The Document Found with Roger Stone’s Clemency Did Pertain to Emmanuel Macron

Just days before the snap election Emmanuel Macron recklessly called after Marine Le Pen shellacked his party in the EU elections, we are one step closer to showing a tie between the still unexplained grant of executive clemency to Roger Stone found in the search of Mar-a-Lago and the French President.

As I have described in the past, the first thing listed on the non-privileged search warrant return was an executive grant of clemency for Trump’s rat-fucker. Most people have always assumed that it was one of the known grants of clemency — either the commutation or the later pardon — for Stone’s lying to cover up his 2016 ties to Russia.

Except as listed, it is associated with, “Info re: President of France.”

There had been reports that the President of France in question was Macron. Trump’s defense attorneys seem to have confirmed that.

That confirmation comes as part of a Trump bid to dismiss the entire stolen documents prosecution because the FBI jumbled the order in which documents were found during and after the search. Both before and after the problem with the order of the documents first became understood, in March and then May, Jack Smith’s office did some interviews with the Miami-based agents who did the filter process, which Trump included as exhibits.

As described, the agents exercised varying diligence about maintaining the order of documents in each box; as Agent 5 explained, keeping the order intact was made more difficult because of the contents of the boxes, in which Post-It notes and golf balls were stashed in the same boxes with potentially privileged documents (I can’t make out the first word in this series).

As Agent 17 described, he and Agent 5 did the filter search of Trump’s own desk together as another agent found the box in the closet where the most sensitive classified documents were found (note: it’s clear agents were also being asked about the 43 classified cover sheets allegedly found in that box; Trump’s silence on this point suggests others gave clear answers about it).

As Agent 17 described it, Agent 5 found “Macron doc in desk,” though makes no mention of the clemency associated with it.

Note there was a set of “KJU letters” — the love letters from Kim Jon Un to Trump — in a desk then occupied by Molly Michael, identified as Person 34 in other releases. Trump had returned at least some of these in the January 2022 boxes.

It’s not yet clear how the Macron document, classified Secret, relates to the Stone clemency. But as I wrote here, such a tie could be quite significant: when Scott Brady (the MAGAt US Attorney whose claims to have vetted the Alexander Smirnov hoax were just referred to DOJ for potential prosecution as a false claim to Congress) indicted GRU hackers for operations that included the 2017 MacronLeaks that attempted to help Le Pen in her election against Macron, the indictment claimed to be ignorant of the public details tying Roger Stone associates to the dissemination of the stolen documents.

The Macron document does not appear to be among those charged, so we may never learn more about why Trump had a Stone grant of clemency — and possibly a bunch of other pardons — in his desk drawer.

Note, in addition to exhibits documenting the Mar-a-Lago search, Trump’s lawyers helpfully provided this description of the documents found among the boxes Trump returned in January 2022, two of which required especially sensitive treatment.

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67 replies
  1. Roger Mexico says:

    The first word is “loafers”. Compare the o in notes and the second a in maintain. He had shoes in the boxes.

    • Tom Kremer says:

      the ‘o’ in notes, the ‘e’ in best, the ‘a’ in newspapers… I’m on team “loafers”!

        • Savage Librarian says:

          The ‘t’ in post-its has a hook, as does the ‘l’ in ability. So there is enough inconsistency to raise questions.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Hard to say. ‘Loafers’ definitely seems like something Trump might put in the box. Strong possibility there. Could also be ‘leaflets’ or ‘lecturs (sic)’ or something else.

    • Don Cooley says:

      I agree. It is NOT “letters” – clearly no double “t”, and the “a” matches the other one as you indicate. Plus the context makes sense. It is a list of extraneous non-document stuff like golf balls explaining difficulty in maintaining sequence. Also points out sequence is immaterial. Shit was thrown together randomly.

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    • Fancy Chicken says:

      Roger Mexico- I think you’re right.

      It’s been mentioned in multiple sources that golf shoes and other clothing items were in the boxes so although it sounds anomalous loafers actually makes sense.

  2. Carol_28APR2019_0218h says:

    It’s “loafers” to my mind. Look at the other o’s: they start on the left and close from the right. A number of the a’s are open in the other words, and the end of the stroke on the e’s and the r’s are the same angles. Who knew that 8th grade science fair project I did on graphology would turn out to be useful…

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  3. Dragonista says:

    Reading the start for reason made me think of giuliani.
    I speed read the transcript of his “shows” on youtube mostly daily because they’re really telling alot of the time.
    When he was “raided” and then there were no charges brought would him having a pardon have made them drop it?
    Like could trump known about it and pardoned it all?
    Does a pardon when used need to be public or can it be secret?
    In the same way matt gaetz’s investigation was dropped by doj but will have no affect on an ethics committee investigation?

