Why the Case Against Donald Trump Remains Incomplete

Below is my column in the Hill on the lingering questions concerning any prosecution of former President Donald Trump for the retention of classified or sensitive material. As previously discussed, the three referenced criminal provisions do not require classified status of documents to be the basis for prosecution. However, if the documents were declassified, it would make any prosecution very difficult, if not untenable, though the obstruction count could be based on affirmative false representations made to the government. The point is only that we still do not have sufficient information to judge the basis for the raid or the prospects for prosecution despite the often breathless coverage.  The affidavit remains key to ending this speculation and quelling conspiracy theories. That is why Attorney General Merrick Garland should call for its unsealing.

Nevertheless, figures like John Dean are saying that defenders of the former president will “have egg on their faces” when this case is done and presumably Trump is prosecuted. Perhaps, but what is clear is that there is no such risk in others claiming an array of proven crimes for six years that were never charged. Figures who pushed the debunked Russian collusion, incitement, or bizarre attempted murder claims are now claiming with the same certainty that conviction is finally at hand. Once again, before the eggs fly, the release of actual evidence would be useful.

Here is the column:

The FBI’s raid on former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence was received by many with joy bordering on ecstasy. Comedian Stephen Colbert declared the raid to be Christmas come early, while others joked about the possibility of executing Trump as a spy. Yet the celebration may be another triumph of hope over experience, with pundits again declaring an open-and-shut case without seeing the actual evidence.

The problem is that much in this investigation remains unknown and much of the analysis seems more visceral than legal. While details may be forthcoming that will fill in the glaring gaps, any prosecution on the record we know today would face novel — and potentially insurmountable — questions.

At the risk of being a killjoy, here is what we know and don’t know about these charges.

We know at least one set of the documents recovered from Trump’s home was marked as “classified/TS/SCI” or “top secret/sensitive compartmentalized information.” There were four sets of top-secret documents, three sets marked “secret” and three marked “confidential.” Trump has no right to retain classified information after leaving office, particularly information classified at the high TS/SCI level.

The warrant used by the FBI in its search expressly allowed the gathering of “all physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime or other items illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 793, 2071, or 1519.”

The inclusion of an alleged violation of the Espionage Act (Section 793) lit up the internet. It seemingly doesn’t matter that the Espionage Act has long been denounced by civil libertarians as a vehicle for political abuse by the Justice Department. It also doesn’t matter that a charge under the act does not mean there is actual espionage or foreign intelligence involved in the case. Rather, it addresses alleged acts of unlawfully “gathering, transmitting or losing … defense information.”

Surprisingly, the warrant did not specify which section of law might be the basis for a criminal charge. One possible provision is Subsection (d) covering those who lawfully possess documents but had “reason to believe [the information] could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.” This subsection allows for a charge of willfully retaining or failing to deliver such material “on demand” to an officer or “employee of the United States entitled to receive it.”

Subsection (f) is even more generous to prosecutors. It allows a criminal charge for “gross negligence” leading to protected information being “removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed.”

Section 793 was cited as the basis for the 2016 investigation of Hillary Clinton in her email scandal. Clinton gathered and transmitted classified (including “top secret”) information as secretary of State. She and her staff also were criticized for failing to promptly supply evidence. Nevertheless, then-FBI Director James Comey declared that “although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

The Justice Department explained in an Aug. 16, 2016, letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on the Clinton investigation that, although the statute allows for gross negligence charges, prosecutors have long balked at the “constitutional implications of criminalizing such conduct without requiring the government to prove that the person knew he or she was doing something wrong.” The Justice Department said it also rejected 18 U.S.C. § 2071 with regard to Clinton — the same section referenced in the Trump warrant in willfully and unlawfully concealing, removing or destroying federal records.

The final provision mentioned in the Trump warrant, 18 U.S.C. 1519, concerns destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations. This charge could be based not just on government documents in Trump’s possession but on allegedly false inventories or lists given to federal officials during months of discussion about the documents.

These crimes still require intentional or knowing acts. (They do not require classified status as an element). With Trump lawyers negotiating the status of the documents and previously turning over some material under subpoena, there is a plausible defense based on Trump’s belief that the material was no longer classified and that his team was cooperating with officials in trying to resolve any disputes. If Trump believed the material was declassified and relied on legal advice to resolve any disagreements, then prosecutors would combine an unprecedented legal case with a heavily contested factual record.

At the heart of such a case would be a very novel legal question. While many legal experts have cited the detailed, demanding process for declassification, some fail to note that presidents have long exempted themselves from declassification procedures. Indeed, Trump claimed the right to declassify material unilaterally and orally at the start of his term.

Other presidents have asserted exemptions from declassification authority. An order by former President George W. Bush stated such an exemption for “information originated” by a president. That order was reaffirmed by former President Obama in Executive Order 13526 in 2009 and expressly exempts presidents, vice presidents, their staffs and “other entities within the Executive Office of the President.”

