Posts tagged with "Truth Social"

Trump is privately pressuring GOP Senators to ‘kill’ border deal to deny Biden a win

January 26, 2024

On Wednesday, January 24, Donald Trump privately pressured Senate Republicans to “kill” a bipartisan deal to secure the U.S. border because he doesn’t want President Joe Biden to chalk up a win ahead of the 2024 presidential election, reports HuffPost.

Trump directly reached out to several GOP senators on Wednesday to tell them to reject any deal. The GOP presidential frontrunner also personally reached out to some Senate Republicans over the weekend, an anonymous source told HuffPost. “He doesn’t want Biden to have a victory,” said the source. “He told them he will fix the border when he is president…. He said he only wants the perfect deal.”

Trump’s meddling generated an “emotional” discussion in a closed-door meeting among Senate Republicans, as senators vented their frustrations for hours about the largely secret negotiations over emergency aid for Ukraine, Israel, and immigration. The conference is splintering into two camps—those who believe Republicans should take the deal, and those who are opposed at any cost.

“The rational Republicans want the deal because they want Ukraine and Israel and an actual border solution,” said the source. “But the others are afraid of Trump, or they’re the chaos caucus who never wants to pass anything.”

“They’re having a little crisis in their conference right now,” the source added.

A bipartisan group of senators has been working for months to craft a border deal, and Trump has made it no secret that he opposes it. On Wednesday, he wrote on Truth Social, his conservative social media site, “I do not think we should do a Border Deal, at all, unless we get EVERYTHING needed to shut down the INVASION of Millions and Millions of people.”

What’s different now, though, is that Trump is now directly telling GOP senators to oppose any deal. His meddling has left their conference in even more disarray than it was already in, and a potential border deal in limbo.

Senator Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) demurred when asked if he thinks it’s constructive for Trump to tell Republicans not to make any border deals: “I could probably go through any number of things that Biden is saying that are not constructive when he’s on the campaign trail, but that’s the nature of campaigns,”

Tillis said. “So I’m not going to criticize President Trump or his positions.”

But, bucking Trump, he said he supported passing the bipartisan border deal, which Senator James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) has been working on with Democrats.

“Based on what I’ve seen and based on the work that James Lankford has put in, it goes far enough for me,” said Tillis. “If anyone’s intellectually honest with themselves, they all know these would be extraordinary tools for President Trump.”

During Wednesday’s meeting, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) referenced comments Trump made as president in 2018 about the difficulty of getting Democrats to agree to changes to immigration laws. McConnell, who is no fan of Trump, was making the case that Republicans should agree to a border deal now, since the likelihood of Democrats potentially cutting a deal with Trump in the White House again would be highly unlikely.

Research contact: @HuffPost

‘Weaklings:’ Donald Trump targets Mark Meadows over report that he will flip

October 26, 2023

Donald Trump targeted his former White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, on Wednesday, October 25—insinuating that Meadows would be a weakling and a coward if he testifies against the former president, reports USA Today.

In a pair of Truth Social posts, Trump said he does not believe Meadows would turn on him—but noted that his former chief of staff has been threatened with prosecution and might be tempted by an immunity agreement.

“Some people would make that deal, but they are weaklings and cowards, and so bad for the future our Failing Nation,” Trump said. “I don’t think that Mark Meadows is one of them, but who really knows?”

Trump is facing pressure to be careful with what he says about Meadows, or any other potential witness in the 2020 election case against him.

The reason? U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan hit the former president with a partial gag order that prohibits him from attacking witnesses, prosecutors, and court personnel.

Trump sought to undermine Meadows a day after a news report that he is talking to Special Counsel Jack Smith‘s office in the federal case charging the former president with trying to steal the 2020 election.

ABC News said Meadows has told Smith and his prosecutors that “he repeatedly told Trump in the weeks after the 2020 presidential election that the allegations of significant voting fraud coming to them were baseless, a striking break from Trump’s prolific rhetoric regarding the election.”

Smith’s office is responsible for the federal indictment that  essentially charges Trump with trying to steal the 2020 election from President Joe Biden, including with claims of voter fraud that he knew to be false.

