There has been much talk about classified documents in relation to the FBI raid at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.
Trump spoke about declassifying documents, and there’s a report on a “standing order declassifying documents he reviewed.
However, it’s important to remember that the warrant’s criminal statutes don’t concern whether the documents are classified.
Because, as you can see, you first select your target and then decide to search for it. Then you choose the crime. https://t.co/jH5Gce2o9a
— Brit Hume (@brithume) August 13, 2022
It is a tactic to try and get Trump to do something, while simultaneously jacking up left-leaning slogans like “classified” and “nuclear.” However, those aren’t the key questions that the statutes ask. There is no evidence that the warrant has any connection to nuclear material. We reported that this is not mentioned in the warrant. At least, what has been disclosed so far. The Washington Post only provided a report called “sources”, which is valid for three days old cheese that has been left to rot. It was a report from the Washington Post.
The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent Prof. Margot Cleveland explains in an interesting Twitter thread.
Search warrant & schedules has been bristling me & I finally figured out why-we are getting lost in what was taken & what was listed as susceptible to seizure & NOT the criminal provisions on which warrant was based. While I am still thinking about this, I have realized that none of the three criminal statutes which justified the search required materials to be classified. Both NY Times and Washington Post pointed out that Trump could keep classified information & a list of the items taken.
The three statutes in question are 18 U.S.C. SSSS 793, 2071, and 1519.
But Cleveland goes on:
Espionage Act’s plain language does not require material related to “national defense” to be classified. Preliminary research supports my understanding, but I want to go deeper.
Second penal provision that doesn’t make a distinction between unclassified and classified.
The third does not. The third, however, is not concerned with Trump’s “destruction” but rather his possession.
The “classified” top secret is an emotive red herring. Trump claimed that he had top-secret information, but the search was not authorized. He claims he did not have it b/c they declassified. It doesn’t really matter under the statutes.
The problem with this is that statutes could be cited in a wide range of ways.
And whether classified or not, the second statute cited, seems to make Trump taking anything that is considered “Presidential Papers” from White House, whether classified or not; whether the archivest (sp?) Is there a copy?
The first statute addresses “national defense”, again declassified or unclassified. It could also include pictures of Trump using military equipment, which would make it seem that the matter is “personal” rather than non-presidential papers.
If I am correctly reading the statutes, DOJ must show judge Trump kept Presidential Papers. This would cover any classified material (unless exempted).
These papers are government property and should be returned to the archivist.
She noted also that there was a separate statute regarding classified material, but it wasn’t mentioned in the warrant.
Why was the “espionage act” used instead/in addition? You don’t have to make it classified as espionage or Presidential Papers.
Why is the “Obstruction of Justice”, which deals with destruction and not keeping, included in this? I suspect that DOJ is looking for a crime against Trump. It appears Trump’s keeping Presidential Papers would qualify. But they want him to be charged with “destroying” evidence.
What is the DOJ’s underlying investigation or proper administration justice? This is where I believe they are looking for Trump’s January 6 and post-election communications. If there isn’t, he may have obstructed justice.
I’m nodding this, but the main takeaway from it is that all of “classifieds” are misplaced. Trump is the man, and they discovered the “crimes”. The “classified/top-secret” play is open to all & can distract from the main goal. The obstruction shows that the scope of the investigation goes far beyond Trump’s Presidential Records. And on that point, it would seem that any document that WAS classified at some point between 2017-2021 would be definition be a Presidential Record, and viola a crime to keep. It still smells, but it is not cat pee.
To sum it all, somebody tried to find him and found a crime to match. It doesn’t mean “classified/not classified” and is not relevant to the underlying statutes.
The other side to this is that they may try to get Trump letters from Kim Jong Un, or any such absurdity, which will only confirm how partisan this group is. This is especially considering the treatment of Hillary Clinton with her private server. He didn’t remove any of the items either — they had been sent to him via the GSA. He probably didn’t know the contents of the items and was willing to share his knowledge with them. It will be difficult to infute him with any actions regarding his removal. However, the ultimate goal here could be to indict him and hang him up even though they will likely lose.