

  7. Challenger says:

    Transactional does sound right. Jack Smith will argue Marcy’s Keystone Cops analogy, to legally change it to the Three Stooges

    • earthworm says:

      Reminiscent of LBJ’s having been known to have moments of expansive showing off.
      What is it about these politicos’ personality defects, and why do we continue to elect them?

      • xxbronxx says:

        In that “measuring” contest, LBJ beats Trump by any number of Berles* (*the unit of measurement of that which we are talking about)

    • boloboffin says:

      If we hit a Stringer Bell moment here (“Is you walking national security threats past surveillance cameras on your way to the room with all the top secret documents?”), I’m not going to know how to act.

  8. WMB says:

    What possibly could be gained for Nauta and De Oliveira to not flip on this orange comedy of criminality? What would be worth more than facing 20 years away from their freedoms and families? They obviously knew when they were playing “secret squirrel squad” in the bushes what they were doing was not of the norm..We all know this . Forget retaining my attorney- If it were me I’d be blabbing my head off (look at the attorneys) – I love how you break it down Marcie – “Keystone Cops” is a perfect pseudonym for this operation

    • David Brooks says:

      They really believe Trump will be re-Presidented, and really, really, really believe despite precedent that he will insta-pardon him.

      Or maybe it’s simply thest they are really loyal unto death (bmaz: figuratively).

    • Ebenezer Scrooge says:

      Cassidy Hutchinson (sic?) was far more sophisticated than these mooks. However, she stuck with her Trump-funded lawyer for quite awhile, and needed help from Liz Cheney and Alyssa Farah(?) to climb out of that hole. It’s not easy to turn down a not-so-helping hand, especially when you have few intellectual or monetary resources. Fear favors short-term reasoning.

      • BirdGardener says:

        I suspect that being a part of Trump’s circle is similar to being in a cult, and that leaving is as psychologically difficult as leaving a cult.

        Among other things, you have to accept a huge shift in perspective that can rock you to your foundations. It means questioning reality, and even your own sense of identity.

        Some people aren’t strong enough to go through that, and choose to ignore the dissonance that triggered their questioning of the cult’s worldview, and return to the fold. It feels safer to them than accepting that they were wrong all along.

  9. Kick the Darkness says:

    I was wondering how the superseding indictment fit in with the tactical nuke theory. If I read this correctly, I guess the take away is if that theory is right it hasn’t worked out so well for DOJ, and least not yet: the DOJ is still looking at a trial involving airing lots of classified information, Nauta is still not cooperating (yet), and likely GOP primary voters (if anything) prefer Trump more than ever. So the calculus is interesting. Say, and I guess it actually seems pretty likely at this point, Trump was monetizing some of this information in some form. Smith’s team ends up feeling they can prove that in court for a limited subset of documents. What does that do to with respect to further charges, and what might ultimately be brought to trial? I mean, selling classified information would seem to be about as bad as it gets from a legal standpoint. So would DOJ just go lets not bother with the earlier charges, we’ll only bring this one to a trial?

    • emptywheel says:

      It hasn’t worked, no. Nauta looks pretty determined, and Stan Woodward pretty determined as well.

      One interesting dynamic is Woodward is going to be running into serious conflicts soon, if not already (there were reports he represented Taveras). And if his former clients start to get new ones any shitty advice he gave may come back to haunt him. It’s one reason I think the paragraph about assessing De Oliveira’s loyalty and THEN getting him a lawyer is key.

      It LOOKS like more of these people’s colleagues are cooperating — that is, testifying honestly, not necessarily flipped. And if that’s the case it’s going to get awfully lonely going to trial with Trump.

      • David F. Snyder says:

        It seems to me that it as likely the case calendar as it stands now benefits the prosecution as it does the defense, as solid submittable evidence slowly accumulates.

      • Doug Heath says:

        You stated the elements of offense to add a conspiracy to retain classified documents charge with Nauta are all satisfied in the existing indictment. Does this make Stan Woodward’s position on classified discovery with respect to Nauta evidence of a serious conflict?

        • emptywheel says:

          Not sure if you read the next post, but it addresses it.

          Woodward’s conflicts HAVE just become a problem, bc Taveras was given a conflict counsel before providing VERY damning testimony about Nauta. I expect that may snowball.

    • emptywheel says:

      Oh, and yes, I can imagine two kinds of other charges, a disseminating charge in NJ or a exploiting one in either NJ or DC that DOJ would rather bring to trial than this one and might be able to move more quickly as well.

      • arteberry says:

        Based on currently available information, the chance we will see a separate dissemination charge in a New Jersey USDC seems slim. Of course, new information may emerge that will paint a different picture. [Perhaps it will turn out that Trump was operating a cash & carry government document store in the fitting room of Bedminster’s pro shop …]. For the moment, however, here are some difficulties with the idea of a separate dissemination charge to be brought in New Jersey:

        > It’s not clear dissemination—as opposed to retention—can be proved for the meeting with Meadows’s ghost writers. Trump seemingly showed his guests a document with classified markings and told them it was about the contingent plans for an attack on Iran. [Certainly this was the same classified document Trump later returned, the retention of which is now charged against Trump in the superseding indictment.]. But did Trump enable the witnesses to see any of the details in the document? Perhaps not. Remember, we are talking specifically about a dissemination charge under the Espionage Act, which in turn only concerns national defense information. Imagine one of the witnesses had raced from Bedminster to the Iranian delegation at the U.N. to report what she saw or was told. The Iranian representative would tell the witness, “Every day since 1979, we have known and thought about the fact that the U.S. always has a plan at the ready for attacking Iran. Can you please be a little more specific about the plan’s details?” Witness: “No, I didn’t see or learn the details.” Iranian representative: “Thanks for dropping by. Please feel free to come back on any day that doesn’t end in ‘y’.” Again, the issue is not Trump’s violation of the classification system. It is only whether the information he actually disclosed to the witness would really advantage the security of Iran or disadvantage the security of the U.S. I suppose you could argue some sort of advantage to Iran from merely knowing the U.S. plan had been updated in the last several years. Even the existence of a comparatively new plan from Milley may have already been a matter of public record. It feels like a thin reed on which to hang a prosecution. The retention charge, on the other hand, involves retention of the entire document, with all of its details. The document as a whole certainly would be encompassed in the statutory definition of national defense information

        > Venue for a dissemination charge would clearly lie in New Jersey, under 18 U.S.C. §3237. However, the charge would be susceptible to a Trump motion for change of venue, to the already pending case in SDFL. Most of the standard criteria for a change of venue under Fed. Rule Crim. Pro., Rule 21, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Platt v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg., and in the various appellate decisions since then would not help Trump (unfairness, local prejudice, etc.) A district court judge in New Jersey would appropriately blow past that stuff. But one cognizable factor would help Trump immensely: the cost savings and convenience to the parties and the court system of having what is essentially one case handled by one judge in one place. Smith just added Trump’s retention of Iran attack plan as a new count in the Florida case’s superseding indictment. That looks like Smith’s acknowledgement that a dissemination charge, if any—and again we are confined to the info currently available about Trump’s Bedminster activities—might also be most economically resolved in Florida.

