Espionage Act charges have been mentioned by a legal expert as prosecutors have gathered evidence that Trump sometimes showed classified documents to others and kept them in a place they were visible to others in his office.
In a damning and well documented report in the Washington Post, we learned today: “Prosecutors in addition have gathered evidence indicating that Trump at times kept classified documents in his office in a place where they were visible and sometimes showed them to others, these people said.
Taken together, the new details of the classified-documents investigation suggest a greater breadth and specificity to the instances of possible obstruction found by the FBI and Justice Department than has been previously reported.”
Even during his presidency when Trump treated Mar-a-Lago like a “Winter White House” he kept no visitor logs or other system of tracking visitors. Forbes has documented a few of the thousands of visitors through a compilation of photos shared and other means, showing a range from conspiracy theorists to former European Parliament member Nigel Farage , Ray J and the former general who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators Michael Flynn (not a great person to be seeing classified documents), Roger Stone who the government accused of undermining the Russia investigation by lying about his communications with Wikileaks, intimidating a witness, and more was found guilty of seven felony counts but later pardoned by Trump, and also in addition to the usual suspects of Republicans and conservative activists were the son of Brazil’s president Eduardo Bolsonaro and Lee Dong-sup, who was a member of South Korea’s parliament in 2018. Representatives from Brazil, South Korea and Russia – check.
The list is not comforting, especially from a man who made a “joke” about his bigger “red button” just last night.
Over this incredibly disturbing news, former Special Counsel for the Department of Defense and co-editor-in-chief of Just Security Ryan Goodman wrote, “I expect this will result in Espionage Act charges. Dissemination is key.”
2. Trump’s reported conduct of RETAINING classified documents is already more serious than average case in which Justice Department DOES indict.
COMMUNICATING or TRANSMITTING classified documents to third parties is considered much more egregious. pic.twitter.com/54nQ3r3bDU
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) May 25, 2023
“The reported facts are now far beyond just an obstruction case. Willfully disseminating to third parties is also easily distinguishable from Pence, Biden, other instances in which DOJ has declined to prosecute (eg Alberto Gonzales),” Goodman continued.
In the next tweet, he highlighted an excerpt from this breaking news, “A second employee who help Walt Nauta move boxes into storage room a day before FBI visit on June 3.
The next day… “the employee helped Nauta pack an SUV ‘when former president Trump left for Bedminster.’”
Goodman pointed out a section saying the DOJ has “evidence that even before Trump’s office received the subpoena in May, he had what some officials have dubbed a ‘dress rehearsal’ for moving government documents that he did not want to relinquish,” from which he concludes the following two charges are applicable:
18 USC 1519 – obstruction
18 USC 793(e) – willful retention
People familiar with the situation told the Post reporters that “Smith’s team has concluded the bulk of its investigative work in the documents case and believes it has uncovered a handful of distinct episodes of obstructionist conduct,” one of which occurred AFTER the August 8th FBI search.
Donald Trump has denied all wrong-doing in the classified documents case, even claiming during a March Fox appearance that he had “the right to take” classified documents with him to Mar-a-Lago and in his recent CNN town hall when asked if he had shown the classified documents to anyone else, said, “Not really… I would have the right to… not that I can think of.”
In reality, intentionally disclosing classified information without authorization is a federal crime under the Espionage Act, hence Goodman’s mentioning of it in this case. Punishment can be up to 10 years in prison or even charged with treason.
Trump has labeled this investigation a “witch hunt.”
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