Trump also reportedly had a standing order that declassified any material he removed from the White House to take to Mar-a-Lago or other locations. We have not seen that order, and it is not clear if such an order was shown to the FBI.

If that standing declassification order existed, it ended with his presidency, of course. However, it still existed when these boxes were taken to the resort. There may also be complicating logistics for investigators: If the documents were taken out of the White House on the last day of his presidency, the classification markings on the cover pages and internal headings might not have been crossed out.

There has never been litigation on the scope of this exemption or a president’s declassification authority. Nor is it clear whether any standing order was disclosed to the judge who approved the FBI’s warrant — but it could create a threshold legal challenge to a criminal charge.

The Trump team insists this defense was raised when an earlier subpoena was served at Mar-a-Lago in June. Nevertheless, it reportedly turned over 15 boxes of material, including classified documents, and replaced a lock on the storage area for enhanced security. But it is not clear whether the FBI raised concerns over the remaining material or sought its return before this week’s raid.

In asking the judge to unseal the warrant and the list of documents seized, Attorney General Merrick Garland declared that “the Department of Justice will speak through its court filings.” But he omitted the key filing that would speak to these issues: the underlying FBI affidavit.

In the meantime, pundits are discussing Trump’s disqualification from future public office based on his expected conviction. Even if convicted, such a disqualification would be flagrantly unconstitutional — but, when it comes to Trump, neither the law nor the evidence ever seems particularly important to the analysis.

However, a judge may have slightly greater expectations before these charges ever see a day in court.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online @JonathanTurley.

254 thoughts on “Why the Case Against Donald Trump Remains Incomplete”

  1. All are missing the controlling fact. Classification/declassification/etc are executive branch functions. “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States”. All of these wankers are basing their scat throwing on powers that originate with Trump. No act of Congress, no rule of previous Executive Orders, can modify that. No bureaucrat has any standing to object to the orders or representations of Trump wrt the classification status of documents he removed as he left the White House. Classification status flows from him, and from no others. Biden can reclassify documents, and can ask Trump to return them. But that is a different thing than to accuse Trump of violating the law. To claim otherwise is to propose a theory of executive power that is totally at odds with the Constituion. For the record, I think Trump is a buffoon. But that is not the issue at hand.

    1. You’re missing the fact that, as Turley noted, “the three referenced criminal provisions do not require classified status of documents to be the basis for prosecution.”

      Read the laws for yourself, and you’ll see that they make no mention of classification:

  2. We will probably find out soon enough who is right about this case. There has been a Grand Jury since at least May, and they are probably going to indict by the 2nd week of September.

  3. Da Democrats, They dun gotta Hang Somebody … po Rudy-G.
    Sure-nuff dont wanna be in his Shoes.

    Run Rudy RUN!

  4. Another opportunity for a column:

    As expected: According to Judical Watch: Judicial Watch announced today that DoJ opposes its request that the court unseal the affidavit used to justify the controversial raid on the home of former President Trump, because a release would cause significant and irreparable damage to its ongoing criminal investigation.

  5. The point I don’t see anyone addressing here is that these documents should NOT have been at Mar a Lago. Period.

    1. If that is the case blame NARA, the GSA and other agencies that might have had a hand in those documents being there.

      To be consistent you should be complaining that Trump had the codes at MAL that would help launch our nuclear weapons. According to you those codes should never have been at MAL. The foolishness that comes out of ATS’ lips is astounding.

      1. Wow anonymous, I never stopped to realize that Hilary was duped into keeping those emails on her personal server. Here we blaming that poor innocent wall flower. She so frail and fragile. Bill must be there to console her on a daily basis.

    2. There are three, and only three, levels of classification: Top Secret, Secret and Confidential. There are different areas of information that require special access and people often mistake these accesses as higher or different levels of classification, but they are not, they are just different compartments of information. Each of the three levels of classification state that if the information is disclosed it could cause a level of damage to the United States. The level of damage is what distinguishes the three levels of classification. These definitions are not very specific and rules have to be generate and published for the purpose of determining how information should be classified. These rules are created by classification authorities.., and there are not many of them in any agency. Everyone who is cleared to work with classified information is obligated to determine the classification of the documents they create by applying the rules that have been published and mark their documents accordingly. They do not have the authority to change the rules, but there is a process by which they can question the rules which may result in them being changed. Classification authorities have been delegated authority to create the rules, but they have to act within the guidelines given to them. The authority and guidelines they have received ultimately come to them from the President of the United States, who is the chief executive officer and responsible to implement the laws of the United States. The President is subject to the law, but the law designates the President as the chief classification authority. If Trump had a standing order that anything he took to his home was declassified, and he was still the President when the boxes were removed from the White House to be taken to his home.., whether it’s a wise policy, or not, all this controversy seems mute.

