Classified Documents issues could be the end for Donald Trump:
Former President Donald Trump’s biggest legal jeopardy could come from the classified documents that he kept at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., former Attorney General Bill Barr told CBS News.
“If there was a case out there that I would be concerned about if I was … the former president is the Mar-a-Lago document case,” Barr said.
“It doesn’t go a lot on intent or anything like that; it is very clear that he had no business having those documents. He was given a long time to send them back, and they were subpoenaed. If there were any games going on there, and he is very exposed.”
Barr told Catherine Herridge that he believes that it could be highly likely that Donald Trump could be indicted by the end of the year.
“It could earlier in the fall or in the summer would be the earliest I would expect it,” Barr said.
Former White House lawyer Ty Cobb, who represented the former president during the Mueller investigation, agrees with Barr.
“I think this is ‘i’ dotting and ‘t’ crossing. I think that this case is ready to go,” Cobb told CNN. “The simple fact is there is a process … and (Trump) totally ignored that and believes that the mere fact he took them declassifies (the documents). That is not the law.”
Donald Trump Fires Back
Trump told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins that he had every right to take the classified documents with him after leaving office.
“I had every right to under the Presidential Records Act,” Trump said when asked by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins why he took documents when he left the White House. “You have the Presidential Records Act. I was there and I took what I took and it gets declassified.”
New evidence undercuts Trump’s stated belief that he could simply declassify documents by the simple thought of wanting them declassified.
The Presidential Records Act states that the U.S. government retains ownership of all presidential documents after a president leaves office.
Trump Can’t Plead Ignorance on Declassification
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) plans to hand over 16 documents to Special Counsel Jack Smith showing that the former president had been briefed on the proper procedures.
Donald Trump had attempted to block the special counsel from receiving the documents by claiming a “constitutionally based privilege, but NARA disputes this and is prepared to prove it in court.
“The 16 records in question all reflect communications involving close presidential advisers, some of them directed to you personally, concerning whether, why, and how you should declassify certain classified records,” Archivist Debra Steidel Wall wrote Trump in May 16 letter obtained by CNN.
The letter gives the former president until May 24 to hand over the documents unless contravened by a court order.
Trump Legal Team Says Trump Has Right to Keep Documents
Trump lawyer Jim Trusty defended the former president’s custody of the documents to CNN.
“At the end of his presidency, he relied on the constitutional authority as commander-in-chief, which is to take documents and take them to Mar-a-Lago while still president as he was at the time, and to effectively declassify and personalize them,” Trusty told CNN’s Sara Sidner of the former president. “He talked about declassifying them, but he didn’t need to.”
Trusty claimed that Trump had issued a standing order before leaving office to declassify documents he took from the White House and Oval Office.
John Rossomando was a senior analyst for Defense Policy and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.