An accusation from a former top Homeland Security Department official should have failed, twice-indicted former president Donald Trump terrified, according to an ex-federal prosecutor.
Specifically, Miles Taylor, who was DHS chief of staff in the Trump administration, writes in his new book that Trump shared secret documents related to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi with reporters.
That report led MSNBC host Katie Phang to tell former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, “NBC is releasing exclusive reporting about ex-Trump aide Miles Taylor in which Miles alleges in 2018, Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, described an incident with Trump displaying to reporters classified documents related to journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death.”
“He might, Katie,” McQuade responded. “It could be valuable as what you know is 404(b) evidence; that is evidence of the person’s common scheme or plan.”
McQuade added, “And so, even if he doesn’t charge it, you can use that as evidence to show that Trump is very reckless when he handles classified information. So, every piece of evidence brings value.”
Think about it: According to Taylor, Trump was waving around classified documents that related to the possible crimes of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. That sort of information is not meant to be shared with anyone who doesn’t have a high-level security clearance.
With each day, Jack Smith’s case against Trump grows stronger. It’ll be fascinating to see the ex-president’s reaction to this latest bombshell.
If you were wondering whether or not failed one-term, twice-impeached former president Donald Trump is worried about the case being built against him by Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith in the matter of the hundreds of classified documents Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago in direct violation of federal law, you don’t have to look any further than a letter he recently sent to House Republicans imploring them to save him from prosecution by passing protective legislation.
As Andrew Feinberg of The Independent reports, “Lawyers for former president Donald Trump have asked the Republican-led House of Representatives to intervene by enacting a new law to protect the twice-impeached former president from the Department of Justice probe into his alleged unlawful retention of classified documents and his alleged efforts to obstruct that investigation.”
In a letter to Ohio Representative Mike Turner, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, attorneys Timothy Parlatore, John Rowley and James Trusty claim the Department of Justice — the executive branch department charged with investigating and prosecuting federal crimes — is “not the appropriate agency to conduct investigations pertaining to the mishandling or spillage of classified material” and allege that the department’s handling of the probe into Mr Trump’s alleged misconduct “is antithetical to the principles of a fair and impartial search for the truth”.
That letter, according to Dennis Aftergut, a former federal prosecutor and Chief Assistant City Attorney in San Francisco, is clearest proof yet that Trump has “no viable defense” for why he kept classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort and is worried about the criminal charges that may soon be filed against him.
In an article he wrote for Justia’s Verdict website, Aftergut notes, “If these contentions are a preview of Trump’s defenses to an indictment from Smith’s grand jury, Jack Smith can rest easy. The arguments are so abysmally weak that they leave any knowledgeable observer with a simple inference: Trump and his lawyers know an indictment is coming soon and there’s nothing they can do about it but offer smoke and mirrors.”
The biggest hurdle facing Trump, Aftergut continues, is that “Jack Smith has mountains of evidence that contradict Trump’s claim that his improper possession and retention of those classified documents was inadvertent.”
It doesn’t take a prosecutor to infer that the central crime is likely obstruction of a grand jury investigation. (Trump) can’t hide from coming charges for obstructing the return of government secrets that weren’t his.
Long story short, Trump is screwed and can expect to be indicted for having the documents in his possession, obstruction, and violating the Espionage Act. If he’s found guilty, he will spend whatever remains of his life in federal prison.
Is Donald Trump worried? He clearly is, and the worst is yet to come.
As he continues to investigate the matter of classified documents former president Donald Trump illegally removed from the White House and took with him to Mar-a-Lago when he left office, Special Counsel Jack Smith is focusing in on Russia as the motive for why the failed ex-president took thousands of secret files and stored them at his Palm Beach golf resort.
In what may wind up being the greatest irony of all, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Murray Waas, Special Counsel Smith and a grand jury he has impaneled believe Trump’s obsession with Russia led him to steal the information.
As he left office, Waas has learned, Trump desperately tried to declassify thousands of pages of secret documents that detailed Russia’s efforts to help defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
But Trump was stymied in his efforts to make the records public, leading the outgoing president to rage to aides that the documents would never see the light of day.
Now, sources close to Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation tell me that prosecutors have questioned at least three people about whether Trump’s frustrations may have been a motive in Trump taking thousands of pages of classified papers from the White House to Mar-A-Largo, in potential violation of federal law. One of those people was compelled to testify before a federal grand jury, the sources say.
The sources say that prosecutors appear to believe the episode may be central to determining Trump’s intent for his unauthorized removal from the White House of the papers. Insight into the president’s frame of mind—his intent and motivation, are likely to be the foundational building blocks of any case that the special counsel considers seeking against Trump.