        > Finally, and I think you may have pointed this out earlier, Smith doesn’t really need a separate dissemination charge, at least for the known Bedminster episode. By adding to the Florida indictment a retention charge for the Iran attack document, Smith will also be able to bring the full Bedminster story to the jury—even without charging dissemination as a separate crime. Trump’s dialogue with his guests will be relevant to show Trump’s knowledge that the document he held was both classified and contained national defense information. In the process of hearing this, the members of the jury will be able to get in touch with their own, additional feelings about Trump’s highly insecure antics with his guests. Especially since those antics occurred before the Cokes were brought in.

        • emptywheel says:

          Thanks — especially for the discussion on venue.

          Remember, though, the other instance of dissemination, where Trump showed a map to (reportedly) Susie Wise. Right after that, Trump includes a reference Trump made about the press, so I expect the map contents were shared onward.

          I think the dissemination, UNLESS it’s to the Saudis or someone similar, would likely be tied to charges about the way the PAC is exploiting docs generally. And that might be tied to 2071 in DC — the actual taking of the docs.

          • emptywheel says:

            One more point on venue: I think DOJ could sustain it if docs were preserved by the June 2 caper IN ORDER to move them to Bedminster to disseminate.

        • Rayne says:

          Again, the issue is not Trump’s violation of the classification system. It is only whether the information he actually disclosed to the witness would really advantage the security of Iran or disadvantage the security of the U.S.

          First, what does the law say? Does it ask whether the classified document(s) including national defense information contains material of use to Iran? No.

          Second, you’re also disregarding other factors which may be related to the document(s), not the plans contained within but the means and methods the plans could disclose.

          You spent 714 words on that comment and you kind of shot the entire effort in the ass by forgetting the value of means and methods.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            And why assume the recording preserved all material conduct at that meeting? Interviews of those present, not yet public, might add considerably to the picture.

          • Arteberry says:

            You are going a bit off the rails there. I mentioned not once but three times in my comment that the analysis is confined to the existing state of public knowledge of the Bedminster affair, and plainly cannot take account of any additional (currently non-public) information on dissemination Smith might develop. If you want to base an analysis on other events you imagine Smith may in time reveal to us, go right ahead. And yes, you should try reading the pertinent statute. 18 U.S,C. §793. You will not find the word “classification” anywhere in there. Understandable, as the Espionage Act pre-dates the classification system. Section 793(e) states, in relevant part, “whoever having unauthorized possession of … any … plan … relating to national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe [N.B., the test of the defendant’s knowledge here is objective, not subjective, which may eliminate one of Trump’s possible defenses] could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates ….” That’s it. The question, for application of the §793(e) dissemination clause by a person unauthorized to possess a national defense related document, is how much national defense information did the person actually disclose to another unauthorized person and what harm to the U.S. or utility to a foreign nation could the actually disclosed information entail? Obviously, if Trump’s guests testify that Trump let them thumb through the “plan” at their leisure, Trump is in a great deal of additional trouble. All we know so far, however, is that he waved the document at his guests and discussed the plan’s existence. If the guests testify that it was just that and they didn’t get a real look, and they didn’t hear any specific details, it’s a problematic dissemination case against Trump. It would mean—despite your protestations—the guests would have learned nothing about intelligence “means and methods”. Just as the guests would have learned nothing about the proposed U.S. order of battle, key targets in Iran, or anything else that might be of significance from a security point of view. I will repeat that the Bedminster episode, however it played out, in no way detracts from the separate §793(e) retention case. So, make up all the additional facts you want right now. The possibilities are endless.

            • Rayne says:

              Sure, sure. Just re-read that portion of the indictment on pages 15 and 16:

              34. Upon greeting the writer, publisher, and his two staff members, TRUMP stated,
              Look what I found, this was [the Senior Military Official’s] plan of attack, read it and just show… it’s interesting.” Later in the interview, TRUMP engaged in the following exchange:

              TRUMP: Well, with [the Senior Military Official]-uh, let me see that, I’ll show you an example. He said that I wanted to attack [Country A]. Isn’t it amazing? I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him. They presented me this-this is off the record, but-they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him.

              WRITER: Wow.

              TRUMP: We looked at some. This was him. This wasn’t done by me, this was him. All sorts of stuff-pages long, look.

              STAFFER: Mm.

              TRUMP: Wait a minute, let’s see here.

              STAFFER: [Laughter] Yeah.

              TRUMP: I just found, isn’t that amazing? This totally wins my case, you know.

              STAFFER: Mm-hm.

              TRUMP: Except it is like, highly confidential.

              STAFFER: Yeah. [Laughter]

              TRUMP: Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this. You attack, and-

              * * *

              TRUMP: By the way. Isn’t that incredible?

              STAFFER: Yeah.

              TRUMP: I was just thinking, because we were talking about it. And you know, he said, “he wanted to attack [Country A], and what … ”

              STAFFER: You did.

              TRUMP: This was done by the military and given to me. Uh, I think we can probably, right?

              STAFFER: I don’t know, we’ll, we’ll have to see. Yeah, we’ll have to try to–

              TRUMP: Declassify it.

              STAFFER: -figure out a-yeah.

              TRUMP: See as president I could have declassified it.

              STAFFER: Yeah. {Laughter]

              TRUMP: Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.

              STAFFER: Yeah. [Laughter] Now we have a problem.

              TRUMP: Isn’t that interesting?

              At the time of this exchange, the writer, the publisher, and TRUMP’s two staff members did not have security clearances or any need-to-know any classified information about a plan of attack on Country A.

              Emphasis mine. Trump instructs/orders the attendees to look at the document five times. He says the documents are secret three times, classified once, confidential once. One of the attendees says it’s a problem when Trump says he can’t declassify the document.

              We’re apparently going to agree to disagree about what this means. It sure looked like it was dissemination and with full awareness of what was being shared — and I can’t help wonder if the persons who met with Trump were carrying cell phones, or if they discussed what happened amongst themselves or with others afterward.