      Though this may not seem right, consider a different question that highlights the problem with the alternative. What if an an individual was elected to be the President who would not normally be considered qualified to have access to classified information according to the standards applied to everyone else? Could the President be denied access to classified information? Of course not. Our system of classifying information was established through laws and laws passed by the legislative branch cannot re-define the powers and limits of the President as established by the Constitution. This in turn highlights a previous assertion.., the laws the President is subject to must be consistent with the Constitution.

        1. I listed secret. A document can be classified Secret, but not Code Secret.

          1. I don’t know the particulars as clearly as I should but my wife interviewed (decades ago) for a job where all her work would be considered top secret but permission to see anything she did was to be very limited based on a need to know. She declined further interviews, so I never really understood what was involved. She was a system design engineer, one of the very few with a formal degree and one of the only woman similarly trained.

            1. SM,
              There is a clearance level and then there is need to know. One can have a TS clearance and still not get access to a lower clearance level document, etc. because they don’t have a need to know.

              1. Thank you Olly. I think I now understand that what was called ‘code secret’, or whatever, just meant on a need to know basis where I assume you have to be given clearance for the individual knowledge so that less people have access.

                The problem with so much secrecy outside of the military and diplomatic channels is it dilutes the idea of secrecy and makes secrecy a more saleable product. The biggest problem is its use by our leaders to prevent Americans from knowing the truth and voting them out.

  6. While in the military, I worked for years with TS/SCI materials. I remember being disturbed when the Reagan administration leaked information about Soviet radiocommunications about the shootdown of the Korean airliner, which was similar to what I had been dealing with. But the media made it clear that a president has the unilateral power to reclassify such stuff by the mere act of revealing it.

    1. There’s a process for declassifying material, and your anecdote doesn’t provide any evidence that the Reagan Admin. failed to follow it.

      Moreover, some data falls under the classification “restricted data” (per the Atomic Energy Act), and it remains restricted data even if it’s declassified.

    2. You can read for yourself in the USC…. blah, blah, blah…….. All Authority of the Executive Branch of US Govt is vested in the Prez. (sic)

      Trump was Prez, not like H Clinton, just a Sec of State.

      Scam over.

      Lots of removals/resignations have to happen.

      Maybe we can pay their Chinese Masters take them.

  7. Professor Alan Dershowitz seems to agree with Professor Turley, both who IIRC supported Hillary in 2016.

    ‘But Her Emails’? A Defense of ‘Whataboutism’
    Mrs. Clinton should take her hat off. Treating like cases alike is crucial to the equal protection of the law.

    It is what he didn’t say that raises disturbing questions about the process. Why didn’t the Justice Department seek to enforce the subpoena it apparently had issued, rather than seek a search warrant? Was this consistent with the “standard practice” Mr. Garland articulated in his statement—“to seek less intrusive alternatives to a search” whenever possible? Why was the matter handled so differently from the prior investigations of Sandy Berger and Hillary Clinton, who were also suspected of mishandling classified material? Mrs. Clinton herself mocked that question by sporting a baseball cap with the logo “But her emails.”

    Berger and Mrs. Clinton were suspected of mishandling confidential materials—he by removing them from the National Archives in 2005, she by transmitting them over her private email server while serving as secretary of state. Berger was administratively fined, and Mrs. Clinton was rebuked by James Comey, then director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which might have cost her the 2016 election. But neither was subjected to broad search warrants or criminal prosecution.

    The way in which Berger and Mrs. Clinton were treated is highly relevant in determining whether Mr. Trump is being subjected to a double standard of justice.

    So the question “What about her emails?” is an appropriate one. Mocking it is no answer. Neither is the cliché “two wrongs do not make a right.” A second wrong doesn’t justify or excuse the first, but unequal treatment of two comparable wrongs should raise concerns about fairness and equality. Unequal treatment of two equal wrongs is a third wrong.

    The “whataboutism” argument applies as well to the manner in which Trump loyalists such as Peter Navarro, Roger Stone and Paul Manafort were arrested. In comparable cases involving similar charges, the defendants weren’t handcuffed, shackled or subjected to restraints generally reserved for those who pose a risk of violence or flight.

    Perhaps presidents should be treated differently. It is often argued that presidents aren’t above the law, but neither are they beneath deserving fair treatment, as Bill Clinton can attest. Mrs. Clinton should take off her hat. Just as her actions don’t excuse Mr. Trump’s, his don’t excuse hers. Her treatment of the emails and server were wrong even if they didn’t constitute a crime. Mr. Trump’s removal of possibly classified information might have been wrong too. Such two wrongs should encourage Congress to tighten up the laws governing such information and the Justice Department to enforce them equally and fairly, as Mr. Garland assured us it does.

    But until Mr. Garland fully and specifically answers the hard questions about what appears to be unequal application of rules and practices, “what about her emails?” will be a pertinent question.

    Wall Street Journal

    1. Dershowitz’s is just engaging in a long winded whataboutism argument.

      He’s an idiot.

