New analysis breaks down Trump’s real legal threat as Manhattan DA closes in
A new analysis is highlighting a bigger legal threat former President Donald Trump might be faced with in wake of his upcoming arraignment.
In a piece published by Axios, news outlet reporter Zachary Basu noted one thing all legal experts agree on at the moment: "The investigation into former President Trump's handling of classified documents poses a far more dangerous threat to his freedom than the indictment in New York," Basu wrote.
"A year from now, Trump may look back with envy at the sordid hush-money case that brought him to Tuesday's historic arraignment — the first for a former president, but potentially not the last," he added.
Referencing details from a Washington Post report, Basu noted, "The intensifying classified documents probe, led by special counsel Jack Smith, has uncovered significant new evidence that Trump may have obstructed justice as the government attempted to retrieve top-secret records from Mar-a-Lago."
Basu went on to explain key points in the Manhattan DA's case that are potentially damning for Trump.
"Unlike the Manhattan district attorney's prosecution, which focuses on a payment from 2016 and has triggered disputes over jurisdiction, the potential crimes Smith is investigating are recent and unambiguous," he wrote. "Proving intent is a key challenge in prosecuting obstruction. But investigators have evidence — including texts and emails from Trump's former personal assistant — that Trump ignored requests from multiple advisers to return the documents for over a year."
He added, "They also have evidence that Trump asked his lawyers to release false statements claiming he had returned the documents, and that multiple advisers warned Trump that holding on to them could be illegal."
Although many Republicans have dismissed the case and argue that it is "pathetically weak," Basu noted that former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr (R) also shed light on another issue plaguing the former president.
"I think the document case is the most serious case," Barr told Fox News. "I don't think they went after those documents to get Trump. I think they actually wanted the documents back."
"What's at issue in that case is not the taking of the documents. It's what he did after the government sought them and subpoenaed them, and whether there was any obstruction," Barr added.
Bosu concluded writing, "Trump has benefitted from the Manhattan indictment being the first to drop, given that most Americans see it as at least somewhat political. But the former president's legal luck is likely run out if he's forced to head south to D.C. or Georgia."
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