    • emptywheel says:

      Rudy didn’t need a pardon bc Barr did a bunch of things (like preventing SDNY from investigating his dalliance with Russian spies, like the Brady side channel that treated him as an informant, not a suspect) and then by the time they seized his phones all the RU-related ones were (or became, in FBI custody) corrupted.

    • BriceFNC says:

      I have a similar question about pardons that I hope the legal experts here might answer. Steve Bannon was pardoned by Trump for fraud. In September he faces trial before Judge Merchant for NY State fraud charges. If acceptance of a pardon imputed guilt does this undermine Bannon’s legal defense against state fraud charges?

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  4. harpie says:

    What about “[parenthesis] pictures”?
    [If it’s a parenthesis, it doesn’t get closed at the end]

    • Savage Librarian says:

      I’m throwing my hat in with team ‘loafers’ because it is most convincing to me, not only because of how the word looks, but because it is so representative of Trump’s disordered mind.

      • AllTheGoodIDsWereTaken says:

        Maybe a false memory, but I keep thinking that there was reporting at the time about shoes (golf shoes?) being found amongst the documents.

        Either way “loafers” seems to make a lot of sense for all the reasons that other commenters note.

      • harpie says:

        I agree that it does seem to be “loafers”…
        but isn’t it weird that h/she did not just say “shoes”?

    • pdaly says:

      Maybe “posters” fits even though the first letter does not look like the p in “post-it notes” later in the list

  5. Alan_OrbitalMechanic says:

    Could someone explain to me how the order of the documents has any legal significance in the prosecution of this case? What exactly is the defense arguing here that would justify throwing out the evidence?

    I read the defense motion linked to above. It mentions the “order of the documents” (or some such phrase) 31 times. It accuses the FBI of spilling the documents for a photo op, and alludes vaguely to the “constitutional requirement” that the FBI preserve the order of documents.

    They do not argue that documents were inserted into the collection. So — so what? The contents are the same.

    I am reminded of seeing a video of a police tech not using the exact procedure to swab a blood sample. That supposedly somehow made the DNA in the swab match OJ’s DNA. That seems to have worked with that jury. This argument seems to be at the same level of dumb. Is that going to work here now?

    I am sure this has been answered before but I seem to have missed it. So thanks to anyone with the patience to fill me in.

    • Tannenzaepfle says:

      A bunch of old documents intermixed with new ones and the prosecutor could argue this shows they’ve been accessed and worked with since Trump left office, while only old documents you can’t make that inference. A box with old documents on the bottom and new ones on the top could support a defense that things were just dumped on top and not actively accessed or reviewed. Legally, it shouldn’t make a large difference but the existence of a compiled document already ‘proved’ Trump had used the classified documents after Biden’s inauguration and wasn’t unaware of what he had.

      • Alan_OrbitalMechanic says:

        Thanks for the explanation. It does sound like a more grounded defense than I had originally supposed.

        It isn’t a defense I would count on, however. If that is what the Trump team is doing then they are not in very good shape.

        The “I didn’t even know it was there” ploy would carry more weight if it weren’t for Trump’s actions after there was little doubt that he knew that it was there. Which I think is pretty well established at this point.

        • EatenByGrues says:

          Trump’s attorneys seem to have not gotten the memo–their best bet is to NOT let the case get dismissed pre-trial, because once that happens, the DOJ can appeal, and if a dismissal is successfully appealed on such flimsy grounds, it likely would mean Judge Cannon is off the case.

          Indeed, the order that the documents were discovered, if disputed and relevant, seems like a factual matter for a jury to determine, not a point of law for the judge.

  6. Ebenezer Scrooge says:

    I can’t figure out why Trump’s lawyers are trying to dismiss the prosecution. I thought that any dismissal before the case goes to the jury is appealable. It would seem to me that an appeal is the last thing that either Trump or Cannon would want.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Horse, meet barn. Whoa, guess not. At this point Cannon’s already dragged out the pretrial nonsense so nonsensically that the concept of appeals is meaningless. Either DJT will be elected, scotching the entire case, or he won’t and he’ll see any appeals court in hell.

        Since the Trump campaign has telegraphed that its play is not for votes but for civil war, does it even matter? It would seem that Cannon, by clinging to this case with her fingernails, has already won it for him in every way that matters.

