Shorter DJT: Mexico Will Pay for My New SCIF

In Trump’s response to DOJ’s motion for a classified protective order in the stolen documents case, his lawyers clarified that they didn’t so much want to discuss classified documents with Trump while sitting in his offices, which is how the government represented their request, but instead wanted to restore the SCIF at one or another of his resorts.

Even there, the response itself says that Trump wants to review classified materials in a restored SCIF, while a footnote disavows that, then says he wants the space where he used to review such material, with another footnote disavowing a plan to transport classified documents there now.

President Trump opposes any portion of the Proposed CIPA Protective Order that prohibits counsel from simply discussing the relevant purportedly classified material with President Trump inside an approved secure location other than the designated SCIFs in the Southern District of Florida where the classified discovery will be housed. President Trump respectfully requests that the Proposed CIPA Protective Order be modified to approve re-establishment of a secure facility in which President Trump was permitted previously to discuss (and review2 ) classified information during his term as President of the United States.3

2 To be clear, President Trump is not asking for the proposed CIPA Protective Order to be modified to permit any classified materials to be transported to or reviewed or stored in, this location.

3 Counsel can provide additional information about President Trump’s proposed secure location but respectfully request that such information be provided in camera because of security concerns.


So that President Trump and his legal team may discuss classified information in a substantive manner as regularly as necessary to prepare an adequate defense, we respectfully request that the Court approve re-establishment of a secure facility in which President Trump previously discussed (and reviewed5 ) classified information during his term as President of the United States.

5 Again, President Trump is not requesting that any classified materials be transported to or reviewed or stored in this location. [my emphasis]

Throughout this filing, Trump refers to purportedly classified material in the body of his argument, then disavows wanting to transport classified material in a footnote.

To that end, President Trump requests that the Court approve the renewed use of the previously approved and appropriately secure location so that he is then able to discuss the relevant classified information with his counsel without the need to mobilize his security detail and state and local law enforcement every time he has a conversation regarding his defense as it relates to purportedly classified information.8

8 Again, President Trump is not asking for the proposed CIPA Protective Order to be modified to permit any classified materials to be transported to, or stored in, this location.


Indeed, the government has the authority to discuss the purported classified material in other approved facilities outside of a Court designated SCIF, and we anticipate it does so regularly. That is not inconsistent with the law so long as they are having those discussions in a secure, approved facility. Our request is to have the same opportunity. We are seeking the Court’s permission to discuss classified information in a secure facility that was long approved for such use and met then, and could easily meet now, the standard required by our nation’s intelligence community to ensure protection of information deemed classified. [my emphasis]

All the reassurances that Trump doesn’t want to store classified material back at Mar-a-Lago modify claims that it might not be classified. Given those caveats, there’s a big question whether stolen classified documents will end up right back at Mar-a-Lago.

Put aside the gimmick here — Trump is demanding that the government make his home a legal place for classified information, which still amounts to seeking, “permission to do so in the very location at which he is charged with willfully retaining the documents charged in this case.”

This is also a filing about Secret Service. The response and Todd Blanche’s related declaration describes that this proposal is based on, “multiple communications with several individuals who are familiar with the required security protocols surrounding President Trump and his family.” But it doesn’t describe any consultation with the people whose job it is to protect classified records.

6. When President Trump was in office, there was a designated, secure location where classified information was approved to be housed and discussed. We have had discussions with officials familiar with this arrangement.

Blanche says that because he had discussions with the Secret Service agents who know where the SCIF was, it’s the same as discussing security arrangements for building and maintaining one.

That is, this filing is about conflating the protection of Trump with the protection of classified records.

Indeed, Trump repeatedly minimizes the risk of storing classified records at Mar-a-Lago, with all the spies targeting it (which I’ll return to), because of the Secret Service detail there.

Similarly, the government’s statement to the court in its Motion that President Trump’s personal residence should be compared to the residence of “any private citizen” is misleading. This is especially true given the necessary protections afforded to our nation’s leaders after they leave office and the uniqueness of the location of President Trump’s residence, coupled with the fact that a secure location already existed for the relief sought herein and can be re-established with appropriate safeguards.6

6 The statement comparing President Trump’s personal residence at Mar-a-Lago to that of “any private citizen” is all the more disingenuous considering a member of the prosecution’s trial team has visited the Mar-a-Lago property during the course of the investigation and is therefore personally aware of the differences between President Trump’s residence and that of “any private citizen.”


President Trump objects to the Proposed Protective Order insofar as it does not allow him and his counsel to discuss the relevant purportedly classified material inside an appropriate secure facility at or near his personal residence. Limiting any discussions with counsel to the government offered SCIFs is an inappropriate, unnecessary, and unworkable restriction, given the unique circumstances of President Trump’s access to security—namely that he resides and works in a secure location that is protected at all times by members of the United States Secret Service, and that the proposed alternate location previously housed an area approved for not only the discussion, but also the storage and review, of classified information


The government’s Motion dismisses this fact and compares President Trump’s request herein to any other defendant’s request to discuss classified information in their “private” or “personal residences” or offices. (See ECF No. 84 ¶¶ 13–14). This characterization is misleading and misconstrues the facts of this case. Donald J. Trump served as President of the United States for four years, and he, along with other Presidents and senior government officials, have had access to remote facilities for the purposes of reviewing and discussing sensitive information while in office, and at times after leaving office.

Of course, Trump didn’t have access to classified information after he left office, at least not after Biden ended Trump’s classified briefings in February 2021.

But this dispute is likely partly an attempt to manufacture some conflict between the President and the guy who wants to replace him.

The argument here is based on inflated claims about how hard it is for Trump and his Secret Service detail — who are making multiple trips a week to give speeches in places like New Hampshire high school gymnasia — to travel from Mar-a-Lago to a SCIF in South Florida.

2. If President Trump travels to a public facility in the Southern Division of this District, most circumstances would require an overnight stay in the local area by his protective detail, including members of the Secret Service, as well as an overnight stay by President Trump, due to the distance between his residence and the public facility.


5. In any of these scenarios, the required security measures take significant planning and effort, as well as financial resources.

6. The alternate secure location in which President Trump seeks to discuss (but not review) classified information is under 24-hour a day full security protection, whether President Trump is present or not. Furthermore, the government can re-establish a restricted area within the proposed secure location in which President Trump and his legal team can discuss classified information in a manner that is consistent with government security protocols.

7. Between 2017 and 2021, with reasonable effort and expense, a secure facility was established and approved at President Trump’s residence in the Southern District of Florida. In that facility, President Trump was permitted to review and discuss classified information. Reestablishing this secure facility is readily possible if the Court so directs.

Donald J. Trump — the same guy who never missed a chance to bilk the Secret Service for space in his own residences or hotels — is demanding that the US Government minimize the inconvenience of secure travel by him to defend himself for stealing classified information even as he is traveling all over the country — incurring the same costs and inconveniences for those around him — campaigning with nary a care about the cost that imposes on tax payers.

And he’s not offering to pay the US government to rebuild the SCIF in his beach resort.

