Because ‘When?’ Also Leads to ‘Why?’
We know that following Donald Trumpâ€™s most recent attack on the free press today at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Convention, the White House blocked The New York Times, CNN, The L.A. Times, POLITICO and Buzzfeed News from todayâ€™sÂ press briefing.
We know that the far-right website Breitbart was included in the briefing, along with journalists from ABC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fox News.
We also know that Jeff Mason, President of the White House Correspondents’ Association, has spoken out on the matter. â€œThe W.H.C.A. board is protesting strongly against how todayâ€™s gaggle is being handled by the White House,â€ he said. â€œWe encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not. The board will be discussing this further with White House staff.â€
Those discussions will likely include Sean Spicer, whose relationship with the press corpsâ€™ has been well-spoofed and of which we have a clear record. But when did Sean Spicer know that the White House would be excluding top outlets from today’s briefing? That, we don’t know.
In reviewing the record, however, itâ€™s worth noting that Spicer ended his time with the press corps on February 8th with â€œThanks a lot, guys. Have a great one. Take care.â€ On the 9th, a brief, â€œThank you, guys.â€
February 14th was a more festive, â€œThank you, guys. See you tomorrow. Happy Valentineâ€™s Day,â€ and the 22nd, â€œThank you, guys, very much. We’ll see you tomorrow. Take care.â€ As itâ€™s a daily press briefing, thereâ€™s plenty of talk about â€œtomorrow.â€ But not yesterday.
Following yesterdayâ€™s tumultuous Q&A concerning the Trump Administrationâ€™s decision to rescind its guidance on transgender youth, Sean Spicer closed out the briefing with a call to watch Trumpâ€™s speech at CPAC today. (Where, again, his attack on the free press continued.)
But just before that, as seen in the video below, he thanked the press corps for their time and wished them well. Then he let them know that they would â€œtouch base tomorrow in some way.â€
In some way.
POLITICOÂ reports that during Friday’s meeting with selected news outlets, Spicer defended the move.
â€œThe president spoke today. As you know, we don’t generally do, we haven’t done briefings when the president’s had a major event or an event with a world leader,â€ Spicer said.
While the video doesnâ€™t prove that Sean Spicer knew yesterday that the outlets would be excluded from todayâ€™s briefing, it certainly begs the question. And given that Spicer himself has compared excluding the press to a dictatorship, it opens the door for a myriad of other questions.
When did he know? And why didn’t he tell the excluded outlets ahead of time? We’ll let you decide.
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Trump Could Face 20 Years Behind Bars for ‘Serious Felonies’ at Mar-a-Lago: Legal Analyst
A legal analyst for ABC News pointed out that former President Donald Trump is potentially facing 20 years in prison for “serious felonies” after the search of his Mar-a-Lago home.
Dan Abrams told ABC host Jonathan Karl that the Department of Justice could indict Trump for multiple crimes after finding classified documents during the search.
“They’re very serious,” Abrams said of the charges. “And the one that’s being talked about most is this espionage act because it has the word espionage in it. But the truth is that when it comes to potential criminal sentences, the obstruction of justice statute is the one with the most potential prison time.”
“There you’re talking about up to 20 years behind bars,” he added. “So these are not sort of minor crimes we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the potential for serious felonies with regard to all three of the crimes being investigated.”
But Abrams threw cold water on the idea that a Trump prosecution would be easy.
“The fundamental question is going to be intentionality,” he opined. “How much do they believe that they did this on purpose? Were they intentionally ignoring subpoenas? Were they literally destroying documents?”
Watch the video below from ABC.
.@danabrams breaks down what unsealed search warrant papers for former Pres. Trump’s estate suggest about federal investigation.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 14, 2022
New Analysis Breaks Down GOP’s Flawed Response to the Mar-a-Lago Search
Republican lawmakers are reportedly at an impasse on whether or not they should be defending former President Donald Trump amid his latest flurry of legal woes. The party is also facing challenges with navigating some lawmakers’ critical assessments of law enforcement over the Trump investigation.
A new analysis is breaking down Republicans’ seemingly flawed response and how it underscores the cracks in the political party’s foundation.
According to Axios, the analysis comes shortly after documents released on Friday, August 12, offered details about the search which reportedly involved “highly classified materials believed stored in violation of the law at the ex-president’s private residence.”
Prior to the release of those documents, Republicans serving on the House Intelligence Committee participated in a press conference where they continued to criticize the investigation, describing it as being politically motivated.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) scrutinized the investigation deeming it a “complete abuse” of authority as she suggested it was being conducted because the former president is considered to be “Joe Biden’s most likeliest political opponent in 2024.”
However, some Republicans on the committee have offered a more leveled approach to the situation. Per The New York Times, “Trump allies have told top Republicans to tone down their criticism of the Justice Department ‘because it is possible that more damaging information related to the search will become public.'”
“It’s incumbent upon everybody to act in a way that’s becoming of the office they hold,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), a former FBI agent, “And that’s not casting judgment on anything until you know all the facts.”
Others have attempted to defend the former president. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said, “You can say nuclear weapons, but there are things that are highly, highly classified, there are things that are not extremely classified.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is now selling merchandise on her website in support of a call to “defund the FBI” while Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) tweeted, “I will support a complete dismantling and elimination of the democrat brown shirts known as the FBI.”
Image: Elise Stefanik with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago via Facebook
Trump Makes False Claims About Classified Documents – And Obama
Donald Trump is responding to news reports he is under FBI investigation for actions covered by the Espionage Act by making apparently false claims about his mishandling of classified documents and about former President Barack Obama.
“Number one, it was all declassified,” Trump says in a post on his Truth Social site, a claim legal experts say is incorrect. For any president to declassify documents, experts say, there is a process that involves actions being taken on each individual document. They also say the president does not have legal authority to declassify documents related to nuclear weapons.
“Number two,” Trump continues, “they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request.”
Again, according to reports, that too is false. DOJ issued a subpoena after the National Archives tried to get all the documents back and Trump still did not comply.
“They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago,” he continues in a separate post on Truth Social. “ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK.”
Again, multiple reports say they did, numerous times.
None of his responses explain why he had at Mar-a-Lago what we now know were at least 35 cartons – 20 retrieved on Monday and 15 earlier this year – of items including confidential, classified, and top secret documents that were required by law to have been handed over to the National Archives.
“The bigger problem is,” Trump says, “what are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?”
That is also false.
The National Archives on Friday issued a statement after Trump repeatedly spread the false claim that former President Barack Obama had 33 million documents in his possession.
“President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!” was one of Trump’s false attacks on his Truth Social site.
“The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama Presidential records when President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act (PRA),” the Archives said in a statement posted to its website Friday.
“NARA moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area where they are maintained exclusively by NARA,” the Archives added. “Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama Presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, DC, area. As required by the PRA, former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration.”
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