Rorschach Redactions: What Did Not Happen with the Release of the Mar-a-Lago Affidavit

Below is my column in the Hill on the release of the affidavit leading to the raid on Mar-a-Lago. The redacted affidavit did confirm key points, but the most interesting elements could be what did not happen. That may change now that a federal judge has finally indicated that a special master may be appointed. Since the start of the controversy over the Mar-a-Lago raid, I have called for the release of a redacted affidavit and the appointment of a special master to sort through the seized material, including alleged attorney-client privileged material. (Indeed, the Justice Department just admitted that it may have collected attorney-client privileged material). Such an appointment could result in additional material being returned to the Trump team and a release of additional information on what was seized under this exceptionally broad warrant.

Here is the column:

With Friday’s release of the redacted affidavit from the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago, the largest Rorschach test in history seemed to play out on cable television. Instead of ink blots, pundits and politicians stared at pages of solid black lines and offered strikingly different “ah-ha” observations. Some called the matter effectively closed and that, with the redacted affidavit, we have now “finally seen enough. Donald Trump will be indicted by a federal grand jury.”

Likewise, for former Mueller top aide Andrew Weissmann, the affidavit meant one thing — that “the former president is going to be prosecuted.” (Of course, Weissmann once expressed certainty that Donald Trump would pardon himself by his last day in office.)

There already are a plethora of news and opinion columns focusing on the five things we learned from the redacted affidavit. Equally telling, however, is what did not happen with the affidavit’s release.

Due to a series of advance leaks from the government, we already knew some of the affidavit’s contents and the results of the search. The redacted affidavit did confirm important details on past communications and the documents that were previously retrieved from Mar-a-Lago, including the discovery of a large amount of classified documents, from the relatively mundane “confidential” to the highly classified “Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information” (TS/SCI).

It also was clear that a criminal case could be brought on such allegations, though there is considerable factual and legal uncertainty about any conviction or appeal.

Not clear is whether the Justice Department intends to prosecute the former president. It is entirely possible that beneath the affidavit’s blacked-out lines lurks evidence that the government is building a case for prosecution. However, if one were to go by the unredacted portions, it is also possible this was just a heavy-handed effort to retrieve government material from Mar-a-Lago.

More striking are three things that did not happen.

The most remarkable thing that occurred on Friday is that nothing occurred on Friday. Only a week before, the Justice Department insisted that the court should not release a single line of the affidavit and that any substantive disclosure would unleash a parade of horribles, from damaging national security to sacrificing witnesses.

For those of us who have litigated cases against the Justice Department, it was an all-too-familiar claim by a department notorious for over-classification and over-redaction arguments.

For a week, media pundits mouthed the same exaggerated claims and challenged those of us who argued that it was clearly possible to release a redacted affidavit; liberals suddenly shuddered at the thought of doubting the Justice Department. Sites like Above the Law claimed that calls for greater transparency and a redacted affidavit were akin to “publishing the nuclear codes on the back of every milk carton.” Even after the judge agreed that a redacted affidavit could be released in the public interest, experts balked at the notion as dangerous in light of Justice’s earlier warnings.

As I noted earlier, affidavits contain background legal and factual sections that ordinarily can be unsealed without disclosing sensitive information. That is precisely what happened here. Pages of the affidavit were released that confirmed the legal claims as well as some of the factual allegations. In other words, the Justice Department misrepresented the contents of the affidavit and the dangers of redaction. As in other cases, it falsely claimed that no disclosures could be made without redacting so much as to make the document unintelligible. Yet, no one seemed to notice.

Something else did not happen. In rejecting Justice’s claims that nothing in the affidavit should be released, U.S. Magistrate Bruce Reinhart set out an appellate process by which he could overrule Justice in ordering disclosures beyond those proposed by the department. Given Justice’s well-documented history of over-redacting, it was a promising start.

Then, over the course of the week, media reported a series of leaks of information that clearly was part of the affidavit. At the same time that the government was demanding total secrecy, it was selectively leaking details seemingly designed to put Trump on the defensive.

Given that history, there was every reason for the court to be skeptical of the first cut of the redactions. Yet the court accepted the government’s redactions without question. It effectively found that the Justice Department hit the Goldilocks spot on the first try in getting the redactions just right to maximize disclosures.

This is where those black lines actually may tell us something. While there were key points disclosed, the redactions of the timeline of events notably ended exactly where the leaked information ended. Many of us had stated that the critical period of interest was between June 8 and after the raid on August 8. The June date involved a demand for greater security on the storage room at Mar-a-Lago, with which the Trump team complied. The redacted affidavit only added one day of new information in noting that on June 9, Trump’s counsel acknowledged the receipt of their letter. Then the black-out followed. That information could explain why a raid was needed, as opposed to a second subpoena or a more tailored warrant.

There is every reason to believe that what followed contained some facts that could be released on the FBI’s communications with the Trump team or the breakdown of such communications. After all, the Trump team already knows about that. Yet the government is saying that everything which occurred in that critical month cannot be disclosed in even the smallest detail.

