Well, this is moving quickly.
The investigative team at the federal Justice Department led by Special Counsel Jack Smith working on the probe into the classified documents from Trump’s time in office harbored at his southern Florida resort known as Mar-a-Lago has presented initial evidence pointing to Trump having facilitated lies to the federal government. It is, of course, generally a crime to make false representations to government personnel, and it was already clear that incorrect details were given to the government in the course of its quest to reclaim those protected docs. However, among the questions that remained was where exactly that responsibility rested. Well, early conclusions from Smith’s team evidently indicate the responsibility is with Trump, who has been alleged to have “knowingly and deliberately” misled his personal legal team about the docs, as newly explained by ABC.
Federal Judge Beryl Howell, who recently departed her role as chief judge in D.C. federal court, agreed there had been an initial showing of evident criminal activity by Trump, although she was speaking in the context of the standards needed to get around attorney-client privilege in questioning Donald’s lawyers rather than the direct consideration of a criminal case against the ex-president. Smith and his team could also bring charges — or pass off a prospective criminal case to other prosecutors in the department, should they so choose.
Two Trump lawyers whose prospective testimony was at issue in Howell’s deliberations were Evan Corcoran and Jennifer Little, and legal disputes continued after the D.C. judge ruled in favor of the government. Howell also directed that investigators be provided a series of records originating with Corcoran. “Those records include handwritten notes, invoices, and transcriptions of personal audio recordings,” ABC said.
As has been well-documented, Trump’s legal team provided the government with a signed attestation in the middle of last year claiming everything covered by a subpoena for classified documents still in Trump’s possession was getting returned. The later raid of Mar-a-Lago by the FBI turned up dozens and dozens more documents, including materials stashed in a personal office for Trump on the resort’s grounds. Elsewhere, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee, led in this Congress by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), have been investigating unreported gifts for the Trumps from foreign interests before Donald left office. For some of these items, the whereabouts are unknown, despite specific procedures outlined in federal rules for the handling of gifts reaching certain values.