              • Arteberry says:

                Agree to disagree. Okay, fair enough. Just bear in mind what Jack Smith is telling us. It is now pretty clear there will be no separate §793(e) charge against Trump for dissemination of the Iran document. Smith has the Bedminster recording. He also has interviewed everyone (except Trump) who was in the room that day. There is nothing left on that front for Smith to investigate. If the witnesses had truly been exposed to national defense information, as that information is defined in the statute, Smith would have included a separate dissemination charge in the superseding indictment just filed. That he included a new charge against Trump for retaining the Iran document, without including a charge for disseminating that document, says it all. Smith, possessing all the evidence, clearly sees a defect in such a dissemination charge. The simplest explanation for his decision is the one I advanced. But Smith may have other facts in mind that drive his decision, facts of which we would have no knowledge. We can’t rule out that possibility.

                And to be sure, this is a “decision” on Smith’s part. It strains credulity past the ordinary breaking points to think Smith is just temporarily holding off on a dissemination charge for the Bedminster conduct. If Smith tries to supersede with a dissemination charge for the Iran document now, after already superseding for a retention charge on the same document, he will damage his credibility. He would also open the door—a door Cannon would be happy to walk through—for additional trial delays.

                And what, pray tell, would be the strategic benefit to Smith from somewhere down the road adding a dissemination charge? The penalty upon conviction of dissemination is precisely the same as for (each of the 32 counts of) retention. As noted above, without a dissemination charge, Smith will still easily be able to get the Bedminster recording and the testimony of the witnesses before the jury. To the extent the jury has not already been fully creeped out by Trump’s conduct, it will certainly be creeped out by the Bedminster story. The psychological effect will not be lost. So what is the real upside of bringing a separate dissemination charge?

                Finally, don’t believe for a minute that Smith is holding a dissemination charge in his back pocket for filing in New Jersey if he doesn’t like the trend of things in Florida. To think that, you have to have some odd resistance to understanding how F.R. Crim. Pro. Rule 21 works. It should be realized that a transfer of venue to a district in another state can be granted even if the district initially chosen by the government would have been the only place with proper venue under the venue statute. Rule 21 exists principally for the benefit of defendants. Here, as between a retention charge and a dissemination charge on the same Iran document, there would be a substantial (and for some questions complete) overlap between Florida and New Jersey in the relevant witnesses and evidence. Aside from the obvious duplication of effort for both sides, this scenario would raise the ugly possibility that the testimony given in the two venues might turn out to be inconsistent. Put that together with the other convenience factors, and the Trump Rule 21 motion for transfer of a dissemination case to SDFL practically writes itself. True, the government would not be legally out of bounds in initially filing a dissemination charge in New Jersey. But Smith has accepted, as he must, the strong probability of a transfer of such charge to Florida. And so he has decided, sensibly, the game is not worth the candle.

      • Kick the Darkness says:

        Not trying to impugn Smith’s motives. I was just trying to recapitulate the pieces of the rationale for the “technical nuke” theory of the indictment as I understood it from the Jun10 post.

        “For the moment, then, consider the possibility that this indictment is, as far as it involves Trump, simply a messaging document to alert Republicans who can still be reasoned with…..”

      • timbozone says:

        There’s a possibility that Smith and/or others on his team might care. For instance, Smith’s team delivering the recent appended indictment while adding another defendant to a trial already scheduled prior might appear to be unusual to highly unusual. Smith is also working at some speed with a Federal court system that may have internal strains that are either public (for instance all the Jan 6 cases and outcomes being adjudicated in the DC circuit) or subject to other political pressures and trends (much of which might be much less public). Additionally, isn’t it hard to imagine that former esteemed International Criminal Court judges, which Smith is, would have no notion of the politic constraints (and possible windows of opportunity for justice, etc) surrounding prosecutions/cases within that ICC system, some of which can be effected by changes in the internal policies of nation-states et al.

  10. Scott Rose says:

    WSJ is trying to distract from the fact that this case does indeed involve Trump’s burglary of documents to which he had no right.

  11. Peterr says:

    From the post:

    There would be no reason to obtain nine months of surveillance video — 57 terabytes of raw video, if you can believe the defense attorneys — unless there was a whole bunch more to learn from the surveillance videos.

    The intelligence community (FBI, CIA, DIA, NSA, etc.) would have a whole bunch of reason to want to know who had been going in and out of the places where these highly sensitive documents were stored, if they opened any boxes, took any photos, etc. From the DOJ point of view, this would multiply the scope of the investigation tremendously.

    • RitaRita says:

      I was thinking along the same line. When the first subpoena was issued, the DOJ and NatSec community might have thought that they were dealing with just a temperamental ex-President. In June, 2022, when they visit, they see where the documents are stored and how loose the security is. They ask for surveillance tapes. They execute the search warrant in August and De Oliveira doesn’t hand over the key on request and isn’t sure who has the key. So much for enhanced security. The Feds demonstrate, intentionally or not, the flimsiness of the enhanced security by simply cutting the lock.

      At that point from both a national security and a criminal investigation perspective, the Feds must have realized that Trump wasn’t just being temperamental.

      • BrokenPromises says:

        There is a B level to cutting a lock as well. First off law enforcement in executing a search warrant in the main does not wait around for the subjects of warrants to solve their problems. How long might it take to find the key? What possibility obstructive or ham stringing things can happen in that time period? Know that they are definitely prepared to gain entry on their own. A subpoena gives them total power to access.
        The next thing that happens is that in addressing the court it becomes a subliminal message that the defendants are not acting in a cooperative manner. By court I mean the judge who might approve a subsequent subpoena, bail conditions and eventually the minds of the jury.

        • ItTollsForYou says:

          Once they were told the lock/key was compromised, it was best to cut it so they would have to get a new one (and hopefully keep track of THAT key)

  12. Unabogie says:

    Hey, IANAL but here’s something I do know about so in case anyone wants a layperson’s explanation of setting up “rights” in software.

    In the old days, you’d individually add a permissions level to an account, sort of like “admin, moderator, or user”

    That quickly tips over at scale because not everyone needs to be an admin for the same part of the data, so instead, we use AD (active directory) groups, which allows a single user to take on digital hats as necessary.

    So you set up the rights to delete video under “trumporg.surveillance.deletions” and others just as “trumporg.surveillance.users”

    If you are part of the latter group you get to look at the video. If you’re part of the former you get to delete it. Typically an admin would be in both groups.

    • HikaakiH says:

      So, rather than adding rights/permissions/actions to users, you add users to rights/permissions/actions.