The court could have pushed for additional disclosures but chose to call it a day, based on government representations that more would cause harm. Yet, this is the same department which maintained that all of the pages released this week could not be released without causing harm.

There is still more that can be done by the court. One option is the special master requested, belatedly, by Trump’s team. I previously argued that Attorney General Merrick Garland should have proposed such an appointment to assure the public that this was not a pretextual search using sensitive documents as an excuse for a massive seizure. The scope of the warrant was ridiculously broad, allowing the seizure of virtually every document in the storage room and every document generated during Trump’s presidency. A special master could have sorted through this mass of material and separated privileged or immaterial documents. That would add to the legitimacy of an otherwise unlimited search.

That also did not happen. However, a special master could still serve the same interests of transparency and legitimacy. By dividing these documents into classified material, unclassified but defense-related information, and unclassified material, we would have a better understanding of scope and seriousness of any alleged crimes.

That is why the most curious thing about the redacted affidavit is what did not happen. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Silver Blaze,” a police inspector asks Sherlock Holmes if anything about a crime scene bothered him. The brilliant detective responds, “To the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime.” When the confused inspector objects that “the dog did nothing in the night-time,” Holmes replies: “That was the curious incident.”

173 thoughts on “Rorschach Redactions: What Did Not Happen with the Release of the Mar-a-Lago Affidavit”

  1. Hey let’s all SHRED the Constitution over one man, Trump! No cross examination of witnesses Jan 6. Indictments by LEAKS to WaPo and MSDNC. Haven’t had ANY discovery. Indictment by media and the slow slow slow walk of Durham. Who needs a Constitution?

  2. Selective justice is by definition “communism”. Clinesmith gets a slap on the wrist. Hunter nothing to see. Hillary has a private server, acid washes her classifieds, Obama brings over 60,000 docs to his Iibrary, and Trump is even abused by the slow, slow, slow walk of Durham. This is how Republics end.

    1. RE:”This is how Republics end.” The die-hard Republican electorate, as well as others of like mind, will either do or not do in November. If they prevail, as it has already been said, they’d best be prepared to come to the joust in January with their balls full of seed. Otherwise it will have been all for naught.

  3. Timothy Thibault is a sop and a red herring, ordered up in behalf of the Banana Republic’s Tinhorn Dictator, President Obama of the Fundamentally Transformed United States of America.

    Obama’s President, Locum Tenens, Suzie Q, in conjunction with Senior Ancillary Puppeteer, Valerie Jarrett, is finessing the logistics.

    “[We gave you] a [restricted-vote] republic, if you can keep it.”

    – Ben Franklin

    You couldn’t.

    “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

    – P.T. Barnum

  4. Plaque on the walls at the DOJ, FBI, CIA et al.

    “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”

    – Lenin

  5. The reasons for an outrageous and political raid on the former president are totally opaque.
    Anyone can swear probable cause, where’s the evidence?

    1. The judge has seen the evidence, and it’s his ruling about it that matters here. If Trump wants to challenge the legality of the search in court, nothing stops him, but that too will be up to a judge to rule on.

      1. It just seems the DOJ, by conducting a sloppy and overly-wide seizure, left themselves open to the idea that they took more than they were granted by the warrant and (redacted) affidavit. I think that may damage any prosecution they seek. A special master should have received that info directly, rather than having it in “custody” of agencies that have demonstrated every propensity to manufacture/plant documents in their zeal to catch Trump at something/anything. It has certainly happened in the past, and you’d have to be from Mars to sit on a jury and not know about that.

        1. RE:you’d have to be from Mars to sit on a jury and not know about that…Who do you suppose sat on the Sussman jury?

  6. Why are there so few historical examples of anyone convicted of mishandling classified and top secret documents? One possibility: to get a conviction, the prosecutor must present the documents to a jury. The defendant might then successfully argue that the documents were misclassified as we know often occurs with government documents. Alternatively, if the documents contain vital information, disclosing them to a jury makes them public – defeating the classification. A wily prosecutor will think hard before putting top secrets or classified documents before a jury.

    1. Even so who said they were mishandled. They were in a secure facility with Secret Service protection. They were not on a non government server.

      1. They were not in a secure facility, which is why the government told him that they needed to be properly secured. There has not been a secure facility in MaL since the SCIF was removed at the end of Trump’s presidency.

        1. Classified or NDI are all the exact same test. Can the President make public that information? Of course the President can. Happens all the time. There were a lot of people that screamed when Obama release operational details of the Bin laden raid. Details that should not have been released and served no transparency purpose. But the President can do that, So can Generals. Generals can be court martialed, but the DoJ has no jurisdiction.

          The President can make a decision that copies of material taken with him, no long are a threat to National Security. No one has the constitutional power to over rule his decision.

          1. “Classified or NDI are all the exact same test”

            They aren’t.

            “The President can make a decision that copies of material taken with him, no long are a threat to National Security.”

            Trump and his lawyers have not claimed that he did that, and there is a process to follow — signed into law by a sitting President, which applies to the Executive Branch including the President (because a sitting President said so, and no subsequent sitting President has changed the law either via legislation or by EO).