In his Truth Social posts, Trump denied Meadows’ reported assertions, and pointed out that Meadows defended Trump’s election complaints in his book.

“Mark Meadows NEVER told me that allegations of significant fraud (about the RIGGED Election!) were baseless,” Trump claimed. “He certainly didn’t say that in his book!”

Research contact: @USATODAY

Trump tells gun store he’d like to buy a Glock, raising legal questions

September 27, 2023

Officials have increasingly voiced concerns about threats of violence related to the former President Donald Trump’s trials, as he faces charges that would make it illegal for a store to sell him a firearm, reports The New York Times.

A spokesperson for Trump posted a video on Monday, September 25—showing him at a gun shop in South Carolina and (falsely) declaring that he had just bought a Glock pistol.

The post on X, formerly known as Twitter, included video of Trump, who is facing four criminal indictments. He looked over the dullish gold firearm, a special Trump-edition Glock that depicts his likeness and says “Trump 45th,” as he visited the Palmetto State Armory outlet in Summerville, South Carolina. “I want to buy one,” he said twice in the video.

“President Trump buys a @GLOCKInc in South Carolina!” his spokesperson, Steven Cheung, wrote in his post. The video showed Trump among a small crowd of people and posing with a man holding the gun. A voice can be heard saying, “That’s a big seller.”

The statement immediately set off an uproar and prompted questions about whether such a purchase would be legal. Trump is under indictment on dozens of felony counts in two different cases related to his efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 election and to his possession of reams of classified documents after he left office.

There were also questions about whether the store could sell a firearm to Trump, if people there knew that he was under indictment.

Federal prosecutors are asking a federal judge in the case that accuses Trump of breaking several laws in his efforts to stay in office to impose a limited gag order after he made repeated threats against prosecutors and witnesses in various cases against him. Trump’s lawyers were under a late-Monday-night deadline to respond to the government’s request for the order.

But within two hours of the initial post on social media, spokesperson Steven Cheung deleted his post, and issued a statement saying, “President Trump did not purchase or take possession of the firearm. He simply indicated that he wanted one.”

A man who answered a phone registered to the shop’s owner hung up when a reporter called. A salesperson at the Summerville location, who declined to give her name or answer additional questions, said Trump had not bought a gun.

Trump has increasingly been faulted by prosecutors, security experts, and others for his language on his social media site, Truth Social, in relation to his trials.

At the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for instance, officials have increasingly voiced concerns about threats of violence, as Trump and his allies have targeted the agency.

Under the main federal gun law, 18 U.S.C. 922, it is illegal for merchants to sell firearms to people who are under indictment for crimes carrying sentences of more than a year. Indicted defendants also are barred from shipping or receiving any weapons that have crossed state lines. But the statute does not appear to prohibit people under indictment from simply buying or possessing weapons.

Research contact: @nytimes

Trump’s historic mug shot released in Georgia election case

August 28, 2023

Inmate No. P01135809—that’s how former President Donald Trump of Palm Beach, Florida, is listed in the jail records of Fulton County, Georgia, following Thursday night’s 20-minute booking, reports Axios.

Trump has now made history as not only the first U.S. president—sitting or former —to face criminal charges, but the first to have his mug shot taken.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office released the first-ever mug shot of former Trump following his surrender to authorities in the Georgia election interference case.

Although it’s Trump’s fourth indictment, he managed to dodge taking mug shots in the other cases. But Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat warned ahead of the Georgia indictment that authorities there intended to follow regular procedures when it came time to book the former president.

Trump described himself as 6 foot, 3 inches and 215 pounds—24 pounds less than the White House doctor reported in 2018. He’s listed as having blue eyes, and blond or strawberry hair.

Moments after his mug shot was taken on Thursday, August 24, Trump posted the image to his Truth Social platform, along with a fund-raising link.

Later, the 2024 Republican presidential frontrunner shared the mug shot and a link to his website on X, formerly known as Twitter, in his first post to the platform in more than two years.

Trump told Newsmax in an interview aboard his private plane on the way back from his booking that it been a “terrible experience,” but added that he was “treated very nicely.”

