Trump Panics As Documents Indictment Looms

Donald Trump yelling

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“Reports are the Marxist Special Prosecutor, DOJ, & FBI, want to Indict me on the BOXES HOAX, despite all of the wrongdoing that they have done for SEVEN YEARS, including SPYING ON MY CAMPAIGN,” the former president caterwauled on his social media platform this weekend, before launching into the mandatory racist nonsense about Joe Biden’s “Boxes in Chinatown.”

“That is real OBSTRUCTION! They seek retribution for Republicans looking into Biden’s CRIMES!,” he screamed. “I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG. ELECTION INTERFERENCE!”

On the one hand, sure, Donald Trump talks like that all the time. On the other hand, he seems especially manic about the possibility that he’s about to get indicted for taking classified documents out of the White House and deliberately refusing to give them back. And while Trump was wrong when he predicted on March 18 that he would be arrested by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg “on Tuesday of next week,” he was right that criminal charges were imminent.

But even without Trump’s screeching, there are ample signs that Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation is racing to a conclusion. This weekend, NBC scooped that the grand jury investigating the documents case, which has been in abeyance for weeks, will reconvene in DC, potentially to issue an indictment.

The New York Times reports that Trump’s lawyer Evan Corcoran took advantage of a road trip to “Dear Diary” up a long voice memo in “a narrative tone that sounded as if it had been ripped from a novel” about his negotiations with the Justice Department and subsequent search of Mar-a-Lago for classified documents in May and June of 2022. Under a ruling from Judge Beryl Howell, that tape was handed over to prosecutors, along with other contemporaneous notes when the court ordered Corcoran to testify and ruled that attorney-client privilege had been abrogated under the crime-fraud exception.

That would be the second tape in a week, according to CNN, which broke the story last Friday that Trump’s aide Margo Martin had recorded him bragging in June of 2021 that he’d retained a still-classified memo from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley laying out a plan to invade Iran. Presumably, Trump sought to refute the story that General Milley restrained Trump from launching any rash military action in the final days of the administration. Whether such a document ever existed, or whether Trump was simply engaged in his habitual freestyle ranting, the Times says Trump’s lawyers never did find it.

Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyers are blowing up Daily Beast reporter Jose Pagliery’s phone to blame each other — well, mostly Boris Epshteyn — for the documents indictment they all seem to think is inevitable.

And still, attorney Timothy Parlatore, late of Team Trump, is shouting into every microphone that Trump can’t be prosecuted because the FBI didn’t throw Hillary Clinton in email jail.

“Classification is not binding on the jury,” Parlatore asserted confidently, as Chuck Todd mumbled assent. “You have to actually take these documents, show them to a jury, and then prove to them that it constitutes national defense information.”

Of course, Parlatore has no idea what the charges will be, but that doesn’t stop him from holding forth confidently on the weakness of an as-yet-nonexistent indictment.

And just this morning, the Washington Post reported that Trump’s lawyers Jim Trusty and John Rowley showed up at the Justice Department for a meeting “to make their case that the government should not charge the former president in connection with his possession of classified documents after leaving office.” A few weeks ago, they demanded to speak to the manager in a public letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland. And CBS’s Robert Costa says that the lawyers are there to “raise concerns about how prosecutors have handled attorney-client questions during the grand jury.”

Well, good luck with all that.

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics and appears on the Opening Arguments podcast.


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