      1. Dershowitz’s is just engaging in a long winded whataboutism argument.

        Here’s a shorter-winded version from Dershowitz that may be more complimentary to your attention span:

        You can’t have one standard for Democrats and another standard for Republicans. So the argument of whataboutism: it’s a damn good argument. Whatabout-ism, you’re allowed to ask that question and unless and until the question is answered, we can’t be assured that we have even-handed protection of the law.

        Go ahead, make your best argument against Dershowitz to prove which of you is truly an idiot.

        Good luck.

      2. Anyone who calls Dershowitz an idiot demonstrates a complete lack of knowledge. You might not agree with him, but he is no idiot, you are.

      3. Dershowitz’s is just engaging in a long winded whataboutism argument.

        He’s an idiot.

        Because his knowledge of the law and Constitution are bordering on the encyclopedic, and you lack the intellect to understand him, does not make him the idiot.

  8. The DemoFBIcrats are always stepping on there own reproductive organ. If they just would have limited their confiscated documents to official government communications we could possibly understand their concerns. Instead the DemoFBIcrats seized documents that are subject to client attorney privilege. When your going fishing it’s a good idea to carry more than one type of bait. However, even the stupidest of fish won’t eat bad bait. If it does thats a fish that you better throw back because if you don’t the consumers of the fish will have a nauseous feeling in their stomachs. So we have it. Cleanup needed on aisle seven at the FBI.

  9. Congress needs to pass a “Trump Act,” relieving Real President Donald J. Trump of any possibility of charges or otherwise culpability, in perpetuity.

    The communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) have so egregiously abused and exponentially exceeded the constitutional exemption from “double jeopardy,” that Real President Donald J. Trump must be absolutely and definitively absolved of all potential culpability, prosecution and litigation, criminal and civil.

    After passage, Congress must proceed to impeach and convict each and every communist (liberal, progressive, socialist, democrat, RINO) who participated in the fraudulent and criminal 7-year prosecution and persecution of Real President Donald J. Trump, including all of the co-conspirators in the Obama Coup D’etat in America.

    I am certain that the eminently reliable conservative and republican Congressman from, none other than, BAKERSFIELD, California, Kevin “Hayseed” McCarthy, will see to both of those tasks with great dedication and haste…not!

    The first thing any new Congress must do to establish and maintain any degree of credibility is get rid of Kevin McCarthy, post haste and with extreme prejudice.

  10. This is one of the best analyses I have read. What is incomprehensible to me is how the DOJ could have reached this point, if it was acting in good faith. It is obvious that many of the documents the GSA packed up and sent to MAL were government records that should not have been in Trump’s possession after he left office. How hard could it have been in the 18 months since then for the DOJ and a lawyer for Trump to have sat in a room and gone through the documents one by one to decide the issue?

    Not hard.

    Was this ever proposed? If not why not. If so, when, and what happened and why? This was actually not a complicated problem to solve.

    Given that, I am very suspicious about the motives and actions of the DOJ in suddenly launching this raid to scoop up every document the FBI could find.

    1. Daniel: Yes, the National Archives and Records Administration tried, for months, to get back documents Trump stole. He only turned over a handful. So, a grand jury subpoena was sent, which yielded 15 boxes of materials, which Trump’s lawyer certified was “all” of them. Not true, according to a tipster. So, a search warrant was obtained and 20 more boxes were found. That the warrant is valid and necessary is proven by the fact that some of our most-sensitive documents remained in Trump’s possession after his lawyer swore they had all been returned.

      Why are you “very suspicious” of the motives of anyone OTHER THAN Trump, who had no business with these records, who lied about them and who forced the DOJ to get a search warrant? WHY did he fight to keep them?

    2. Given that a lot of these documents were classified (including some marked top secret) and/or restricted data, you’d first have to find a Trump lawyer with the top secret / restricted data clearance.

      You haven’t thought through all of the details of your proposal.

      Keep in mind that apparently a Trump lawyer signed a document claiming that everything had been turned over. If a lawyer is willing to lie about that, why would you trust them?

      1. You and Natacha are relying on anonymously leaked reports about what happened. The reliability of anti-Trump anonymous leaks is very low. Whatever practical difficulties that may have arisen could have been worked out. Again, this is not hard.

        My suspicion is that Trump never actually looked at the documents that had been packed up and sent to MAL by others. That would be consistent with his well-known propensity not to review in detail complex writings. Is there any evidence that he did?

        1. Actually, Daniel, my comment that “a lot of these documents were classified” comes solely from the manifest that was unsealed by the judge.

          “Could have” is an interesting modal phrase. Trump also *could have* refrained from taking any Presidential Records with him. Trump also *could have* returned all of them when he was first asked for them. But neither happened, just like your hypothetical didn’t happen. It’s striking that you’re concerned about the failure of your hypothetical to occur, but you’re not concerned that Trump was breaking the law.

          As for your suspicion, that’s possible. I suspect that he looked at many of them and had reasons for wanting to keep them. Neither of us knows. Should anyone be charged with a crime related to these documents, perhaps he’ll be asked about it under oath (in which case I wonder whether he’ll answer or will instead plead the 5th, as he recently did hundreds of times in NY).