Multiple people on Xitter joked that he’ll probably just ask Mexico to pay for it, and that’s about right: Trump is promising that the government can build something instantaneously without cost.

But given that Aileen Cannon is involved, it may well work.

This is not a good faith offer. It is an attempt to create a conflict that, if and when it is appealed to the 11th Circuit, will present closer calls than the ones on which Judge Cannon got her ass handed to her last year.

142 replies
  1. massappeal says:

    IANAL (nor do I regularly read legal filings) so help me out here: does this kind of patently evasive language fly with judges?

    The response to Judge Chutkan’s order that the lawyers confer and notify her of two times from Wednesday to Friday that they could appear for a hearing was written the same way. Patently sloppy, illogical, evasive. It’s like Trump’s rhetorical style of argument has overridden all their law school (or at least, logic) training.

  2. Operandi says:

    I didn’t read anything in his filing to say he wanted to review materials in his resurrected SCIF. I understood his argument to be: “this was a space formerly certified to do the full monty (discuss, review, and store materials), and now I just want to bring it back for limited purposes of having classified discussions with my lawyers.”

    It doesn’t strike me as an outrageous ask. Obviously one no other defendant could even get considered, but he’s pretty special in this regard. But there’s plenty I d2on’t know about SCIFs, especially his former one, so I’ll wait for DoJ to weigh in. Also, can Cannon even provide the relief sought and rule that a room in his house is a SCIF?

    • Peterr says:

      A SCIF has a very specific legal and technical definition, and no one can take a space that doesn’t meet those requirements and declare it a SCIF. At most — and this is debatable as well — I think Cannon could direct the govt to reconstruct the former SCIF. She can’t simply order that the famous Mar-a-Lago bathroom storage area be considered a SCIF

      Among other things like special locks, a SCIF is protected from remote surveillance through various countermeasures. Thus, even if no docs are present, if you want to talk about those docs freely, you need a SCIF. Not just a private room, but a room designed to defeat folks who want to listen in from a distance.

      • SteveBev says:

        Apologies if the following questions fall into the “do your homework before posting category”


        Isn’t access to any SCIF controlled by the Government at least in the sense of reposing trust in the individuals given the responsibility of having a SCIF to be rigorous in the exercise of such responsibilities, especially re controlling access to discussions within?
        Wouldn’t it be a derogation of the Government’s responsibility to safeguard the security of the information to delegate such control to a criminal defendant and his lawyers?

        Again apologies if these questions are facile.

        • Peterr says:

          Not facile at all.

          My sense — not knowledge — is that responsibility for security of a SCIF resides with the organization (DOD, State, DOE, CIA, etc.) that owns the information stored/discussed in that facility. Where a private contractor has a SCIF (think of defense contractors, for example), the actual security might be provided by the company but always under the auspices of their governmental partners.

        • SteveBev says:


          And to Raven Eye and Legonaut below for articulating the related issues of “ custodianship” of the facility.

          I dare say that the facility to which the defendant and his lawyers are currently permitted access have adequate arrangements for monitoring access and behaviour within the SCIF to allow privileged discussions to take place but prevent the defendant from making or receiving any record of the content of the documents under discussion or conveying any such record with him when he leaves.

          It is difficult to see how such a level of proper security could be replicated and imposed at MAL without giving rise to the possibility that Trump will exploit it by falsely claiming that his privileged conversations are being interfered with and/or intercepted.

      • Raven Eye says:

        The “use case” for this SCIF is a bit different now. Actually operating a SCIF has to be considered in the context of the security that already exists wherever it is placed/installed (assuming it is a Temporary (portable) SCIF or “T-SCIF”) — you just don’t plonk one in a parking lot somewhere. The previous SCIF at MAL was situated at a location that had a level of security, even when President Trump was not present. That same level of security no longer exists, even when Mr. Trump IS present. On the other hand, I’m not sure if the term SCIF is being used in this filing because SAP/SCI material will be held there, or if this is just sloppy (or intentionally opaque) wording. You don’t need a SCIF if you’re just storing Secret material, though there are some physical security requirements for that level.

        Assuming a SCIF is really needed, once classified material starts being held in the SCIF, there will be a custodian assigned — probably with an alternate. As long as material is stored in the SCIF, it will be regularly checked and inventoried. Anyone entering the SCIF will be logged in an out and a custodian will always be present, since you can’t leave visitors alone in a SCIF. So how does the defendant and counsel review the material in question? If any of the material requires two person integrity (TPI) two personnel will be needed to open the container designated for TPI and remain in the visual presence of each other and the material at all times.

        Also, at this point in time, Trump is no longer a guy-who-doesn’t-need-a-clearance-because-he-is-the-president. Because of his known associates, the indictments, the nature of actions that have been successfully taken against him, and his financial irregularities he could not even get a Secret clearance in a normal situation. He is a known liar and is easily exploitable.

        The more you walk the dog, the more questions come up and the more this filing looks like just another Trump con job.

        • Legonaut says:

          Once upon a time, I worked on an IC software project involving sensitive data requiring a SCIF. One member of our team had the requisite clearances to enter and access information; he was never left alone and could not take any materials/devices/etc. in or out. We all took it *very* seriously.

          I cannot imagine an attorney having a privileged conversation with their client in such an environment, with a witness always present. Doesn’t the presence of a third party automatically break privilege?

          Makes me mad about the Freedom Caucus occupation of the Capitol SCIF all over again.

        • thorvold says:

          Protective Order ECF 84 paragraph 21 specifically has notes about that:

          Should the CISO overhear any
          defense conversations or see any defense work product (excluding filings intended to be provided
          to the Court and the government), the CISO shall not reveal to the government (or anyone else)
          the content of any conversations they may overhear among the defense, the nature of the
          documents being reviewed, or the work being generated. The presence of the CISO or any of his
          designees shall not operate to waive, limit, or otherwise render inapplicable, the attorney-client

        • PJB2point0 says:

          Raven Eye,

          Based on what you wrote, I have two pretty quite stupid questions.

          Since Trump does not have, and probably cannot be granted security clearance to review secret (much less top secret) docs, how can he discuss and review such classified documents which he presumably has a 6th amendment right to do? I don’t quite understand how this all will work, irrespective of whether a SCIF at MAL is ordered or constructed.

          Can material which must be reviewed in a SCIF be transported from one SCIF to another SCIF? For example, if there’s some TS/SCI material maintained in a SCIF within the judicial district but Trump has convinced the Judge to order construction of a temporary SCIFat MAL, is there a protocol whereby he can essentially order the documents be transported to his more convenient SCIF for review and discussion? Sort of like going to the library and the library ordering the book you want brought there from another library?


        • thorvold says:

          A person who is cleared for the material can get additional training on Courier procedures. They would then work with the CISO (Classified Information Security Officer) at the source location SCIF to sign for the documents, place them in a double locked container (think of 2 zip-top lockable bank bags inside each other), and then transport them directly to the destination where they would then turn them over to the CISO at the destination SCIF. The CISO at the destination SCIF would then log the documents into the tracking system there and then they would be made available to the users as needed.

