Crime Donald Trump Espionage

Special Counsel’s Grand Jury Reconvenes Next Week After Brief Hiatus – Are Indictments Imminent?

Next week a grand jury will reconvene in a Washington, D.C. courthouse to hear more testimony in the growing case against former president Donald Trump that could lead to him being charged with violating the Espionage Act and obstructing justice.

NBC News reports that the grand jury empaneled by Justice Department Jack Smith has been on a brief hiatus but is scheduled to meet again Monday, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Based on reporting from NBC News and other outlets, prosecutors face two central legal questions: 1) Did Trump wrongfully retain classified documents after he left the White House? 2) Did he later obstruct the government’s efforts to retrieve them?

If Smith decides to indict Trump, it would be the first time a former president has been charged with a federal crime. Though Trump has already been charged in New York with state crimes related to hush money payments, the cases differ dramatically.

Court filings suggest that Smith is indeed gathering evidence that would support prosecuting Trump for some very serious crimes which carry extremely long sentences in federal prison. Those fall into two main categories:

  • Crimes about the handling (or mishandling) of classified documents.
  • Crimes about obstructing investigators from retrieving all of those materials, even when under subpoena. 

Mishandling the documents falls under the Espionage Act, which makes it a crime for anyone to be in “unauthorized possession” of “national defense” material and then “willfully” holds on to the items in violation of federal law.

Obstruction involves the intent to “impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation.”

But there are also other possible avenues Smith could pursue against the disgraced ex-president, NBC notes.

Recent reporting from the Washington Post about Trump “sometimes” showing classified documents to others raises the question of whether he could be charged under an entirely different statute, “disclosure of classified information,” which prohibits revealing certain classified material to anyone not authorized to receive it.

With the grand jury gathering again, all of this begs the question of when we can expect Smith to possibly hand down indictments against Trump. Based simply on the fact that the 2024 primary season is already beginning with candidate announcements, it would seem that Smith will be making a decision very soon. But the actual timeline is known only by him.

The next couple of weeks should be worth watching very closely.


Crime Donald Trump Espionage

Legal Expert: Trump’s Problems Just Went From ‘Bad To Worse’ In Documents Case

A report from the Washington Post suggesting that disgraced former president Donald Trump left classified documents in plain view at his Mar-a-Lago resort and may also have shared them with others is the worst possible news and means his legal liability has gone from “bad to worse” according to attorney Norm Eisen.

In a column he wrote for MSNBC, Eisen notes there’s more than enough evidence to indict Trump for obstruction of justice, but the Post report means the stakes are even higher now.

If Trump had really showed off classified documents to people at Mar-a-Lago, then that would add to what we already know of his legal liability,” Eisen writes. “Just by retaining the documents, Trump would face liability for apparent willful possession and retention of the classified documents pertaining to national defense. Under section 793(e) of the Espionage Act, it is a criminal offense for a person without authorization to willfully retain classified documents and fail to deliver them to an officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive them.

And that’s where things get even stickier for the ex-president, Eisen explains.

… purposefully showing classified documents to others without authorization, in the manner reported by the Post and the Times, would go beyond retaining classified documents as prohibited by the statute. It likely constitutes an even more egregious violation of the Espionage Act under the clause prohibiting the willful communication, delivery or transmission of classified documents.

The bottom line is that the Justice Department’s case against the scofflaw former head of state “is becoming clearer and potentially more damning — and the possible consequences for Trump more dire.”

Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith is expected to announce indictments against Trump as soon as next week, according to some reports.


Crime Donald Trump Espionage Foreign Policy

Trump’s Financial Ties To Saudi Arabia Should Be Of Interest To The Special Counsel: Report

Earlier this week, we learned that Special Counsel Jack Smith had subpoenaed business records from the Trump Organization regarding its international business dealings, especially its connections to the nations of China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman.

Saudi Arabia should be of special interest to investigators working for Smith, according to Heather Digby Parton of Salon, who notes, “If Trump were just retiring to his golf resorts and taking advantage of all the contacts he made while president, it might be reasonable just to let it go in the interest of never having to think about him again.”

But Trump is instead shilling for the Saudi-owned LIV golf tour, with many of the events being held at golf clubs owned by the failed and indicted ex-president.

Let’s hope that unlike Robert Mueller, who refused to exceed his mandate and look at Trump’s finances, Jack Smith sees this for the blatant corruption it is. Otherwise, we’re just accepting that it’s perfectly OK for presidents and presidential candidates to do big favors for autocratic foreign governments in exchange for money. Are we really that far gone?

It should also be noted that shortly after he left the White House as a senior adviser, Jared Kushner scored one of the largest deals ever for a departing member of an administration: $2 billion from Saudi Arabia.

The day after leaving the White House, Kushner created a company that he transformed months laterinto a private equity firm with $2 billion from a sovereign wealth fund chairedby Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Kushner’s firm structured those fundsin sucha way that it did not have to disclose the source, according to previously unreported details of Securities and Exchange Commission forms reviewed by The Washington Post. His business used a commonly employed strategy that allows many equity firms to avoid transparency about funding sources, experts said.

