The Trump legal team is facing unprecedented challenges. And, in fact, Donald Trump could be facing 33 years in jail.
Donald Trump in Hot Water
Having already endured the historic indictment of their client, former President Donald J. Trump for alleged hush money payments made in 2016 to the pornographic film star, Stormy Daniels, their client has also been found liable of battery and defamation against the journalist E. Jean Carroll.
There are still more legal headwinds that the Trump defense team faces.
Next up is the case that former Trump Administration Attorney General Bill Barr thinks is the most legally damaging to the forty-fifth president: the charges that Trump mishandled massive amounts of classified documents.
It is over this case, though, that the Trump legal team appears to be most worried. So, too, are the House Republicans rushing to the aid of the last (and possibly next) GOP president.
The Trump legal team has met with the Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys working on the classified documents case. Such a meeting normally occurs shortly before an indictment is set to be handed down.
An Indictment is Coming for Donald Trump
According to reports, Special Counsel Jack Smith, the DOJ attorney in charge of the investigation into Trump’s possible misuse of classified documents, is wrapping up his investigation into the former president. There is one more witness set to be heard from before it is believed that Smith will end his investigation into the matter.
The fact that the Trump attorneys met with the DOJ to make the argument that an indictment over the classified documents scandal should not be issued by the DOJ indicates that Trump is likely to have another indictment under his belt.
Trump is set to become the first, twice-indicted man to run for the presidency. Things are not looking good for the former president’s legal future.
Politically, however, the first two rounds of Trump’s legal problems have boosted his poll numbers among likely Republican Party voters heading into the presidential primary. That might change, though, if he is found guilty in the classified documents case.
This Time It Really Is Serious
The classified documents case is the most concerning because it carries with it sentencing for having violated laws like the Espionage Act and possible obstruction of justice (this latter charge is what took down Richard M. Nixon’s presidency).
If the former president is found guilty of these crimes, which it seems likely at this rate, then the maximum sentence would be 33 years—to say nothing of the other criminal investigations into Trump simultaneously occurring.
It is for this reason that the House Republicans have waded into the matter, in an attempt to give cover to their stricken leader. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) of the House Judiciary Committee has issued a letter to the Biden Administration Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, who is supposed to be overseeing the special counsel investigation into Trump, has demanded that Garland show the unredacted memorandum “outlining the scope of the [classified] investigation” into Trump.
Presently, the grand jury’s investigation into the Trump classified documents is kept secret (which is why there’s confusion on the part of Trump’s lawyers and the House GOP as to whether an indictment is pending).
What’s going on is that the GOP is trying to head off another surprise indictment of the kind that got Trump in the Stormy Daniels case. The Republicans want to stage-manage this event and prevent it from derailing his campaign. Given that most Americans believe both Trump and President Joe Biden should be investigated for their mishandling of classified documents, Trump will not be viewed sympathetically by most voters (outside of the GOP, that is).
It is imperative to understand that the charges against Mr. Trump in the classified documents case are much more serious than the exaggerated charges against the former president in the Stormy Daniels and E. Jean Carroll cases. The Republicans do not want to cede the narrative ground to the Left on this critical matter.
The behavior of the Trump legal team and the House GOP, though, should worry the Trump Campaign (and Trump himself). It likely means that an indictment is coming.
Unfortunately for Trump, while most Americans likely view this as way too in-the-weeds, he will likely be found guilty of having mishandled classified documents, meaning his only hope of avoiding jail time will be to return to the presidency, and pardon himself. What a thing, a man running for the highest office in the land, not to save the country, but likely to save himself from his own legal bungling.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.