          So it would not just be a user walking out with them. It would be someone who is courier trained acting as transport to get them from the custody of one CISO to another. Of course that assumes that the MAL re-SCIF that they are proposing actually has someone to act as CISO. Given how hard it has been for them to get their own people clearances, I don’t know that they have the extra people to take on that duty. The SCIF at the Courthouse is most probably administered by the US Marshals office in the same building.

          Honestly all of these documents have probably been scanned, so they are available electronically on a secure system. There probably isn’t a need to actually courier anything physical. You would just have to have computers in the 2 different SCIFs be able to access the same secure share drive.

        • Raven Eye says:

          If they go with a T-SCIF, installing a JWICS terminal would be the complex solution to a simple problem.

        • Raven Eye says:

          Not stupid questions at all. #1 could be pretty complex and my experience has been with having clearances of varying levels for about 40 years, not how you morph the process into the environment of a criminal trial. #2 is really a procedural question.

          As for question #1; I’m making the assumption that EW regulars want the highest quality prosecution, defense, and bench. No funny stuff right off the blocks like pre-trial confinement or nasty little tricks to punish Trump. On the other hand, the defense team will be looking for any way to force a foul, a yellow card, or an own-goal…And infinite overtime would be O.K. too.

          So, we need to allow the defense attorneys to better understand what was going on in Trump’s head, and also what he actually did. Going over the documents cited in the indictment with the defendant seems necessary. If Trump was going for a normal government, military, or contractor job, I can see no way that even a Secret clearance would be granted — maybe not even a Confidential. But it has been opined that the Special Counsel listed only documents that had concurrence from the originators. If that’s the case, the crucial “catch” to a clearance is “need to know”. So perhaps Trump himself will have some level of supervised access to the documents listed in the indictment only — or even redacted versions. And at the end of the trial, the clearance is pulled. (Any attorneys out there with knowledge on how the tight-rope was walked in other security breach trials…)

          For question #2; classified material is transported all the time in physical and digital form. I haven’t done it in years, but I have sent Secret documents via U.S. Mail, registered, return receipt, and packaged according to DoD specification. It is up to the sender to ensure that destination is capable of securing the material, and that there will be a person available to sign for the package.

          Other material may be transported by authorized couriers (which could be more than one person depending on the material).

          Secure Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) is common across DoD. At the last place I worked, SIPRNet was one of the two computers on your desk. In the Special Access Programs (SAPs) there are computer systems that are used SCIF-to-SCIF. Not all SCIFs have a need for either of those network systems.

        • PJB2point0 says:

          Much appreciated. Thorough and straight forward. And thanks also for not making me feel like an imbecile for asking.

        • emptywheel says:

          So the lawyers at least claim they’re not going to move documents.

          But it’s the custodian issue that I think is at issue. Any USG SCIF will have a custodian to make sure, for example, that Boris Epshteyn doesn’t go in with Trump and Todd Blanche. But having one at MAL would be unworkable–the Secret Service has made it clear they’re not in the job of policing classified docs.

          ANd I think that’s part of the point. They want a space that USG doesn’t control.

        • thorvold says:

          Even if the Secret Service was willing to manage it, the Protective Order has the security at the courthouse managed by the US Marshals (DoJ) which probably has different SCIF accreditation standards than the Secret Service (DHS)

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Exactly. SCIFs require specific levels of physical, electronic, and virtual security, which apply 24/7. If the SCIF is left unattended, because Joe Blow leaves for a potty break without a back-up, it loses its integrity. You’d have to recertify it, with the attendant lost time and cost. Then there are the protocols for entry/exit and what you can do in a SCIF, whose presence is required, etc.

          None of that is the USSS’s job. It could not be Trump’s or his lawyers, which leaves another arm of the USG to do it, 24/7. A SCIF at MAL would give Trump’s lawyers endless fodder for arguments with the DoJ and complaints/motions to Cannon. It would be a perpetual chaos generator and create months of delay.

        • says:

          Bingo! How can a federal court, however well-meaning, order the hiring and on-going employment of “all the best people” to indeed ensure the HUMAN-security component of a safe SCIF actually couples with an architecturally, acoustically sound structure? It was NOT the absense of strong, thick, acoustically-monitored, insulated walls that allowed Trump to leave the White House in 2021 with 200+ of our nation’s top secrets: a breakdown in the HUMAN part of ‘SCIF management’ is what caused that! How can a court install, manage, and oversee this? Will the court screen personnel and oversee the facility? Perhaps this is all covered in CIPA statutory provisions, but I wanted to highlight here the importance of Earl’s observation.

          In a very different context– Maritime operations– a recent, high-profile event reminded us how safety and security don’t just come from brick, morter, and proper accoustics (nor from Titanium, Fiberglass, non-rubber O-rings and a Carbon fiber wound-but-not-woven hull). Trained personnel, making well-grounded, sound decisions is also a key to safety too.*

          This was the exceptional observation made by founder & CEO of Oceangate, Stockdon Rush, who was transporting civilians to the Titanic shipwreck in a submersible he designed and built, named Titan. The ‘innovative’ Rush had resisted colleagues’ demands to subject his submersible to rigorous safety inspection and materials testing, called ‘classing,’ to ensure the sub’s safety. “[C]lassing agencies only focus on validating the physical vessel,” Rush posted on a blog on the Oceangate website. And it could not supplant a “focused corporate culture” committed to “[m]aintaining high-level operational safety” by adhering “to proper operating procedures and decision-making processes.” Rush believed this described his organization and operations, and he boldly proclaimed these were “much more important for mitigating risks at sea.”

          A federal court oversaw Oceangate’s diving operations, and in fact, the judge was interested in diving to the Titanic on Titan on a future mission, according to news reports, to experience the safety of the vessel first-hand, and the righteousness of Rush’s operation. In this instance, I think its fair to surmise that the court, corporation, and customers were all operating in good faith. And yet, despite the promise that human-decision making, at its most earnest, could exert dominion over any potential design or construction failures, the human+container safety system was still catastrophically decoupled.

          “The vast majority of marine (and aviation) accidents are a result of operator error, not mechanical failure,” Rush presciently wrote before his death during the implosion of his experimental submersible. I pray we’ve learned this lesson in our courts, and in our country.

          * And over estimating the soundness of your decisions and safety-consciousness of your ‘corporate culture’ is certainly another key, too, but I didn’t want to address that here as it could be construed as a focus on the court itself.

        • Freda says:

          Note, Trump rarely stays overnight when traveling unless it’s to the West coast. Today, he flew from New Jersey to Iowa, spent one hour at the Fair, then flew home. Round trip to Miami from West Palm is easily done in a day. Of course he has a hotel in the Miami area.

          Question, how can they discuss National Defense documents without having a copy of the document present?
          My educated guess is that once the scif is operational, they will petition to have documents couriered there, then there will be delays in returning them.

          The only option that could be acceptable would be to set up a SCIf at the local courthouse or federal building.

          [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. “Freda” is your second user name; you commented previously as “Freda Seddon” which meets the site’s 8-letter minimum standard for usernames. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Ruthie2the says:

      I believe they propose discussions only, with no actual documents present. However, the repeated use of the phrase “purportedly classified” raises a red flag to me, never mind the fact that any such discussions, I would think, would necessitate the lawyers at least have notes – which means not having documents present is a distinction without much difference.