          1. Did you ever think about who wrote the manifest. I doubt it because you have poor critical thinking skills.

            Don’t you know that if you are pleading the Fifth that plea remains until all the questions are answered or you change your mind. You were told this many times, but you still don’t realize the significance. You must be Anonymous the Stupid.

        2. BTW, Daniel, it’s strange that you tell Turley “This is one of the best analyses I have read” and then turn around and tell me “You … are relying on anonymously leaked reports.”

          You did notice the text in Turley’s column that says “We know at least one set of the documents recovered from Trump’s home was marked as ‘classified/TS/SCI’ or ‘top secret/sensitive compartmentalized information’ There were four sets of top-secret documents, three sets marked ‘secret’ and three marked ‘confidential.’ Trump has no right to retain classified information after leaving office, particularly information classified at the high TS/SCI level,” right?

          1. Those are from the warrant receipt, not anonymously leaked reports.

            As I wrote initially, it is obvious that Trump should not have been sent many of the documents stored at MAL. My point was that in 18 months a DOJ acting in good faith ought to have been able to find a way to sort this out without sending the FBI in with guns to clean everything out.

            1. “Those are from the warrant receipt, not anonymously leaked reports.”

              I know! That was my point, contrary to your assertion (which you still haven’t withdrawn) “You … are relying on anonymously leaked reports.”

              As for your belief “that in 18 months a DOJ acting in good faith ought to have been able to find a way to sort this out without sending the FBI in with guns to clean everything out,” if Trump were acting in good faith, he would have returned it all the first time he was asked. Amazing that you put all of this on the DOJ and the FBI and none of it on Trump, when he’s the one who was illegally in possession of materials he never should have taken.

              And “Trump should not have been sent …” assumes facts not in evidence. You don’t know what materials were packed by others versus knowingly taken by Trump.

      2. ATS, try and get things right using known material, not the stuff that some goof-off makes up.

      3. Keep in mind that apparently a Trump lawyer signed a document claiming that everything had been turned over. If a lawyer is willing to lie about that, why would you trust them?

        You have repeated this lie before.

        No first year law student, let alone a seasoned practicing attorney, with extensive experience working with the DoJ would ever sign such a declarative statement.

  11. Two points should be mentioned, one obvious:

    1. The point is only that we still do not have sufficient information to judge the basis for the raid or the prospects for prosecution despite the often breathless coverage

    It would be offensive to “sex workers” to call the MSM prestitutes but there you are. Since they are breathless about wanting our attention, that makes it the very reason why Americans ignore them. They rank lower than carnival barkers.

    2. ….figures like John Dean are saying that defenders of the former president will “have egg on their faces” when this case is done and presumably Trump is prosecuted.

    John Dean, “author” of Blind Ambition never wrote his own book. It was ghost written by Taylor Branch
    Blind Ambition (ghostwriter for John Dean) (Simon & Schuster: 1976)

    John Dean, as one of the chief members of the Watergate cover-up team, has made a life long career of preaching about the sins of Watergate This is to say he has done nothing worthwhile in life since 1973 other than pursue blind ambition while living in Beverly Hills as an investment banker. But of course.


    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

    – Cassius speaking to Brutus in William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”

    1. I had no idea Taylor Branch was Dean’s ghost wrier for Blind Ambition. Thank you for that nugget.

    2. Whatever you think about Nixon – John Dean was NEVER a good person.

      Nixon is an enigma. Domestically he was one of the worst presidents we have ever had.
      Possibly worse than Biden.

      He was nearly as uncharasmatic as you can get. He should have been abysmal at foreign policy, and yet he was one of our most brilliant presidents in foreign policy.

      Watergate was incredibly stupid, and there are still unaswered questions because so many things do not make sense.
      Regardless, Nixon participated in the coverup.

  12. Turley wrote:
    “Trump also reportedly had a standing order that declassified any material he removed from the White House to take to Mar-a-Lago or other locations. We have not seen that order, and it is not clear if such an order was shown to the FBI.”

    Shouldn’t the burden of proof be that the FBI do the legwork before alleging a crime.
    Imagine if the all it took was for someone within the FBI to declare that they thought Turley was a domestic terrorist. Therefore the get a warrant and search Turley’s home office seizing everything from his personal files (any and all files) to his computers and back up systems.

    Think of the number of amendments that were just violated.

    Is that not what we see here w Trump?

    In June he did comply. Why then were these documents not turned over?
    Why the warrant? Turley asked these questions in an earlier article/blog.

    When would Trump have had the chance to show it to the FBI?

    What happens if the document exists? FARA knew about it.

    1. He clearly didn’t fully comply.

      And as Turley noted, “As previously discussed, the three referenced criminal provisions do not require classified status of documents to be the basis for prosecution.”

      1. criminal provisions do not require classified status of documents to be the basis for prosecution.”

