President Joe Biden took strong action Friday, calling Russia the “aggressor” nation in its illegal war of choice against Ukraine, warning President Vladimir Putin that Russia will “pay a severe price if they use chemical weapons.” He also removed Russia’s “favored nation” trade status, imposed sanctions, and banned Russian exports of seafood, vodka, and non-industrial diamonds.
“The aim, Mr. Biden said, was to ‘squeeze’ Mr. Putin,” The New York Times reports. Biden said: “Putin must pay the price.”
Joe Biden: “I’m not going to speak about the intelligence, but Russia would pay a severe price if they use chemical weapons.” pic.twitter.com/qXwjO4t8f1
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 11, 2022
Aboard Air Force One White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates called out Russia, telling reporters the U.S. has “reason to believe they are trying to fabricate another false justification for more violence. The truth is, Russia is the only country in this equation with a chemical and biological weapons program in violation of international law. We’re not going to be specific about intelligence, which the President also mentioned this morning. But look no further than Russia’s track record.”
“They have used chemical weapons,” Bates accurately charged.
“When it comes to war crimes, we have all seen the devastating images coming out of Ukraine and are appalled by Russia’s brutal tactics. Pregnant women on stretchers, apartment buildings shelled, families killed while seeking safety from this terrible violence. We are also seeing reports of other types of potential abuses including sexual and gender-based violence.”
“These are disgusting attacks, civilian casualties are increasing. If Russia is intentionally targeting civilians, that would be a war crime,” Bates noted. There is already an investigation in The Hague into Putin’s possible war crimes.
“As we are all seeing on live television, evidence is mounting, and we are documenting it as it takes place. There are strong indications that this is occurring, and that the heinous way Russia is prosecuting this war will result in war crimes.”
“We are supporting the important work of human rights activists, civil society and independent media in Ukraine who are documenting, collecting and exposing evidence of possible war crimes, human rights abuses, and violations of international humanitarian law. We will share the evidence we gather with allies and partners and with those investigators to support accountability using every tool available, including criminal prosecutions when appropriate.”
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Trump Under FBI Investigation for Potential Violation of the Espionage Act Legal Experts Say
‘Simply Jaw-Dropping’: Legal Experts Also Stunned Over Top Secret, Confidential Contents of Cartons FBI Seized From Mar-a-Lago
“A search warrant viewed by POLITICO reveals that the FBI is investigating Donald Trump for a potential violation of the Espionage Act and removed classified documents from the former president’s Florida estate earlier this week,” Politico reports.
The New York Times also confirms.
“Federal agents who executed the warrant did so to investigate potential crimes associated with violations of the Espionage Act, which outlaws the unauthorized retention of national security information that could harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary; a federal law that makes it a crime to destroy or conceal a document to obstruct a government investigation; and another statute associated with unlawful removal of government materials.”
Based on the search warrant released to far-right media outlet Breitbart News, multiple legal experts also say Donald Trump, the former president is under FBI investigation for potentially violating the Espionage Act.
“A federal magistrate judge has found probable cause to believe evidence of the crime of ESPIONAGE to be found at Mar-A-Lago. Repeat 5 times,” writes former U.S. Attorney and DOJ official Harry Litman, now an LA Times legal affairs columnist. He also notes that “top secret/compartmented is stratospherically high classification. Scandal he ever had in [those documents] the first place.”
Top national security lawyer Brad Moss writes: “18 U.S.C. 793 – Espionage Act. That’s for willful/grossly negligent removal of information relating to the national defense. 18 U.S.C. 2017 and 18 U.S.C. 1519 – that’s for concealing federal records.”
Moss also retweeted this statement by veteran Cox Radio Capitol Hill correspondent Jamie Dupree:
“So the leak of the Trump search warrant via Breitbart indicates that former President Donald Trump is under investigation for violating the Espionage Act and for Obstruction of Justice.”
Civil liberties and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler also confirms, writing: “The hilarious thing is that since Brietbart doesn’t even know what a Supervisory Special Agent is, they probably don’t realize they’ve confirmed that Trump is under investigation for violating the Espionage Act.”
Western New England University School of Law law professor Jennifer Taub also confirms, writing: “Donald Trump is being investigated for espionage.”
The Wall Street Journal was first to publish details of what FBI agents seized from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion on Monday. Legal experts have been calling Friday afternoon’s revelations “jaw-dropping.”
