Laurence Tribe Claims Trump Could Be Charged With Espionage

Harvard Law professor emeritus Laurence Tribe has long been an endless font for the media in claiming clear evidence of a variety of crimes for the imminent prosecution of Donald Trump. Tribe declared evidence supporting criminal charges of witness tamperingevidence of obstruction f justice, criminal election violations, Logan Act violations, extortion and possible treason by Trump or his family. Now Tribe may have run the full course of the criminal code in claiming that Trump might be prosecuted as an effective spy because he violated rules governing the handling of classified information.

While Tribe has been repeatedly criticized for false statements and conspiracy theories, there is an insatiable appetite on some news platforms for Trump prosecution theories. It does not matter that Tribe has been repeatedly wrong on such claims in the media or pushed strikingly poor advice to Biden leading to major court losses. (For full disclosure, this has included false statements about me as well as personal attacks).

On MSNBC’s “Deadline,” Tribe again claimed a new blockbuster basis for prosecuting Trump. The segment addressed news reports that the Justice Department is investigating alleged violations of classification rules in moving documents to Mar-a-Lago after he left office. 

Many of us have discussed the potential grounds for charges stemming from the allegations. As I previously noted, there are some criminal provisions that can apply to such cases, though such application to a former president would be unprecedented. The Section 1361 states that anyone who “willfully injures or commits any depredation against any property of the United States” can be given a fine or up to one year imprisonment if convicted. The Section 2071 states that anyone who “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates or destroys … any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited … in any public office” can be fined or face up to three years in prison if convicted.

However, Tribe believes that Trump could be charged with espionage.  He told MSNBC:

“When we find all of this apparent top secret information finding his way to unsecured boxes to Mar-a-Lago, it’s very encouraging that the Department of Justice isn’t simply asking who packed the boxes, but what did the president then of the United States on his way out of the Oval Office have in mind in taking that information? Did he do anything with it? Did he use it for his own benefit? That would be a serious crime of espionage.”

…So there is both a national security angle and a potentially criminal angle and the most encouraging thing to me because I’m worried about accountability so that we don’t have a repeat of all of these things in 2024 of the attempted coup and insurrection. What is most important to me is that no one should be above the law, and the attorney general and his top deputy and associate attorneys general, people like Lisa Monaco, should be taken at their word when they say they’re going to follow the evidence wherever it leads right into the Oval Office, right into the former guy, so stay tuned. I think this is an important development.”

     Tribe is simply incorrect that the “use of [classified material] for his own benefit” would constitute espionage. He insists it “would” be espionage, but that is belied by the elements of this crime.  It is certainly true that prosecutors have sought to apply this law broadly in past cases like that of Chelsea Manning. However, it still requires the intent or reason to believe the information will harm the United States or help a foreign nation. Why would the removal of classified information clearly constitute espionage as opposed to the earlier more logical criminal allegations?

     Yet, for Tribe, it is not enough that an exceptionally rare charge could be brought under these laws. Those are not nearly as thrilling as prosecuting Trump under espionage laws. There is no currently evidence to support the claim that this constitutes espionage any more than there is evidence of an endangered species violation.

148 thoughts on “Laurence Tribe Claims Trump Could Be Charged With Espionage”

  1. Somewhere, somehow, someday there will be found a means to convict Trump. Unrelenting pursuit of specious claims does little for the law. On the other hand, if Trump did remove classified materials from secured spaces, this would be major stupidity, indicating nothing was learned from the cavalier behavior of his 2016 opponent.

  2. Please stop posting anything on Larry Tribe. He has had no useful purpose for may years. Why anyone pays attention to him escapes me.

  3. “The January 6th committee should subpoena the FBI, so they can talk to the people who planned it.”

    Truth bomb.

  4. Tribe was sent out, like all the rest, to throw mud at the wall, trainloads of mud, to obfuscate and suppress the facts of the Obama Coup D’etat in America, which, if comprehensively exposed by Special Counsel John Durham, will put most of the communist (liberal, progressive, socialist, democrat, RINO) hierarchy in prison, if not guillotines.

    Is John Durham man enough, patriotic enough and American enough to resist the crushing power of the Global Deep Deep State?

    Earl Warren wasn’t; he wrote a book of grand fiction, which returned Americans to blessed deep slumber.

    “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    – Declaration of Independence, 1776

    1. Good post, Oky. There are loads of stories, but neither the MSM nor Fox has shown them. This is going to have to be a people’s movement. People are going to have to push the truth.