      This seems like an obvious attempt to use weasel words to either bamboozle the judge or provide her with plausible deniability regarding the trustworthiness of any representations made by Trump and his lawyers regarding handling of classified information.

      • posaune says:

        So, DJT no longer has access to classified documents. As a private citizen, he has no security clearance. Wouldn’t that prohibit a “discussion” of any classified document content? If Kise is the attorney with the security clearance, the responsibility for “discussion” without citing specific classified document content falls on him, right? (LOL, if DJT himself applied for a security clearance now, would he be disqualified b/c indictments? sorry if stupid question.)

        • dadidoc1 says:

          I have the same question. It’s stunning that Donald Trump might still have security clearance to peruse the classified documents that he stole from the USG. Other than possibly seeing coversheets, he should be denied access to the documents.

  3. sohelpmedog says:

    The Special Counsel’s opposition to Trump’s proposal to have a SCIF built for him at his house should cite this post. ‘Nuff said.
    Maybe it will even give Her Honor a chuckle or two.

  4. Lisboeta says:

    Trump should go to the existing, properly-secured SCIF in South Florida. The presence of his SS detail confers no guarantees vis-a-vis rigorous use of a SCIF at Mar-a-Lago. There was a SCIF available at MaL in 2017. Yet Trump chose to discuss national security issues with the visiting Japanese, in full view of (and to the delectation of) other diners.

  5. Peterr says:

    I am struck by the repeated phrase “purportedly classified” in this motion. I get that they are trying to preserve Trump’s possible argument that he declassified these docs, but this is nuts.

    As a legal matter, where does the determination that these are indeed classified documents happen? Is this a matter that the govt can get the court to take notice of as via a pre-trial motion, or must it be argued in front of the jury? Does the fact that these documents are being treated as classified by the court — redactions, use of sealed motions, etc. — carry any weight when it comes to dispensing with the term “purportedly”?

    • WilliamOckham says:

      As I, a non-lawyer, understand it, the current President of the United States, can declare basically anything classified and that determination is beyond the review of the courts. At least that’s what Dick Cheney told us that Navy v. Egan says.

      • Patrick Carty says:

        I apologize if I’m ready something incorrectly here, but the current president is Joe Biden. Are you dragging him into this? Trump would pounce on that.

      • Scott_in_MI says:

        On p. 67 of that transcript, for those looking for it.

        I would just advise the Court and Defense Counsel that all the documents have now, at this point, gone through a classification review. They are classified. In the course of our investigation, we saw no evidence from NARA or other records that any of these documents ever were declassified.

  6. WilliamOckham says:

    After reading these motions, I have two suggestions, one silly and the other merely ridiculous. Given that Trump’s lawyers keep referring to him as President Trump, I think anyone who has ever been president of anything should be allowed to insist that everyone refer to them forever afterwards as President. Since I was President of the Board of my local congregation a few years ago, the proper form of address for me would be President Ockham.

    Second, as a matter of public policy, I would like the government to sever the Espionage Act charges against Trump from the obstruction charges against the three defendants. The obstruction charges do not depend on the documents in question being classified, merely that some of the documents had markings indicating that they were classified. That some documents in the boxes had those markings is a fact that is easy to establish (there are photographs). At that point, the trial would be about whether or not the government can prove that there was a conspiracy to obstruct justice.

    I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know how the government could sever the Espionage Act charges without dismissing them entirely. Again, from a public policy standpoint, I think even that would be an acceptable outcome, even if bringing them later would be preferable to dismissing them outright.

    • Ravenclaw says:

      The Espionage Act charges do NOT require that the documents in question be classified. The whole “purportedly classified” thing is a smoke screen, like the “First Amendment” claims in the other federal case.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        I certainly did not say nor did I intend to imply that the Espionage Act requires that the documents be classified. I’m not sure how you drew that conclusion. To be clear, my point is that the government could get this case to trial much faster if they focused on the conspiracy to obstruct justice.

        In its own way, the claim that “the Espionage Act charges do NOT require that the documents in question be classified” is just as much of a smokescreen as Trump’s “purportedly classified” thing. Both claims are technically correct and completely irrelevant to the case. If you think you’re being clever here, I would appreciate it if you read up on the case of Wen Ho Lee. The ability of the government to use the Espionage Act against acts that don’t implicate classified information is a horrible affront to a free and open society.

        • Ravenclaw says:

          Hmm. Somehow I seem to have completely misread what you wrote. Could have sworn there was a statement to the effect that the case was about classified documents. My apologies.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      Wouldn’t a competant judge order that the defendant no longer refer to himself in filings as “President” due to the prejudicial import of claiming an honorific title he no longer holds? If she doesn’t do that sua sponte, could Bratt make a motion to suppress on that issue? Or is that type of motion only for defense purposes?

      In the pre-indictment SM debacle, Trusty referred to him as “former President” and Cannon obligingly followed suit in her statements (if memory serves), rather than calling him “Defendant” as is common practice, so this smells of Blanche ratcheting it up a notch.

      If she doesn’t order them to change this going forward, that in itself is fodder for a pre-trial appeal and possilbe mistrial before a jury is even involved, I would think. A jury shouldn’t be allowed to hear him addressed as “the President.”

    • Robot-seventeen says:

      I believe the correct form of address is “The Honorable [Mr. Name]” which in this context makes me want to hurl. Badly. Maybe fatally.

  7. RMD de Plume says:

    17 times the former is referred to as President Trump.
    Annoying, incorrect. Wouldn’t be surprised if soon it’ll be followed by a ™.

    • Issaquah says:

      I am not proud of the rising rage and bile I experienced with each ”President Trump” reference in that filing. I know it is his attorney’s effort to stroke his ego, and perhaps inflame people like me. I had to go outside and work in the yard to cool off, even though it’s a million degrees out there, and very humid as well.

    • LadyHawke says:

      It doesn’t bother me at all to use the honorific President Carter – not that he would ever claim to be treated like the sitting president. However, Twice-Impeached President Trump, or Multiply-Indicted President Trump is good.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        His royal highness does not regard the use of “President” as an honorific. He insists on it, as if he alone owned the title.

  8. harpie says:

    The phrase purportedly classified is used 11 times. The first 3 are on page 1.

    [pdf1/11] Defendant, President Donald J. Trump, in the above captioned matter, hereby responds to and opposes certain portions of the government’s proposed Protective Order Pertaining to Classified Information pursuant to Section 3 the Classified Information Procedures Act, 18 U.S.C. App. 3 (“CIPA” and the “Proposed CIPA Protective Order”).1

    [fn1] Nothing contained in this Opposition shall be construed as a waiver of any right of the Defendants, including their right to challenge whether purportedly classified information is indeed classified or to move or object to the use or admissibility of purportedly classified information during trial or pretrial proceedings.

    Additionally, this Opposition and attached Affirmation have been reviewed by the assigned CISO.