That has led Smith to take a close look at conversations between the White House counsel, the Justice Department, and then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the last frantic hours of the Trump administration.
The sources familiar with some aspects of the special counsel’s investigation further disclosed to me that prosecutors sought information regarding the following issues: the witnesses were asked about any conversations they personally had with then-president Trump or any of their White House colleagues about the Russia papers; they were asked about conversations between senior Justice Department officials and attorneys with the White House counsel’s office, including two former senior lawyers in the office, John Eisenberg and Pat Philbin, regarding Trump’s presidential order to declassify the Russia papers; and they also were asked about the circumstances surrounding a memo written by Trump’s then Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, the day following Trump’s declassification order, in which Meadows appeared to reverse courseand related that the papers would not be released before the concerns of other agencies regarding the Privacy Act were fully assuaged.
“It was very clear from what they asked that their emphasis was on Trump and Meadows,” one personsaid.
Another former aide to Trump, Kash Patel, has publicly stated that he saw all of the records the disgraced ex-president wanted declassified, telling Breitbart:
So it was Russia that helped elect Trump, Russia that led to his impeachment, and Russia that may wind up sending him to prison for the rest of his life if Smith’s investigation proves Russiagate was what Trump clung to even after he left the White House.
Right about now, Donald Trump is probably wishing he had never heard of Russia or his BFF, Vladimir Putin.
A new ruling from Judge Aileen Cannon of the Southern District of Florida that would allow for secret grand jury testimony to be made public is likely to lead the Justice Department to demand that she be removed from the classified documents case of former president Donald Trump, according to several legal experts.
According to Axios, Cannon was angered when she learned that an “out-of-district” grand jury was still investigating possible illegal actions related to the documents Trump kept in unsecured locations at his Mar-a-Lago club.
The judge overseeing former President Trump’s classified documents case on Monday rebuked federal prosecutors and struck two of their filings.
Florida District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, also demanded an explanation of “the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to continue to investigate and/or to seek post-indictment hearings on matters pertinent to the instant indicted matter in this district.”
That move by Cannon, several legal experts predicted, will likely lead to her removal from the case.
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance explained that “Judge Cannon responds to the govt’s request for a hearing on Nauta’s lawyer’s conflicts & discloses the existence of a grand jury investigation in another district while denying gov’t’s motion to seal. The govt can appeal. This may tee up the issue of her fitness on this case.”
“If the DOJ filed under seal certain documents, and Judge Cannon just disclosed the existence of an otherwise confidential grand jury proceeding, we might be at the motion for recusal stage for the DOJ…”
Former senior DOJ official Harry Litman noted, “I’m betting that Judge Cannon’s account of the out-of-district investigation is not the full story. But hard to see how she can justify not sealing her order referring to another Grand Jury. Could this be a possible vehicle for taking her up and seeking her recusal? Not clear yet.”
And Andrew Weissmann, a former prosecutor who worked for special counsel Robert Mueller, said Cannon was proving her bias and/or her ignorance with her ruling.
“The obstruction crimes that were investigated are charges that could have been brought in FLA or in DC and thus could be investigated in either district. And there was conduct that is alleged to have occurred outside FLA.”
New audio of failed and twice-indicted former president Donald Trump clearly stating that he didn’t declassify all of the classified documents he stole and took with him to Florida means that Special Counsel Jack Smith has the ex-president “dead to rights” and will result in a significant prison term, with Trump’s words as the most damning evidence against him, legal experts say.
The tape, which was obtained by CNN, was recorded at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club.
The recording, which first aired on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” includes new details from the conversation that is a critical piece of evidence in special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of Trump over the mishandling of classified information, including a moment when Trump seems to indicate he was holding a secret Pentagon document with plans to attack Iran.
“These are the papers,” Trump says in the audio recording, while he’s discussing the Pentagon attack plans, a quote that was not included in the indictment.
Trump, who is facing a 37-count federal indictment that includes charges of violating the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice, now claims that the latest tape totally exonerates him.
“The Deranged Special Prosecutor, Jack Smith, working in conjunction with the DOJ & FBI, illegally leaked and ‘spun’ a tape and transcript of me which is actually an exoneration, rather than what they would have you believe. This continuing Witch Hunt is another ELECTION INTERFERENCE Scam. They are cheaters and thugs!”
Legal experts, however, disagreed strongly with Trump saying he’d been exonerated and suggested the tape is actually devastating, with noted Washington attorney George Conway declaring, “If the defendant doesn’t go to prison for at least five to ten years, it would be a travesty. The prosecutors have him dead to rights, in more ways than we can count.”