The 4 Biggest Takeaways From Trump’s Swirling Legal Challenges This Week
- Former President Donald Trump faced a rapidly increasing number of legal issues this week.
- Prosecutors released an edited affidavit covering the Mar-a-Lago search.
- The National Archives revealed that Trump kept more than 700 pages of classified documents.
This week, former President Donald Trump’s legal troubles have intensified.
Prosecutors have publicly released an abridged version of the affidavit used to search his Mar-a-Lago estate.
One of Trump’s closest White House advisers has been ordered to testify in a Georgia investigation into whether Trump and his associates sought to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.
Legal experts say these key developments could put the former president at greater legal risk. Here are the biggest takeaways from Trump’s legal woes.
Edited affidavit adds context to FBI search
The Justice Department released a redacted FBI affidavit on Friday, giving more insight into the classified documents Trump brought to Mar-a-Lago from the White House.
Of the 15 boxes of documents obtained from Trump’s residence reviewed by the FBI, 184 were marked “confidential,” 67 were marked “confidential,” 94 were marked “confidential,” and 25 were marked “confidential.” Marked as “Top Secret” according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also said some of the classified documents obtained by the Justice Department contained “handwritten notes” from the former president.
Legal experts told Insider that the affidavit showed that the Justice Department did have probable grounds to search Mar-a-Lago and undermined Trump’s legal defense arguments.
“It hurt him more than it helped him,” said former federal prosecutor David Weinstein. “It weakened his defense to a certain extent.”
Others said the affidavit could bring Trump one step closer to being indicted.
“Guys, I’ve seen enough. Donald Trump is going to be indicted over classified documents. I’m putting my mark,” said Bradley P. Moss, a national security attorney, tweet on Friday.
National Archives Counts Lost Confidential Documents
The National Archives also revealed in a letter released Tuesday that Trump had more than 700 classified documents with him.
In a letter originally sent to Trump’s attorney Evan Corcoran on May 10, the federal agency revealed that the documents were kept in 15 boxes and retrieved by the National Archives and Records Administration in January.
“During an initial review of the material within these boxes, NARA identified items marked classified as classified national security information at the highest level of top secret, including sensitive compartmentalized information and special access program materials,” National Archives Administrator Debra Wall wrote in the letter Say.
The letter revealed a month-long correspondence of documents between the National Archives and Trump’s legal team. It also shows how his team refused to return the classified documents.
The 700-page document obtained by NARA does not include recent A record box retrieved from Mar-a-Lago by the Department of Justice after a search of the residence.
The affidavit said the National Archives began searching for lost documents in May 2021. It wasn’t until December 2021, though, that Trump’s legal team said they had located 12 boxes of documents that the agency could retrieve.
Tightening Georgia’s Dragnet
The Peach State investigation into Trump’s alleged election interference has increasingly revolved around the embattled former president’s inner circle.
Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis Thursday order Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows Testifies on Unfounded Election Fraud Charges Promoted MAGA, and January 2021 Trump Urges Georgia Secretary of State Brad Finsberg to “Find” the $12,000 Trump Needs votes to deny Joe Biden a legitimate victory.
Willis, who recently ousted former Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani over his role in the 2020 election fight, is also seeking former Trump campaign lawyer and election denier Sidney Powell as well as Army veterans and Uprising “chooses” strategists Phil Waldron.
Willis is also awaiting word from South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, whose call to avoid talking to a special grand jury is still pending in court.
Meadows, Giuliani, Powell and Waldron were all subpoenaed by a House Jan. 6 committee to share their knowledge of the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Fierce questions about the Capitol siege
Since eight explosive public hearings in July, congressional investigators have switched back to quiet mode around January 6.
But their questions about those ultimately responsible for the historic attack on Congress have put Trump’s allies on the defensive.
Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Scott Perry recently filed a lawsuit to prevent federal agents from analyzing any data downloaded after FBI agents seized his phone on Aug. 9. Perry was also subpoenaed by a Jan. 6 committee that claimed he had a hand in trying to appoint Justice Department attorney Jeffrey Clark as attorney general to help speed up Trump’s election fraud scheme.
Earlier this week, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin told local news that he didn’t have to testify before the January panel (he was not asked) because he was only “toppling the government in seconds.” ”
“I was barely involved,” Johnson said of Trump’s fake voter program.
Meanwhile, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, a member of the committee on Jan. 6, said the panel would be happy to work with former Vice President Mike Pence “to resolve any issues of executive privilege or separation of powers if he testifies seriously. “.
Pence said he would consider talking to House investigators during his tour of New Hampshire a few weeks ago.