Former President Donald Trump lashed out at special counsel Robert Hur, who is managing the case involving classified documents that were discovered in current President Joe Biden’s possession, claiming that rumors of Hur’s yet-unannounced decision not to charge Biden with any crimes is proof that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the administration, in general, are corrupt.
Trump himself faces 40 indictment charges from the DOJ and special counsel Jack Smith in a case that has some similarities, but is actually much different upon deeper examination, relating to his hoarding of government and national security documents, including over 300 pieces of materials that were marked as classified.
It is expected that Hur — who was appointed by Trump himself to the DOJ during his presidential administration, and who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to handle the Biden docs case — will provide “harsh criticism” of Biden’s actions, according to reporting from The Wall Street Journal, but will not charge him or anyone else for any crime related to his inquiry. Dozens of documents, some marked as classified, were discovered in Biden’s offices and homes over the course of an investigation that started in November of last year and lasted for several months after. Hur spoke with Biden in a voluntary interview with the president last month as well.
In response to the idea that no charges would be levied against Biden, Trump, who faces dozens of federal charges in his own federal government documents case, penned an all-caps Truth Social post in which he criticized the DOJ, wrongly conflating the circumstances between the two different situations.
“WOW! FAKE NEWS CNN, THROUGH A LEAK FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF INJUSTICE, HAS JUST REPORTED THAT NO CHARGES WILL BE FILED IN THE (MUCH BIGGER THAN MINE!!!) CROOKED JOE BIDEN DOCUMENTS CASE,” Trump wrote.
WE ARE LIVING IN A VERY CORRUPT COUNTRY!”
But Biden’s case differs from Trump’s in a big way — whereas Biden’s lawyers made every effort to cooperate with investigators from the start, including alerting the Justice Department from the onset that they had found the documents themselves, Trump and his legal team have demonstrably interfered and stalled efforts to get documents he took from the White House upon his exit from office.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) knew that Trump had kept records beyond his presidential term, and sought for nearly a year to get them back, discussing with lawyers for the former president how to coordinate doing so. After being told time and again for almost a year that the former president was not allowed to keep classified material belonging to the government, Trump and his lawyers finally relented and agreed to allow NARA to collect some documents in January 2022, but only after the agency had threatened to involve Congress in the matter.
Once they got their hands back on those documents, however, NARA noticed that many of the files that Trump had marked as sensitive or classified, and alerted the DOJ of the situation. That resulted in a subpoena being issued in May, which was carried out in June, in which investigators appeared at Mar-a-Lago to conduct what seemed at first glance to be a cooperative search of the premises, with Trump allowing them to search the locker where he had kept the documents.
But evidence investigators later collected, including surveillance video footage and witness statements, showcased that Trump had ordered employees to move documents to other parts of his home where investigators hadn’t been allowed to search. In August 2022, a new search of Mar-a-Lago, based on a search warrant that was granted by a federal judge, was conducted by surprise while Trump was out of town. Over 100 additional classified documents and thousands of other government materials were obtained in that search, found in places that were not secure — including in ballrooms, bathrooms and in Trump’s personal office.
After evidence was collected, Trump was initially charged in June of this year with 37 indictment counts relating to his improper retention of government documents, including some that pertained to issues of national security, as well as his actions to obstruct efforts to get those documents back into the government’s hands. Three additional charges were added a month later.
Trump’s trial is set to begin on May 20, 2024. However, a number of actions taken by Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump-appointed judge who has made numerous questionable pre-trial rulings in his favor, will likely delay that trial until after the 2024 presidential election. Trump is far and away the frontrunner in the GOP primary, and if he wins back the White House, it is widely expected that Trump will undo the investigation entirely by appointing an attorney general that will drop all charges against him. One of Cannon’s latest actions, for example, imposes no timeline for Trump’s lawyers to respond to questions about what classified information they intend to use for his defense.
In response to this and other actions, Norman Ornstein, emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a center-right organization that primarily supports Republican causes but which often clashed with Trump during his time in office, https://twitter.com/normornstein/status/1725327887513874805 “full fledged member of the Trump defense team.”
“Aileen Cannon is utterly unfit for the bench,” https://twitter.com/normornstein/status/1725327887513874805. “Someone should introduce an impeachment resolution against her. It will go nowhere but will highlight her outrageous conduct.”
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