At least two more items marked with some level of classification have been found in a storage unit outside of West Palm Beach. Considering that the Trump Organization—100 percent owned by Donald Trump—is made up of over 500 different “companies,” would anyone like to hazard a guess as to how many buildings, homes, garages, sheds, and storage units might still need to be searched?
Lawyers for Donald Trump have reportedly completed a search of the Trump National Golf Club at Bedminster, New Jersey, and Trump Tower in New York City, and have notified the Justice Department that they found no additional classified material.
Which means, based on past experience, that the FBI should immediately go into these locations and conduct a search. And they should bring plenty of boxes. Case in point, back in June, an attorney for Trump signed a written statement claiming that all material “marked as classified and held in boxes in a storage area” at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort had been handed over to the government. This is in addition to the document Trump tried to get one of his attorneys to sign making the same claim in January. Those statements were blatant lies.
Is there really no unclassified material at Bedminster and Trump Tower? Even though The Washington Post reports that Trump’s attorneys hired an outside team to conduct the search, there’s no reason to believe that this search was either thorough or accurate. Trump’s team has demonstrated repeatedly that they will lie to cover up his crimes, and the Trump Organization was found guilty just this week on 17 criminal counts … criminal counts for which absolutely no one will do time, the fine will be trivial, and the company will pick up the tab.
The search of the two Trump properties was carried out in response to a grand jury subpoena ordering Trump to hand over all classified materials. However, with what has happened in the past, it seems absolutely ridiculous that anyone at the federal court, DOJ, FBI, or National Archives would trust the results of this search. In fact, it was an absolute breakdown in any trust of Trump’s legal team that caused Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell to authorize an FBI to search at Mar-a-Lago in the first place.
The lesson that Trump and all members of his staff have learned—not just this year, and not just in this case, but over decades, on topics from money laundering to charity fraud—is that there is rarely, if ever, a serious personal penalty involved in lying to the government. So why not lie? Besides, if those “search teams” did happen to stumble across any document stamped Top Secret, Trump could always just claim he had already declassified it. Then his attorneys could carry on reporting that they found nothing classified. Back to step one.
The Trump team has certainly had plenty of time to conduct their search/cover-up since that grand jury subpoena was issued all the way back in May. The only possible response now is to simply have the DOJ request new search warrants and follow this up themselves.
Of course, it’s entirely likely that they will not find any classified documents—after all, if the outside team conducted an actual search, that would be an excellent time to box up any documents found and move them somewhere else. However, the search still has to be done. Otherwise, the courts are sending a clear message of, “Hey, we know you hid massive amounts of stolen property and repeatedly lied about giving it back, and we know that some things are still missing, but we’re just going to trust you when you say you don’t have them.”
Honestly, hiding or destroying this material should be a snap. The fact that such large quantities of highly classified materials were found in Mar-a-Lago in the first place was entirely due to Trump’s endless supply of hubris—he wanted those nuclear secrets close, where he could use them to underline what a big deal he was to people who stepped into his office to schedule a golf outing. Ten minutes of actual thought would have placed those documents where they could not be found, but that would require putting ego aside, and Trump couldn’t manage that.
Are there more classified documents at Bedminister and Trump Tower? We don’t know. We didn’t know before this “search,” and we still don’t. But we can be absolutely sure that this search by Team Trump was an absolute waste of time and an insult to everyone seeking justice.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.