            1. That is unconstitutional.

              To remove authority over classified material from the executive branch and confer it on the legislative branch a constitutional amendment would be necessary.

              1. It doesn’t “confer it on the legislative branch.” It simply creates a specified process within the Executive.

                Again: Presidents sign legislation. That is the Executive Branch agreeing to the constraint.

                Also, in this case I was mistaken about something, as I don’t think the process was specified by legislation signed by a President. I’m pretty sure that it was instead an Executive Order signed by President Obama, where neither Trump nor Biden have changed it via EO, so the Executive Branch remains bound by the EO, including the President — since the EO explicitly applies to the President as an original authority.

            2. I have a test you can apply.

              Can a sitting President make public NDI informaton?
              The answer can only be yes.
              No entity has the constitutional power to overrule the decision of the President.

              And, Stop with the whole ‘The Presidents lawyers have not made the argument’ The is nothing to argue. The warrant was executed, no relief was available. No crimes have been charged.

              1. “No entity has the constitutional power to overrule the decision of the President.”

                And one of the decisions of the President was Executive Order 13526. Trump did not change that EO and so was bound by it.

                  1. I’m not, nor have you even attempted to present evidence that it’s false, much less knowingly false.

                    1. EO do not bind future Presidents. EO binds the targeted bureaucracy . Not the President.

                      But you run and hide from the test. Can the President publicize National Defense Information.

                      That answer, you refuse to aknowlege, proves you are lying

                    2. An EO can bind the President, and Executive Order 13526 does bind the President in specific ways. The next President is free to replace that EO with another, but if he doesn’t, then he too is bound by it.

                      “Can the President publicize National Defense Information.”

                      Yes. But — once again — Trump isn’t President.

                      You’re projecting when you say “you run and hide from the test.”

            3. Your process argument is both nonsense and wrong.

              Lets presume you are correct – that a president has complete authority to declassify anything unilaterally,
              but to do so he must follow some magical process defined in Obama’s EO.

              Lets ignore the fact that the Obama EO explicitly excempts the president from the constraints of the EO.
              Lets ignore the fact that one president can not irrevocably bind his successors.

              You are actually arguing that the difference between a criminal act and a perfectly legal one is the recitation of some chants, and the burning of incense ?

              The power to declassify is the presidents – you have already accepted that. No legitimate process can stop the president from declassifying anything – if he wishes. Anything else would be obviously unconstitutional.

              Your process argument is obviously false.

              Lets assume Trump followed your mystical process – and some other in the process said “no you can not declassify this”.
              Is that the end ? Can some clerk at NARA ultimately decide what Trump or Biden or Obama can declassify ?

              Of course not. had Trump followed the process you think the Obama EO always requires, and the result was declassification
              you have no cause.
              And if the result was no declassification – inarguably either the president could say FU this is declassified, or the process is unconstitutional.

              Due process is the guide rails to assure that the constitution – and more typically the bill of rights is followed.
              IT does not exist to increase the power of bureacrats, or the right of individuals, but to decrease the power of government and increase the rights of individuals.

              1. “the Obama EO explicitly excempts the president from the constraints of the EO.”

                It doesn’t.

                1. Clearly you have not read it.
                  Please do.
                  Every single section specifies that any decision, any action any process can be appealed to the president.

                  Put simply the president alone has the authority alone to do whatever they please
                  Every delegation of authority is apealable to the president whose decision is final.

                  Any decision by the president on classified documents is final. Unapealable.

                  While much of this is explicitly spelled out in Obama’s EO.

                  It need not be. The fact that the President can issue and EO specifying a process, means that he can revise, rescind, or ignore it. EO’s are issued on the authority and power of the president – as delegated by the constitution.
                  There is no judicial appeal. There is no congressional override.

                  EO’s are constitutionally limited to the domain of the executive. Which is why Biden’s order to forgive student loans is unconstitutional – that is not a power of the president.
                  But within he domain of the constitutional powers of the president – not just EO’s but the presidents words and actions are final and unapealable.

                  You are free to argue for a different arrangement, but you would have to amend the constitution to do so.

                  If you tried I would oppose you – not because it is important who can classify or declassify documents,.
                  But because it is unlikely you can come up with a process that is different that actually works.

                  1. I have read it, and it does not say what you claim. It actually says that *some* decisions can be appealed to the President, but does NOT say that for other decisions. Your claim that “Every single section specifies that any decision, any action any process can be appealed to the president” is patently false. SOME sections say that, and OTHER sections do not.

                    “he can revise, rescind, or ignore it.”

                    He can revise it — in writing with another EO. He can revoke it — in writing with another EO. But he CANNOT ignore an EO that he has neither revised nor revoked.

                    1. Of course the claim is not false.
                      You are correct that every clause does not have a direct appeal to the president.
                      But every single decision tree ends with the ability to appeal to the president.
                      Can you cite a single place in the EO where decision or action by anyone other than the president is both FINAL and not appealable to the president.

