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.
READ MORE: FBI Agents Searched Mar-a-Lago for ‘Classified Documents Relating to Nuclear Weapons’: Report
“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.”
READ MORE: Suspect Who Shot Up FBI Office Days After Mar-a-Lago Raid Was Trump Supporter Who Called to Kill FBI ‘On Sight’: Report
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.
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Trump Indictment Is a Massive 34 Counts: CNN
When he appears in New York next week, Donald Trump will face a 34-count indictment.
CNN’s John Miller on-air Thursday evening announced, “I am told by my sources that this is 34 counts of falsification of business records, which is probably a lot of charges involving each document, each thing that was submitted, as a separate count.”
JUST IN: CNN’s John Miller says Trump will face 34 counts related to falsifying business recordshttps://t.co/XqxXbMBcSC pic.twitter.com/oY1blHS8K0
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) March 30, 2023
Attorney Tristan Snell, who assisted in the successful prosecution of the Trump University case for the New York Attorney General’s Office, responded via Twitter:
“This is WAY more than expected. If this is correct, it could mean that the indictment covers FAR more than the Stormy Daniels hush money — like Karen McDougal hush money or other hush money/catch-and-kill cases.”
READ MORE: Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Says It Is Coordinating With Trump to ‘Surrender’
“My hunch for a while,” Snell adds, “given [David] Pecker’s involvement and the drawn-out timetable of the indictment, plus the TWENTY interviews of Michael Cohen with the DA, showed that something far larger than Stormy might be in the works.”
“May still be wrong, of course. But 34 counts is a LOT!”
Death Toll Rises to Six as Three Children and Three Adults Declared Dead In Covenant School Mass Shooting (Streaming Video)
Six people have now died after a shooter shot and killed three young children and three adults at The Covenant Presbyterian School, a private Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee. Police say the shooter was a 28-year old woman who had two assault rifles and a handgun.
WSMV announced the rise in deaths on-air, noting that the shooter is also dead. A police spokesperson later increased the announced death toll from five to six. Including the shooter the death toll is seven.
⚡️JUST NOW — NASHVILLE POLICE: “Shooter was FEMALE, in her teens… 2 assault rifles and a handgun… 7 dead total (3 kids) including shooter… shooter dead within 14 minutes of first call…” pic.twitter.com/KvKwlQZXOB
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) March 27, 2023
Live streaming video via CBS News below.
This article has been updated with additional video.
1:56 PM ET: Updated to change age of shooter based on new reporting from WSMV.
Trump Lawyer’s ‘Critical Evidence’ Will Help DOJ Make Decision to Charge ‘Without Significant Delay’: Former Prosecutor
Donald Trump‘s attorney Evan Corcoran, who allegedly directed another Trump attorney to draft the false statement claiming all classified and sensitive documents had been returned, has been ordered to testify before a grand jury and hand over documents and records to Special Counsel Jack Smith in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents criminal investigation.
Trump appealed U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell’s decision ordering Corcoran to testify and hand over documents, including handwritten notes. The Appeals Court in light speed mode, rejected Trump’s appeal.
Corcoran will be testifying before the grand jury on Friday, CNN reports.
RELATED: ‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs
One former top DOJ official, Brandon Van Grack, says the “Special Counsel is about to get access to the most critical evidence in the case. Should allow DOJ to make a charging decision without significant delay.”
He did not define what “without significant delay” means in terms of days, weeks, or months.
Van Grack served at Main Justice for eleven years, including as a lead prosecutor in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and later, as the Chief of the DOJ’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Unit.
“The announcement from a panel of three judges in the appeals court – less than a day after Trump sought to put Corcoran’s testimony on hold – adds momentum to the special counsel investigation as it seeks to secure evidence that could make or break a federal criminal case against Trump,” CNN explains. “The Justice Department has successfully argued in court that prosecutors have enough evidence that Trump’s interactions with the lawyer were part of a possible crime that they can pierce the confidentiality of the conversations between the two.”
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