Tag: mar a lago
Timothy Parlatore

Former Trump Lawyer Mocked For Comparing Documents Case To Clinton Emails

Timothy Parlatore, an attorney who resigned resigned from representing former President Donald Trump in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, compared his former clients' classified documents to Hillary Clinton's emails Sunday.

The attorney spoke with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd about whether he would be "surprised" if Trump is not charged.

Meet the Press shared a clip of Parlatore's interview, tweeting, "WATCH: Fmr. Trump attorney @timparlatore says the case for not prosecuting Trump over classified docs is similar to that of not prosecuting Hillary Clinton over emails. 'You have to ... take these documents … and prove to [a jury] that it constitutes nat’l defense information.'"

The clip starts with Todd asking Parlatore, "Uh, would you be surprised if the former president isn't charged for something here?"

The former Trump attorney replied, "No, not at all. Not at all. I think this is a case where...you know, you have to evaluate every case based on what are the facts and the law, uh, and is it something that's provable? But then there's also the other atmospherics of, is this something that, um, you know from a discretion point of view, is this something that makes sense? Is this something where it is a slam dunk case where some of these things could be interpreted a few different ways?"

Parlatore added, "And also when it comes to a specific issue like this, um, where we are talking about potentially national defense information. Is it the type of thing where they want to, uh, declassify these things, if they haven't already been declassified, and put them out publicly? You know, there are a lot of additional, um, problems or procedures too have to go through with that type of a case especially when it's politically sensitive."

He concluded, "And I know not a lot of people are gonna agree with this, um, parallel, but to me, even if he did a lot of the things that they're saying that he did. Prosecuting him, the same reasons why you wouldn't want to prosecute him is to why back in 2016, I was of the opinion that Hillary Clinton shouldn't be prosecuted, because there are all of these other problems. You have to, classification is not binding on the jury. You have to actually take these documents, show them to the jury, and then prove to them that it constitutes national defense information."

Pro-democracy opinion writer at The Washington Post Jennifer Rubin reacted to the clip via Twitter, saying, "this is just idiotic. the issue isn't classification. it's intent and Trump has confessed publicly. I don't see the utility of having this guy on."

George Conway, contributing columnist at The Washington Postcommented, "What does this guy think he's doing?"

News Editor at Mississippi Free Press Ashton Pitman wrote, "Well there's also the fact that Hillary Clinton never actually took or stored classified information on her server, which seems like an important point!"

Counsel at Protect Democracy and former Justice Department attorney Dr. Kristy Parker said, "It's not even close to similar and the issue is not the nature of the documents — it’s the criminal intent and the obstruction (which also establishes intent)."

Director of Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and National Security at George Mason University Larry Pfeiffer, wrote, "Wait…I'm confused. The documents that Trump declassified in his mind now need to be declassified to show to a jury to prove they are national defense info? Or are you saying they ARE classified and admitting they were improperly stored? Keep your story straight, Tim."

Former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Joyce Vance added, "This is an intentional effort to confuse people. The issue that divides Trump from Clinton and others like Pence and Biden, is one of willfulness & intent."

Watch the video below or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Classified Iran Document Trump Discussed On Tape Is Missing

Classified Iran Document Trump Discussed On Tape Is Missing

Earlier this week, Hunter reported on the discovery that there was an audio recording of Donald Trump in a 2021 meeting in which he talked about holding on to a national security document containing details of a potential military attack on Iran. That recording made it clear that Trump knew he had retained information classified at the highest level, and that he had not declassified this material before leaving the White House.

This recording, which was reportedly played for the grand jury hearing evidence on the case being investigated by special counsel Jack Smith, seems more than adequate to justify an indictment. However, it turns out to be just the tip of the iceberg.

CNN is reporting that this document was not among those recovered by the FBI when they searched a storage room and Trump’s office at Mar-a-Lago. In fact, Trump’s attorney’s can’t find the document anywhere.

The missing document reportedly contains handwritten pages from Gen. Mark Milley describing one approach to a possible attack on Iran. Earlier reports indicated that Trump also had documents related to Iran’s nuclear program and defenses, but it’s not clear if this is all part of the same document. The same missing document.