    [pdf1/11] President Trump opposes any portion of the Proposed CIPA Protective Order that prohibits counsel from simply discussing the relevant purportedly classified material with President Trump inside an approved secure location other than the designated SCIFs in the Southern District of Florida where the classified discovery will be housed.

    • harpie says:

      The phrase deem[s][ed] […] classified is used 4 times.

      [pdf7/11] 5. […] deemed by the government to be classified
      [pdf9/11] 8. […] the government deems classified
      [pdf9/11] 9. […] information deemed classified
      [pdf10/11] 11. […] deemed by the government to be classified

      • Ravenclaw says:

        No big deal, I’d say. If you were a member of the defense team, you’d want to keep throwing that dust in the air, too. To refer to the documents as “classified” would be to yield a point that you hope to capitalize on, even if the issue is legally moot.

        • Buzzkill Stickinthemud says:

          I agree. When reading “purportedly”, you can substitute another meaningless word, like “fucking”. For example, “…whether purportedly classified information is indeed classified…” becomes “whether fucking classified information is indeed classified”.

          Something similar could be done with “deemed”.

  9. RMD de Plume says:

    Repetition, in the German tradition, ensures acceptance of the claim.

    President Trump™ !

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. You had changed your name to “RMD de Plume” on July 15; you’ve commented as “RMD dePlume” three times today which I have fixed this once. The space makes a difference — please make a note of it as future comment may not clear moderation. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Eichhörnchen says:

      At the risk of coming across as pedantic: “German” is not synonymous with “Nazi.” I’m not sure the notion of a Nazi “tradition” makes much sense either.

  10. Bears7485 says:

    NAL, but this seems to me to be a ploy to manufacture evidence for the jury that yes, MAL was indeed a secure facility to house the classified documents Trump stole because it has been protected by Secret Service agents. Even the judge agrees, otherwise, why would she allow a SCIF on site?

    • emptywheel says:

      Or if not to suggest to the jury that it didn’t really matter. Yes, I think that’s part of it.

    • Ravenclaw says:

      Well played! The defense team seems to be doing some clever wriggling, then. If they can only get the judge and jury to accept some superficially plausible “alternative facts.”

    • jdmckay8 says:

      manufacture evidence for the jury that yes, MAL was indeed a secure facility

      Bingo!!! That was 1st thing that occurred to me as well. And I’ll add it really really sucks that so much human energy in America goes into this exact same thing in reaction to almost everything Trump has done for 7 years.

      However they see their purpose, the net result is sowing a lot of confusion. A great way to disarm a population’s humanity and purpose.

      Evil, in my book.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Imagine how restricted the USG would be in arguing that a new SCIF at MAL was made possible only because it paid for it, revised existing or non-existent security protocols, and instituted a whole suite of new protections to add to or replace them. They could not easily argue the specifics Cannon makes them generate without defeating the purposes of the security protocols.

      • Shadowalker says:

        They could always call the bluff, and stipulate the entire property be under restricted access, and those entering (guests, workers, etc,) provide the necessary personal info be provided so that background checks can be conducted before entry is allowed. This would start at the beginning of construction and last till the SCIF is no longer needed.

        • posaune says:

          Ok, this is a crackpot comment:
          If the indictment contained (criminal) asset forfeiture, the government could seize all of MAL and turn it into a giant SCIF. s/

  11. scroogemcduck says:

    The filing describes the defendant as “President Trump” or “President Donald J. Trump” 54 times.
    The filing is 11 pages long. I’m okay at mathematics, so I can work that out to be almost 5 (4.91) per page.

    That’s the new benchmark for toady bootlicking in the filings in this case, I believe. I wonder if they will be able to beat it.

    • harpie says:

      President – 60x [sometimes it comes up as 61…can’t find that 1]
      President Trump – 52x
      President Donald J. Trump – 2x [The first is after the word “Defendant”]
      President of the United States – 5x [ALL in reference to TRUMP]
      Other uses – 1x:
      [pdf8/11] “he, along with other Presidents and senior government officials”

    • David F. Snyder says:

      This is the filing that should
      be struck by the docket. It is a
      blatant marketing ploy. Can the prosecutors object to this abuse of language? I hope at least that they hammer home the phrase former President Trump.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          Can Bratt file a pretrial motion to suppress on this account? “President” is an honorific that he no longer possesses, and is therefore inherently prejudicial.

        • massappeal says:


          Especially because:
          1) Trump *wants* to have a fight over this because:
          a) it’s something he can use to whip up his base (“See how they’re disrespecting me! And if they’re disrespecting me it means they’re disrespecting you!”);
          b) it’s something he can use to distract the easily distractable (“Squirrel!”) media;
          c) any time spent fighting over this is time taken away from the legal issues and plays into his overarching legal strategy of “delay, delay, delay”; and,
          2) every time someone in court (prosecutor, judge, witness) simply refers to him as “Mr. Trump” it gets under his skin, aggravates him, and distracts him from what he’s trying to do.

        • David F. Snyder says:

          Having spoken to a few registered voters who believe that Trump is the real President, I’m not inclined to think of this garbage as nontoxic. It’s potentially radioactive, even in court, at least on the jury.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          As a motion filed before Cannon, it would be stupendous waste of time and an own goal. Trump would respond with an endless stream of tirades, most of which Cannon would listen to, giving him mountains of free propaganda.

        • David F. Snyder says:

          I understood bmaz’s comment. What my last statement was meant to imply is that if defense counsel refers to DJT as ‘President’ Trump before the jury and the prosecuting attorney has an opportunity to cross or redirect, then the prosecutor could refer to the defendant as ‘Former President’ Trump without wasting anyone’s time and without leaving the pregnant the implications of such wording unanswered. If I were Kise, I would refer to Trump as ‘President’ in court and all filings because it potentially can sway at least one juror to have a doubt, especially if there was no counter to it from the other side.

        • bmaz says:

          Heh, “Motion To Declare The Former President ‘The Former President’ And ‘Mr. Trump’, Because That Is All He Is”.

    • BirdGardener says:

      I suspect another aim is to play on Cannon’s belief, demonstrated earlier, that former Presidents, or at least Trump, should get special treatment instead of being held to the same standards as every other citizen. This appeal to her personal preference for hierarchical law (obviously I don’t know the proper terminology) is evident throughout Trump’s response—the bit about how his residence is special, and can’t possibly be treated like the residence of anyone else, is an example of this. ‘I’m special and deserve special treatment’ is behind so much of his argument!

  12. scroogemcduck says:

    Just imagine for a second that Cannon orders the Government to make a SCIF at MAL. That will open the door to endless motions about where it should be situated, when it should be constructed, how it will interact with MAL’s role as a members’ club / house / international spy magnet, whether the Government will be required to spray-paint the doors with gold paint to match Trump’s color scheme and on and on and on.

    • scroogemcduck says:

      And, I forgot the most important dispute of all – how much rent the Government should pay Trump for the prime real estate that the SCIF will be taking up!