      • Unabogie says:

        That’s exactly right. It also becomes trivial to audit any particular user’s current access profile to see if any can or should be removed. As part of my job I have to do quarterly audits of users I’ve granted access to. And then you can even code your software to inform users about the AD group they need access to in order to perform any restricted action (which may not be good infosec, depending on the work you do). In our org, it’s OK to inform internal users which AD they are lacking.

        • Unabogie says:

          Oh, I’ll add one more extremely important concept! As an employee, you absolutely want the bare minimum access that lets you still do your job. You do NOT want more access than you need, because then you might be the person who fat-fingers the delete button during an NSA investigation. We joke at work about the data apocalypse every time one of us logs in as a user with extra permissions.

          • Spencer Dawkins says:

            Thank you for chiming in with current computer/network admin experience! I have done that, and managed a group that has done that, and what you’re describing sounds very similar to what we did a couple of decades ago, but I couldn’t confirm that, and you can.

            I’d only add that if you are a TRUMP employee, you probably don’t even want the rights you would need to do your job – Got knows what you’d see any time you logged in!

    • Baltimark says:

      This is very well laid out and described; I only really want to push back a bit on one sentence. An admin having both delete and view cpabilities/personna access is certainly not uncommon. But I wouldn’t go so far as to call it typical. There are plenty of realms in which abilities to _handle_ files as vs. _review the contents of files_ are segregated. There are vast swathes of federal contracting in the medical space covered by HIPAA, for instance, that segregate the folks who can see file contents from those who can administratively handle them, i.e. offloading them to cheaper forms of warm or cool storage once certain deadlines are met.

      That being said re the larger landscape, the Trump org is light years away from that kind of regulated enterprise subcontracting environment and private property video is not the same kind of data. So I’m not arguing reasonable inferences about Trumpworld at all, just saying it’s a big world out there re responsible and common AD rights regimens.

      • Unabogie says:

        Absolutely! I have no special knowledge of how Trump’s company does things. I only know the general process by which these things are set up, so when Taveras said he didn’t have “rights” then it was either him covering his ass (not a dumb thing to do!) or he literally was not part of the users group that has authority to do deletions of data. Any company dealing with surveillance recordings would be smart to give very few people access to delete video since that’s not a really common ask, if you think about it.

        • Susan D Einbinder says:

          Did the software company keep copies of the videos? If so, is this standard practice, information shared with the facility at least when the cameras were first set up?

        • Shadowalker says:

          “ when Taveras said he didn’t have “rights” then it was either him covering his ass (not a dumb thing to do!) or he literally was not part of the users group that has authority to do deletions of data.”

          He said he did not “believe” he had the rights to do what was being asked. I’m not sure how long he was employed but it sounds like he may be a recent hire, or manually removing data was never a part of his job. It could be his regular duties up to that time were to make sure the various surveillance equipment was operating and communicating properly (which is most likely wireless).

    • P J Evans says:

      Nixon was a better grade of crook, so I wouldn’t count that as a favorable endorsement.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Nixon was a better grade human being. Think about how much that says about Trump.

        • timbozone says:

          I dunno. Is Trump “a better human being” than Henry Kissinger? And what about some of the other folks involved back in the day…say someone like Pinochet for instance? Nixon was part of that crowd. And what they did back a long time ago was not pleasant, some of it was and is illegal in domestic and international law. The problem with Trump is he might be gleeful just at having access to information, though his understand of the information might not stray very far beyond how desirable that information might be in the eyes of others. Thus, to Trump, the value of information seems to be what attention he gets from possessing it, the deference such information might make due to him from others, not the impact of disseminating it beyond immediate gratification. Who was/is the bigger criminal in the pantheon of serial scoundrels depends on how one counts the dead.

            • timbozone says:

              I could have worded it all better again.

              Look, PJ Evans, you made a statement that “Nixon was a better grade of crook”? What is your grading scale exactly? As I stated at the end of my poorly written screed, IMO it generally comes down to how you count the bodies. Perhaps you have a more accurate and less provocative scale by which you measure your grade of politicians and crooks…but what exactly is it?

          • Rayne says:

            Ugh. I can’t believe you wasted the space and time on your comment. Trump had hundreds of millions of reasons to steal presidential records, classified documents, and national defense information — perhaps even billions of reasons.

            I put together a timeline related in large part to some shady activity about Iran some time ago, activity which took place 2019-2020 including a war crime. That may have been related to the assassination of Iran’s top general, may have been related to Trump’s insta-declassification of a highly secret satellite photo via Twitter. The possibility at least some of the documents Trump stole were related to these events and possible remuneration by interested parties can’t be blown off as a simple pathology of possessiveness over information.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Your comment suggests a studied ignorance of Trump’s character and business dealings. Attention might be breath to him, as with any narcissist, but making money by breaking the rules he thinks are for rubes is why he breathes.

            • timbozone says:

              No, YOU are suggesting that that is my failing here.

              It really is hard for most of us to emotionally comprehend the level of wickedness and horror that folks like Trump and Nixon cause. I think most people who participate here at emptywheel.net are generally supportive of human dignity as a general rule. Sometimes it’s fun to make glib one off statements…and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of that upon numerous occasion. I guess what I’m asking is that we don’t erase some of the horrific things that each of these political leaders caused when we assign subjective ratings to their implied levels of crookedness.

  13. matt fischer says:

    The curious case of the Iran attack plan document that Trump was recorded discussing in Bedminster in July 2021, and that reportedly is the subject of Count 32 in the superseding indictment, keeps nagging me.

    If reporting from Hugo Lowell and Jamie Gangel is accurate, then the Iran document was returned in the 15 boxes provided to the National Archives on January 17, 2022.

    That points to at least one instance where an NDI document can possibly be traced from MAL to Bedminster, and then back to MAL.

        • bgThenNow says:

          I would think duplicates, not copies. I would imagine they have a specific look, as we saw with the cover sheets, on an off white paper with red printing. I would think the documents would be prepared in a way that would set them apart from copies. But that is a WAG.

  14. Tetman Callis says:

    This is an opinion which I think is likely shared by some here, and likely opposed by others, but I am reading the superseding indictment — and I read the first one, too, back when it became available — and I am wondering, not for the first time, why Trump is not in jail, awaiting trial. I am familiar with arguments both in favor of and in opposition to his pretrial incarceration, but I do not think it sets a good example to and for the United States to have what appears to be a different and more lenient standard of justice and accountability applied to him, especially with regard to charges as serious as those he faces, for actions allegedly as careless, selfish, and damaging as his have been.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Hard politics make bad law. A more just outcome would be to incarcerate fewer people pre-trial – that is, before conviction – when they are not flight risks and present no imminent physical danger to themselves or others.