                      I would further note that universally what you call process – applies to everyone BUT the president.
                      The very fact that everything can ultimately be appealed to the president means the president can do as they wish.
                      The presidents decisions are unappealable – absolutely final, no matter what they are.
                      There is no appeal to the courts, there is no appeal to congress.
                      That litterally means the president can do whatever he pleases.

                      If the president defacto declassifies 10,000 documents – what is the NSA ? NARA ? FBI ? DOJ ?
                      Anyone in govenrment going to do ?
                      Appeal to the supreme court ? They are not taking the case. They can;’t.

                      The ONLY step beyond any presidential action at all regarding classified information would be impeachment.
                      That is it. That is the sole check on presidential power regarding classified documents.

                    2. “He can revise it — in writing with another EO. He can revoke it — in writing with another EO. But he CANNOT ignore an EO that he has neither revised nor revoked.”

                      This is completely stupid claim.

                      Look at the current case – there is one and only one issue and that is whether DOJ can prove in some way that Trump did not declassified these documents.

                      Lets assume briefly – to simplify the issues that Trump is still president and that someone – you, DOJ/FBI Congress, NARA are challenging the presidents declassification of documents.

                      What would they do ? You can probably find a process in this EO, but it ultimately ends with an appeal to the president – Trump is highly unlikely to decide – after whatever process you claim needs followed that he was wrong.

                      After that where do you go ? Court ? Congress ? They courts at least as soon as you get to one that follows the constitution are going to say – this is outside our jurisdiction.

                      The only question regarding the MAL documents is DID Trump declassify them while president, Not HOW, Not whether they are marked or not. There is pretty much it.

                      I would note you have pretty much the same situation with the PRA and that is exactly what judge ABJ decided – not only did she decide that the president and only the president gets to decide what the PRA covers and what it does not, but that the courts have no authority to review the presidents decision.

                    3. “there is one and only one issue and that is whether DOJ can prove in some way that Trump did not declassified these documents.”

                      You don’t know what you’re talking about.

                      First, the alleged crimes do not depend on the material being classified.

                      Second, the onus is on Trump to prove that he did declassify it, and as of right now, his lawyers are not claiming that. In fact, in their filing tonight they conceded that if a Special Master is appointed, that person needs TS/SCI clearance.

                      The whole point of declassification is that it becomes available to the public. It’s a contradiction of the very purpose of declassification for a President to fail to inform the government that something has been declassified.

                      But ultimately, this is a distraction, as the alleged crimes do not depend on the classification level AND Trump’s lawyers are not contesting that the material was classified.

                    4. You still haven’t proven that the documents weren’t classified.

                      SM (don’t let the door hit you on your way out.)

        2. How do you know that, “Anonymous?” Seems to be that many of the commenters have access to facts that I have never seen published.

          1. The unredacted portions of the affidavit have been published, and say so.

            For example:
            “On June 8, 2022, DOJ COUNSEL sent FPOTUS [former POTUS = Trump] COUNSEL 1 a letter, which reiterated that the PREMISES are not authorized to store classified information and requested the preservation of the STORAGE ROOM and boxes that had been moved from the White House to the PREMISES. Specifically, the letter stated in relevant part:
            “As I previously indicated to you, Mar-a-Lago does not include a secure location
            authorized for the storage of classified information. As such, it appears that since the time
            classified documents [redacted] were removed
            from the secure facilities at the White House and moved to Mar-a-Lago on or around
            Januaiy 20, 2021, they have not been handled in an appropriate manner or stored in an
            appropriate location'”

            1. But all those documents by the action of removing them from the White House are no longer classified. No judge has ever overruled the Presidents power to declassify, by any manner the President desires.

              1. How many times do I have to point out to you that those laws apply regardless of the classification status? Will you ever get it through your thick head?

                1. And you are wrong eveytime.
                  Pretend the red hearings you keep tossing in the mix to confuse, don’t exist.

                  No classified, No DNi. Now, does any law apply? All you have is the PRA. Civil, not criminal.

                  1. Trump and his lawyers haven’t claimed that there was no classified info. Trump and his lawyers haven’t claimed that there was no NDI.

                    You claim “No classified, No DNi [sic]” despite not having evidence for your claim. That dog won’t hunt.

                    1. Of course you want to discuss a hypothetical, because in the actual case, you repeatedly fail on the facts.

          2. ATS ‘always knows’, because when he can’t or doesn’t know something for sure, he assumes no one else knows either. He believes if no one else knows, he can lie and then when one objects to the lie, tell them to “prove it”. That is his little game.

            When dealing with Anonymous if something doesn’t sound true , logical or is slightly distorted, one can tell ATS is spinning because lying and deceit come naturally to him.

            1. The subject of classification is not of material in the warrant search. Never mentioned in the warrant.
              Classification is not even mentioned in the Espionage Act
              The ISSUE rests in govt property (documents) being taken by Trump. If he wanted access to those docs he needed to go thru Archives like Clinton.Bush. and Obama had done too set up approved and secure system….that is THE LAW on Presidential items Those docs are not his property..period.
              Now, why would anyone trust such an immoral, loose lipped with US intelligence, con man like Trump keep docs that were highly classified?