      • Peterr says:

        I think it would go the other way. The govt has provided, at no cost to the defense, facilities that provide for the kind of legal discussions needed by the lawyers and their client. If the court decides that for the convenience of the defendant, a new arrangement must be made, the costs of that arrangement should fall on the client,

        Call it a “convenience fee.”

        • Shadowalker says:

          They could use a temporary SCIF, but that would be a problem for those documents that require enhanced security (thinking about the compartmentalized info) which are stored in a more secure room within a SCIF. Plus the intelligence community may assess that Mar-a-Lago is not amendable as a proper location for a permanent or even temporary SCIF. While they may have had to make it work in the past while the President was there, that doesn’t mean that assessment remains unchanged now that the President no longer has a residence there.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Determined by Judge Cannon? She’d award the govt about the same amount as the usual bet between the Duke brothers. She would call the costs of installing and running a new SCIF a necessary cost of prosecution.

  13. Tetman Callis says:

    I was Legal Assistant to one of the attorneys who worked on Wen Ho Lee’s defense. As you will recall, Lee was arrested on trumped-up espionage charges and held in solitary confinement for nine months. When his attorneys would go to meet with him, they were required to communicate with him in a secure location. They could not bring their phones or any other electronic devices, and while they could take notes, they were required to leave those notes behind before they left the meetings. And all defense counsel and support staff had to have Q clearances. My supervising attorney had one and did not think I needed me to be in attendance, so I never sought a clearance (I doubt I would have been granted one, due to certain colorful episodes in my past). He, of course, never discussed these meetings with or in front of me.

    My point is, the dilemma raised by the former president could be solved more easily if he were to be remanded into federal custody, where he could be kept safe and secure, and arrangements could be made for consultations with his appropriately cleared attorneys regarding facts and documents that must remain, likewise, safe and secure.

  14. Narpington says:

    “Of course, Trump didn’t have access to classified information after he left office”

    Of course, Trump *did* have access to classified information after he left office, just not legally.

  15. jecojeco says:

    All the trump defenses rely on delays and complicatioons and contradictions. This is just another effort to delay and muddy the water.

    One thing I agree on with the MAGA crowd is two tiers of justice with a disgraced former president being treated way better than anyone facing 78 felony charges should receive. I expect Cannon will go beyond what the defense is requesting, whatever it actually is.

    • Wapiti_EW says:

      Agreed – this looks like a deliberate delay with the decision, construction, and personnel requirements for a SCIF.

    • Patrick Carty says:

      We can also probably agree that at this time next year there will still be no certified SCIF on any of Trump’s properties. This is a delay tactic and the delay will be stretched until he is the Republican nominee for 2024. If he can readily fly to a golf course in New Jersey he can make it to a SCIF in Virginia.

      • Bombay Troubadour says:

        Yes, and if he says he can’t get there due to plane trouble, tell him to call Clarence for a back up flight.

    • Myra-Bo-Byra says:

      Totally agree. Plus driving time from MAL to the courthouse is approx only 70 minutes. In addition to the obvious advantages raised in the comments here (of utilizing 1 SCF managed by the USG) it’s also cheaper for the American taxpayer!

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. SECOND REQUEST: Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. You have now commented as “Myra-Bo-Byra” (hyphens), “Myra_bo_Byra” (underbar and lowercase b), “MyraBoByra” (no punctuation) — none of these are the same username as both letter case and punctuation marks matter. I have reverted your username on several to the earlier version “Myra_Bo_Byra” and I can’t keep doing this. Please make a note of it and use it consistently or risk your comments getting stuck in moderation for sock puppeting. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  16. Frank Probst says:

    Is this something that the DoJ even has the authority to do? The DoJ isn’t the only sheriff in town, and I’d guess that at least one other agency (like the NSA or the CIA) has to be involved in setting up a SCIF. They’re not port-a-potties that you can just order up when you need one.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It would necessarily be a multi-party negotiation. Cannon seems likely to collapse that by viewing the opposing side as the executive branch, rather than a series of agencies with conflicting responsibilities.

    • Nessnessess says:

      To say nothing of the all the local and state zoning ordinances that need to be complied with.

  17. rattlemullet says:

    If the judge rules to accommodate the request to construct a SCIF at MAL then she just go ahead and rule to move the trial to after Election Day so that trump can declare himself above law if elected. That his goal, he sees himself as king. This filing with all the glorification of trump reads like they know they can manipulate this judge to permit ever continuing delays. Hopefully if she rules to accommodate this request it would be appealed and request for recusal.

  18. RoseGold says:

    I have to do a lot of reading to follow legal issues. My understanding is always extremely limited and with these (more than one!), very important charges against trump, well…confused. The first moments of reading here, I was thankful that Beryl Howell was the judge! Oops!
    If trumps response insinuates that an issue or defense is the classification of the documents, would this be a tactic to get the governments preference to drop some or all charges, rather than divulge the documents in court?

  19. Spank Flaps says:

    This is like a sex abuser requesting that the victim’s underwear be brought to his house for “review”.

  20. Steve S from CT says:

    Why would Trump be entitled to “review classified information” in the first place, even in a proper SCIF? While “document X does not contain any national security information” might be a legit defense, I’d think Trump would need an expert witness (with security clearance) to testify to that, as he’s not qualified to make that assessment himself. Further, I may well be wrong on this, but my understanding is if Document X has some security classification and contains the fact that Agent Bananas is John Smith, while President Biden is entitled to go on TV and reveal that information, doing so doesn’t in and of itself change the classification status of Document X. Therefore, any claim by Trump that he “declassified” a document would require evidence about that document – its “meta-data” basically – and the actual contents of the document wouldn’t seem relevant. While I can imagine Trump’s team going through a document item by item and asking Trump “when did you declassify Agent Banana’s identity?” with a goal of proving the document itself shouldn’t be considered classified because all elements within it had been declassified, that doesn’t actually make sense I don’t think, because “I told Ivanka on October 1st” wouldn’t actually be a defense. Rather, I’d assume you’d need to show evidence he actually made that information public while President – i.e., if he said it on TV then sure, it’s no longer a secret, but again that requires experts with security clearance to compare secrets to public information, no need for Trump to review.

    Experts? Am I way off base here?

  21. Bobster33 says:

    As a compromise, I suggest building a SCIF at the nearest federal prison. If Trump wants to view the documents, he can always go to prison. /s

  22. Amicus12 says:

    What is the legitimate utility of a SCIF only for purposes of discussing highly classified documents if you won’t have the documents (or notes of the documents) present for purposes of discussion? This strikes me as a bit of setting the wedge for a later request for expanded use if this proposal is granted.

    What is the illegitimate utility of a personal SCIF? Quite considerable if you want to keep law enforcement and the intelligence agencies from listening in on criminal conversations and the like.

    The more I think about the documents case the more I think of it in terms of an ongoing investigation into national security issues. An investigation that could be adversely impacted by this demand to “give me my SCIF back.”

    • Rick Ryan says:

      They (Trump and lawyers) could/would discuss contents of the documents even if the physical copies aren’t present. Verbal conversations are extremely easy to eavesdrop on remotely unless the location is very carefully built and maintained, i.e., is a SCIF. Requesting a conveniently-located SCIF in a case involving classified information, in and of itself, is eminently reasonable IMO.

