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Jack Smith's Grand Jury Will Meet Again This Week

NBC News is reporting that special counsel Jack Smith's grand jury is going to meet again this week in D.C. after a hiatus. It has met many times before and has seen a tremendous amount of evidence relating to Smith's investigations. Is Smith going to ask it to indict Donald Trump this week? Smith is not talking. However the recording that came to light last week in which Trump makes it clear that he knew he had classified documents pretty much destroys all his previous arguments about why he kept them (I didn't know I had them, my autodeclassifier had declassified them, I telepathically declassified them, etc.) Does this mean that Smith feels his case is now so ironclad that he can move to an indictment? Multiple former prosecutors have told the media there is enough evidence to move now, but Smith knows this is the biggest case of his life and he wants to be 100% certain of winning in court before bringing charges. Is he that sure yet? We don't know and he's not saying a word and won't until he writes his report and it is made public. Still, Trump has to be worried because when the grand jury meets, it could hand down indictments.

There are two categories of crimes Trump could be charged with relating to the Mar-a-Lago documents. First is unauthorized possession of defense documents. Formal classification isn't required because the law in question was written before the current classification system was devised. One hurdle for the prosecution is explaining to the jury in court what documents Trump had and why they had to remain secret. Since the documents contain defense secrets, the prosecution can't show the jury the documents or even summarize them. However, the prosecution could call a dozen witnesses who have security clearances, such as (retired) generals, and have them testify to the effect "I read the document and it would harm national security if this leaked out."

Second is obstruction of justice. The prosecution could say that Trump actively hindered the investigation into the documents by intentionally hiding them and then lying about hiding them and having his lawyers also lie. The fact that Trump got a subpoena to turn over all the documents, claimed that he turned all over of them, and then it turned out that he didn't turn over another 300 or so is pretty clear evidence that he lied about the matter.

Trump's motivation for holding onto the documents doesn't matter. Even if he held onto them merely as souvenirs and didn't plan on selling them to the highest bidder or using them to blackmail the DoJ in case it tried to indict him, he could still be found guilty. The law says unauthorized people can't possess secret defense documents. It doesn't matter why he had them. There is no "souvenir defense."

Assuming Trump is indicted on either or both of these charges, the trial might not be until next summer at the earliest. Imagine a jury trial of the Republican nominee in the middle of the general-election campaign. Could a neutral jury be found? The DoJ would want to hold the trial in D.C. Trump would want to hold it in Florida, simply because the chance of getting a gung-ho Trump supporter on the jury is far greater there. Suppose there is a hung jury and there is a second trial after an election Trump has won. Now imagine that he is convicted on Jan. 19, 2025. No, better not imagine it. In any case, yet again, it's very worrisome news for the former president. (V)

Four poops

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