He told Fox News Digital late Thursday that Georgia officials had “insisted on a mug shot and I agreed to do that,” which he said was “not a comfortable feeling—especially when you’ve done nothing wrong.”

The notorious Fulton County Jail, where Trump’s mug shot was taken, also has now made history as the first institution to ever take a U.S. president’s mug shot.

The detention center, known among locals as “Rice Street,” has been criticized for its dangerous conditions and detainee deaths.

Trump faces a total of 13 counts related to alleged efforts to subvert Georgia’s 2020 election results, including violating Georgia’s racketeering law, or RICO.

Trump’s bail was set at $200,000 earlier in the week, adding to his already considerable legal fees.

Trump’s Georgia trial is also the first one in which he is defendant that could be televised.

Research contact: @axios

Judge Chutkan says Trump’s right to free speech in January 6 case is ‘not absolute’

August 14, 2023

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said on Friday August 11, that she plans to issue a protective order over the handling of evidence in the Trump 2020 election interference case—saying it’s needed to protect witnesses or other interference in the trial, reports CNN.

The former president has a right to free speech, but that right is “not absolute,” the judge said at a hearing on Monday, August 7.

“Mr. Trump, like every American, has a First Amendment right to free speech, but that right is not absolute. In a criminal case such as this one, the defendant’s free speech is subject to the rules,” Chutkan said.

“Without a protective order, a party could release information that could taint the jury pool, intimidate witnesses, or others involved in some aspect of the case, or otherwise interfere with the “process of justice,” she added.

This is the first hearing before Chutkan. According to CNN, she already has shown a habit of responding quickly and tersely on the docket to debates between the parties over scheduling. An Obama appointee and former public defender who has overseen several cases regarding the events of January 6, 2021, Chutkan has been outspoken about the harm the U.S. Capitol attack caused to American democracy.

How Chutkan handles the case is likely to serve as a contrast to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee in Florida who has been in less of a rush to move proceedings along in the classified documents case against the former president. She already has been heavily scrutinized for what critics say is a favorable treatment of the former president in a previous lawsuit Trump brought last year challenging aspects of the Justice Department’s investigation.

Trump pleaded not guilty to four criminal charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election last week. The special counsel said on Thursday that he wants the trial to begin on January 2, 2024—a date that the former president’s team is expected to oppose.

Scope of protective order over evidence

In Friday’s hearing, lawyers are debating the scope of a protective order governing evidence that prosecutors say proves Trump conspired to overturn the election, interrupt Congress, and take away every American citizen’s right to have their vote counted.

Protective orders are a normal part of any criminal case and are typically approved without much drama. In this case, however, the special counsel’s office and Trump’s defense lawyers have battled in court filings over what Trump will be able to discuss publicly.

Among the restrictions the prosecutors are requesting in this case is a rule barring Trump’s lawyers from providing copies of “sensitive” evidence to the former president, including witness interviews and grand jury transcripts from the dozens of witnesses in Trump’s circle who have spoken to prosecutors.

To make their point, prosecutors pointed to Trump’s social media posts since he was indicted last week, including a vague and ominous Truth Social post reading “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” Trump also slammed Chutkan, writing in one all caps post, “There is no way I can get a fair trial with the judge ‘assigned’ to the ridiculous freedom of speech/fair elections case. Everybody knows this and so does she!”

The posts, prosecutors said, emphasized the need for a protective order that would limit whether Trump can discuss or share evidence on his social media accounts during the course of the legal case.

“If the defendant were to begin issuing public posts using details—or, for example, grand jury transcripts—obtained in discovery here, it could have a harmful chilling effect on witnesses or adversely affect the fair administration of justice in this case,” prosecutors wrote.

For their part, Trump’s legal team proposed less restrictive rules, alleging that prosecutors are on a politically motivated campaign to restrict his First Amendment rights. His defense lawyers pushed back on prosecutors’ definition of “sensitive” material that should be subject to additional rules, and asked to expand who can access certain evidentiary materials.

If Trump were to violate any eventual protective order Chutkan issues, he could be held in contempt.

