If you’ve not heard by now Special Counsel Jack Smith, the man who is leading the grand jury investigations into former President Donald J. Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents as well as his involvement in the January 6 riots.
Having already been indicted for the classified documents case, Trump now finds himself suffering through yet another count that has been tacked onto the already voluminous charges in the classified documents case.
The charge that Jack Smith has added—under a superseding indictment—revolves around a purported incident at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, when the forty-fifth president waved around a top-secret presentation in front of aides, who were not cleared to see the documents in question.
To be clear, Trump was not allowed to have the documents either, as the government alleges that the former president had never properly declassified the documents in question before he left office.
Specifically, Smith is charging the former president with the willful retention of National Defense Information, which is illegal, unless the documents were properly declassified.
Which, of course, they were not—despite Trump having been thoroughly briefed on proper declassification procedures by the National Archives and Records Administration before he had left office.
Jack Smith’s case also involves charges of obstruction of justice.
This is the charge that historically takes political figures down. Think of former President Richard Nixon. Along with the additional charge against Trump, Smith has added indictments for a few Trump aides.
An as-yet-to-be-named fourth individual was added to the indictment list by Smith as well.
Investigators believe that Trump, Nauta, and de Oliveira orchestrated an attempted cover-up regarding their improper storage of classified documents.
Smith suspects that the three men instructed the unnamed fourth individual, a worker at the former president’s club and primary residence in Palm Beach, Fla., Mar-a-Lago, to delete surveillance camera footage last summer “to prevent the footage from being provided to a federal grand jury.”
On top of the alleged deletion of videographic evidence, Trump, Nauta, and de Oliveira are suspected by investigators of having made false statements to investigators about the classified documents case.
These three men are also believed to have withheld relevant documents. All to obstruct the federal grand jury investigation into the matter.
It is going to be difficult for the former president to prove his innocence, given all the evidence that has already been presented indicating that, at least on a technical level, he did violate the Espionage Act.
Jack Smith’s investigative team appears poised to prove that the former president and his top aides did, in fact, obstruct justice—only compounding their alleged guilt in this case.
Taken together, should the forty-fifth president be found guilty of the supposed violations of the Espionage Act and the obstruction of justice charges, he would spend the remainder of his life in prison.
It’s Not Just a Witch Hunt, Sadly
For his part, Trump insists that this is nothing more than another witch hunt aimed at the heart of his reelection campaign, which he believes is going well. Indeed, the former president is presently dominating the GOP Primary field.
Although, no debate has been had—let alone an actual vote, which won’t happen until the Iowa GOP Primary is held in January.
Trump is likely correct in his suspicions that the Department of Justice (DOJ), which is nominally led by Trump’s would-be Democratic Party rival in the General Election, is a politicized event.
For example, for Trump’s various court cases (he has been indicted in the New York state cases involving alleged hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and the libel and battery case that E. Jean Carroll brought against Trump, as well as the federal grand jury investigation into the classified documents case), Trump has court dates coinciding with key dates in the GOP Primary.
Yes, the Democrats are Taking Advantage But Trump Erred Bigly, Too
In fact, Trump’s court date for the mishandled classified documents case is set for just a few days before the final GOP Primary vote is to take place.
He has another court date for the same week as the first GOP Primary debate in just a few weeks. So, it’s very difficult to pretend like politics isn’t influencing these things.
Yet, the DOJ is also right when they say that Trump violated the law.
It is increasingly obvious that the former president flouted classification protocols, despite having been briefed on the matter.
What’s more, Trump and his top aides clearly attempted to obstruct the special counsel probe into the matter.
Thus, we are at a point where Trump’s own actions—again—have given his enemies all the ammunition they need to frag him publicly, in the midst of a crucial moment in his political career.
Whether this is the end of his political career remains to be seen. Each indictment appears to make him more popular amongst Republican voters.
But it looks like the Democrats are hopeful that these indictments that are making him more likely to be elected as the GOP Presidential nominee will simultaneously make him unelectable in the minds of critical independent voters.
One thing is clear, though, this is a truly sad day for the country. No one should relish these dark days. It’s a pox on our national house. Pray for America for she needs it.
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.