A former top U.S. Dept. of Justice official says it is “inconceivable” that Donald Trump will not be charged, based on reports Special Counsel Jack Smith has an audio recording of the ex-president admitting he was in possession of a classified Pentagon document detailing a possible attack on Iran.
“I think if this audio tape exists, this is not a question of if there are going to be charges. It’s just a question of when,” announced NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst Andrew Weissmann, the well-known former FBI General Counsel who worked at DOJ for two decades.
Importantly, Weissmann, who made his remarks on MSNBC Thursday, notes that the document in question, if it is as described, contains “war plans.”
“And the proof that we have learned just publicly is so strong. And Jack Smith is such a competent and aggressive prosecutor. It is inconceivable to me that this would not be charged, and having a tape recording of the prospective defendant admitting his possession of a classified document that he had no right to have,” Weissmann says.
“And not just any classified document. I think it’s really important to remember that what he talks about reportedly, is a classified document involving something that is unbelievably sensitive, which is war plans of the United States against another country.”
Where news broke Wednesday NYU Law professor of law Ryan Goodman, a former U.S. Dept. of Defense Special Counsel, wrote: “War plans are among the most highly classified documents. Puts pressure on DOJ to indict, and a jury to convict.”
Some say, based on the audio, Trump might have been holding the document as he was being recorded at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf resort, allegedly discussing it.
Explaining the gravity of the document, Weissmann notes, “this is not just taking love letters of Kim Jong Un or salacious material about the president in France. This is exactly what the Department of Justice and the intelligence community is worried about.”
Continuing to explain just how serious this is, Weissmann served up the ground rules.
“Let’s remember government documents, whether classified or not, belong to the government. They are not to be retained by a private citizen. And the former president is a private citizen. So for instance, when I was in the Department of Justice, the number of documents I could take when I left the Department of Justice would be zero. So you’re not supposed to have that possession of government documents. If they are classified, there can be an additional type of charge, but it’s not required that that material be classified or classified at a particular level.”
“What you’re looking at here is whether the person either knowingly took the documents or knowingly retained the documents. Important this tape recording, if it exists, as recorded, is that you’ve got Donald Trump admitting that he has in his possession a classified document – doesn’t matter if it’s Secret, Top Secret, it’s classified, that itself is a crime.”
And then finally, with respect to dissemination, the recording is that there does appear to be at least some dissemination of the information because Donald Trump, although he doesn’t turn the document over or quote from it, he does talk about what is in there. In other words, the reason we’re all talking about the fact that involves war plans involving Iran is because reportedly that is what Donald Trump said was in the document. If that proves out, that is a form of dissemination.”
On social media later Thursday, Weissman tweeted, “Days, not months…” suggesting he believes an indictment of Trump would be coming sooner rather than later.
Watch Weissmann below or at this link.
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Giuliani Booking Photo Released
Former Trump attorney and former Republican Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani was booked in Fulton County, Georgia Wednesday afternoon on racketeering charges and charges related to attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
He was released on a $150,000 bond after being arraigned on 13 charges.
“Conditions include prohibitions against intimidating co-defendants or witnesses, and against communicating with co-defendants other than through their lawyers. Giuliani must check in with pretrial services every 30 days,” USA Today reports.
Former Trump attorneys Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell were also booked and their photos have been made public as well.
See all three mug shots below or at this link.
Fulton County sheriff’s office releases Rudy Giuliani’s mugshot pic.twitter.com/NHoQdAuCT5
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) August 23, 2023
Booking photos of Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell. pic.twitter.com/isyWaGJupG
— Anna Bower (@AnnaBower) August 23, 2023
‘Moral Turpitude’: Bill Barr Hammers Donald Trump
“You know, you don’t get immunity for two years in the run-up to an election just by saying, ‘Hey, I’m a candidate,'” Barr told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto.
“These investigations have been going on for a while, everyone knew about them even before he announced his candidacy,” Barr continued. “So if there’s a chance to get it resolved before the election, it should be because the American people should know these are crimes involved – or potential crimes – involving moral turpitude.”
Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute says moral turpitude is “wicked, deviant behavior constituting an immoral, unethical, or unjust departure from ordinary social standards such that it would shock a community.”
Barr also talked about the two federal cases brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith, one for Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, and one for his refusal to return classified and other documents.
“I think the federal cases are legitimate,” Barr said. “At the end of the day, at the core of this thing he engaged in – in the case of the documents – in outrageous behavior where anyone would be prosecuted. I don’t know of any attorney general who could walk away from it.”
“He’s not being prosecuted for having the documents, he’s being prosecuted for obstruction, two egregious instances are alleged so I think that’s a very simple case.”
Barr also said for him, Trump “crossed the line” when “he used this device of impaneling imposter electors, swearing that they were the electors, but the key point there was, they were in tandem with a plan whereby the vice president would use that as a pretext for nullifying the legal and certified votes. So it was a calculated and deceitful plan to remain in office by nullifying and negating certified legal votes.”
Watch the videos below or at this link:
“You don’t get immunity for two years in the run-up to an election just by saying, ‘Hey, I’m a candidate’ … These investigations have been going on for a while. Everyone knew about them, even before he announced his candidacy.”
— Former Attorney General Bill Barr on Trump pic.twitter.com/yhDft2bZ7W
— The Recount (@therecount) August 17, 2023
Barr: The federal cases are legitimate. At the end of the day, the core of this, he engaged in (in the case of the documents) outrageous behavior that anybody would be prosecuted. I don’t know of any Attorney General who could walk away from it pic.twitter.com/8ijyPiDjLL
— Acyn (@Acyn) August 17, 2023
Special Counsel Wanted Trump’s Twitter Direct Messages When He Obtained a Search Warrant: Report
Special Counsel Jack Smith obtained a search warrant for access to Donald Trump’s Twitter account in January, but was looking for non-public information from the account.
That non-public information was Trump’s direct messages, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins reports, noting there were “many.” DMs are private.
Smith, who has already obtained indictments against Donald Trump for the ex-president’s removal and refusal to return classified documents and for the ex-president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, appears to have accessed an important resource.
“The special counsel was seeking Trump’s direct messages on Twitter, of which there were many, federal prosecutors and lawyers for Twitter revealed in newly unsealed transcripts from hearings about the search warrant,” Collins reported Tuesday evening.
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti said, “I’m surprised that Trump had “many” direct messages. Given that he doesn’t use text and email, they could more directly reveal his intent than other evidence Jack Smith has.”
Experts have wondered why Smith would have wanted access to Trump’s Twitter account, which was suspended after the 2021 insurrection. Elon Musk, who bought Twitter in late 2022, has since reinstated Trump’s account, but the ex-president has not made any public posts on the social media site, now renamed X.
Noted technologist John Gruber last week when news broke that Smith had obtained a search warrant for Trump’s Twitter account wrote, “I’m keenly interested in what the search warrant was after. It wasn’t Trump’s tweets, which are public.”
“So the obvious conclusion: his direct messages. Trump, famously, does not use email and, until this year, apparently didn’t use text messaging either. But did he send or receive DMs on Twitter? And was he stupid enough to put anything incriminating in them?”
“We also know,” Gruber continued, “that ‘deleted’ tweets were just hidden, not actually deleted — and a bug resulted in deleted tweets resurfacing. Was that (or is it still) true for ‘deleted’ direct messages as well? I think it’s quite likely that every single DM ever sent on Twitter is still around.”
A filing had said “the court ‘found probable cause to search the Twitter account for evidence of criminal offenses,’” according to an Associated Press report last week.
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license
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