    • Peterr says:

      There is nothing particularly different about Trump being out of jail pre-trial. He is not a danger to others, nor a flight risk, and has done nothing to indicate he would not show up for trial when that time comes.

      Now if Trump were to get caught tomorrow passing additional documents around, I suspect this would change.

      What would set a bad example for the US and the world would be to lock him up pretrial without a compelling reason stated clearly in the law. It would make a mockery of “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

      • John B. says:

        His sketch is dangerous, as much as crying Fire in a theater. He is a close and present threat to our democracy.

      • paulka123 says:

        Ummmm, not a danger? Color me gobsmacked. Seriously.

        This is a man who lead a violent coup against the Capitol, in case people forget.

        This is a man who daily posts vile attacks against the prosecutors, the DoJ and the FBI, which echo quite clearly what lead to 1/6.

        I would argue this man poses a unique and singular threat of violence, the sort that pre-trial detention is ideally suited for.

        • adambulldog says:

          I agree that Trump is very clearly a danger to others. As you say, he constantly threatens violence and has already unleashed a violent insurrection that killed seven people.

          I also think he is a flight risk. He owns a big jet airplane! If he decided to get in his plane and fly away, who would stop him?

          I don’t think Trump should be locked up pre-trial, but some limitations on his movements and activities pre-trial seems like it would reasonable and prudent. Taking away his passport seems like a no-brainer.

    • John Paul Jones says:

      He’s a first-time offender, he’s not a flight risk, and other defendants on similar charges, to my understanding, also have not been jailed pre-trial. So it’s not more lenient; it’s in the ballpark.

      Before you could even think about asking Judge Cannon to confine him prior to trial you would need some big public evidence that he had done something that not even Trump supporters would countenance, say, an audio recording of him talking to MBS about Iranian war plans, or a photo of him handing an envelope to the Russian ambassador on the back porch at Bedminster, something like that. Absent such showings, there’s no legal reason to jail him.

      • xxbronxx says:

        Not disagreeing with you but back in 2017 I posted on a few social media sites that Trump will never stop criming and when the crap hits the fan he will fly to Israel, be given immediate citizenship by his good friend Bibi and Israeli citizens cannot be extradited to the USA. Farfetched yes, but as this comedy of terrors of “things that have never happened before”plays out it is still within the realm of possibility.

        • NerdyCanuck says:

          Well the chances of him running away like that, when he has tons and tons of homes, businesses, properties, bank accounts, trust funds, PACs that funnel him money, and other financial entanglements/grifting schemes all setup in the USA, that would all get seized or frozen if he fled, not to mention his family being here, plus that it would make it much harder (tho not impossible) to run for office, plus he wouldn’t be able to go to most of the rest of the world ever again at risk of extradition, all adds up to it being extremely unlikely that he would do that.

        • Martin Cooper says:

          Nah, no allied state dependent upon U.S. military assistance (Israel, Saudi Arabia) would wish to confront the consequences of providing asylum to Trump in these circumstances.

          Moreover, in the case of Israel and a grant of citizenship, Trump would have to prove his Jewish lineage as set forth in the Law of Return.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        This makes it sound like the pool of Trump supporters are the deciding factor in how to treat someone of his ilk. I realize, I think, that this is not your intent… :->

        “Before you could even think about asking Judge Cannon to confine him prior to trial you would need some big public evidence that he had done something that not even Trump supporters would countenance…”

        • ButteredToast says:

          In addition to this, I’m not sure there exists “something that not even Trump supporters would countenance.” For too many of them, political support has long since hardened into a cult allegiance.

    • NerdyCanuck says:

      That has been answered quite a few times in various comments, but I’ll give a shot at a quick summary (IANAL)…

      He has not been remanded to prison because pretrial detention is NOT meant to:
      a) be reflective of the seriousness of a crime, other in so far as
      1) the crime(s) involved violence, or there are threats of violence occuring if the person is released, and thus the defendant needs to be remanded to protect the public/keep the peace, or
      2) the person is a significant flight risk,

      nor b) be used as a punishment in an of itself, because of the presumption of innocence. Which is why pretrial detention time is given 1.5x credit when applied to any subsequent sentence(s). And rightly so because someone who’s presumed innocent has had thier freedoms and thus rights taken away despite not having been found guilty in a court of law in front of a judge or jury of thier peers.

      This regardless of how serious the accused crimes are in other ways, because Trump is not a significant flight risk and there’s no real risk he will violently assault anyone (etc.) then he will not be put into pretrial detention.

      Which brings us to the fact that if Trump WAS detained, and then ultimately found guilty and sentenced to jail time, he would be given 1.5x credit for the time served in pretrial detention, thus shortening his sentence(s) considerably… and somehow I doubt that *anyone* who is chomping at the bit for him to be in jail, like yourself, wants *that* outcome!

  15. Jerry_29JUL2023_1701h says:

    “From whence” is redundant. The two words have the same meaning.

    [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 far too common (there are several Jerry/Jerri/Jerald/Gerry/Gerri/Gerald in this community) it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Johnson would agree with you, but not Shakespeare, Defoe, and the King James. “From whence” is redundant and archaic, but is apparently gaining in popularity. Now, as Mr. Keating might say, “the” hoi polloi is a different matter.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Earl, I’m just glad that you and Jerry weighed in on that one, because I was not going to say word one.

        You are both right! And while I take the Jerry side on “whence,” I acknowledge Earl and his heavy hitters. Language evolves! As the Alfa Romeo commercial so wrongly puts it, it “metamorphosizes”!

        As must we all.

    • David F. Snyder says:

      The OED says:

      Strictly speaking, whence means ‘from what place’, as in whence did you come? Thus, the preposition from in from whence did you come? is redundant, and its use is considered incorrect by some. The use with from is very common, though, and has been used by reputable writers since the 14th century. It is now broadly accepted in standard English.

  16. Soundgood2 says:

    Is it possible that the documents case was intended to be the way DOJ gets discovery that leads to charges that Trump traded top secret information? Maybe they don’t really care how long Judge Cannon drags it out

    • Reader 21 says:

      I highly doubt that. They have much better ways of obtaining sensitive evidence of that nature than by going to trial. Let alone a highly publicized one. If anything it’d be the opposite.

    • Peterr says:


      In a criminal case, discovery is a one-way operation: the defense gets to see what the prosecution uncovered, including especially any possible exculpatory information. If the prosecution wants something from the defendant, they have to show probable cause to a judge to convince them to authorize a subpoena.

  17. rattlemullet says:

    Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV
    trump, jared, saudis, document, Bedminster, golf
    somewhat in jest

  18. matt fischer says:

    [Hey mods, I posted a comment in the last hour or two that appears to be held up in moderation. Did it violate a policy?]