      The Fraud by Democrats in the 2020 election is without a doubt. The damage they are doing to the country is massive. Baby formula shortages while palates of baby formula end up on the southern border to supply illegal immigrants that are being encouraged to come here. The elite left hates hard-working Americans.

      1. There’s some interesting info coming to light about the different players regarding the Coup against us citizens.

        Names like Marc Elais, Norman Eisen, Victoria Nuland, etc..

        In this video below Pete Santilli (sic) starts at about 213:00 & explains:


        Joe Biden is a F***ing Enemy Agent of the NWO and is Purposely STARVING & BANKRUPTING Our Great Nation – FULL SHOW 5/13/22


        May 13, 2022

      1. It removes all doubt of the idea that the election was secure. Leftist Democrats showed who they are. Be prepared for violence if they don’t get what they want.

        2000 Mules free without intro and without advertisements:

        1. The idea of secure elections in the U.S. has always been a myth on the order of Sasquatch. It’s adherents cling to their faith in secure elections as fervently as a religion.
          Why is it that we NEVER have full independent audits of ALL U.S. elections, yet all U.S. banks are required to undergo regular independent audits?

          1. Unfortunately, corruption ultimately affects virtually all that are in power.

            “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.” _Lord Acton

            For our leftist friends, also from Lord Acton:
            “Despotic power is always accompanied by corruption of morality.”
            “Authority that does not exist for Liberty is not authority but force.”

            That is why “The Best Government Is That Which Governs Least” _ In Dispute

          2. Yes. We’ve had elections shenanigans going all the way back to just after the country was founded.

  5. Jonathan: Lawrence Tribe, your nemesis when it comes to constitutional issues , is back in the news. He has just weighed in on the controversy between GOP Gov. DeSantis and Disney. So has right-wing GOP Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri. Because of Disney’s opposition to the governor’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, Hawley has introduced a bill to take away Disney’s copyrights on its animated characters–like Mickey Mouse. It’s part of the GOP’s “culture wars”. Hawley is grandstanding because he knows his bill will never see the light of day. Limiting copyrights to just 56 years would put the US at a severe disadvantage vis-a-vis European countries–with horrible impacts on US artists and smaller companies.

    Tribe says Hawley’s bill is an “unconstitutional taking”, a bill of attainder and a “violation of the basic principles of free speech and the First Amendment”. Since a copyright is a “form of property”, Tribe also says Hawley’s bill would violate the Fifth Amendment–the taking of private property with just compensation. Tribe thinks it would a no brainer for the Supreme Court–the vote would be 9 to zip against Hawley’s proposed law.

    When the media wants a take on constitutional issues it goes to Lawrence Tribe. This must grate on you. As the one of the country’s leading conservative constitutional scholars, the go to guy at Fox, you can’t let Tribe dominate the discussion. I know it’s fun hiking Zion but you need to get back to you computer to put Tribe in his place. Please tell us why Howley’s bill should be taken seriously.

    1. You want to know what else the Republicans want to do if they take over? They want to sunset ALL programs, which would include Social Security Retirement and Social Security Disability benefits as well as Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps–the whole monty. Think about that: despite a lifetime of paying into SSR, SSD and Medicare, the Republicans could sunset each of these laws, meaning they would expire, and then require each of them to be reauthorized–with benefit levels of their own choosing or using this power to leverage things they want that they can’t otherwise get–like even lower taxes on the wealthy, rolling back environmental and consumer protections and corporate liability. So for those of you who are thinking about retiring one day, think about how you should vote. They shoved 5 radicals onto the SCOTUS who have taken away a woman’s right to choose after lying about their position on abortion, which has been the law for 50 years, and which is based on the Constitutional rights of privacy and liberty. There’s nothing in the Constitution or Bill of Rights about Social Security or Medicare. Think it couldn’t happen? Think again. Vote out Republicans in November–it’s in your own interests to do so.

      1. despite a lifetime of paying into SSR, SSD and Medicare, the Republicans could sunset each of these laws,

        I think it is important to educate all that we do not pay into> these entitlements. We are taxed, and the govt uses the money as they desire.

        I fail to see the problem with sunsetting. If they are worthy projects, they will be renewed. Most everybody with a smart phone can find an app to amortize money.
        Just think about how much money you would have if you saved 15% of you income. That is about how much the govt takes from you, then pretends to pay back monthly. Sunset it for the new people coming into the work force. Then eliminate it.

