Friday, June 09, 2023

Federal Indictment of Donald Trump

US Attorney Jack Smith says to read the indictment:
I invite everyone to read it in full, to understand the scope and the gravity of the crimes charged.
Okay, I am reading it. The gravity is that the Biden DoJ is attempting to obstruct justice by using an indictment to wrongly smear a political opponent.

It says that it was illegal for Trump to take boxes of documents from the White House. So why is he just being charged now, 2.5 years later? Apparently none of the documents are particularly sensitive, except that one is embarrassing to Gen. Milley.

It quotes Trump as saying that he will protect classified info, in 2016. After leaving office, it quotes him as saying that he could have declassified the documents as President. Yes, that is the law. Apparently his legal position is that he did declassify them.

I will look for some more informed opinion, but this all seems rather trivial to me.

Update: I heard a couple of people say: Trump's main legal argument is that he constructively declassified the papers by taking them out of the White House on Jan. 20, 2021. But he contradicts that by saying that he could have declassified them as President.

I don't see the contradiction. Everyone agrees that he could have declassified the papers as President. So it is reasonable for him to say that. There is some disagreement about what he has to do to effect that declassification. I guess people are trying to say that because he did not make his strongest argument in a private conversation, he forfeits it. No, it does not work that way.


(CNN) Former President Donald Trump acknowledged on tape in a 2021 meeting that he had retained “secret” military information that he had not declassified, according to a transcript of the audio recording obtained by CNN.

“As president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t,” Trump says, according to the transcript.

No, this Trump statement does not imply that he had not declassified the info. He cannot declassify the info now, but it may have already been declassified.


CFT said...

If you are going to make a issue of classified documents, saying how terrible double plus un-good it was that someone took them, You then need to also explain WHAT was so important about them, as an hour to hour itinerary of the president would be considered 'classified' before the day in question, and just a piece of rubbish some days later. 'Classified' is being treated as some cosmic catch all of level significance, when in fact there are many many many levels of the concept within the government with all kinds of goofy names for all kinds of things, many of which are time dependent, or which become automatically declassified should whatever was classified be said to 'declassified' by the president, even in passing. The president can declassify something on the spot just because he needs to talk to someone (possibly a foreign leader or one of his own advisors).

if you are going to chase after Trump for such a breach, you might also consider how Bush, Obama, Biden, Hillary, Pence, and an ad nausea laundry list of others have basically been caught red handed with various documents they weren't supposed to have when they left office and then were then ignored five minutes later.

The democrats have said they were going to get Trump before he was even sworn in. They continued to hound him for lies they themselves made up for his entire term in office, and they have publicly announced they were going to hound him once he left office to prevent him from running for president again. If this conduct stands and persists, we are basically a one party political system, and there is going to be a very double plus un-good very very un-democratic process that is going to follow in its wake that won't be conducted at a stuffed ballot box.

'Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom - and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.'
Benjamin Franklin

Roger said...

The indictment does not have any evidence that the documents are important. It just says that there are classified markings. Presumably the prosecutors picked documents that sound important, but okay to reveal at trial.