    [You posted a comment at 4:19 p.m. which contained active links; that post was cleared by moderation. I hope this was the comment you were looking for. /~Rayne]

  19. Rick Ryan says:

    This touches on something I’ve been thinking about for awhile now, in regards to where this all goes.

    It seems to me that, as a practical matter, Trump’s conduct fundamentally constitutes a national security crisis: his actions allowed unknown-to-DOJ/IC parties access to sensitive documents, which he very possibly has more of in unknown locations. Perversely, but realistically, this actually gives him leverage versus DOJ: they (in all likelihood) need him to give a true and complete accounting in order to answer those unknowns and mitigate the crisis. That gives him all the more reason to hide and keep them, especially after receiving the first subpoena.

    For various reasons, I am doubtful that DOJ/Jack Smith would offer, or accept, any sort of plea agreement predicated on Trump declining to run for office. But an agreement largely predicated around his full and complete accounting of what happened to the documents — especially if he still has some in less-accessible places — seems quite plausible to me.

    • NerdyCanuck says:

      But how could they ever trust him that he was telling the truth?!?!

      Even if the agreement said in iron-clad terms that the charges would be re-brought if he was ever found to have lied, then the meantime it would give him extra time to squirrel away whatever remaining docs he decided not to surrender in the plea deal process more thoroughly this time (like away from security cameras for example, now he knows those were a big mistake to have near his storage room).

      And even if they found out he lied, and charges were rebrought, then that would still have taken time and potentially years of surveillance to discover, which kind of negates the value to the NatSec community of “knowing they have all the docs back, phew!”. Plus there would be a whole nother legal process to go through, which he could also try and delay!

      I just can’t see how they would make a deal that is predicated on him truthfully agreeing to not do the exact type of criming that he has been accused of doing repeatedly (with tons of proof)?! The man is a serial liar and obviously doesn’t operate in good faith.

      Am I missing something re: why you think this is plausible??

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Aye, there’s the rub. Trump has zero history that he would cooperate with the Feds fully and completely, and much history that his cooperation would be wholly unreliable.

      • Legonaut says:

        I think that depends on whether NARA/DOJ/IC knows exactly what’s unaccounted for. After 2+ years of dicking around with Team Trump about this, I’d be surprised if they don’t have a very detailed list by now.

        If Trump were to produce ALL of the yet-to-be-accounted-for documents, without first finding out what DOJ already had, that would be a necessary and minimal first step. (Still wouldn’t prove what he did with any copies he might have made.)

        It would also seem almost like an allocution, and Trump would never admit that kind of guilt.

        • RitaRita says:

          I think that it is equally probable that the NatSec community is unsure about all of the documents he may have. There have been reports of poor tracking.

          • Hormiguita says:

            Having spent a couple of decades in the period 1975-1995 working in SCIFs and having a fair number of TS/SCI-ish clearances, I can assure you that “poor tracking” was, and I assume still is, rampant.

            Attempts were made to instill rigor, but came to little in the face of practicalities and human behavior.

  20. dadidoc1 says:

    A chill came over me while reading this post. Nauta, De Oliveira, and the Calamaris are in danger. They might want to contact the United States Federal Witness Protection Program while they still can.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Unless you have specific facts behind that concern, it seems a little over the top. So far, they seem more interested in accepting that offer they can’t refuse.

      Even if they wanted protection from the Feds, that’s not how it works. They would have to first proffer facts that merit a credible cooperation deal and then work one out. Given suitable facts, it could be done quickly, but there’s no public indication that’s the direction they want to go.

    • xyxyxyxy says:

      The two in MAL are kind of in the Program as they’re in company of him with Secret Service all around; and watching all those tv cop shows as a kid, they are probably being tailed by the Feds when they’re off the clock.
      Calamari probably knows to wear a bullet-proof vest except when he’s around Trump.

    • Ebenezer Scrooge says:

      Trump has a well-documented history of violence to women. I’m not aware of any violence toward men, although he has not been above threatening violence through his minions.

      • SaltinWound says:

        Trump knocked Don Jr to the ground in front of other people when Don Jr was at Penn. Who knows what Trump tried to do to Secret Service who wouldn’t take him to the Capitol

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I think you underestimate Trump’s love of violence, which isn’t always physical.

    • Peterr says:

      It’s hard for me to read about Calamari without thinking back to when The Kid was 2 or 3 years old. He *loves* calamari, which made traveling with him nice for Mrs Dr Peterr and me. Wherever we went, we could go to a local brewpub to eat, and as long as they had calamari on the appetizer menu, we were golden.

      The look on the server’s face in each of these places when a 3 year old said “I want calamari!” were priceless.

      • Tech Support says:

        Neither here nor there, but calamari was the first thing our girls were willing to eat at the sushi train. However they were euphemistically referred to as “octopus fries”.

  21. Savage Librarian says:

    My WAG for the mysterious dates in May and July 2022:

    1. Nauta’s retrieval of a single box on May 22:

    My WAG is that this box may have something to do with Ukraine. That’s because, the day before, on May 21, President Biden signed into law a bill that provided $40 billion in military and economic aid for Ukraine, replenished stocks of U.S. equipment sent to Ukraine, funded European Command operations, and addressed the global food crisis. Or, else maybe the box had some scheme for a smear campaign against Biden.

    2. Trump’s unusual visits to MAL on July 10 to 12, and once again on July 23:

    My WAG is that this had something to do with the Saudis. He may have gone to retrieve some boxes of documents to take back to Bedminster where the LIV Golf Bedminster was scheduled to take place from July 29-31.

    • RipNoLonger says:

      I’m thinking your WAGs are quite logical. Sherlock would probably have a pithy comment about some dog’s tail.

    • bgThenNow says:

      Do you think he was that organized? Which box had what docs? It sounds like everything was a jumble.We have no way to know if anything was organized, but if it was that’s all the worse.

      He must not know much about the surveillance set up if Calimari was the go to for erasure. Why rely on immigrants and body men if it was Sr who was the gatekeeper? Unless I guess Sr had already turned him down?

      • soundgood2 says:

        Some around him have said that he knew exactly where every document was. That’s why he was asking for particular boxes to be brought to him by Nauta from the storage area. They talked about his “beautiful mind” boxes that he took everywhere with him. Apparently he was one of those people who had piles of stuff and looked disorganized but he knew what was in which pile.

      • Legonaut says:

        Not that I’m a master criminal or ex-President or anything, but if I had that kind of information in my possession, there’d be some kind of an index that listed the boxes and a summary of what was in each. It might be a one-page Excel spreadsheet, or a folder with a bunch of Post-It notes inside, but I wouldn’t want any impediments to my later use(s) of those documents. I’d need to be able to reliably tell a minion which box to bring me (i.e. May 22nd).