              You “tin hats”, commenting on this blog with conspiracy sparks from far off orbits are totally ridiculous!

              1. “The subject of classification is not of material in the warrant search. Never mentioned in the warrant.”

                How does that pertain to my comment. It doesn’t. It was never mentioned.

                “You “tin hats”, commenting on this blog “

                Amazing comment from one who isn’t able to follow the discussion.

              2. The ISSUE rests in govt property (documents) being taken by Trump.

                Great. Now you have set the rules.
                The President has declared all the documents at MAL are personal record, not Government records. You have just made the Presidents case for him.
                The President alone determines what is personal and what is a Presidential Record. The PRA is civil law, not criminal. It is designed to prevent corrupt govt actors from raiding the homes of ex presidents.

  7. Roar Shock: “When the clammoring screams of blind support for forgiving loans reverses after its cost is fully realized.”

    1. Will that extra 10 or 20K be considered by the state/fed as taxable income? lol

      1. My undstanding is for Federal Income tax purposes the amount of a loan forgiven or cancelled can be taxable income unless it categorizes under specific exceptions or exclusions. My interpretation is that these subject student loans would fall under at least one of these exceptions: See the below for info: (Exceptions–6: “Any amounts discharged from certain federal, private or educational student loans”)

        Of course there could be liabilities under various state taxation statutes.

        1. It’s helpful when people post stuff like that site you did.

          Lots of people get lost when it comes to some that.

          I just had to my son help me get the new type of Tide soap open. (My eyes are fading, can’t read the fine print)

          Two adults needed to get past the child proof packaging.

        2. If the cancelled debt is taxable income as you indicate, then that would lessen the cost of the program — did the Wharton study consider this? Thanks.

          1. The federal government does not receive revenue from cancelled student loan debt income of taxpayers, (since it is excluded from federal taxation) so in my view it would not lessen the cost to the United States. I have not reviewed the calculation strategy of the Wharton Study but I don’t believe it would factor into their accounting.

              1. Concerned Citizen

                Something else came to mind. I am not qualified to give an informative opinion on tax matters but I think there might be a bit more at play with regard to the implications with regard to cancelled student loan dept and measuring its economic consequences related to internal revenue…but here it goes:

                There might be a dynamic concerning the tax treatment of the amounts cancelled compared with a future deductibility of this against the taxpayers’ liability to the IRS.

       (Topic No. 456 Student Loan Interest Deduction)

                “Student loan interest is interest you paid during the year on a qualified student loan. It includes both required and voluntarily pre-paid interest payments. You may deduct the lesser of $2,500 or the amount of interest you actually paid during the year. The deduction is gradually reduced and eventually eliminated by phaseout when your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) amount reaches the annual limit for your filing status.”

                So it becomes a question as to whether in aggregate based on known demographics of each taxpayer as to the amount positively or negatively this affects the net revenue for the government. In some respects if many taxpayers for example have a large portion of their student loan principal removed, they would have lesser interest payments for which they may apply deductions against their income from other sources. That is of course subject to their MAGI, whether or not they will simply use the Standard Deduction instead of itemized deductions (if this is applicable), and other factors. That’s something for policy analysts to determine.

                I imagine that if many taxpayers have fewer items to deduct it could mean more money for the feds but still this figure would fall short of the big picture if one does not consider macroeconomic topics that are tangental yet affected by this tax policy: such as the tax impact this causes lenders; what the people loans cancelled do with the money (spend / save); etc; etc. But that is a book for others who know to write.

                1. Thanks for the additional analysis and digging into the irs tax topics!

      2. Yes it will — just this morning, about 10 states have said there will be Taxation by the State on this loan forgiveness……haven’t yet heard what the IRs will do, but loan forgiveness is considered income by the IRS as well. What a boondoggle — and Joe Biden can’t undo the tax code by Executive Order.

        1. I’ll bet you he doesn’t know that. I’m wagering that the next move is giving the vote to illegal immigrants, just before the election, so it can’t be in the courts by November. Wait for it…Once you figure out you can get away with anything you want to do, your list gets a lot longer…I hope we can survive 2 more years of this.

      3. Just like Social Security, I’ll bet it will be taxed. The government has NO INCOME except yours and mine. And with 87,000 more IRS agents to grab it, they’re not going to miss a penny. They’ve got such ambitious and maniacal spending plans, they’ll need it and more.

  8. Cleanup or Coverup on aisle 9?

    Breaking: FBI Agent Tim Thibault Who Opened Trump Investigation Is Escorted from Headquarters — Was Also FBI Agent in Charge of Investigating Voter Fraud, And Failed to Do So
    By Jim Hoft
    Published August 29, 2022 at 4:54pm

    1. Lol…Gateway Pundent! Lol lol lol..
      A far far right wing blog has been known to be full of wacko FAKE news!

      1. No. That honor goes to the lying New York Times and the lying Washington Post who have YET to return the Pulitzers they got for their reporting of the FAKE Russian Collusion that Hillary paid for.