        But Trump does fall under the exact same exemptions that applied to Clintons wife, plus more that apply to the President of the United States

        1. And perhaps he won’t be charged either.
          And perhaps you’ll gripe about it as often as you grip about the failure to charge Hillary Clinton. Oh wait, no, you won’t.

          1. Oh wait, no, you won’t.

            you spout off about being all in on law and order. But then cheer and promote double standard for the equal application of the law.

            Lots of legal eagles warned when the DoJ gave Clinton a pass, it would be almost impossible to enforce these security regulations.


    “…the Case Against Donald Trump Remains Incomplete”

    – Professor Turley

    “It’s the [corruption], stupid.”

    – James Carville

    “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

    – Edmund Burke

    “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

    – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

    The entire judicial branch has been corrupted and requires overhaul through the liberal application of impeachment and conviction. Very little of current extant America is constitutional. Branch “overreach,” “mission creep,” “legislation from the bench” and general putrefaction constitute capital criminal acts of high office. The judicial branch has no power to legislate, modify legislation or legislate through “interpretation.” Yet it does so on a daily basis. The singular American failure since 1860 has been and remains the judicial branch, the valiant attempt by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney to implement the dominion of the “manifest tenor” of the Constitution and Bill of Rights notwithstanding.

    To wit,

    “The clause in the Constitution which authorizes the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is in the ninth section of the first article. This article is devoted to the Legislative Department of the United States, and has not the slightest reference to the Executive Department.”

    “I can see no ground whatever for supposing that the President in any emergency or in any state of things can authorize the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or arrest a citizen except in aid of the judicial power.”

    “I have exercised all the power which the Constitution and laws confer on me, but that power has been resisted by a force too strong for me to overcome.”

    – Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, May 28, 1861

    “…courts…must…declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

    “…men…do…what their powers do not authorize, [and] what they forbid.”

    “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

  14. https://justthenews.com/accountability/russia-and-ukraine-scandals/mystery-solved-doj-secretly-thwarted-release-russia This article, which was published a few weeks ago, explains what this is all about. President Trump declassified numerous documents related to FBI and DOJ actions regarding the Russia collusion hoax. The DOJ stonewalled and refused to declassify them. God only knows what’s in those documents. They were probably classified Top Secret because they were investigating a sitting president. We know that Admiral Mike Rogers went to New York the day after Trump was elected and allegedly informed him that Obama was spying on him at Trump Tower – Trump moved his headquarters to New Jersey the next day. Those documents probably have information in them that would be detrimental to a whole bunch of people, including Obama and probably Biden, not to mention a host of DOJ and FBI personnel. In short, this is political and is an attempt to prevent Trump from exposing a lot in the event he campaigns for president again.

    1. Absolutely!

      Because there appears to be an “ongoing” counterintelligence investigation, he argued, “you will never be allowed to see the Russiagate docs or any other docs that President Trump lawfully declassified, and they will hide it from the public,” Patel told Sunday Morning Futures host Maria Bartiromo. Patel was being interviewed along with Devin Nunes, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who is now the CEO of Trump’s social media company.

  15. This was an unprecedented political hit job brought to the world by the same actors who have wielded asymmetrical power to intimidate and decimate their political opponents, the same ones that alter evidence to a FISA court. Even the judge who signed the search warrant had recused himself for bias against the former President of the Untied states on 22 June 2022 in a case against Hillary Clinton, et al.

    All former Presidents have had issues with the archives. Former President Obama spent many millions fighting FOIAs for his presidential papers.

    There is zero justification for a KGB style raid of the residence of the former President of the United States. What? 20 months after he left office? None. Where is the ACLU?

    I would feel the same no matter what political affiliation the form President had.

    This is the recusal:https://justthenews.com/sites/default/files/2022-08/show_temp%20%287%29.pdf

  16. For what it’s worth, here is the opinion of someone that had never heard of Donald Trump before 2015 except that he owned a building I walked by on 5th Avenue when I was in NYC and that supposedly he was star of some really bad TV show that I never watched (but — nothing personal to Trump –I never watched any TV show that the networks called “reality”) and who never voted for Donald Trump (but again — nothing personal to Trump — because I have not voted in any presidential election since 1992): Since 2015, on any issue on which Trump has said A and the Democrats such as Hillary Clinton or George Stephanopoulus have said B, A has always turned out to be much closer to the truth

  17. Be of good cheer. The Democrats are striking back in desperation like a cornered mad dog to push back the red tide coming in November. Some have asked why the left is doing what they are doing at this particular time? The answer is blaringly obvious. Some election time revelations are effective but this one is not. The American populace have seen this game played out far to often. In this game we’ve seen the opposition playbook before the game ever started. The amazing thing is that the Democrats think we are too stupid to see through their plan. Then again, they do consider us to be the stupid rubes in the basket of the deplorables smelling like Trump supporters in the aisles at Walmart. When they consider themselves the saviors of the world any tactic is allowable. Be of good cheer. They have exposed their plan for all to see.

