New allegations might have Donald Trump in more legal trouble than ever before.
This is occurring at a time when Trump is gearing up to run for president and take on Ron DeSantis.
Do the allegations have any weight to them? Is Donald Trump’s ‘legal nightmare’ just getting started?
Donald Trump: More Legal Drama?
The Guardian, a British left-leaning publication, believes it has new details to show Donald Trump may have attempted to avoid a subpoena of classified documents by hiding them in his personal office at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, two anonymous sources said May 30. The latest revelation centers around the action of Trump attorney Evan Corcoran. Corcoran’s job was to follow the subpoena’s instructions and root out all the classified documents and send this material to investigators.
What’s the Latest?
The Guardian said the president’s aides told him to search the storage room in the mansion where he found 38 classified documents. Corcoran then inquired if he should search other rooms and the staff replied in the negative, according to the anonymous sources. Trump’s staff said that the storage room was the only place any documents were stored. What Corcoran didn’t know, if The Guardian is to be believed, is that the former president was hiding a further trove of documents in his personal office.
When the FBI later searched the residence in person, they found 101 secret papers, some were in Trump’s office.
Trump’s Camp Says Not So Fast
Trump’s press team disputes this version of events. “This is completely false and rooted in pure fantasy. The real story is the illegal weaponization of the justice department and their witch-hunts targeted to influence an election in order to try and prevent President Trump from returning to the White House,” a spokesperson said.
Secret Papers Mixed in with Material That Was Legal
It is not clear if Trump himself told Corcoran not to search his office. In Trump’s defense, he and his staff may not have remembered or known if he had classified documents in his office. The FBI found the papers mixed in with personal effects, keepsakes, clothes, magazines, and gifts. It is plausible that Trump wanted to keep some of this private material in his office. Trump may just have figured all the classified documents were in the storage room.
It is important to keep in mind that so far, despite the efforts of anti-Trump media sources to make him guilty in the court of public opinion, there is no obvious and proven criminal intent by Trump to deceive investigators. Trump may have simply kept records he thought were rightfully his to keep. It is understandable that a president would want to store mementoes in his office. Perhaps Trump wanted to use this material to write his memoirs and the best storage spot for that authorship would be to keep them in his private office.
Trump Says He Can Declassify Secret Documents
Also, Trump’s attorneys will say that the commander-in-chief is the ultimate arbiter of what is classified and what isn’t. Since Trump had these documents in his possession, they were automatically de-classified – in an action that is within his presidential powers, Trump lawyers will claim. That means there was no intent to violate the Espionage Act or the Presidential Records Act, his legal team is likely to say.
Donald Trump may get indicted for the classified documents, but he has a plausible defense to deny he intended to commit a crime. There is reasonable doubt here. The Guardian likes to write a daily article about the classified document brouhaha to satisfy its leftist readers who hope that Trump will someday end up in jail. The publication is trying to create a “drip-drip-drip” scandal by quoting anonymous sources who may not even testify in a potential trial if there is one.
Trump, however, may have to get ready to be indicted for the classified document saga and the left will rejoice, but he deserves a legal defense that tells his side of the story. There was a subpoena, Trump’s lawyer did a search the best he could, not all documents were found during the sweep, and Trump had them mixed in with personal effects. This may not ultimately be considered a crime by a potential criminal jury, and until that trial concludes (if it ever happens), Trump deserves to be considered innocent until proven guilty, despite efforts to skewer him in the leftwing media before he gets a chance to defend himself in the courtroom.
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Author Expertise and Experience:
Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.