Research contact: @CNN

Trump charged in classified documents case, second indictment in months

June 12, 2023

Former president Donald Trump disclosed on Thursday night, June 8, that he had been charged by the Justice Department in connection with the discovery that hundreds of classified documents were shipped to his Mar-a-Lago home after he left the White House—a seismic event in the nation’s political and legal history, reports The Washington Post.

The call from the Justice Department came to his attorneys in the early evening, around 7 p.m., and the former president wanted to announce the indictment himself, two of people familiar with the matter said.

A seven-count indictment has been filed in federal court naming the former president as a criminal defendant, according to confidential informants, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a case that has yet to be unsealed.

The charges include willful retention of national defense secrets, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy, which carry the potential of years in prison if Trump is found guilty.

Trump, who currently is the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, will appear in federal court in Miami for an arraignment on Tuesday, June 13, at 3 p.m. (EDT).

The willful retention charge is a violation of a section of the broad Espionage Act, although spying is not among the charges against the former president. It is the second time he has been criminally charged since March, when he was indicted in state court in New York on 34 counts of falsifying business records related to hush money payments from 2016. Trump, who has denied wrongdoing in both cases, is the only former president ever charged with a crime.

I have been indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax,” Trump wrote on the social media site Truth Social. He claimed he was being treated unfairly. “I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former President of the United States,” he said in a lengthy post that ended: “I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!”

A spokesperson for Special Counsel Jack Smith, who has been running the classified-documents investigation, declined to comment.

Trump learned of his indictment while at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, huddled with advisers, according to multiple people familiar with the situation, who like others interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details that had not been publicly released.

His team had expected his indictment and staff already had fundraising pitches, statements and videos ready, according to advisers. He dictated his own Truth Social post within an hour after getting the news. Surrogates also were lined up, advisers said, and a satellite truck was at Bedminster for the legal team to appear.

“Nobody is disappointed that the venue is Miami,” one person said of the legal team’s thinking.

Trump lawyer Jim Trustywhom Reuters reports resigned the morning after the news broke, on Friday, June 9, along with John Rowley, Trump’s other lawyer—took to CNN on Thursday night to defend his client as innocent, while also confirming the charges against the former president. In addition to willful retention, obstruction, and conspiracy, he said Trump was charged with false statements. Trusty said he was not sure when Trump’s legal team would receive the indictment, and was not aware of whether any other individuals connected with the case had also been charged.

The charges cap a high-stakes investigation that began in early 2022 and slowly built steam over the summer, until FBI agents conducted a court-ordered search of Trump’s home and private club in early August that turned up more than 100 classified documents. Trump’s advisers had told the Justice Department in June that they had conducted a diligent search for such papers in response to a subpoena and had handed over all they could find.

In the months since that search, investigators have been gathering evidence to determine whether the former president set out to obstruct law-enforcement efforts to recover the top-secret material that was stashed at Mar-a-Lago.

While the charges will likely test Trump’s staying power as the leader of an increasingly crowded Republican field, the case will also put new strains on the Justice Department and FBI, which must bring to trial a tycoon-turned-politician who has publicly demonized federal law enforcement for years. In preempting any official announcement of the charges, Trump sought to gain the upper hand and blame the Biden Administration.

The White House declined to comment on the indictment Thursday night and referred inquiries to the Justice Department. But earlier Thursday, before Trump announced he had been charged, President Biden  was asked by a reporter what he could say to Americans to “convince them” that they “should trust the independence and fairness of the Justice Department.”

Biden replied that he has “never once, not one single time, suggested to the Justice Department what they should do or not do relative to bringing a charge or not bringing a charge.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Awkward silence: Ron DeSantis’s bold Twitter gambit flopped

May 26, 2023

It was the announcement not heard around the world. Ron DeSantis plotted to open his presidential campaign early on Wednesday evening, May 24, with a pioneering social media gambit—introducing himself during an audio-only Twitter forum with Elon Musk. His 2024 effort began instead with a moment of silence. Then several more, reports The New York Times correspondent Matt Flegenheimer.

A voice cut in, then two—Musk’s?—only to disappear again. “Now it’s quiet,” someone whispered. This was true.