    1. ThinkItThrough,
      That right there!
      The past 7 years have been about “get Trump!”
      One law enforcement agency has gone to the lengths of lying on more than one occasion in attempts to “get Trump!”
      And got caught lying.
      The Peter Strzok-Lisa Page texts, not better.
      So some wonder why a sizeable portion of the country just might have some doubts about the most recent event, considering the timelines, people involved etc. Why ever could we be skeptical? Doubtful? After all the other of bombshell “get Trump!” duds?
      The sad part is, some do in fact think we are, as you put it, ” . . . they do consider us to be the stupid rubes in the basket of the deplorables smelling like Trump supporters in the aisles at Walmart.”
      And they have some real brass balls to be flagrantly displaying it.
      Wonder why half of the country is mad?
      Call them stupid to their face (or even worse, not to their face) for having a degree of common sense of seeing what is on gross display for all to see and not believing their narrative that is contrary to what we are seeing. Lot of seeing going on here.
      That is a sure fire way to win the hearts and minds! (Note: sarc)
      And then feint indignity for questioning that law enforcement agency patriotism? Really?
      I do truly believe there are good agents within the FBI (those whistleblowers) whom are calling out the partisanship within the upper levels of the agency. I am against this calling for defunding the FBI, razing it to the ground etc. But there does seem to be the need of replacement of some biased agents, namely at the senior ranks. Promote those within who can keep their objectivity, politics out of their conduct as agents of the FBI. They are there. I know they are. They are the true patriots.
      I would say the same of any LEOs, or even military members.
      Now, if we could just get Congress there . . . .

  18. At least Turley has finally admitted not only did Trump have NO right to possess these documents, but that even if they had been declassified (of which there is NO proof, which Turley also admits, but assumes anyway), that still wouldn’t bar prosecution. Turley attempts to argue that conviction for illegally having these documents wouldn’t bar Trump from running again, which totally ignores the specific wording of the statute. He cites only his own opinion for the proposition that preventing Trump from running again would be unconsitutional. As to the demand to release the Affidavit–the fruits it produced are proof of its vallidity. Further, the life and safety of the tipster would be placed at risk if it is disclosed. Turley also knows that even if the Affiavit were to be released, that wouldn’t stop the conspiracy theories or complaints by the alt-right. Nothing will. His fans buy into the “Trump victimhood” meme.

    Turley tries to argue that Trump could plausibly defend himself against charges based on advice of counsel, but that won’t fly, either. The factual chain kills that argument: 1. asked to return the documents, so he turns over only a handful; 2. subpoenaed to hand over the rest, lawyer certifies in writing that all of them were returned; 3. tipster tells the FBI that there are still more, so a warrant is obtained; 4. even more documents turn up, some of which bear the highest-level of sensitivity; 5. Trump aruges that if classified documents are found, the FBI must have planted them, but has CCTV view of entire search; 6. Trump argues that he had a “standing order” to “declassify” anything he put his mitts on–no proof, and that still makes no difference to his wrongful possession of them; 7. there is reporting that some still remain. 8. Trump broke the story about the search and has used it to stir outrage and fund raise by portraying himself as a victim of the “deep state”.

    Who knows who has had access to this material, whether the documents were copied or sold, and to whom. We DO know that Trump fawns over murderous dictators like Putin, MBS, Erdogan and Kim Jong Un, that he is NO patriot, and that he’s hard up for cash. He has also lied about having the documents and has fought to prevent them from being returned.

    The upshot of this, as with everything else involving Trump is his serious mental illness: narcissism. He lives under the delusion that he is still president because his massive ego won’t allow him to be man enough to admit he lost, and he thinks no one can tell him what to do. He keeps fighting to keep documents that belong to the United States of America–for what purpose–souvenirs to display to try to impress people with what a big shot he is–or to sell to Putin or others? Who knows? What I do know is that documents are given classification status based on the seriousness of risk that disclosure would pose to the safety of the United States, our spies, our allies and our defenses. Trump is a private citizen, just like you and me. People should be outraged, not just that he took these things to which he had no entitlement, but his pattern of lying about them, of resisting returning them, and then claiming to be a victim because he was forced to turn them over, using his victimhood for fundraising. I seriously don’t know what’s wrong with Trump disciples. Why don’t you see what’s happening here?

    1. Documents that have a top secret (or TS/SCI) classification contain information that, if given to our enemies, would jeopardize our national security. So, even if one if these documents was declassified it still contains that same information.

      1. The problem for Trump is that TS/SCI documents cannot be declassified unilaterally by Trump. The claim that Trump declassified all those documents are a lie. Every declassification has a paper trail, a record. It’s not just a “verbal” record taken an face value.

        Trump’s excuses have been all over the place. He’s not only lied to the DOJ, he’s lied to everyone else.

          1. No he cannot, nobody can unilaterally declassify TS/SCI level documents. Not even the president. Just because he’s president does not mean he has unilateral power to declassify everything. That’s not how it work. Trump may “think” he did, but the reality is he did not have that authority.