  9. Jonathan: All sorts of dire predictions are being made if Trump is prosecuted for illegally taking official docs back to Mar-a-Lago. Some Trump supporters are even calling for the use of the 2nd Amendment to prevent Trump’s prosecution. Some in the GOP have joined the chorus. Sen. Lindsey Graham was on Fox yesterday saying: “If there’s a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling [the term should be “illegally taking”] classified information…there’ll be riots in the streets”. Trump shared a clip of Graham’s interview on Truth Social. Trump and Graham are giving a “wink and nod” to the Proud Boys and other militia types– their game plan to encourage violence.

    One of the founding principles of this nation was the “rule of law”. That’s why the Founders put the 4th and 5th Amendments in the Constitution. They would be appalled by calls today to disregard the “rule of law”. Graham should know better. As a lawyer and sitting Senator he took an oath to defend and protect the Constitution–not encourage attempts to put it aside.

    And Trump is pouring gasoline on the fire of open rebellion. He now demands that as a “minimum solution” the 2020 election should be declared “irreparably compromised” and he should be reinstated in the WH “immediately”. Trump is now doubling down on Jan. 6. Earlier in the year the former president told Rep. Bo Brooks, who supported “Stop the Steal”, to remove Biden from office, install Trump back in the WH and hold a new special election. When Brooks wouldn’t go along Trump exacted revenge by rescinding his endorsement of Brooks.

    Now we would expect this kind of incendiary rhetoric from authoritarian figures elsewhere who have no respect for the rule of law. But here in the US? This is why Trump needs to be prosecuted. Otherwise, he will continue to wreck havoc on our Democracy in order to become an authoritarian dictator.

    1. For the sake of critical thinking I urge you to read your comment over and notice how much it sounds like a description of an old “Dallas” television series plot.
      The reason is clear; you’ve chosen to allow soap opera news readers to do your research and your thinking for you.
      Imagine the lives that would have been saved and the 8 months of horrors that could have been avoided if the public would have checked the DOJ, FBI and state stats to find how many blacks had been shot or shot and killed by Law Enforcement each year for the past 5 years or 10 years. You may still not know that those government statistics showed BLM and the Democrat office holders to be pushing a big, fat lie about the numbers. Citizens are gunned down much more by criminals after the defunding of local police which arose through the lies of BLM, Leftist bs and the media. Facts are facts, narratives are narratives and the stupidest voting cohort in American history can’t tell the difference. You hold access to facts in your pocket and on your desk but you don’t use your phone or computer for that. You’ve traded your education for a soap opera and the people who inhabit it. It’s extremely sad and makes us all weaker against government. You did know that our government was designed to be small, didn’t you? Nationalizing government is the opposite of government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Local government is the backbone of our Constitutional Republic for a very good reason.
      Turn off the clowns of cable news and I mean every channel and ‘news’ readers of every political persuasion.
      This is crucial. Soon your ideas, assertions and rebuttals will be yours and not those of a character on a soap opera that you simply repeat or rebleat as some might say.
      J.R. Ewing/ Donald Trump would be funny if it wasn’t breaking our nation and turning voters into sheep.

    2. ..Dennis McIntyre, what is your Source for your spin, MSNBC..?. can’t see the ‘authoritarian dictator’ du jour.. really..? If you want to talk about ‘traitors.’ to our Democracy.. tell us Who gave Billions of Dollars of our latest Military Equipment to the Taliban, who have shared it now with all of our enemies….. Trump should not be prosecuted any more than Hillary… or any more than any President.. God only knows what ended up in their papers…Why single out Trump..? . Trump said he declassified many things before he left office.. and.. he did not pack or move anything.. the GSA did that… if he does get prosecuted it will be a political act.. First, the FAKE Steele Dossier-Russia Collusion-Mueller Investigation, the Impeachments and then the Hearings.. and now we have the unnecessary Raid… Your fluffy propaganda re: ‘wreck(ing) havoc on our Democracy’ cannot change our view that the havoc (example above re: giving away our Military Equipment…) is actually indeed coming from the cunning radical Left.. it was an act of ‘pouring gasoline on the fire of open rebellion’ when the Speaker of the House defiantly stood there and dramatically tore up the President’s speech behind his back.. a watershed moment condoning the break-down of boundaries, a signal for the lawless mess we have to-day…

      1. RE:”..Dennis McIntyre, what is your Source for your spin”…, I expect that you will soon learn that rebuttals to “Mac’ are equivalent to attempting to sell ice to the Inuit. He’s well schooled in the matter of the FBI/DOJ conspiracy and all of the details embracing the Russia Hoax. For him these, and much more, are a no never mind, veracity notwithstanding. All best wishes.

      2. The US gave the Afghan government military equipment during the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations. It already belonged to them and was left there. Just like the US has given the Ukranian government military equipment, and it is now theirs, not ours.

        1. ATS, you say that based on lack of knowledge. If you don’t know, you assume no one knows, and if no one knows, you can lie and deceive. If they object, you can say prove it. They cannot prove it because they already admitted they don’t know, so you continue lying.