“We got so many people here that we are kind of melting the servers,” said David Sacks, the nominal moderator, “which is a good sign.” This was not true.

Soon, all signs were bad. Hold music played for a spell. Some users were summarily booted from the platform, where hundreds of thousands of accounts had gathered to listen.

“The servers are straining somewhat,” Musk said at one point—perhaps unaware that his mic was hot, at least briefly.

For 25 minutes, the only person unmistakably not talking (at least on a microphone) was DeSantis.

The Florida governor’s chosen rollout venue was always going to be a risk, an aural gamble on Musk, a famously capricious and oxygen-stealing co-star, as well as the persuasive powers of DeSantis’s own disembodied voice. (“Whiny,” Donald Trump has called him.)

But the higher-order downsides proved more relevant. Twitter’s streaming tool, known as Spaces, has been historically glitchy. Executive competence, core to the DeSantis campaign message, was conspicuously absent. And for a politician credibly accused through the years of being incorrigibly online—a former DeSantis aide said he regularly read his Twitter mentions—”the event amounted to hard confirmation, a zeitgeisty exercise devolving instead into a conference call from hell,”  Flegemheimer wrote.

“You can tell from some of the mistakes that it’s real,” Musk said.

At 6:26 p.m., DeSantis finally announced himself—long after his campaign had announced his intentions, reading from a script that often parroted an introduction video and an email sent to reporters more than 20 minutes earlier.

“Well,” he opened, “I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback.”

After ticking through a curated biography that noted his military background and his “energetic” bearing, DeSantis stayed onine. Sacks, a tech entrepreneur who is close with Musk, acknowledged the earlier mess.

“Thank you for putting up with these technical issues,” he said. “What made you want to kind of take the chance of doing it this way?”

DeSantis swerved instantly to his Covid-era stewardship of Florida.

“Do you go with the crowd?” he asked, recalling his expert-flouting decision-making, “or do you look at the data yourself and cut against the grain?”

Rivals agreed: If he hoped to differentiate himself, Mr. DeSantis had succeeded, in his way.

“‘Rob,’ Trump posted on Truth Social, a standard troll-by-misspelling, winding to a confusing (if potentially juvenile) punchline: “My Red Button is bigger, better, stronger, and is working.”

Even Fox News piled on.

“Want to actually see and hear Ron DeSantis?” read a pop-up banner on its website. “Tune into Fox News at 8 p.m. (ET)” (Urging donations once he got on the air, DeSantis wondered if supporters might “break that part of the internet as well.”)

Minor as a tech snag might prove in the long run, it was a dispiriting turn for DeSantis after months of meticulous political choreography.

So much of his strength as a contender over the past year was theoretical, said Flegenheimer: the mystery-box candidate constructing a national profile on his terms: slayer of liberals, smasher of foes, the Trumpy non-Trump.

He would conquer and coast. He would Make America Florida. He would be a sight to behold. Presumably.

The reality of DeSantis’s pre-candidacy has been less imposing, shadowed by uneasy public appearances, skittish donors, and a large polling gap between him and Trump.

With better tech, perhaps, a visual-free campaign debut might have been a clever way to rediscover that past aura, to let listeners fill in the mystery box as they choose, before Trump tries to chuck it offstage.

Or maybe the governor’s ostensible advantages—looking the part, before the full audition—were always doomed to translate poorly on Wednesday, when there was nothing to see. It is difficult to project indomitable swagger and take-on-all-comer-ism at an invisible gathering devoid of non-friendly questioning or workaday voters.

Research contact: @nytimes

McCarthy tells Trump supporters not to protest if ex-president is indicted

March 21, 2023

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) said this week that supporters of Donald Trump should not protest if the former president is indicted—following Trump’s call for people to take to the streets and rally against what he claimed would be his imminent arrest in a Manhattan investigation, reports The Washington Post.

In an all-caps message on his social media platform, Trump called on followers to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!

“I don’t think people should protest this, no,” McCarthy said during a news conference on Sunday, March 19. “And I think President Trump, if you talk to him, he doesn’t believe that, either.”

