Friday, June 9, 2023

Victory Laps

Time for another victory lap, or two. I told you so, doubters:

Seven counts, and, says The Guardian, and the other papers,

At least some of the counts filed in federal district court in Miami by the office of special counsel Jack Smith include the willful retention of national defense information, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, false statements and concealment under title 18 of the US criminal code, the person said.

"Willful retention of national defense information" is espionage, in the definition provided by the Espionage Act, if you missed that. For what it's worth. I'm afraid it's not espionage in the everyday sense of the word: that's acquiring national defense information with a specific motivation:

with the intent for that information to be used against the United States or for the gain of any foreign nation  

which doesn't seem to be alleged here; it's not going to be selling stuff to the Russians or the Chinese or the Saudis. Which is not to say that he necessarily didn't do that but that the special counsel's office doesn't have proof of it. I, as you know, don't think spying in that sense is a significant part of what Trump was doing with the document collection (though I still think Jared Kushner must have been supplying information from the President's Daily Briefing to Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and I know PDBs were included in the stuff squirreled away in Trump's Palm Beach place), so I'm not surprised, but I do hope, narratologically speaking, that they won't make this a bloodless legalist argument about whether the conditions of the statute are met, but rather work to show what Trump and his goons were trying to accomplish by the thefts.

That, as I was just saying a while back, could be part of the prosecutorial point of that Bedminster audio of his interview with Meadows's ghostwriters, that it illustrates him trying to use the stolen documents to implicate his enemies, who included not just those FBI persecutors but also, for instance, General Milley, and Susan Glasser's article showing Milley restraining him from committing war crimes in the final days. CNN has now gotten hold of a transcript:

“Well, with Milley – uh, let me see that, I’ll show you an example. He said that I wanted to attack Iran. Isn’t that amazing? I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him,” Trump says, according to the transcript. “They presented me this – this is off the record, but – they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him. We looked at some. This was him. This wasn’t done by me, this was him.”

Trump continues: “All sorts of stuff – pages long, look. Wait a minute, let’s see here. I just found, isn’t that amazing? This totally wins my case, you know. Except it is like, highly confidential. Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this.”

"I just found" this classified report sitting on my desk that happens to prove my point but you're not allowed to look at it. And then the ghostwriters dutifully added the lie to the book:

Meadows’ autobiography includes an account of what appears to be the same meeting, during which Trump “recalls a four-page report typed up by (Trump’s former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) Mark Milley himself. It contained the general’s own plan to attack Iran, deploying massive numbers of troops, something he urged President Trump to do more than once during his presidency.”

And Kash Patel continually teased the classified documents that would reveal the plots of which Trump was a victim, throughout 2021 and 2022, without ever showing them, as he told "Clay and Buck":

And what [Trump] did was on his way out of the White House, he declassified — made available to every American citizen in the world — large volumes of information relating, not just to Russiagate, but to national security matters, to the Ukraine impeachment, to his impeachment one, impeachment two.”

They had to be classified documents to explain why the reporters never got a chance to look!

Speaking of Meadows and, not coincidentally, of stolen classified documents, does anybody remember our discovery last January in the J6 Committee testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson that Meadows was a document thief too, receiving classified materials from the House Intelligence Committee passed to him by Devin Nunes, photocopying them in the White House and taking a bunch of them home, where he intended to get them to fascist journalists John Solomon (now Trump's designated representative along with Patel with the National Archives) and Mollie Hemingway? 

I'd pretty much given up hope that anybody professional was ever going to go there, but Hutchinson's testimony has now been discovered by the great Murray Waas, who has posted his findings on Substack, proving, at least, that I wasn't hallucinating this stuff, so I'm giving myself a victory lap on that too.

Namely, in late January, I wrote:

Narratology really starting to come into its own, as the Special Counsel picks up on the stuff I've been telling you, and the Mar-a-Lago documents case merges with the case of Trump's effort to incriminate the Crossfire Hurricane and Mueller investigations, as I've been saying it should; according to The Independent and the great Murray Waas:

Investigators working for Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith have reportedly questioned multiple ex-Trump administration officials about the fate of a large tranche of classified documents pertaining to the FBI probe into Russia’s campaign of interference in the 2016 election.

A report by Murray Waas, a freelance investigative reporter and former National Journal staff writer, wrote on Wednesday that “at least three” figures in Mr Trump’s inner circle have been pressed by prosecutors on whether Mr Trump took “thousands of pages” of documents from the White House — including many bearing classification markings — with an eye towards making them public in attempt to discredit the Justice Department’s probe into alleged ties between his 2016 campaign and the Russian Federation.

I'd hope the three or more figures would include Cassidy Hutchinson, who witnessed the process, on the cooperative side.

That's now happened. Waas's treatment misses some important details, I think, and I'll be posting something on that at Substack before too long. In the meantime, a happy Indictment Weekend to you all!

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