  7. Savage Librarian says:

    Prickled Divider

    There was a Scott Brady
    who burrowed a spy
    We think we know why
    he burrowed a spy:
    Ask that Barr guy

    There was a Scott Brady
    who burrowed a hider
    Who wriggled and jiggled
    a prickled divider
    He burrowed the hider to cache a spy
    We think we know why
    he burrowed a spy:
    Ask that Barr guy

    There was a Scott Brady
    who burrowed a nerd
    How absurd to burrow a nerd
    He burrowed the nerd to cache the hider
    Who wriggled and jiggled
    a prickled divider
    He burrowed the hider to cache a spy
    We think we know why
    he burrowed a spy:
    Ask that Barr guy

    There was a Scott Brady
    who burrowed a rat
    Well fancy that, he burrowed a rat
    He burrowed the rat to cache the nerd
    He burrowed the nerd to cache the hider
    Who wriggled and jiggled
    a prickled divider
    He burrowed the hider to cache a spy
    We think we know why
    he burrowed a spy:
    Ask that Barr guy

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jozWhbRdpro

    “I Know an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly”

  8. bmaz says:

    How many people suddenly need to “prove they are human”? Seriously? What in the world has happened to this blog and its comment section? It is gross, yet incredibly telling.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      May people don’t regard lawyers as human, even when they need them to save their bacon. Or have I not captcha’d your concern?

      • Rayne says:

        Please don’t stir up trouble right now. We’re looking into the current hiccup right now, your patience is appreciated.

    • emptywheel says:

      Sorry: this was meant to be a response to you.

      Try again. There was a problem that went well beyond your paranoia. But thanks for advertising that all over the Interwebs.

      • bmaz says:

        It is not “paranoia”, it is true, and you are smart enough to know that. But thanks for repetitively spewing that bunk. Again, you are welcome for the 18 years of service, not to mention your, and your family’s, visits to our home.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Hey, bmaz, I saw the youtube before it disappeared. Human.

      But it just occurred to me that you might have thought the title of my parody was somehow related to you. It was not. I just needed to find an appropriate rhyme for ‘tickled inside her’ which turned out to be ‘prickled decider.’

  9. emptywheel says:

    Try again. There was a problem that went well beyond your paranoia. But thanks for advertising that all over the Interwebs, counselor.

  10. Error Prone says:

    The indictment is wrongly taking archive presidential papers and classified items from White House to MAL. What is exculptory about order of items, if when FBI first examined things there was no order? Trump claimed a thorough search was made, in returning some of the classified things. If there had been order, it was gone after that internal MAL effort.

    Things taken out that were marked classified, either are or are not that, regardless of the order they were boxed. It is the nature of things, not the order, that matters.

    • bmaz says:

      Yes, and that crime started when they were removed on moving day from the White House. As the crime started then and there, why is the case in SDFL? Nobody has ever really answered that. Because there is not a great answer.

      • soundgood2 says:

        I believe that was because he left the Whitehouse before noon therefore he was still President and lawfully in possession of the items at the time he took them from the WH.

        • emptywheel says:

          The crime has 3 elements.
          1) Unlawfully retained
          2) National Defense Information
          3) Refuse to give it back

          Contrary to common belief, the crime only begins when someone becomes provably aware he had NDI he was not lawfully authorized to retain. And even then, it is rare to charge someone unless there’s a moment when, having realized they had the NDI, they refused to give it back.

          With Biden, Hur was stretching to claim that his comment about classified info in 2017 had to relate to classified docs later found in his garage and not some classified docs Biden had just returned (in 2017).

          With Trump, you have a clear cut case of Trump refusing to give stuff back in response to the subpoena for the docs. The crime happens when he refuses to give stuff back.

          Because Presidents don’t have clearance, there’s not a moment they are read out of clearances, and so not a moment before NARA and then FBI come asking when they are asked to give stuff back.

    • fatvegan000 says:

      I thought Trump wasn’t charged with stealing the documents, he was charged with not giving them back.

      Clearly the dispute about the order of the docs/the agent not following procedure is just the usual Trump playbook and has no other purpose but to furnish talking points to the right wing media to use to distract their audience from Trump’s crimes, and to furnish Cannon with another issue to hold a show hearing about.

      • Rayne says:

        These are the charges from the indictment:

        Counts 1-31: 18 USC 793(e) – Willful Retention of National Defense Information
        Count 32: 18 USC 1512(k) – Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice
        Count 33: 18 USC 1512(b)(2)(A) – Withholding a Document or Record
        Count 34: 18 USC 1512(c)(I) – Corruptly Concealing a Document or Record
        Count 35: 18 USC 1519 – Concealing a Document in a Federal Investigation
        Count 36: 18 USC 1001(a)(1),2 – Scheme to Conceal
        Count 37: 18 USC 1001(a)(2),2 – False Statements and Representations
        Count 38: 18 USC 1001(a)(2) – False Statements and Representations

        None of these are theft which I think is 18 USC 641.

      • emptywheel says:

        The dispute about order started from Nauta, bc he is alleged to have seen one classified doc and then helped withhold the docs. There, there’s at least an arguable case about spoilage.

        With Trump, that’s harder, because he was withholding entire boxes.