        1. OK, the amount of Social Security retirement benefits you received is based on how much you made, how much you paid into the system, how long you paid in and when you decide to retire. Your arguments about investing on your own don’t work because no one can predict what the markets may do now or in the future, so you need something you can count on when you are too old or unable to work. SSR is a bedrock value in financial planning. Virtually every financial planner has advised their clients on how to get the retirement income they want based on calculating their SSR benefits. Well, if Republicans take over and sunset Social Security and Medicare, all that planning goes down the crapper. The certainty of SSR benefits makes it possible to plan to retire one day, so that you are working to live, and not living to work. Sunsetting Social Securityit IS what Republicans are proposing.

          1. Natcha, your entire post exposes a glaring ignorance op personal finances.
            I suggest you actually do the exerise I suggest. Play with the return rate. 3 to 4% is small, but compounding is still crazy over a 40 year period.

      2. Natacha: You’re right. Everything is on the chopping block if the GOP takes back control of Congress. What many ignore are some of the consequences from overturning Roe. For example, this fall the SC is going to take up a dispute between California and pig farmers in the Midwest. California law requires that pigs have sufficient space to move around in their pens. If you’re not a vegetarian you know that pork is juicer when pigs get more space. Midwest pig farmers object that the California law makes raising pigs more expensive. They claim the CA law infringes on interstate commerce. How does this relate to Roe? Well, if Roe is overturned states like Missouri and Texas will make it illegal for a woman to seek an abortion in another state. If the conservative majority on the SC were to strike down the California law that means the proposed Missouri and Texas laws on abortion would also be in jeopardy because they both involve interstate commerce. In 2019 Alito joined in a decision striking down a Tennessee law that banned liquor sales by out of state residents. That was a full throated defense of the commerce clause. The SC has already taken a strong position on the rights of citizens to freely travel between states. So Alito is between a rock and a hard place. If his opinion is affirmed what position does he take in the “pig” dispute.? If abortion is something the states should decide shouldn’t California also be able to decide the quality of pork it allows in the state? If Alito sides with the Midwest pork producers based on the commerce clause then states like Missouri and Texas would find it difficult to prevent women from seeking abortions in other states. If I were Justice Sotomayor I would tell Alito: “be careful what you wish for”.

        1. Speaking of liquor sales, did you see where Queen of Perks, Nancy Pelosi, ramped up Congressional benefits to include onsite liquor sales for House lawmakers and fancy Peloton gym memberships? Yep, all while everyday Americans scramble to find baby formula and pay $5 for a gallon of gas.

          Democrats are the party of Let Them Eat Dirt.

    2. When the left wing media wants a take on constitutional issues it goes to Lawrence Tribe.

  6. I don’t really have any more words left for the modern Left. This isn’t corruption, it’s insanity.

  7. I seepre white supremacist were at work in Milwaukee last night. Our president was right, these white racist must be dealt with firmly and swiftly. The sooner the better.

    1. Trump had it right when he asked if the BLM ANTIFA thugs holding incendiary devices could be shot in their legs. All Americans should own and carry on their person a loaded weapon. If another person threatens them, like Democrats encourages their brown shirts to do, take protective measures. Violent crime would drop dramatically in 1-2 years

  8. Donald Trump broke up the establishments party. When he showed up, business as usual stopped.

  9. Tribe lost his mind with the rest of the left and now we are all suffering like a fat kid on a rollercoaster with defective safety bars, run by a 16 year old who just smoked a whole bag of weed.

  10. Tribe would have Trump locked up for jaywalking. Interestingly we have an even less interested in crime new Mayor. No one, even Tribe, can get this off the ground.

  11. A Tight Block Of Stooge Comments

    Further down this thread one finds a series of comments by The Blog Stooge. Most bear puppet names. Yet The Stooge likes to throw in an occasional ‘Anonymous’ just for good measure. This block is instructive to readers as an example of how The Stooge affects the blog: ‘One puppet after another parroting similar talking points’.

    Judith Black says:May 13, 2022 at 12:59 PM

    First Hillary Clinton for selling uranium to Russia.

    GEB says:May 13, 2022 at 12:53 PM

    Surely former President Trump has spit on the sidewalk somewhere. Charge him now and then find the evidence whether it exists or not.