Posting on his Truth Social platform on Saturday, Trump wrote that he “WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY” and called on people to “PROTEST.” Despite the post from his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, his advisers said Trump’s team did not have specific knowledge about the timing of any indictment.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) is investigating Trump’s role in hush money paid to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

The case centers on a $130,000 payment from Michael Cohen, a former Trump attorney, to Daniels—and Bragg is probing whether Trump broke campaign finance laws to reimburse Cohen for keeping Daniels quiet about allegations that she and Trump had an affair. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels and has described the payments as extortion.

Trump’s demand that people take to the streets to denounce a possible indictment stoked fears of violence and echoed rhetoric he used while addressing supporters shortly before a pro-Trump mob attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Five people died in the attack or in its aftermath, and 140 police officers were injured in the assault.

“Nobody should harm one another,” McCarthy said Sunday, following Trump’s call for protests. “We want calmness out there.”

While McCarthy appealed for peace, he also slammed the investigation into Trump and accused Bragg of unfairly targeting the former president. “Lawyer after lawyer will tell you this is the weakest case out there, trying to make a misdemeanor a felony,” McCarthy said during the news conference.

Lawyers and advisers to Trump, who is running for president again in 2024, have expected for days that he will be indicted in the case.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Classified documents: How do the Trump and Biden cases differ?

January 13, 2023

The discovery of documents from the Obama-Biden Administration in at least two locations linked to Joe Biden has been greeted with dismay by Democrats and glee by Republicans, given the extensive legal troubles that Donald Trump faces for taking classified papers to his Florida resort, reports The Guardian.

Repubicans believe the incident shows that Biden has committed the same transgression as the former president—and argue that the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago and subsequent investigation were politically motivated. But Democrats insist the two incidents are different legally, while acknowledging that they present a political problem for Biden that allows Republicans to go on the offensive.

So what actually has happened?

The FBI search at Mar-a-Lago last summer discovered more than 11,000 documents and photos from the Trump Administration—reportedly including highly classified intelligence material as well as more mundane papers. Subsequently more documents were also found.

With Biden, the number of papers is much smaller —hailing from his time as vice-president to Barack Obama. The first batch was found at a Washington think tank linked to Biden; and more documents, including some marked classified, were found by lawyers in a garage and storage room during a search of Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.

Legally, how serious is this for Trump and Biden?

Both situations are being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice, which will look into the behavior and possible motivations for taking the documents.

Trump appears to have willfully obstructed efforts to recover documents, leading to the FBI raid and the decision by Attorney General Merrick Garland to launch a criminal inquiry and appoint a special counsel to weigh charges on the issue as part of a broader brief looking at investigations into Trump.

With Biden, his team said they cooperated fully and immediately returned the documents to the National Archivesv as soon as they were discovered. Garland announced on Thursday, January 12, that he would appoint a special counsel in this case, as well.

What’s in the documents?

In neither case is it entirely clear what’s in the documents, although the Trump papers are reported to have included an unidentified foreign power’s nuclear secrets and other military capabilities.

The Biden documents also reportedly contained classified papers commingled with non-classified materials, with the subjects and content yet unknown.

Notably, however, the Trump papers included some dated after his presidency, suggesting he had them while no longer authorized. All of Biden’s seem to be dated while he was in office as vice president.

What’s the political fallout?

The Mar-a-Lago raid had mixed impact for Trump. Many Republicans despaired at having to defend the former president, while others backed his claims that he was being unfairly targeted.

The Trump team will attempt to exploit Biden’s misfortunes, as he pursues his 2024 run to recapture the presidency; while the new Republican majority in the House can, if it wishes, launch its own investigation into the Biden documents.

For Democrats, the discovery of the documents is an unexpected and unwanted political headache. It dilutes their outrage at Trump’s possession of classified papers and hands Republicans an easy talking point on what had previously been a thorny issue.

What are the Trump and Biden camps saying?

The White House issued a statement on Thursday from Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, conceding “a small number” of documents with classified markings were found among personal and political papers at Biden’s Wilmington home, but didn’t say when. It stressed the president’s lawyers were “fully cooperating with the National Archives and Department of Justice.”

