Is Trump Still Hanging Onto Government Documents? Say It Ain't So, Joe!
President Trump at his desk | President Donald J. Trump is s… | Flickr

What if we told you that Donald Trump maybe hasn't given back all the documents he pocketed when he got "You're fired!" from the White House in 2021? Would you faint dead away from the shock of it all?

Well, sit down, kids. Because the New York Times has some news for you. Turns out, the National Archives thinks there are more government documents floating around in Trumpland, and the Justice Department has told Trump's lawyers that they need to give them back now, please and thank you.

Here at Wonkette, we love watching Trump's lawyers whack the crap out of each other. It's kind of like our porn! (Don't kink shame!) So we read the following passage with particular, umm, glee.

The outreach from the department prompted a rift among Mr. Trump’s lawyers about how to respond, with one camp counseling a cooperative approach that would include bringing in an outside firm to conduct a further search for documents and another advising Mr. Trump to maintain a more combative posture.

The more combative camp, the people briefed on the matter said, won out.

That's hot.


Team Normal — at least graded on a curve — is headed by Chris Kise, the competent Florida lawyer whom Trump lured away from his biglaw job with a $3 million retainer paid for by his PAC (i.e. other people's money). The Washington Post reported last week that Kise has been working to de-escalate matters with the DOJ, negotiating to return all the documents in return for prosecutors agreeing not to criminally charge his client. According to the Times, Kise wanted to hire a forensic team to sort through Trump's papers and give the government back all its property. Which makes sense, because Kise is competent and not floridly insane.

Lawyers on the Loon Squad talked Trump out of the entirely rational approach advocated by Kise and into the combative stance which got him to the point where he may well be charged with crimes. Those lawyers are not named in the article, but Trump has leaned heavily on Jim Trusty, Evan Corcoran, and Lindsey Halligan, so ... make of that one what you will. He also has a nasty habit of taking legal advice from morons like Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton, to disastrous effect.

And even after the search of his property two months ago, it appears that Trump is telling the Justice Department to get bent as it continues to negotiate for the return of even more documents the former president may be hanging onto almost two years after leaving office. Which makes sense, considering the seized evidence contain dozens of empty folders which were supposed to contain classified documents and don't.

Prosecutors have signaled that they're keenly interested in what was in those folders and where it went.

"The FBI would be chiefly responsible for investigating what materials may have once been stored in these folders and whether they may have been lost or compromised," they claimed in an attempt to persuade US District Judge Aileen Cannon to at least let them use the classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago as part of the ongoing criminal investigation. When she refused, they successfully petitioned the Eleventh Circuit to reverse her, arguing in part that, without the classified documents, they could not "uncover the full set of facts needed to understand which if any records bearing classification markings were disclosed, to whom, and in what circumstances."

And, as the Times points out, prosecutors wrote in September that Judge Cannon's injunction on using the seized documents in their ongoing criminal investigation "appears to bar the FBI and DOJ from further reviewing the records to discern any patterns in the types of records that were retained, which could lead to identification of other records still missing” and would "prohibit the government from using any aspect of the seized records’ contents to support the use of compulsory process to locate any additional records.”

So it's not exactly surprising that Trump, who has been both sloppy in his document handling, stashing top secret classified materials in his desk drawer next to his passport, and pugilistic when the government asked nicely to get that stuff back, may be hanging onto more stolen stuff. Nor is it surprising that he hired a competent attorney and then immediately disregarded his advice, deciding to listen to people who told him he was The Great and Powerful Oz, and didn't have to obey the law.

It's kinda hot, actually. If you're into lawyers who are in way over their heads talking their idiot client into a federal charge. And, baby, we are.

[NYT]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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