Smith’s team has reportedly notified Trump’s attorneys that they want the document. They want any notes related to the document. They want any other material referencing the document. They want any copies made of the document. But mostly, they need the original document that Trump talked about on the recording.

Since that 2021 meeting took place at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, that would seem to be one logical place to look for the document. So far, the FBI has not conducted any search at this location, or at hundreds of other properties owned by Trump.

Shortly before the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, members of Trump’s staff, along with workers at that location, moved some boxes out of the storage facility. It’s not known if those boxes were recovered by the FBI or if they were moved to other locations.

There are reports that Trump has admitted showing classified information to visitors at Mar-a-Lago. Visitors to that location include representatives of Saudi Arabia, Iran’s biggest adversary in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia also funded a LIV Golf event held at the Bedminster course.

In recent weeks, the special counsel’s office has complained to a federal judge that they couldn’t be sure Trump had returned all the classified information. Now they’re sure he didn’t.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Experts Predict Charges After Report On Trump's Handling Of Documents

Experts Predict Charges After Report On Trump's Handling Of Documents

Citing a just-published Washington Post report, top legal experts are predicting the Justice Department (DOJ) will charge Donald Trump, and those charges will include obstruction of justice and violations of the Espionage Act.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday afternoon that the ex-president had classified documents unprotected in his Mar-a-Lago office, showed classified documents to people visiting his office, and held a “dress rehearsal” for moving documents around even before receiving a DOJ subpoena, and before the FBI executed a search warrant to retrieve classified and top secret documents.

“Two of Donald Trump’s employees moved boxes of papers the day before FBI agents and a prosecutor visited the former president’s Florida home to retrieve classified documents in response to a subpoena — timing that investigators have come to view as suspicious and an indication of possible obstruction, according to people familiar with the matter,” The Washington Post report reads.

“Trump and his aides also allegedly carried out a ‘dress rehearsal’ for moving sensitive papers even before his office received the May 2022 subpoena, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a sensitive ongoing investigation.”

“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.”

Ryan Goodman, an NYU School of Law professor of law, and international and national security law expert, pointed to that last sentence from the Post and wrote, “I expect this will result in Espionage Act charges. Dissemination is key.”

MSNBC anchor and legal contributor Katie Phang, responding to the Post report, tweeted one word in all-caps: “OBSTRUCTION.”

But Goodman goes even further.

“The reported facts are now far beyond just an obstruction case,” he says. “Willfully disseminating to third parties is also easily distinguishable from Pence, Biden, other instances in which DOJ has declined to prosecute.”

Goodman adds: “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.”

Further dissecting the Post’s report, Goodman finds an “interesting detail.”

“A second employee who helped Walt Nauta move boxes into storage room a day before FBI visit on June 3,” he writes. “The next day… ‘the employee helped Nauta pack an SUV ‘when former president Trump left for Bedminster.'”

That, Goodman suggests, points to both obstruction and willful retention.

Former U.S. Attorney and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman, a frequent MSNBC guest, pointed to the portion of the Post’s report that said Trump showed classified documents to others.

“That could be a whole new crime if evidence is solid,” he said on Twitter.

Attorney, author, and former diplomat Norm Eisen, a board chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a former White House Special Counsel, and former co-counsel for Trump’s first impeachment, also weighed in.

“I helped draft the classified document handling rules that Trump violated,” Eisen said via Twitter.

“And I know this,” he added. “He’s gonna get charged if he was part of a dress rehearsal for moving the boxes & if he showed classified docs as WaPo reports.”

Meanwhile, Goodman’s earlier remarks also build on his prior claims.

Earlier this week he said that Special Counsel Jack Smith had struck “gold” after obtaining the contemporaneous notes of a Trump attorney who counseled the ex-president on his possibly unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return hundreds of classified documents from the White House.

“Special Counsel Smith strikes gold,” tweeted Goodman, himself a former special counsel at the Department of Defense, and the founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security, an NYU website on U.S. national security law and policy.

