Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith has been investigating Trump’s handling of classified materials, with the case centering on whether Trump knowingly kept such documents in violation of the law and if he purposefully took steps to keep classified materials in violation of a 2022 subpoena requiring their return.
Details from the indictment were made public on Friday, featuring multiple counts of seven charges related to possessing classified documents that have sensitive military and national security information along with efforts to conceal such papers and to scheme to keep them hidden.
Included in the indictment were transcripts of previously undisclosed conversations between Trump, his staffers and other GOP politicians. In one, Trump is discussing a recent article in which Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said he restricted Trump’s authority to unilaterally order military action in the final days of his presidency out of concern that Trump might attack Iran. Trump gloats before a gathering of people – none of whom have security clearances – that he can refute Milley’s account by using intelligence included in the classified files that he went to great lengths to keep hidden at his private residence at Mar-a-Lago.
Editorial Cartoons on Donald Trump
“Well, with Milley – uh, let me see that, I’ll show you an example. He said that I wanted to attack Iran. Isn’t that amazing? I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him,” Trump said, waving the documents in front of the group.
“They presented me this – this is off the record, but – they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him. We looked at some. This was him. This wasn’t done by me, this was him.”
It’s unclear whether Trump took the document with the intent of refuting the allegations of someone with whom he had a recent falling out, but that was the manner in which he is accused of employing it, suggesting an intent more purposeful than padding his trophy case – a new level of elitist hardware to fluff his ego.
To be sure, though, the transcripts – in which he acknowledges the records were classified – confirm that Trump did also use them to elevate his own status.
In another exchange, Trump tells a representative of his political action committee that he knows a military operation in a certain undisclosed country wasn’t going well. He supports his assertion by showing a classified map to the PAC staffer, who did not have security clearance to view the document. In the exchange, Trump told the staffer that he should not be showing it and to “not get too close.”
In a short press briefing by Smith on Friday afternoon, the Justice Department special counsel urged the American public to read the entire indictment for themselves to better understand the breadth of the charges against Trump.
He said he’d pursue a speedy trial and underscored that “adherence to the rule of law is a bedrock principle of the Department of Justice,” and that it “applies to everyone.”
Published: 2023-06-09 21:24:46