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Trump Legal Blotter, Part I: His Documents Problem Just Keeps Getting Worse

What are the odds that Donald Trump dodges the bullet that has "Mar-a-Lago classified documents" written on it in big, bold letters? Not very good at this point. It's starting to look like he's got a better chance of winning a Nobel Prize. In Literature.

His situation is in the process of going from very bad to much, much worse in three different ways right now. To wit:

  1. Trump's Big Mouth: In case you ever need to understand why Trump's lawyers never, ever want him to take the stand in a court case, all you need to do is refer to the CNN town hall from last week. He was asked about the Mar-a-Lago documents and said: "I was there and I took what I took... I had every right to do it. I didn't make a secret of it. You know, the boxes were stationed outside of the White House."

    This wasn't even a court proceeding; Trump could have lied through his teeth and been at zero risk of being popped for perjury. Instead, in the span of just a few seconds, he shot himself in the foot so many times he might as well have been wielding an AK-47. Or, for the Civil War buffs out there, a Gatling Gun. He admitted, on national TV, that he was aware of the document removal. There goes one defense, namely "It wasn't me, it was my staff." He also conceded, on national TV, that the document removal took place as he was leaving office. There goes another defense, namely "The documents had been at Mar-a-Lago for a long time, and we just forgot to return them." And, as a bonus, he also made very clear that the (allegedly) criminal acts took place in Washington, DC. That means that the Department of Justice can bring the case in the capital, and not in Florida, meaning Trump is much less likely to get a friendly judge like Aileen Cannon.

  2. The Paper Trail: On top of this, the news broke yesterday that special counsel Jack Smith is about to receive 16 separate documents from the National Archives, all of which involve Trump and his staffers discussing the rules for classified materials. It's not known exactly what is in these documents, but according to reporting from CNN (and then others), they show that Trump and his lieutenants knew exactly what the correct procedure was for declassifying documents. There goes another defense, namely "I declassified the documents before taking them to Mar-a-Lago, by waving my hand/just thinking about it/scattering pixie dust/wishing upon a star."

  3. Trump's Lawyer: In a development that surely must be connected to at least one of these other developments, Timothy Parlatore, who was a key member of the legal team handling the Mar-a-Lago matter for Trump, quit yesterday. Apparently, there is much infighting among the members of this particular division of Team Trump. Given how frequently their client makes their lives harder, no surprise there.

There's no need to soft-pedal it: He's in deep, deep trouble here. (Z)

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