          Some months later, when everyone forgets what was said, we see proof that you were lying ,but no one notes it because the discussion is long forgotten.

          However, when one sees the same thing repeated, one starts to recognize that you are a liar and deceitful.

    1. The scope of the warrant was ridiculously broad, allowing the seizure of virtually every document in the storage room and every document generated during Trump’s presidency.

      It appears Professor Turley was right: the DOJ had a ridiculously broad search warrant:
      1. US Passports
      2. attorney-client privileged information
      3. Melania’s feminine hygiene products cuz Garland needs to douche often given the excrement he/she/shim caused

      This is the way Marxists work. DOJ calls Parents of children are terrorists, Democrats call SCOTUS Catholic Justices illegitimate, then assassination attempt follows, a former President who was targeted by Democrats with a coup financed by loser Hillary…the list is endless for the corruption of the Obama-Biden DOJ Marxist cabal

      Although the government will provide the Court more detail in its forthcoming supplemental filing, the government notes that, before the Court issued its Preliminary Order, and in accordance with the judicially authorized search warrant’s provisions, the Privilege Review Team (as described in paragraphs 81-84 of the search warrant affidavit) identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information, completed its review of those materials, and is in the process of following the procedures set forth in paragraph 84 of the search warrant affidavit to address potential privilege disputes, if any.

    2. Yes, the stench of defund the local police/give the national law enforcement criminals more power.


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

    “[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


    The legislative branch has no dominion conferred by the Constitution over the separate and equal executive branch.

    Legislation by Congress regarding the classified material of the executive branch is unconstitutional.

    Judicial Review must be effected and find for the executive branch in the case of the classified and declassified material of the executive branch, and the malicious prosecution thereof.

    1. There is nothing in the Constitution to even imply that the Executive branch is not subject to laws that Congress passes.

      1. George must not know that the Espionage Act that Congress passed IS a controlling legislation over the Executive branch as well as other elements of the public.

    2. George, apparently you are not aware that the legislation doesn’t become law until the Executive signs it (unless Congress overcomes a veto). Presidents are bound by legislation because the Executive agrees to it.


        It’s like Lincoln, you —–!

        Nothing he did was constitutional.

        He did what he wanted.

        They may do it but it is not constitutional.

        The entire communist American welfare state is unconstitutional.

        On one occasion in Lincoln’s “Reign of Terror,” the Chief Justice attempted to enforce the Constitution.

        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.”

        “[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

  12. The “red herring” that was thrown into mess of Trump retained docs, “Trump had power to declassify”, seems to have become immaterial.
    Even Trump’s attorneys have ceased the argument on whether or not document classification is an issue.
    The Espionage Act does not mention “classification” at all. Rather, refers generally to “Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information” The Act further specifically states that people legally granted access to national defense documents (like the former president) are subject to punishment should they improperly retain that information.
    The Act mentions “relating to the national defense,” and who proceeded willfully to retain the same and fail to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it.
    This from Lawfare addresses the issue well:
    “… The statutory language is sparse. Over the years, courts have narrowed it through construction, although even the judicially construed terms remain quite capacious. The most important judicial refinement concerns the term “relating to the national defense.” Although acknowledging that “national defense” is an extremely far-ranging concept, courts have tacked on two additional components. First, the materials must be “‘closely held’ in that [they] … have not been made public and are not available to the general public.’” Second, the disclosure must be “potentially damaging to the United States or [potentially] useful to an enemy of the United States.” Although the Espionage Act does not mention the classification system—which predates the act’s passage—courts have used classification status to inform their assessment as to whether materials were “closely held.” They have also relied on it to determine who was “entitled to receive” information. Additionally, courts have interpreted the willfulness requirement to mean that the offending conveyance or retention must have been done knowingly.
    … even if Trump did and could declassify the documents via little-known oral, written, or telepathic order, the change in status would not necessarily matter under § 793(d). Recall that the provision does not mention classification. Rather, courts have interpreted its term “relating to the national defense” to include a requirement that the relevant information be closely held by the government. If Trump himself deemed documents unclassified but never changed their classification markings, told few if any people that he had changed the information’s status, and failed to make the information subject to otherwise applicable public records laws, then the information remains fairly characterized as closely held. …”

    1. Al: Well put. Welcome to the side of this blog that tries to explain the facts and the law for those who refuse to acknowledge what is plain before their own eyes.

      1. Way too many “tin hat” wearers hooked to power grid from space commenting!
        They consume a daily diet of conspiracies.


    The DOJ/FBI executed its Gestapo Raid on Mar-A-Lago, Real President Donald J. Trump’s home and Melania’s closet, to gain possession of documents proving the guilt of the co-conspirators in the Obama Coup D’etat in America.

    ‘I know nothing about this.” That’s how Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, responded when asked on PBS’s NewsHour in March 2017 “whether Trump transition officials, including the President, may have been swept up in surveillance of foreigners at the end of the Obama administration?”

