Well, this isn’t the Donald Trump indictment we were expecting this week…
While the country is waiting to see if the ex-Prez is charged with his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, culminating in the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the Department of Justice has zagged instead of zigged and instead hit him with more charges in the classified documents case!
In a superseding indictment dropped on Thursday, the DOJ charged Trump with one more count of willful retention of national defense information. That brings that tally to 32 counts — meaning 32 separate highly sensitive documents he withheld even after being told to give them back.
The other new charges? Two additional counts of obstruction of justice. These counts related to yet another way Trump allegedly tried to hide the documents he was hoarding — deleting surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago!
A third defendant was charged this time, the Mar-a-Lago’s head of maintenance, a man named Carlos De Oliveira. According to the indictment, De Oliveira helped Trump aide Walt Nauta move the boxes to try to hide them from his own lawyers and ultimately the US government. But he also, at the former POTUS’ command, tried to “wipe” the resort’s security footage from servers — the same footage the DOJ was asking for last summer. Oliveira allegedly told the IT director “that ‘the boss’ wanted the server deleted.”
The new charges bring Trump to 40 federal counts! And these latest obstruction charges could be considered even more crucial than the document charges. See, they show a consciousness of guilt. Trump’s main defense has been that the documents were no longer classified because as the president, he had the ultimate authority to declassify them — even if he did it without taking any actual action or telling anyone.
But if he really believed that, if he truly thought he did nothing wrong by taking boxes of national defense secrets to his home, leaving them around in old bathrooms where anyone, say, even Chinese spies (not a hypothetical — there really was a Chinese spy arrested there in 2019), then why hide it? Why delete the security footage? Why lie to the government about it?
Naturally Trump’s team released a statement on the latest charges Thursday evening, and it’s totally rational and measured and doesn’t sound at all insane:
“This is nothing more than a continued desperate and flailing attempt by the Biden Crime Family and their Department of Justice to harass President Trump and those around him. Deranged Jack Smith knows that they have no case and is casting about for any way to salvage their illegal witch hunt and to get someone other than Donald Trump to run against Crooked Joe Biden.”
Sigh. Election 2024!
[Image via MEGA/WENN.]