Trump, in a predictable response on his Truth Social network, demanded to know when the FBI would “raid the many homes of Joe Biden, perhaps even the White House.”

Research contact: @guardian

Justice Department objects to releasing affidavit used to search Trump’s home

August 17, 2022

On Monday, August 15, the Justice Department contested making public the affidavit used to justify the search of former President Donald Trump’s home in Florida—saying its release would “compromise future investigative steps” and “likely chill” cooperation with witnesses, reports The New York Times.

In a 13-page pleading, filed in a federal court in southern Florida in response to requests by The New York Times and other news organizations to make public the evidence included in the document, prosecutors suggested that the department has undertaken a broad, intensive inquiry into Trump’s handling of some of the most secret documents of the government after he left office.

The prosecutors acknowledged interviewing witnesses in connection with the investigation of. Trump’s retention of the material. They also wrote that releasing the document could compromise the continuing investigation.

“Disclosure of the government’s affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses,” prosecutors wrote. They added that releasing the affidavit could harm “other high-profile investigations,” as well.

One of the reasons proposed by the government for not releasing the affidavit was to protect the identities of witnesses against death threats. On Monday, prosecutors in Pennsylvania unsealed charges against a man accused of repeatedly threatening to kill F.B.I. agents in the days after Trump’s property was searched.

The magistrate judge who signed the search warrant, Bruce E. Reinhart, ultimately will decide whether the affidavit should be released. It is unclear when he will rule on the news media’s request.

According to the Times, “The legal—and political—aftershocks from the search were still reverberating a week after F.B.I. agents appeared at the resort while the president was at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey.”

Trump—who has accused Attorney General Merrick Garland of conducting a politically motivated “witch hunt” and roughly rifling through his family’s possessions—claimed on Monday that the government “stole my three Passports,” in a post on Truth Social, the online platform he founded.

By late Monday, the Justice Department had contacted Trump’s legal team to retrieve the three passports—two of them expired and the third an active diplomatic passport, according to one of the former president’s lawyers, Evan Corcoran, and a spokesman for the department.

In a statement late Monday, the F.B.I. said that it “follows search and seizure procedures ordered by courts; then, returns items that do not need to be retained for law enforcement purposes.”

Garland agreed last week to release the warrant used to search Trump’s private club, but has resisted attempts to make public the underlying affidavit—a far more sensitive document that should contain, among other things, the reasons prosecutors believe there was probable cause that evidence of a crime could be found at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

The investigation into the mishandling of government documents—while known for months—had not been considered to be as significant as the department’s sprawling investigation into the attack on the Capitol, which has been moving closer to Trump and his top advisers.

Federal agents removed top secret documents when they searched Trump’s residence last week as part of an investigation into possible violations of the Espionage Act and other laws, according to a search warrant made public on Friday.

At least one lawyer for Trump signed a written statement in June asserting that all material marked as classified and held in boxes in a storage area at Mar-a-Lago had been returned to the government, four people with knowledge of the document said.

Even as the former president counterattacked, new details emerged of how Trump and his inner circle flouted the norms, and possibly the laws, governing their handling of government records.

According to two people with knowledge of the situation, Trump and his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, the man who oversaw presidential records in the chaotic closing days of the administration, failed to organize an effort to collect, box, and deliver materials to the National Archives — as prior presidents former Vice President Mike Pence, did.

Instead, they often focused on settling political grievances and personal grudges, they said.

In the weeks leading up to Trump’s departure from the White House, officials discussed what to do about material that he had at various points taken up to the residence and that needed to be properly stored and returned.

By then, the staff secretary, Derek Lyons, known for trying to keep systems in place, had left the administration. Meadows said he would address such issues, according to a senior administration official.

As Mr. Trump sought to hold on to power, two of Pence’s senior aides—Marc Short, his chief of staff, and Greg Jacob, his counsel—indexed and boxed all of his government papers, according to three former officials with knowledge of the work.

Jacob spent the bulk of his final few days in government preparing the final boxes, with the goal of ensuring that Mr. Pence left office without a single paper that did not belong to him, one of the officials said.

Research contact: @nytimes