Trump’s strategy on classified documents is falling apart fast

The lawsuit has taken a turn against the former president and the Justice Department in recent days, suggesting that the classic Trumpian legal strategy of delay, denial and distraction is not working as well as usual.

In a sense, Trump is being given his day in court and every opportunity to prove his statements. The Department of Justice is investigating possible violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice for misuse of classified documents. So far there is no indication that it will be charged.

The search, an unprecedented step against a former president, raised questions about the DOJ’s handling of the case given the serious political sensitivity of the case, especially as Trump has shown every sign of preparing for another run for the White House in 2024.

But if the former president cannot prove his allegations, as many outside observers expect, his legal position will deteriorate significantly.

It can be said here that Trump’s lawyers, understanding that they cannot lie under oath, have not repeated many of the former president’s statements in front of a judge. The final twists and turns of the case are thus entangled between the duty to tell the truth and the client’s famously flexible concept of facts and reality.

Classic Trump strategy

The former president’s strategy is well-known and has been very successful in his long and controversial business and political career.

Trump frequently substitutes the legal defense of public relations, blasting organizations, government departments, courts, officials, and the media that try to impose accountability in order to justify his accusations with truth. His strong support among core GOP supporters reflects Trump’s talent for crafting a version of events that can become a politically powerful narrative.

Often, Trump seems to launch a new counterattack to get through a particularly rough moment in the place, as he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday. he could declassify a document simply by thinking it in his head, an absurd affront to mental processes.

This approach fails, however, when allegations that work well as a political strategy meet the factual threshold of a court, where statements must be made under penalty of perjury.

“The power of our courts is that they have a way of bringing out the truth,” CNN legal analyst. Elie Honig said on “Erin Burnett OutFront” Thursday, adding that anyone could say whatever they wanted in public or in the media. “But when you go into a courtroom, at the end of the day, and sooner rather than later than what’s happening here, the judge or the jury will say, ‘That’s your allegation, now prove it.'”

The tension between Trump’s public statements and what is now admissible in court in the classified documents case is reminiscent of what happened after the 2020 election. Trump and his political cronies made extreme public accusations of voter fraud and fraud. But their claims were repeatedly thrown out by multiple courts when their lawyers failed to provide evidence or refused to repeat their allegations before a judge.

That the former president has not provided credible evidence of wrongdoing by the FBI and that he went through a process of legally declassifying the documents. soon, we may have more bad days in court to match the ones we experienced this week.

“It’s going to expose this lie. Lawyers know they can’t lie to a judge, they can be punished, they can be disbarred,” Dave Aronberg, the state’s attorney for Palm Beach County, Florida, said on “The Situation Room.” with Wolf Blitzer.”

“Trump can say what he wants in public with impunity, but it’s different for his lawyers,” added Aronberg, who is a Democrat.

Special master digs into Trump’s strategy

A new twist in a case that has gripped the political world came when Judge Raymond Dearie, the court-appointed special master, said in a filing Thursday that Trump’s team should file an affidavit saying whether it believes the Justice Department included items in its “inventory.” “Materials recovered from Mar-a-Lago that were not actually captured in the search.

Trump’s claims to that effect sparked political outrage immediately after the search, and were picked up by conservative media hosts as well as key GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill. But Trump may now have a price to pay.

It was the second time this week that Dearie, who was suggested by the former president’s team as the special master of filtering documents taken from Mar-a-Lago, has struck out in his defense. After Trump’s lawyers told the court he had declassified documents Trump brought to the resort, Dearie told them, “You can’t have your cake and eat it.”

In another major move in the case this week, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling that prevented the Justice Department from reviewing about 100 classified documents taken from Mar-a-Lago. Once again, the judges — two of the three jurors were appointed by Trump — questioned the idea that the documents had been declassified.

“The record has no evidence that any of these records have been declassified. And before the special master, the plaintiff refused to prove that he had declassified any of these documents,” said the court’s ruling.

Trump’s legal exposure deepened on multiple fronts on the same day that the state of New York filed a civil suit against him, three of his adult children and the Trump Organization, alleging and seeking insurance and tax fraud. series of harsh punishments. Trump said he is the victim of another example of political harassment and denied the allegations against him.

Republicans create space from Trump

The apparent erosion of Trump’s legal position is causing a simultaneous softening of the former president’s support base among senior senators in his own party.

Asked about Trump’s claim on Fox News that he might declassify the documents, Senate GOP Whip John Thune told CNN there is a process to declassify the documents.

“I think it should be enforced and followed. And I think that should apply to anyone who gets or deals with classified information,” said the South Dakota Republican.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNN he believes there is a process a president must follow to declassify records.

“I think there needs to be a formal process that needs to be done and documented,” Tillis said. “And to the extent that they were declassified, during the process, that’s fine… As I understand the executive. Branch requirements, there needs to be a process.”

Senator Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the handling of classified documents a “very serious” problem.

“People can get hurt, people can die if it’s not stored properly, and if that information gets out,” Rounds told CNN’s Manu Raju.

Other GOP senators brushed aside questions on the issue.

“I think the president has the prerogative to declassify,” said Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana, adding that while the former president’s legal strategy may be in tatters, there are still Republican lawmakers who fear paying the political price of cross-examination. him