      Demanding that one be constructed in the defendant’s house, which is in fact the same location that the alleged mishandling of classified info: not so reasonable.

      • Amicus12 says:

        The request strikes me as disingenuous. If I’m working with a client on something document specific and neither of us have access to the documents and we are both going by memory that can be counterproductive. The very purpose of a SCIF is to provide secure access to the classified information.

        Relatedly, to what extent are the specifics of the documents relevant to any possible defense? It is not at all obvious to me that he has any defenses that are grounded in the particulars of the charged documents – even if he wants to argue declassification, for whatever that is worth.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The issue isn’t a SCIF, but where it’s located and how it’s policed. The govt has proposed installing a SCIF on already heavily secured govt property. MAL is particularly vulnerable as a target of foreign espionage, making security protocols for a SCIF there especially onerous. Once it’s there, of course, Trump would argue until doomsday were the govt to try to impose heavy security protocols on his home and business, just because he insisted on putting a new SCIF there. The conflicts are intentional.

        Trump can discuss non-classified legal issues with his lawyers anywhere. What he’d prefer not to leave is a trail of bread crumbs revealing who used the SCIF when and for how long, but I don’t see how one can have a SCIF without them.

    • thorvold says:

      They also don’t talk to any of the actual procedures that would go with a SCIF. The Protective Order talks about there being a CISO (Classified Information Security Officer) that is responsible for the operation of the SCIF and does not work for the Defense (it specifically stipulates that any conversations overheard by the CISO would not waive attorney-client privilege) ECF 84 Paragraph 21. The CISO would be responsible for opening/closing the SCIF, and maintaining all of the security of the space. This means that the space would not be available for regular use (as a hotel conference room for instance) while it is maintaining its SCIF status. They would also be responsible for maintaining control of any notes made while inside the SCIF that contain classified information (their motion mentions that they do not want to transport classified information to the new SCIF at Mar-a-Lago, but says nothing about new notes/documents that are created there).

      They talk about how the Secret Service protects Mar-a-Lago (they protect the person, not the place), but they make no mention about whether they are expecting the Secret Service to supply a CISO and take responsibility for the security of the facility. The Protective Order currently says that the security of the SCIF would be provided by the US Marshals (part of DOJ), not the Secret Service (Part of DHS)

      If I had to make a guess what the previous space that they called a SCIF was, I would think that it was the Comms closet in the basement. This is probably a small limited access space with servers/communications equipment in there. They probably added some sound proofing to make it harder to possibly eavesdrop on. It could then be used for small 2-3 person briefings for the President when he was on-site, or as a classified space for him to receive a phone call. I seriously doubt it has enough space to set up any type of work space with office equipment as envisioned in Protective Order paragraph 21.

      The big question I would have is that if they had this wonderful space that met SCIF requirements, why weren’t the documents stored in that space?

      • RipNoLonger says:

        If the “comms closet” was the location of the previously configured SCIF it would have been atrocious as a secure container.

        As you noted, the “comms closet” might have servers, routers/switches, lots of cabling running in and out.

        The last SCIFs I worked in (3 floors below the Pentagon’s basement) had very tightly controlled communication lines going through the lead walls. And the content on those lines was highly filtered. This is not what a Windows Server running Exchange, IIS, networked file systems would be allowed to do.

      • Eschscholzia says:

        If I understand your post, doesn’t that mean that the cost in terms of operating that MAL SCIF 24/7 for the duration of the pre-trial and trial almost certainly exceeds the cost of a few trips by Trump and his SS detail down to the existing SCIF in Miami? I see 1 or possibly more CISO staffing and per diem to operate a SCIF for Trump to use whenever desired, plus whatever security detail must guard the SCIF even when not in use so that no one can plant listening or recording devices in it. The SCIF in Miami already has those operating costs covered. Unless Trump is going to give up campaign travel and make at least weekly trips to the SCIF, I don’t see how the math could work out as implied in this response.

    • emptywheel says:

      Exactly. What are the chances that the sound room, in which De Oliveira allegedly first tried to talk Tasceras into destroying footage, is the old SCIF?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        What are the odds that the process-hating Trump ever followed necessary SCIF protocols for the one at MAL, or would do so here?

      • Eichhörnchen says:

        I wondered the same thing, whether “sound room” referred to a sound-proof room, or at least a room Trump’s co-conspirators would use to avoid having their conversation picked up by the surveillance system.

  23. Rugger_9 says:

    That claim in the filing also presumes that Defendant-1 would actually use the SCIF in compliance to the relevant rules. However, his prior actions and antics clearly ‘demonstrate unreliability’ on handling this material and the number of security breaches at M-a-L with PRC and Russian agents make this something that should be rejected quickly.

    • Fancy Chicken says:

      For Trump, I think he’d consider SCIF-adjacent or SCIF-in-the-same-building just as good as actually being in the SCIF.

      Another thing filings like this serve is create more and more division and tension in this country while particularly riling up the MAGAts. I’m pretty immune to getting worked up over the latest Trump shenanigans but this makes me soooo angry that he dares to ask for such special treatment which he is sure to abuse. (He’ll just take his co-conspirators in there to talk.) I could see myself getting pretty heated in a water cooler discussion over this if I frequented a water cooler.

      MAGAts will get their panties in a bunch if Trump is denied his request. Just yesterday, a man in Utah was shot by FBI when they went to apprehend him for making death threats against Biden and Alvin Bragg. I guarantee as these trials move apace and even with a protective order that prevents Trump from publicly discussing discovery, he and his attorneys will continue to do their best to try the cases in the public sphere.

      We’ll see more death threats and deaths. And when MAGAts and lovers of the Republic collide the chances of violence will increase as well.

      I fear deeply what’s to come will threaten our democracy even more than Jan 6 as violence CAUSED AGAIN by Trump will not just be limited to the Capitol, but all across our country.

      • BirdGardener says:

        For Trump, I think he’d consider SCIF-adjacent or SCIF-in-the-same-building just as good as actually being in the SCIF.

        That’s how I interpreted his request, too: ‘give me a SCIF at MAL to give me cover for discussing anything I want with whoever the hell I want when & wherever I want.’ Clearly the prosecution team is well aware of this, but the judge has previously shown a susceptibility to Trump’s insistence that he deserves special treatment.

  24. Chirrut Imwe says:

    If a defendant is only given access to evidence, or allowed to discuss with counsel, in an existing, properly-secured SCIF, which is controlled by the ‘government’ (the plaintiff in this case, although probably a different arm of the government), and the defendant loses, is there any precedent to attempt to use the possibility of eavesdropping (etc.) by the plaintiff upon appeal?

  25. bawiggans says:

    The fact is that the Secret Service utterly failed to protect classified documents on premises at MAL after 01.21.2021 from being accessed by persons not authorized to see them. The speciousness of the argument that the presence of the Secret Service at MAL assures the security of classified material there has been thoroughly demonstrated.

  26. Leu2500 says:

    “ If President Trump travels to a public facility in the Southern Division of this District, most circumstances would require an overnight stay in the local area by his protective detail, including members of the Secret Service, as well as an overnight stay by President Trump, due to the distance between his residence and the public facility.”

