Legal experts: 'Every time' that Donald Trump 'opens his mouth' he 'incriminates himself'
Legal experts were quick to react to the U.S. Dept. of Justice near-midnight filing, a 36-page response to Donald Trump’s legal team’s deemed for a “special master” to review all the evidence federal agents seized at Mar-a-Lago on August 8 – a demand they have been saying was inappropriate to begin with and either too early or too late.
That demand, filed with a federal judge appointed by Donald Trump after the 2020 election, likely became moot quickly as DOJ had wasted no time in completing its review of the 20 cartons of documents, classified and Top Secret documents, and other White House records Trump apparently took with him to his Florida residence.
The special master demand allowed the Dept. of Justice to “speak” through its filing, which is public, and includes the now-viral damning photo displaying the “Top Secret” headings, or covers, of numerous national defense and national security documents sprawled out on the rug of a room at Mar-a-Lago office, which Trump’s team refers to as “45 Office.”
Now that the experts have had 12 hours overnight to absorb the DOJ’s latest filing, they remain dumbfounded as to the severity of its impact on, if nothing else, public perception of the growing and apparent criminal case the federal prosecutors appear to be putting together against the former president.
“DOJ says FBI found one current and one expired official passport, and one expired personal passport, with classified documents in a desk drawer — seemingly tying Trump himself to the unauthorized retention of govt docs,” reports The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell, who points in part to this portion of the DOJ’s filing that reads:
“The location of the passports is relevant evidence in an investigation of unauthorized retention and mishandling of national defense information; nonetheless, the government decided to return those passports in its discretion.”
Retired Harvard professor of law Laurence Tribe, who wrote a well-known book on the U.S. Constitution, slammed Trump.
“So even Trump’s complaint about the passports the FBI seized at Mar-a-Lago and has since returned turns out to have backfired! Every time he opens his mouth, he incriminates himself further,” Tribe tweeted.
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, also now a professor of law, and an MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst offered this insight.
“A rare moment where we can thank Trump for something. Without his Ill-advised lawsuit asking for a special master, DOJ would not have had this opportunity to explain the situation with such clarity,” she writes.
Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner adds: “After Trump’s lawyers certified that everything had been returned to the government, the search of MAL [Mar-a-Lago] uncovered tons of ADDITIONAL highly classified documents that had’t been returned, including CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS IN TRUMP’S DESK DRAWERS!”
Tribe sarcastically responded to Kirschner’s remarks.
“A new Trump defense,” he writes, mocking the former president: “’How in the world would I know what was in MY DRAWERS? Who do you think I am? Houdini? Spiderman? Sheesh. Lots of people are saying NOBODY knows that stuff. They’re saying I’m being treated worse than anybody in world history. Much worse. Hugely worse.’”
Attorney George Conway, who withdrew from consideration to be Trump’s Solicitor General, posted a screenshot of a recent Trump “truth,” a post from his Truth Social account.
It reads: “Terrible the way the FBI, during the Raid of Mar-a-Lago, threw documents haphazardly all over the floor (perhaps pretending it was me that did it!), and then started taking pictures of them for the public to see. Thought they wanted them kept Secret? Lucky I Declassified!”
Conway, who occasionally question’s Trump’s mental state, writes, “Not a parody. Evidence of guilt, and of a highly disordered personality.”
He also points to this portion of the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent opinion piece that reads: “In a strange twist of poetic justice, Trump’s own screams of a coverup — which are rooted in his conviction that he can spin away any set of damaging facts with his magical reality-bending powers — are resulting in an uncommon level of transparency that is only further damning him.”
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