        That index would make very interesting reading, if it could be found/decoded. (It would almost certainly be camouflaged/encoded to look like something else.).

        • Ruthie2the says:

          The first indictment mentioned Nauta having replaced the banker’s boxes because they had too much written on them, or something like that. At the time I wondered if it might have been a rudimentary list of contents, like I always use when I move.

          Would they have been that organized? That reckless? It’s hard to imagine, but if the last several years have taught us anything it’s to expect those in Trump’s orbit to be both stupid and dishonorable.

          • xxbronxx says:

            We know Trump has and has used a black Sharpie. As per your post it is not hard to imagine he or someone wrote on the box covers things like Ukraine, Iran War Plans, along with the more mundane Golf Shirts, Pictures with Lesser Celebrities, et al, which necessitated new covers/boxes.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think those are WAGs, but I also think that’s why Smith subpoenaed business records before he started charging.

      Trump may have specific meetings that coincided with those dates, meetings that the now cooperating Molly Michael would have been privy to.

        • pdaly says:

          Glad to know Molly Michael might have details about those dates.

          Speaking of deleting things:
          Coincidentally mid-July 2022 is when news broke that the Secret Service had deleted its text messages/communications from 1/5/21 and 1/6/21 claiming it was part of a their scheduled device replacement program.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            What a hoot that argument was. A device replacement schedule is not ordinarily related to a records retention/deletion schedule.

            • pdaly says:

              Yes, I keep waiting for Inspector Cuffari’s name to resurface as the DOJ process plays out wrt Jan 6.

              After my above comment, I also realized that June 2022 was the month that Cassidy Hutchinson let in some sunlight re: Jan 6.

              For Trump and his minions, June 2022 was sure turning into a high pressure month. In addition to DOJ requests for documents and MAL videos this was happening in real time:

              Early June 2022: Cassidy Hutchinson replaced her attorney with the help of Liz Cheney.

              Thursday 6/23/22 House J6C played video of Cassidy Hutchinson as part of its public hearing.

              Tuesday 6/28/22 Cassidy Hutchinson testified under oath in an unexpected public hearing scheduled ‘with extreme urgency’ per committee members.

              Hutchinson’s testimony included these details among others:

              Former President Trump knew the crowd at his rally on January 6 was armed.


Mark Meadows and Trump were made aware multiple times of the dangers faced as a result of this months-long effort to overturn the 2020 election result. 

              Trump’s words at the Ellipse to his protection detail on 1/6/21: “Take the effing mags away. They’re not here to hurt me. Let them in. Let my people in. They can march the Capitol after the rally’s over. They can march from the Ellipse. Take the effing mags away.”

              Trump and Meadows ignored pleas multiple times to intervene in the violence at the Capitol on Jan 6, 2021

              A WH official told Cassidy that Trump had tried to gain control of the presidential limousine on January 6 to go to the Capitol, and there was a physical altercation involving Trump towards the Secret Service agent trying to stop that from happening.


  22. xyxyxyxy says:

    If there’s a third party involved with off-site video monitoring, I can’t see them accepting to erase anything.
    Aren’t they exposing themselves to lawsuits with no-end if they do?

    • Ewan Woodsend says:

      Why would there be any type of exposure? If the CEO (or other appropriate business representative) of the company which hired them tells them to erase something they have paid them to record, why would they refuse ? Alerting the authorities would be something they could do, but would they have to?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Unusual, off-schedule erasure of records is an obvious no-no. Systems are usually designed to make that hard to do. An IT person would want written sign-off from someone high enough in the chain-of-command. Even then, with all the obvious legal trouble Trump was in and had been for some time, erasure would still be fraught with potential trouble. Even in the military, obeying an obviously illegal order is illegal.

  23. EuroTark says:

    Deleting files can actually be very hard to get right. For one thing, IT has for decades been very concious of inadvertently losing data, which affects deletion and retention procedures as well as backup. Secondly, atually removing information from a magnetic medium isn’t always permanent unless you physically destroy the disk in question.

    What follows us purely speculuation based on common procedures as I have no direct knowledge of the setup used at Mar-a-Lago.

    The surveillance system software is almost certainly an Off-The-Shelf solution procuded from a vendor, possibly even in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) contract in which the daily backend operations are outsourced to the vendor. There’s two main configurations for this: dedicated on-site servers for processing and storage, or off-site cloud servers for storage.

    A dedicated on-site would be the best scenario for Trump, as then they would at least have some control of which backups exist and the option of physically destroying the drives. Normally when you delete a file on a computer, the only that’s changed is the File-Allocation Table (FAT) which keeps track of which parts of the disks are occupied by which files, and which is free space. The actual contents remain until they are overwritten by a new file. Even when overwritten it can sometimes be possible to recover the file, or at least fragments, due to how magnetic storage media works: The “heads” that write data don’t always travel exactly on the same path, so a small fragment can remain. Back in the 90s it was considered necessary to overwrite data 30 times for it to be securely deleted.

    The bigger issue though is backups: Much has been made of the 60-days retention policy, but that just describes how much data is available in the solution. A common backup solution would have transactional (ie: every change is logged) backup for the last 30 days, with backup-snapshots (a copy of the data as it was at that moment) for each month of the previous year, and possibly even yearly snapshots for the last X years. A cloud-based storage is more likely to have this kind of backup as default than a customized on-site installation.

  24. harpie says:

    6/22/22 [Wednesday]
    a] DOJ emails TRUMP ORG ATTORNEY draft grand jury subpoena for MAL security camera footage

    6/23/22 [Thursday]
    a] 8:46 PM TRUMP [in Bedminster] calls De OLIVEIRA [at MAL], they speak for 24 minutes

    6/24/22 [Friday]
    a] DOJ emails TRUMP ORG ATTORNEY final grand jury subpoena for MAL security camera footage

    b] 1:25 PM TRUMP ATTORNEY-1 speaks with TRUMP [phone] re: grand jury subpoena for MAL security camera footage

    c] 3:44 PM TRUMP EMPLOYEE 3 texts [co-worker] NAUTA: TRUMP wants to see NAUTA; within two hours, NAUTA begins planning travel to MAL

    d] sometime between 3:44 and 5:02 PM TRUMP speaks with NAUTA [both in Bedminster]

    e] 5:02 PM NAUTA text to TRUMP EMPLOYEE 4 [Yuscil Taveras, Director of IT at MAL]: “Hey bro You around this weekend.” // 5:09 PM Taveras texts NAUTA: “I am local. Entertaining some family that came up to visit. What’s up?” // < NAUTA: “Ok, cool. No biggie just wanted to see if you where around. Enjoy bro!”