“Moving boxes of documents the *day before* the FBI and DOJ came to visit?” observed former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. “It’s easy to see why Special Counsel Jack Smith and his team are very suspicious. It sure looks like an indictment in the Mar-a-Lago investigation is likely.”

The government watchdog CREW simply responded to the Post’s report, saying, “This is a big one.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Special Counsel Nearing End Of Trump Classified Documents Probe

Special Counsel Nearing End Of Trump Classified Documents Probe

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that one of the two investigations being conducted by special counsel Jack Smith is nearing an end. That investigation involves Donald Trump’s improper removal of documents from the White House, his refusal to turn over material to the National Archives, and his potential mishandling of classified documents—including documents classified above “top secret.”

Smith was appointed last November by Attorney General Merrick Garland and given the task of investigating two separate potential crimes involving Donald Trump. One of those concerned Trump’s actions in his attempt to overturn the 2020 election, including his efforts to solicit false electors, appropriate voting machines, pressure Mike Pence to ignore votes, and encourage the violence on January 6, 2021. That investigation is still underway with Pence recently testifying before the grand jury, while Smith seems to have extended his queries into Trump using false election claims to scam money from his supporters.

The classified documents investigation has seen a series of witnesses in recent weeks, including Secret Service agents who were stationed at Mar-a-Lago during the period when Trump refused to return documents or lied about having returned them all. Last Thursday, one of Trump’s attorneys on the classified document case abruptly quit. That came just as the National Archives informed Trump’s legal team that they were sending Smith a series of messages between Trump and his advisers showing that he was warned about the proper steps to declassify material.

On multiple occasions, Trump has made the claim that he “automatically” declassified all the documents. However, there is no mechanism by which that could happen. The messages provided by the National Archives reportedly show discussions between Trump and his advisers in which it was apparently made clear that he needed to take formal steps to declassify documents before leaving office. Trump failed to take those steps.

Some of the documents that Trump took to Mar-a-Lago were reportedly connected to national defense. That includes a reported document discussing Iran’s potential development of nuclear weapons.

Had Trump attempted to declassify these documents, there likely would have been pushback both from the intelligence community and the Pentagon. This might have drawn considerable attention to the information Trump was attempting to declassify.

If he had succeeded, the documents would have been broadly available. By taking the documents without actually declassifying them, Trump was in possession of information that was of very limited availability and which held considerable potential value to foreign intelligence.

Some of the questions asked of the Secret Service agents reportedly concern who might have had access, since Trump kept some of the most highly classified documents in his personal office rather than in the storage room where he had promised to keep them in advance of sending them to the archives.

As just one example, last year Donald Trump joined with the Saudi Arabian government in a series of golf tournaments known as LIV Golf. For 2023, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund has reportedly put up $2 billion for a tournament that will be hosted at Trump’s New Jersey course. It’s not difficult to believe that representatives of the Saudi government visited Trump’s office—the same office where he was holding secrets concerning their longtime enemy, Iran.

Putting aside the classified documents, it’s clear that Trump also made repeated violations of the Presidential Records Act, refusing to turn over material to the archives, or lying about material he was holding as well as trying to get his attorneys to lie to the archives.

With all of that, it’s not surprising that The Wall Street Journal reports Trump’s team is expecting indictments to be handed down. What’s astounding is how they are preparing for this event.

Some of Trump’s close associates are bracing for his indictment and anticipate being able to fundraise off a prosecution, people in the former president’s circle said, as clashes within the Trump legal team have led to the departure of a key lawyer.

Trump’s associates’ first thought is not how to defend him from criminal charges; it’s how much money they can scam from his followers by sending out emails that will surely include the phrase “witch hunt.” Most states have laws that prohibit criminals from profiting from their crimes after convictions, but Trump has that handled: He scams his gullible followers for millions upfront.

Considering the numerous investigations still open, including investigations into the 2020 election by both Smith and Fulton County, Georgia, Trump will probably have plenty of opportunities to send those fundraising emails—because it looks like there will be plenty of indictments.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.