The espionage law charges were mentioned by a legal expert as prosecutors gathered evidence that Trump sometimes showed classified documents to others and kept them in a place where they were visible to others in his desk.
In a damning and well-researched report published in the Washington Postwe learned today: “Prosecutors have further gathered evidence indicating that Trump sometimes 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 of possible obstruction cases uncovered by the FBI and Justice Department than previously reported.
Even during his presidency, when Trump treated Mar-a-Lago as a “Winter White House,” he kept no visitor logs or other visitor tracking systems. Forbes has documented some of the thousands of visitors through a compilation of shared photos and other means, showing a range from conspiracy theorists to former member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage Ray J and the former general who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators Michael Flynn (not a great person to see classified documents), Roger Stone who the government accused of undermining the Russia investigation by lying over his communications with Wikileaks, intimidating a witness, and more was convicted of seven felony counts, but later pardoned by Trumpand also in addition to the usual suspects of Republicans and conservative activists were the son of Brazilian 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” on his bigger “red button” only last night.
During this incredibly disturbing news, the former special adviser to the Department of Defense and co-editor of Just Security Ryan Goodman wrote, “I expect this will result in charges under the Espionage Act. Dissemination is key.
2. Trump’s reported conduct to KEEP classified documents is already more serious than the average case the Justice Department indicts.
COMMUNICATING or TRANSMITTING classified documents to third parties is considered much more egregious. pic.twitter.com/54nQ3r3bDU
—Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) May 25, 2023
“The facts reported now go well beyond a simple case of obstruction. Deliberate dissemination to third parties is also easily distinguishable from Pence, Biden, other cases in which the DOJ declined to prosecute (e.g. Alberto Gonzales),” Goodman continued.
In the following tweet, he highlighted a snippet of this breaking news, “A second employee helping Walt Nauta move boxes into the storage room a day before the FBI’s June 3 visit.
The next day…”the employee helped Nauta pack an SUV ‘when former President Trump left for Bedminster’.”
Goodman pointed to a section saying the DOJ has “evidence that even before Trump’s office received the subpoena in May, it had what some officials have dubbed a ‘dress rehearsal’ to move government documents that he didn’t want to give up”, from which he concludes that the following two charges are applicable:
18 USC 1519 – obstruction
18 USC 793(e) – voluntary retention
People familiar with the situation told Post reporters that “Smith’s team has completed the bulk of its investigative work in the documents case and believes it has uncovered a handful of separate episodes of obstructive conduct.” , one of which occurred AFTER the FBI raid on Aug. 8. .
Donald Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the classified documents case, even saying during a March Fox appearance that he had “the right to take” classified documents with him to Mar-a-Lago and his recent CNN town hall when asked if he had shown the classified documents to anyone else, saying, “Not really…I would have the right to…not that I could imagine.”
In reality, the intentional disclosure of classified information without authorization is a federal crime under the Espionage Act, hence the mention of Goodman in this case. The penalty can be up to 10 years in prison or even being charged with treason.
Trump called the investigation a “witch hunt.”
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