    Give me a break. Trump has his own hotel in Miami: Doral. He even wanted to hold the G7 there!

  27. Overshire says:

    Another tell that this filing is intentionally false is their claim that a trip from Palm Beach to the SDFL SCIF would “require an overnight stay” for everyone involved. I lived in Palm Beach for 12 years, and the Miami Federal Courthouse is two hours away from Mar-a-Lago by car, less if you conveniently have a Highway Patrol escort. How a four-hour round trip “necessitates“ an overnight stay would make for an interesting hearing in itself.
    An honest judge would laugh the entire document out of her court.

    • P J Evans says:

      And Fort Pierce is 60 miles from West Palm Beach, according to my Rand-McNally. He should be able to cope with reality.

      • ExRacerX says:

        “He should be able to cope with reality.”

        He should be, but Trump has consistently failed miserably at coping with reality. Not to mention being a failed businessman, a failed president, and a failed candidate.

        • Matt___B says:

          His MO is to make reality cope with him. And unfortunately he has been remarkably successful at doing that in very many cases. Hopefully no longer once the legal activities commence in full. I’m expecting a cosmic-level tantrum and breakdown when that happens. And in some of his devotees as well.

    • thorvold says:

      They don’t bother to make the argument to try and set up a SCIF at the Paul G. Rogers Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in West Palm Beach. That would only be a 13 minute drive according to Google Maps. Of course that would be a SCIF that Trump doesn’t actually control and would have to actually schedule an appointment for, rather than just walk downstairs. That might be too much effort…

    • Robot-seventeen says:

      There are typically advance teams who coordinate routes, locations, inspect facilities and so on. It’s not a trip to the grocery store. Even rock bands and other celebrities have security protocols in place and people who scout locations. It’s not that simple.

        • Robot-seventeen says:

          Yeah a lot different for a former President rather than a serving one I suspect. Probably eliminates most of the advance stuff. I used to work for a company that handled Quayle, Reagan, Bush etc but that was when they were in office.

  28. Eichhörnchen says:

    It is heartwarming that Trump is so concerned about costs related to putting up the Secret Service — at properties other than his.

    I wonder, too, if this “request” is intended to muddy the waters down the line, when a jury hears evidence about Trump’s handling of documents in the same place that the government is now (if the request us granted) allowing to be used for reviewing them.

  29. CaptainCondorcet says:

    Reading through the many valid arguments made by Dr. Wheeler and expanded in the comments, I can’t help but wonder if a function of this ludicrous request is updated reconnaissance of the 11th Circuit. With near certainty the government will appeal any ruling from the judge that isn’t “just drive down to Miami”. Everyone got to observe the reprimand delivered last time, but I could imagine how LONG it takes for a decision to come down, and what influence Trump’s team could have in affecting that timeframe, would be very important information to have early on based on the obvious strategy on display.

  30. Cheez Whiz says:

    What struck me reading through that mess is he wants to be able to say the federal government agrees he has a right to those classified documents. “See, they even built a SCIF for me!”. As a legal argument it’s probably absurd, but look who we’re talking about here.

  31. thorvold says:

    Should we even mention that he could always see if the US Marshals are willing to set up a SCIF at the courthouse in West Palm Beach, so he could have a shorter drive?
    Paul G. Rogers Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 701 Clematis St # 215, West Palm Beach, FL 33401

  32. Robot-seventeen says:

    It’s not an unreasonable ask to be able to allow the discussion of the information that is supposed to be classified to occur at MAL, IMO. The problem is that TFG is apt to be a target of kooks of various stripes and to require a static location (beyond the court) to review materials will require a significant security effort that is largely in place at MAL. He won’t be able to caravan weekly to the Public Safety Building or wherever without giving away routes and locations. One trip to multiple locations is entirely different from twenty trips to the same location, from a security perspective. I’d imagine whoever is in charge of that would strenuously object.

    [Moderator’s note: This comment triggered auto-moderation because of a keyword. The trigger exists to prevent trolls from attacking the site and community members’ discussion. Your patience is appreciated. /~Rayne]

  33. timbozone says:

    Lauro tried to say he was defending Trump” and the American people” in his statements in DC Circuit trial. The SCIF issue this week is more of the same cloth—a continuation of the Big Lie that somehow Trump is still President and there forefore obviously unreasonable to not have a SCIF at Mar-a-Lago. Basically, these seditionists have no shame and they’re pushing the limit in Federal court.

  34. HardyWeinberg3 says:

    Every time he is referred to as President Trump in document he should get an electric shock. I feel like I get one every time I read that, anyway.

  35. Nessnessess says:

    Thank you all for this discussion.

    IANAL. I have been under the impression that the issue is not the classification of the documents at MAL, but the ownership: the docs properly belonged to the government, whose several requests that they be returned were denied by Trump.

    Do I have this wrong?

    How central to the prosecution is the actual contents of the docs, such that discussion of them calls for a SCIF?

    It seems mostly a distraction and deflection, supported by the use of “purported.”

    • Shadowalker says:

      The physical documents aren’t what is classified. It’s the information they contain. Any discussion of that information would need to be conducted in a secure location such as a certified SCIF. Even if the physical documents are not present.

  36. Buzzkill Stickinthemud says:

    Trump’s lawyers keep referring to him as “president”. It’s a simple matter for non-Trump supporters to map “president” into some other meaningless word, like “fucking”. For example, “Again, President Trump is not asking for the proposed CIPA Protective Order …” becomes “Again, fucking Trump is not asking for the proposed CIPA Protective Order to be modified…”

  37. HanTran says:

    He wants to discuss “purportedly classified” material in a secure location but does not want any “classified information” transferred or stored there. Who determines if information is “classified” or simply “purportedly classified”? He has claimed in the past to have declassified a great deal of info. Does he intend to transfer and store “purportedly classified” information to a new safe location or is there such information already stored there (Bedminster or MAL?)

  38. Franktoo says:

    By requesting a new SCIF at Mar-a-Lago, has Trump effectively pled guilty to mishandling classified information at Mar-a-Lago for more than two years? (“Lock him up”.)

  39. Chuffles says:

    Since DJT and his lawyers are hoping to get as much of these trials into the public’s attention span, I think a significant percentage of the strategy here is to just put out something like “People know what a SCIF is, and we asked for one. If it’s denied, we complain about the Deep State not giving us fair treatment. If it’s approved, we tell everyone what an honest guy Sir President is. The base will eat it up either way.”

    He’s doing this for all his cases, and it doesn’t matter what’s true or not. At least, not to his base.

    • Rayne says:

      Taxpayers and the federal government have already provided a SCIF. It’s in Miami at the federal courthouse. That’s the response Team Trump should get.

      Further, Team Trump should be reminded that no person is above the law here; all are supposed to receive equal protection under the law. Team Trump gets the same SCIF to which all other persons in the SDFL are entitled.

      If he hadn’t taken classified documents including national defense information, Trump wouldn’t need a SCIF. Demanding one is an admission.

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