    f] 5:05 PM NAUTA text to DE OLIVEIRA: “Hey brother You working today?” // < DE OLIVEIRA: “Yes I just left.” // [NAUTA then calls DE OLIVEIRA; they speak for two minutes]

    g] 6:56 PM DE OLIVEIRA texts Taveras: “Hey buddy how are you … Walter call me early said it was trying to get in touch with you I guess he’s coming down tomorrow I guess needs you for something.” // < Taveras: “He reached out but he didn’t say what he wanted. I told him I was local but entertaining some family that came from NYC this weekend. He told me no worries.”

    h] 7:14 PM NAUTA texts someone: he will not be traveling with TRUMP because of family emergency; used “shushing” emojis

    i] 9:48 PM NAUTA texts a Secret Service agent [SSA1] saying he had to check on a family member in Florida

    6/25/22 [Saturday]
    a] NAUTA travels from Bedminster to MAL

    b] DE OLIVEIRA tells a valet [TE5] about NAUTA’s visit and asks him to keep it secret, because that’s what NAUTA wants; DE OLIVEIRA also tells TE5 that NAUTA wants DE OLIVEIRA to talk to Taveras “to see how long camera footage was stored.”

    c] NAUTA texts SSA1 that he is in Florida, working

    d] 5:46 PM NAUTA and DE OLIVEIRA meet at MAL; go to security guard booth where surveillance video is displayed on monitors; walk with a flashlight through the tunnel where the Storage Room is located; observe and point out surveillance cameras

    6/26/22 [Sunday]
    a] NAUTA’s schedule for this day is not mentioned

    • harpie says:

      6/27/22 [Monday]
      a] 9:48 AM DE OLIVEIRA to Taveras [TE4] [in IT room, with witness]: [something like] I need to speak with you alone. // 9:49 AM They walk to “audio closet” [former SCIF?] // Conversation [something like]: // De OLIVEIRA: “the boss” wants the server deleted. // Taveras: I don’t know how to do that, and I don’t think I have the rights to do that. You’ll have to ask JUNIOR CALAMARI // De OLIVEIRA: But “the boss” wants the server deleted! What are we going to do?

      b] 10:14 AM DE OLIVEIRA texts NAUTA [still in FLA]: “Hey buddy are you working today?” // 10:15 AM DE OLIVEIRA calls NAUTA; they speak for one minute

      c] 1:06 PM NAUTA [still in Fla.] texts DE OLIVEIRA [at MAL]: “On my way to you.”

      d] between 1:31 PM and 1:50 PM NAUTA and DE OLIVEIRA’s spy caper

      e] 3:55 PM TRUMP calls DE OLIVEIRA; they speak for three and a half minutes

      7/10/22 – 7/12/22 TRUMP at MAL
      7/23/22 TRUMP at MAL

      a] FBI execute search warrant at MAL; seize 102 documents with classified markings in TRUMP’s office and the Storage Room

      a] NAUTA to TE5 [valet] [call]: [something like]: “someone just wants to make sure Carlos is good.” // TE5 [valet] to NAUTA: [something like]: DE OLIVEIRA is loyal and would not do anyting to affect his relationship with TRUMP.

      b] NAUTA requests that TE5 [valet] confirms in Signal chat group with NAUTA and PAC Representative that DE OLIVEIRA is loyal, whichTE5 [valet] does.

      c] TRUMP calls DE OLIVEIRA; tells him that TRUMP will get DE OLIVEIRA an attorney

    • harpie says:

      Some other things that were happening in JUNE 2020
      mostly from pdaly’s comment: https://www.emptywheel.net/2023/07/29/rights-and-wrongs-where-the-stolen-documents-investigation-is-headed/#comment-1005482

      Early June 2022: Cassidy Hutchinson replaced her attorney with the help of Liz Cheney.

      6/23/22 House J6C played video of Cassidy Hutchinson as part of its public hearing.

      6/24/22 Politico: TRUMP names John SULLIVAN and Kash PATEL his official representatives to NARA

      6/28/22 Cassidy Hutchinson testified under oath in an unexpected public hearing scheduled ‘with extreme urgency’ per committee members.

    • timbozone says:

      Thanks, Harpie!

      6/24/22 #c-#e begs the question as to whether or not anything similar had happened before in a different situation…seems like Trump was maybe using Nauta as a fixer to make a problem go away. And that begs the definition of “family” in context.

  25. vinniegambone says:

    ” If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, show me the person who is safe. ”
    Just so much here to comprehend. So grateful and admiring of the EW team and commentors.

    Wondering, although SS would not have video responsibilities, might they have been interviewed anyway ? Surely they do patrols ? Surely they can request any door in the place to be opened ? Surely they would have known about the flood ? Surely they have working knowledge and have files of who is who on staff ? Any reason why Smith couldn’t start with SS to absorb what they know about operations, ground lay out, etc. All staff i assume needs some level of background check. How long has Taveras worked there ? We are talking about the ex president possibly being a spy. And we couldn’t get a warrant to bug him ?

    Could not find much on Taveras on line but didn’t try too hard.
    Again, once Trump gave Kislyak and Lavorof secret information one would think thr IC would want to keep their good eye on Trump.
    FBI bugged the vestibule of a building next to Gottis’s Ravenite club. Given all the country has been through with Trump, there isn’t enough probable cause for electronic surveillance ? Sorry, i am way out of my depth here, but WTF.
    Forget ” Where’s my Roy Cohn. Where’s my Donny Brasco ?

  26. jecojeco says:

    So now it gets kind of interesting. The MAL IT guy begs off and “The Boss” directive shifts to trump org NY. Real compact org chart. IT/CIO Brunnett reports to Failson, Big Eric, Calamari Sr and Wiesselberg(who may have still been in Rikers). Jae Cho long time trump IT Dir has vendor responsibility and Mamadu Duocore is IT Mgr. (Duo recently came from State Dept ???!!! Strange, somewhat!).In a normal organization (which trump org isn’t) an unusual request would route up from Duo to Cho and then probably Brunnett who would probably tell Cho to contact the vendor to do the tape editing. (If Brunnett was smart he’d pass the request up another rung which means Calamari Sr becomes the decider. If Calamari has a lick of sense he runs it past Failson and Eric and they all get sucked into daddy-o’s web of deceit as either witnesses or co-defendants. So does Jack Smith drop an Obstruction+ shoe in Eastern Dist on NY (trump org is in Queens)

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