              1. As I said: Svelaz is China’s secret weapon, Stupidity, but someone else gave another possibility that you are a “mutant that escaped from the wet market in Wuhan.” That was pretty funny and the vision is in the right direction. Kudos to whoever said that.

        1. Svelaz, you keep making the same claim. You have yet to cite your reference. The President is in Charge of the Executive Branch. That’s where the power to classify, and declassify lives.

      2. That’s not necessarily true. I held a Top Secret clearance. Documents can be classified Top Secret for a number of reasons, one of which is to hide them from the American public. For example, everything related to the use of the atomic bomb against Japan was classified Top Secret for fifty years in order to avoid public embarrassment of certain public officials. I was involved in a Top Secret mission and there was nothing related to “national security” involved. By the way, “national security” is a catch-all phrase that came along after World War II to hide government actions from the public.

        1. Having held a top secret clearance does not mean you know everything that a president is allowed to do. There IS a process that is required to declassify documents and it involves more than just one person.

          Trump is lying. His own lawyer proved it when he declared in a statement to the DOJ that all classified documents were turned over. He never mentioned that they were declassified. Trump is just lying.

        2. We need to drastically reduce what is considered top secret and protect our real secrets from our enemies.

          Hunter Biden was involved with the sale to China of a company that had intellectual property enhancing China’s military ability. Joe Biden almost certainly got his 10%.

          1. “ Hunter Biden was involved with the sale to China of a company that had intellectual property enhancing China’s military ability. Joe Biden almost certainly got his 10%.”

            S. Meyer read that back to yourself and ask yourself if that makes sense. That sounds really stupid. What are you having an aneurysm while reading that sentence?

    2. Natacha; Being technically correct, being legally correct, has never been the issue regarding POTUS #45. There were in the neighborhood of 74 million registered voters who voted for the Donald in Nov. of 2020. The Administration current occupying the White House has a choice. If they make the ill-advised choice, millions of American citizens will have been told by the opposing political party they are powerless to stop the political assault on #45. Republicans own 75% of the guns in this country, at least that percentage. Civil war will be ugly and catastrophic. So one can claim he or she was legally in the right, but just like crossing a busy intersection, just because the WALK sign says it’s OK to walk, when you get run over and killed, you’re dead, even though you were right.

      1. You are probably right. This is a true Constitutional crisis and it may very well lead to civil war. If it does, Katy-bar-the-door.

      2. Forcing someone who wrongfully possesses classified documents to give them back isnt’ a “political assault”. National Security was left with no choice other than to go after Trump with a search warrant. Look at the chain of events–they asked for them, then they subpoenaed them, then a tipster told them he still had some, so they were forced to use a search warrant. There may still be more of them hidden away. Trump was never going to return the documents voluntarily, and has made up one lie after another. So, you have to ask yourself: why does he want them? What is he planning to do with them? What has he already done with them? We can just hope it was sloppy housekeeping, and that everything laying around just got put into boxes once it sunk in that he had to vacate the White House, but I have my doubts.

        The bottom line here is that just like Trump tried to bully Brad Raffensberger, Mike Pence and Secretaries of State of various swing states into breaking the law, now he’s using his “victimhood” to try to bully the DOJ and FBI into backing down and letting him keep our most-sacred national security secrets, including those related to nuclear weapons. WHY does he want them and WHY is he fighting to keep them? WHY wouldn’t he just give them back when asked and when subpoenaed and WHY the false certification that all of them had been returned? He is not the POTUS, and never will be again according to polls. Should the DOJ and FBI just let him keep these documents and do what he pleases with them upon threat of a civil war to defend Trump, or should they fight to keep our most-sensitive secrets safe? And, it’s a lie that Joe Biden had anything to do with this issue. He is hands-off when it comes to the DOJ.

        1. Forcing someone who wrongfully possesses classified documents to give them back isnt’ a “political assault

          That’s not the debate. go back and learn what the conflict is all about, before you look any more stupid

      3. Richard Lowe,
        For obvious reasons, I do not read anything Natacha posts. Makes my teeth itch and I have a very good teeth, dental hygiene regime.
        However, the mention of “civil war,” always catches my eye.
        I have deployed to a war zone (Afghanistan). I have seen and know what that looks like. It is not good. There will be people who do not care about either side whom will suffer and they will likely be the ones who suffer the most.
        That is a path no one should want to go down.
        Unfortunately, I think I could wake up one morning, read the news some one has done something incredibly dumb (pick a side, any side) and things devolve from there, into civil war 2.0.

    3. Another 2000 word post by our resident blue-haired land whale. Nobody cares, Natacha. Get your own blog.

    4. He cites only his own opinion for the proposition that preventing Trump from running again would be unconsitutional

      Turley did not offer his opinion. He quoted from the Constitution. The only disqualifying factors for holding the office of President, Not born a Citizen, or Iive in the United States for less than 14 years, or be less than 35 years of age

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