Republicans see the investigation into the theft of former President Donald Trump’s classified documents as another opportunity to play victim and attack law enforcement.
S Circuit Court Judge Aileen Cannon, a last-minute Trump nominee in 2020, appears to be considering a special master to review documents one-by-one to see if there is a basis for showing them before prosecutors to block.
Even former Attorney General William Barr notes, “Well, I think the whole idea of a special master is a bit of a red herring…since they’ve already gone through the documents…it’s a waste of time.”
Unfortunately, Barr’s party doesn’t care a bit about national security, only the safety of their cult leader and his war on American intelligence.
The magnitude of the national security crisis Trump has foisted on us has not yet been fully appreciated. The more detailed inventory released on Friday is stunning.
As the Associated Press reports: “Although the inventory does not describe the contents of the documents, it does show the extent to which classified information – including top-secret material – was hidden in boxes at home and mixed between newspapers, magazines, clothing and other personal items.” items.”
The inventory, conducted in August, includes “more than 100 documents with classification markings…including 18 top secret, 54 secret, and 31 confidential.”
Most chilling: “Inventory shows that 43 empty binders containing classified banners were removed from a box or container in the office, along with another 28 empty binders marked ‘Return to Secretary of Staff’ or Military Assistant.”
Any delay in investigating, prosecuting, and hopefully recovering documents containing sensitive secrets would be another national security risk
Where have the documents gone in this folder? Have any been destroyed, given away, copied, hidden, sold or shared? We don’t know, and this is a national security disaster as the documents could contain the names of human sources.
Former prosecutor Barbara McQuade tells me, “Finding empty folders marked confidential must have sickened investigators. Not only does it increase the possibility that sensitive information could have fallen into the wrong hands, but it also makes it almost impossible to deny criminal charges against Trump and the explosive sideshow that has accompanied it.”
In other words, any delay in investigating, prosecuting, and hopefully recovering documents containing sensitive secrets would be a further risk to national security. Regarding empty files, Larry Pfeiffer, a former chief of staff to the director of the CIA, tells me, “It’s disturbing at first sight… I’m amazed that this guy appears to have snatched over 11,000 government documents.”
Let’s imagine that unlike previous rulings in Trump-related cases, Judge Cannon is willing to state that Trump enjoys some residual executive branch privileges. However, as US ruled against Nixon and his descendants, any such claim for privilege pales in comparison to criminal prosecution.
The Supreme Court unanimously stated: “Without access to concrete facts, a prosecution can be totally thwarted. The President’s broad interest in the confidentiality of communications is not compromised by the disclosure of a limited number of conversations that have been tentatively shown to have an impact on the pending criminal cases.”
It therefore held that “if the reason for asserting the privilege in relation to subpoenaed material requested for use in a criminal proceeding is based solely on the general interest of confidentiality, it does not meet the fundamental requirements of due process of law in the fair Criminal administration can prevail justice.”
And when this prosecution involves our best-kept secrets, any assertion of privilege is trivial, dangerous, and inappropriate. Furthermore, the only interest Trump has here is a vague desire to conceal communications that could be used for his prosecution under the Espionage Act.
It’s Time Republicans Don’t Just Demand Openness from Trump — Why Did He Have Documents? What did he do to them? – but also a complete and quick investigation.
And unless the court wants to rewrite decades of law, allow Trump to hold the nation hostage and deepen our security crisis, Cannon should heed Barr’s advice, dismiss Trump’s lawsuit, and let the FBI proceed with an investigation and any necessary prosecution. (©Washington Post, 2022)
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/donald-trump-documents-scandal-is-a-national-security-crisis-and-the-republicans-need-to-get-to-grips-with-it-fast-41960760.html Donald Trump’s documents scandal is a national security crisis and Republicans need to deal with it quickly