    Anonymous says:May 13, 2022 at 12:45 PM

    These people like Tribe, on MSLSD, the Zoom Pleasurer Toobin over on CNN, that fat liar Stelter, UpChuck, Fake Tapper. These are truly sick

    Alma Carman says:May 13, 2022 at 1:11 PM

    If you have a functioning brain stem, you have tuned them out. The problem lies with the sub-par-brained lefties who do not have that capability or will power- but they

    Thinkitthrough says:May 13, 2022 at 12:38 PM

    Tribe is just another schill master. Schill masters say things like their going to put you all back in chains, the riots should continue and get up in their faces. Cheap

    mhjhnsn says:May 13, 2022 at 12:36 PM

    Did anything ever happen to Sandy Berger, Bill Clinton’s 2d term Natl Security Adviser, who stole documents from the National Archives in 2003?

    hullbobby says:May 13, 2022 at 1:24 PM

    MHJ, Sandy Berger was the first person I thought about when this story broke. Unfortunately we now live in a time where there are two levels of justice, one for l

    djlefante says:May 13, 2022 at 12:35 PM

    The left has no shame. The globalists will stop at nothing. The ignorance and stupidity of the American public is astounding.

    Thornton Sanders says:May 13, 2022 at 2:45 PM

    Tribe is 80 and senile but the big picture is that our education is the cause of the ignorance and stupidity. It needs to be privatized from top to bottom using income tax q

      1. Bring back Squeeky Fromm mocking Peter Shill.

        Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter says: August 14, 2018 at 3:17 PM
        FWIW, this took me all of 3 minutes to do. I hope the good guys here enjoy it! Feel free to save the image for subsequent use!

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

        1. I suspect that Squeeky was banned for her repeated use of the N-word.

      2. The Blog Stooge and Peter Hill are completely different commenters.

        The Blog Stooge was originally Estovir.

      1. Who’s providing George the budget, the “billable hours,” the “energizer” batteries/cocaine and the staff to propagator disinformation on a mass scale such as this?

  12. Well of course Donald Trump was packing his own moving boxes. Let’s see, pee pee tapes in this box; Alfa Bank statements in this box; Missing audio tapes bribing Zelensky in this box; Proud Boys/Oathkeepers/KKK paraphernalia in this box; Russian Oligarch training manual in this box; Top Secret documents in this box. Did he take all the letter “B”‘s from the White House keyboards too? I believe he even drove the truck to Mar-A-Lago and unloaded it himself. sarc/off

    Trump permanently broke the Democratic party. Trump proved you can love your country and lead it to prosperity. This left the Democrats with no where to go. Keep Trump’s policies, or do the opposite. And the rest is history.

      1. I bet you are warm and well cuddled now that uncle joe has been loving you long and hard.

    1. Well, if this clown Tribe is going there with Trump, he better sharpen his laser focus and application related to Hillary. She had a secured fax machine in her home where classified documents were sent and printed and instructed her housekeeper retrieve them! Talk about National Security risk. Plus, let’s not forget her private server (non-government secured) and email where 30,000 emails magically disappeared! If these people hate our country so much (our Constitution, Bill of Rights and our history) then why are you living here and why are so many trying to come to are country to live the American Dream? Our planet/world is massive – go find your nirvana outside the United States of America.

    2. Olly, et al:

      I guess it’s the same as it always was, “Trust,but Verify”.

      As I understand it today the said Trump docs Tribe & Turley are addressing are Declassified & have cleared 2 previous investigation. This one is the 3rd.

      Just more Misleading Bull Sheet for the public, wait, look over there, Squall!

      Whatever you do pay no attention to Banned.Video, The Gateway Pundit or Liberty Daily!!!

      And for God’s sake pay no attention to the finally USA Govt collapse & the UN/WEF/WHO/Soros/Bill Gates/etc/ Globalist take over of the US Govt!

      The Sarc is for free.

      2000 Mules

    3. Olly says:

      “Trump permanently broke the Democratic party.”

      Trump has broken the *Republican* party into ULTRA MAGA and the Establishment. The civil war is just beginning. I sincerely hope you will live long enough to witness it unfold.

      1. “The civil war is just beginning”

        It started in 2016 with Democrats, as always, denying Trump’s victory, and inciting violence. Since then we have adopted measures to defend our families, properties and self.

        “I sincerely hope you will live long enough to witness it unfold.”

        youre just chaff, not worth wasting ammo

    4. So Trump’s “policies” aren’t actually those of Ronald Reagan, which were great but did not appear to damage democrats with any degree of permanence.

      The vote must be restricted, which was and is the intent of the Founders, and the literal, absolute “manifest tenor” of the Constitution strictly adhered to.

      Look around you at the vast, infinite American communist welfare state that is unconstitutional in its entirety.

      Yep! Them’s is dimocrats out there, everwere!

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