'Even more egregious': Legal experts explain why the Mar-a-Lago classified docs probe is getting worse
Editor's note: This article has been updated to fix grammatical and spelling errors.
Legal experts are weighing in with their perspectives on the latest developments in former President Donald Trump's classified documents case.
Norman Eisen — a senior fellow with a focus on governance studies for the Brookings Institute — and Democracy 21 founder and president Fred Wertheimer have penned an article piece explaining why the latest findings make Trump's situation worse.
"The Post reports that Trump and his aides had allegedly practiced moving sensitive papers that Trump did not want to give back to the government, even before his office received the subpoena last year," they wrote, noting the former president's "already perilous legal situation just got a lot worse."
The writers also highlighted:
"According to the Post and The New York Times, Trump at times also reportedly kept classified documents visible in his office, and even showed them to others, raising the question of whether Trump had improperly made classified documents available for people to see who had no clearance to see the documents."
Eisen and Wertheimer then explained what the reports could mean for the embattled former president.
"If Trump instructed his employees to move documents for the obvious purpose of concealing them from investigators — especially if they practiced doing so — then that would speak directly to Trump’s intent in this matter," they explained.
"In light of a grand jury subpoena requiring the return of the classified documents, he would appear to have taken brazen steps to thwart the subpoena and interfere with the Justice Department’s investigation," they noted. "That intent meets the requirements for an obstruction of justice charge under 18 U.S.C. 1519."
Based on the two reports, the writers argue that Trump's actions may have crossed a different line. Instead of just facing consequences for having classified documents in his possession, Eisen and Wertheimer argued that Trump's legal situation could be even more perilous.
"Purposefully showing classified documents to others without authorization, in the manner reported by the Post and the Times, would go beyond retaining classified documents as prohibited by the statute," they wrote. "It likely constitutes an even more egregious violation of the Espionage Act under the clause prohibiting the willful communication, delivery or transmission of classified documents."
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