FBI agents “removed 11 sets of classified documents, including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal,” the WSJ report states.
Despite initial reports the FBI seized between ten and 12 cartons of documents and other materials unlawfully removed from the White House to Mar-a-Lago, there were 20 cartons retrieved. That is in addition to the 15 cartons the National Archives were forced to retrieve earlier this year.
“The list includes references to one set of documents marked as ‘Various classified/TS/SCI documents,’ an abbreviation that refers to top-secret/sensitive compartmented information. It also says agents collected four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents. The list didn’t provide any more details about the substance of the documents.”
The classified/TS/SCI markings are the most important.
Legal experts say the search warrant was “broad,” and indeed the Journal reports the warrant “shows that FBI agents sought to search ‘the 45 Office,’ as well as ‘all storage rooms and all other rooms or areas within the premises used or available to be used by [the former president] and his staff and in which boxes or documents could be stored, including all structures or buildings on the estate.'”
Late Thursday evening The Washington Post revealed FBI agents were looking to retrieve classified documents “related to nuclear weapons,” making Monday’s raid all the more important, and Trump and his teams handling – or mishandling – of those documents all the more egregious.
The George Washington University Law School’s Professor of Government Procurement Law, Steven L. Schooner, says, “removal of, failure to account for, & failure to return (under subpoena) ‘classified/TS/SCI documents’ is, ugh, simply jaw-dropping, and that’s regardless of whether it’s nuclear-related.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss – Trump Org and Ex-CFO Weisselberg Criminal Fraud and Tax Evasion Case Will Proceed
Former Trump Organization longtime Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg‘s request to dismiss his case on charges that include conspiracy, grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records has been denied by a New York State judge. The Judge ruled Friday morning the criminal fraud and tax evasion case against Weisselberg and The Trump Organization will proceed.
“Weisselberg and the company CBS News reports. “The Trump Organization and Weisselberg accused prosecutors of targeting them ‘based on political animus’ toward former President Donald Trump.”to dismiss all 15 counts charged against them. Judge Juan Merchan dismissed one of several tax fraud counts against the Trump Organization, but allowed all others to remain,”
“Prosecutors accuse Weisselberg of a 15-year scheme to defraud federal, New York State, and New York City tax authorities of $1.76 million in ‘off-the-books’ compensation. These included $359,058 in tuition expenses for multiple family members, $196,245 for leases on his Mercedes Benz automobiles, $29,400 in unreported cash, and an unspecified amount in ad hoc personal expenses, according to his indictment,” Law & Crime adds.
Weisselberg, who was Trump’s top accountant, handled a large portion of his business interests, and was co-trustee of the trust set up when Trump became president, will have his next hearing September 12. Jury selection will begin October 24.
Weisselberg began working for Trump’s father, Fred Trump, in 1973.
Indicted ex-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg has walked into the Manhattan criminal courthouse. pic.twitter.com/BhbFW5dYYa
— Jose Pagliery (@Jose_Pagliery) August 12, 2022
FBI Agents Searched Mar-a-Lago for ‘Classified Documents Relating to Nuclear Weapons’: Report
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who executed a federal search warrant at Mar-a-Lago Monday were on the hunt for “classified documents relating to nuclear weapons,” according to an exclusive Washington Post report Thursday evening.
“Experts in classified information said the unusual search underscores deep concern among government officials about the types of information they thought could be located at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and potentially in danger of falling into to the wrong hands,” The Washington Post adds.
“If that is true, it would suggest that material residing unlawfully at Mar-a-Lago may have been classified at the highest classification level,” David Laufman, the former chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section, told the Post. “If the FBI and the Department of Justice believed there were top secret materials still at Mar-a-Lago, that would lend itself to greater ‘hair-on-fire’ motivation to recover that material as quickly as possible.”
This latest development into Donald Trump’s improper and possibly unlawful handling of classified documents confirms what a former FBI special agent noted earlier this week.
“This is a nat sec/CI issue,” tweeted Asha Rangappa Tuesday morning, meaning national security and counterintelligence. Rangappa is an attorney, former FBI special agent, senior lecturer at Yale, and CNN commentator.
Also on Tuesday Rangappa tweeted: “Ask yourself: What kind of info makes its way to the WH, and specifically to the president? —> HIGH LEVEL SECRETS. PDB stuff. Defense info. These aren’t low-level diplomatic cables or overclassified State Dept. correspondence.”
This is a breaking news and developing story.
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