Some will argue that the Saudis are our allies, which is partially true, but they also have blood and the stench of corruption all over their hands when it comes to the following events that no American should ever forget:

  • 15 of the 19 hijackers who attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001 were Saudi citizens.
  • The Saudis had a dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, killed and dismembered by members of an intelligence unit loyal to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
  • Saudi Arabia increased oil production when Trump was in the White House but raised prices and cut production as soon as Joe Biden was elected in 2020.

Hopefully Jack Smith will indeed trace the links between Trump, his company, and Saudi Arabia, including what classified documents the disgraced former president may have shared with or sold to the Saudis. If it can be proven that Trump shared secret information with Saudi Arabia, the former president should be indicted and Saudis should be slapped with major economic sanctions.


Crime Donald Trump Espionage Justice Department The Trump Organization

Subpoena Of Trump Org. Suggests DOJ Thinks Donald Tried To Sell Classified Docs: Legal Expert

Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith issued a subpoena today for records from the Trump Organization dating back to 2017, including foreign financial records from seven countries, according to The New York Times.

It remains unclear precisely what the prosecutors were hoping to find by sending the subpoena to Mr. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, or when it was issued. But the subpoena suggests that investigators have cast a wider net than previously understood as they scrutinize whether he broke the law in taking sensitive government materials with him upon leaving the White House and then not fully complying with demands for their return.

The Times also reports that the Trump Organization has real estate licensing and development deals in China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

What could be the purpose of the subpoenas of the Trump Organization? That was the question posed to Former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who appeared on MSNBC and said he believes the disgraced former president may have tried to sell the documents to foreign nations.

“Just about ten minutes ago, on air, I said to you that the stolen documents case against Donald Trump is his biggest threat, and that it gets stronger with every passing day,” Katyal noted. “I guess it’s getting stronger with every passing minute because, in the last ten minutes, it appears to have gotten even stronger.”

Katyal added, “Basically, the background here is the prosecutor’s fear, the public’s fear, that Donald Trump monetizes everything. He monetized Jan. 6th, of all things. He monetizes his impeachment and the like. So, I think the prosecutor’s concern here has been when he took these highly sensitive classified documents, was he trying to monetize those as well?”

The new subpoena also suggests there could be even more serious criminal charges coming against the previously indicted ex-president, Katyal explained.

“What this says is perhaps there is even more. There is a whole other set of potential criminal charges.

“Of course, this is just early reporting, but basically, what this reporting is saying is that since 2017, the prosecutors were looking at Trump’s conduct while in office, while president and after he left office. So, they’re not just looking at the Stormy Daniels kind of time period, which is before Trump took office, or the inflation of real estate assets, which was before Trump took office. They’re looking now at presidential and post-presidential conduct.”

If indeed it can be proven that Trump sold such documents to foreign nations, that would mean the ex-president is a traitor and could be locked up for the rest of his life, along with any Trump Org. officials who might have taken part in the scheme.


Crime Donald Trump Espionage WTF?!

Trump Lawyer Tries (And Fails) To Explain How Donald Can Declassify Things He Doesn’t Even Know Exist

Up until this week, Tim Parlatore served as a member of failed former president Donald Trump’s legal team that’s defending him against allegations he illegally took classified documents from the White House and stored them at his Mar-a-Lago resort in direct violation of federal law.

And now Parlatore is speaking out, trying to bolster his former client by claiming that the disgraced ex-president was able to declassify documents with his mind, including documents he didn’t even know existed.

Appearing on CNN, Parlatore was asked by host Paula Reid how Trump could first claim he had no idea there were classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, and later say he declassified them with the power of his thoughts.

Parlatore began by saying the two issues were separate.

First, Trump could have not known there were boxes of classified documents at his resort in Florida.

The other issue, according to Parlatore, is that when Trump did find out such documents were at Mar-a-Lago, he was able to make them declassified with his mind.

“The processes that are in play in the White House do not match the same level of care if you will, that are done in the intelligence agencies and in the military. And so, marked documents, whether classified or declassified and unclassified document, get mixed in — and this is not just about when packed up to leave. This is about the four years while we’re in office. Now, since we submitted this letter, we found out the Archivist has testified that every administration going back to Reagan has had the exact same issue. That’s really what we’re talking about.”

However, there’s also the issue that Trump was told he had such documents, yet he continued to hoard them for over a year, in direct violation of a subpoena to hand them over to the National Archives.

Also, no one — not even the president — can declassify anything with their mind. There has to be a paper trail that explains what documents were declassified, on what date, and who was present when the process took place.

In other words, the defense Trump plans to use when he’s charged with violating the Espionage Act goes something like this: I had no idea those documents were in my possession. When I found out, I thought about them and made them all declassified. Does that sound like something that will fly before a federal judge?

Special Counsel Jack Smith is going to charge Donald Trump with having violated the Espionage Act, and the twice-impeached former president has no viable way to defend himself against those charges. That’s why he’s going to prison for the rest of his life. It’s going to happen, and it’s likely to happen soon.