    “Now we know that denial wasn’t true. The evidence comes from her own hand. In her last minutes in government, on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, she sent herself an email to memorialize an Oval Office meeting two weeks earlier. Its attendees included Barack Obama, Joe Biden, FBI Director James Comey, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and herself. A newly declassified paragraph from that email quotes Mr. Comey talking about the monitoring of Trump adviser Michael Flynn’s conversations with then Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.”

    – WSJ

    “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

    – Barack Obama

    “We will stop him.”

    – Peter Strzok to FBI paramour Lisa Page

    “[Obama] wants to know everything we’re doing.”

    – Lisa Page to FBI paramour Peter Strzok

    “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before 40.”

    – Peter Strzok to FBI parmour Lisa Page

    “People on the 7th floor to include Director are fired up about this [Trump] server.”

    – Bill Priestap

    The Obama Coup D’etat in America is the most egregious abuse of power and the most prodigious crime in American political history. The co-conspirators are:

    Kevin Clinesmith, Bill Taylor, Eric Ciaramella, Rosenstein, Mueller/Team, Andrew Weissmann,

    James Comey, Christopher Wray, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Laycock, Kadzic, Sally Yates,

    James Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Priestap, Kortan, Campbell, Sir Richard Dearlove,

    Christopher Steele, Simpson, Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper,

    Azra Turk, Kerry, Hillary, Huma, Mills, Brennan, Gina Haspel, Clapper, Lerner, Farkas, Power,

    Lynch, Rice, Jarrett, Holder, Brazile, Sessions (patsy), Nadler, Schiff, Pelosi, Obama,

    Joe Biden, James E. Boasberg, Emmet Sullivan, Gen. Milley, George Soros, John McCain,

    Marc Elias, Igor Danchenko, Fiona Hill, Charles H. Dolan, Jake Sullivan, Strobe Talbot,

    Cody Shear, Victoria Nuland, Ray “Red Hat” Epps, Don Berlin, Kathy Ruemmler, Rodney Joffe,

    Paul Vixie, L. Jean Camp, Andrew Whitney et al.

  14. “SMOKE ‘IM”





    “The USSR and the U.S. were allies during World War II, but the Americans did not share information with, or seek assistance from, the Soviet Union regarding the Manhattan Project. The West was shocked by the speed with which the Soviets were able to stage their first nuclear test, “Joe 1″, on August 29, 1949.[14] However, the head official of the Soviet nuclear project, LAVRENTIY BERIA, used foreign intelligence, which he did not trust by default, only as a third-party check, rather than giving it directly to the design teams, who he did not clear to know about the espionage efforts, and the development was indigenous; considering that the pace of the Soviet program was set primarily by the amount of uranium that it could procure, it is difficult for scholars to judge accurately how much time was saved, if any.[15]”

    “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.”

    – Lavrentiy Beria


    In January 1950, the U.S. discovered that Klaus Fuchs, a German refugee theoretical physicist working for the British mission in the Manhattan Project, had given key documents to the Soviets throughout the war. Fuchs identified his courier as American Harry Gold, who was arrested on May 23, 1950.[16]

    On June 15, 1950, David Greenglass was arrested by the FBI for espionage and soon confessed to having passed secret information on to the USSR through Gold. He also claimed that his sister Ethel’s husband Julius Rosenberg had convinced David’s wife Ruth to recruit him while visiting him in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1944. He said Julius had passed secrets and thus linked him to the Soviet contact agent Anatoli Yakovlev. This connection would be necessary as evidence if there was to be a conviction for espionage of the Rosenbergs.[17][18]

    On July 17, 1950, Julius Rosenberg was arrested on suspicion of espionage[19] based on David Greenglass’s confession. On August 11, 1950, Ethel Rosenberg was arrested after testifying before a grand jury (see section, below).[18]

    Another conspirator, Morton Sobell, fled with his family to Mexico City after Greenglass was arrested. They took assumed names and he tried to figure out a way to reach Europe without a passport. Abandoning that effort, he returned to Mexico City. He claimed that he was kidnapped by members of the Mexican secret police and driven to the U.S. border, where he was arrested by U.S. forces.[20][21] The U.S. government claimed Sobell was arrested by the Mexican police for bank robbery on August 16, 1950, and extradited the next day to the United States in Laredo, Texas.[21]

    Trial and Conviction

    In imposing the death penalty, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge, Irving Kaufman noted that he held the Rosenbergs responsible not only for espionage but also for American deaths in the Korean War:[33]

    “I believe your conduct in putting into the hands of the Russians the A-bomb years before our best scientists predicted Russia would perfect the bomb has already caused, in my opinion, the Communist aggression in Korea, with the resultant casualties exceeding 50,000 and who knows but that millions more of innocent people may pay the price of your treason. Indeed, by your betrayal you undoubtedly have altered the course of history to the disadvantage of our country.”


    On June 19, 1953, Julius died after the first electric shock. Ethel’s execution did not go smoothly. After she was given the normal course of three electric shocks, attendants removed the strapping and other equipment only to have doctors determine that Ethel’s heart was still beating. Two more electric shocks were applied, and at the conclusion eyewitnesses reported that smoke rose from her head.[48]

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