    • emptywheel says:

      It’s not.

      It’s unlawfully retaining the docs (actually, National Defense information, not classified) and refusing to give them back.

      If he took the docs while still POTUS, it’s not a crime at all (and if you can’t prove that he didn’t do so, then you have to assume he took the docs legally). To prove the case you need to prove 1) he knew he still had NDI he wasn’t allowed to have and 2) he was refusing to give them back.

      With Biden, order mattered because there was a dispute about whether he knew he had the docs. With Trump, you prove he knew he had the docs other ways, such as by showing his curated box in his office. The curation matters, though.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        If curation matters, does Trump’s complaint about agents disordering “his” papers become a meaningful defense argument? While it seems to me like something inspired by the real disarrangement of Biden’s papers documented in the Hur report then adopted by Trump’s lawyers opportunistically, does Trump have even a shaky leg to stand on here? (One that Cannon’s manufacturing of process delays would survive?)

  11. harpie says:

    Daniel Nichanian at Bolt has really good coverage of what’s happening in France:

    https://bsky.app/profile/taniel.bsky.social/post/3kve3r6u4go2q
    Jun 20, 2024 at 7:15 AM

    Hard to sum up the level of anti-left vitriol from Macron’s party right now.

    This is Borne, Macron’s prime minister from 2022 to 2024. She calls Left coalition “separatist wokists who support Islamism & communitarianism.” After that word vomit, she criticizes far-right for… having a vague platform. [THREAD]

    • harpie says:

      BOLTS…not Bolt

      Also:
      Ask Bolts: How Voting Works in France and the UK
      https://boltsmag.org/ask-bolts/

      […] At Bolts, we’re always interested in varying models of democracy—and what lessons they teach us. Two major elections are coming up abroad in early July, within days of one another: The United Kingdom votes on July 4 to elect its members of parliament for the first time since 2019, and France is heading to the polls on June 30 and July 7 to renew its National Assembly. […]

      It’s interesting timing that this TRUMP-STONE / Macron stuff comes up now.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Thanks, harpie. Interesting, yes, and depressing too. I wonder if Macron is playing both sides of the fence in case Trump wins. It seems much of Europe’s leadership has worries along these lines.

    • earlofhuntingon says:

      Like brains, charisma, and sexual attractiveness, sincerity is hard or impossible to fake.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        Well, I’ve been conned by one or two too many experts in “sexual attractiveness”. I guess that I’m an easy mark.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Stone stole that line from Laurence Olivier, who said it in regards to acting. (My mom used to quote it all the time.) Of course, Stone is nothing if not unoriginal.

  12. Molly Pitcher says:

    From the NYT: “Judge in Trump Documents Case Rejected Suggestions to Step Aside
    Two federal judges in South Florida privately urged Aileen M. Cannon to decline the case when it was assigned to her last year, according to two people briefed on the matter. She chose to keep it.”

    “Shortly after Judge Aileen M. Cannon drew the assignment in June 2023 to oversee former President Donald J. Trump’s classified documents case, two more experienced colleagues on the federal bench in Florida urged her to pass it up and hand it off to another jurist, according to two people briefed on the conversations.

    The judges who approached Judge Cannon — including the chief judge in the Southern District of Florida, Cecilia M. Altonaga — each asked her to consider whether it would be better if she were to decline the high-profile case, allowing it to go to another judge, the two people said.

    But Judge Cannon, who was appointed by Mr. Trump, wanted to keep the case and refused the judges’ entreaties.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/20/us/politics/aileen-cannon-trump-classified-documents.html

    • Rayne says:

      Interesting how this story bubbled up on its own, an immaculately conceived story.

      The two people who discussed the efforts to persuade her to hand off the case spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. Each had been told about it by different federal judges in the Southern District of Florida, including Judge Altonaga.

      Neither of the people identified the second federal judge in Florida who had reached out to Judge Cannon. One of the people confirmed the effort to persuade Judge Cannon to step aside but did not describe the details of the conversations the two judges had with her. The other person offered more details.

      This person said each outreach took place by telephone. The first judge to call Judge Cannon, this person said, suggested to her that it would be better for the case to be handled by a jurist based closer to the district’s busiest courthouse in Miami, where the grand jury that indicted Mr. Trump had sat.

      Sure would like to know more about the second judge. Altonaga is a Cuban American appointed by GWB.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Yep, Rayne, I sure would like to know more about how that story happened too. Thrush and Feuer are among the less-untrustworthy NYT reporters; it would seem that they’ve been waiting with this one for the moment Altonaga said Go. (Just a guess.)

        Whatever else is true, I think we can read it as the tip of a rather enormous iceberg among the judiciary, who are probably royally sick of being made to look like partisan wackos.

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