On June 8th of this year, a grand jury handed down a 44-page indictment listing 37 felony counts against former President Trump, for “felony violations of our national security laws, as well as participating in a conspiracy to obstruct justice”… and the Liberal Left-wing media went nuts predicting President Trump’s imminent incarceration as they have done so very many times in the past.
(Incidentally, there are no “espionage” charges. I don’t know why our Leftist media keep saying that.)
The announcement was made by Mr. Jack Smith, a career federal prosecutor, and presumably fair and impartial attorney, who has investigated and prosecuted members of both parties in the past. In 2022, Mr. Smith was appointed special counsel to investigate President Trump’s handling of classified documents after he left office.
So, let’s dig into this indictment. You’d think that 44 pages and 37 counts would be a complex read, but it turns out it’s all pretty straightforward.
Counts 1 – 31 are the individual “classified documents” in question, one count for each document, and counts 32 through 37 have to do with “withholding those documents”, “scheming to conceal those documents”, actually “concealing those documents”, and finally “making false statements about the concealment of those documents” to the FBI – and that last one’s a BIG no-no! It’s a felony to lie to the FBI!
In other words, President Trump retained 31 “classified documents” that may or may not fall under the Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978, 44 U.S.C. ß2201-2209, and charges 32 through 37 are directly related to those 31 documents. If the 31 “classified documents” wind up approved under the PRA, as determined by a federal judge, everything else goes away.
President Clinton’s Sock Drawer & the Presidential Records Act:
In 2008 the revelation came to light that former President Clinton had been keeping a collection of audio tapes at home in his sock drawer, since at least early 2001, when he left office; so, at least seven years. This disclosure actually went to trial in 2010 when Judicial Watch subpoenaed those audio tapes through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Judicial Watch wanted the National Archives to assume custody of the tapes and put them in the Clinton Presidential Library. Although these tapes were not officially “classified” to any degree, they were extremely sensitive presidential records (think Monica Lewinsky, stains on a blue dress, what Bill did with that cigar, etc.). The Judge sided with President Clinton citing the PRA, which governs the official records of presidents and vice presidents that were created or received after January 20, 1981 (i.e., beginning with the Reagan Administration), and denied the request.
While the Leftist media are busy dismissing what’s often referred to as the “Clinton Sock Drawer Trial” as any viable defense for President Trump in this latest indictment, that trial, and the judicial decision do establish precedent and are relevant to the recent indictment of President Trump with regard to the PRA. As far as I can determine this is the only judicial test of the PRA.
In the meantime, there are other presidents who’ve walked that fine line between presidential records and actual “classified documents” which could conceivably “threaten national security”, as Mr. Smith has alleged of President Trump.
Every president in recent history has left office with “classified documents”. Let’s take a look at how these former presidents have fared with the PRA and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) – the federal agency charged with negotiating with former presidents over the documents, audio and video recordings, e-mails, and text messages they choose to retain when they leave office.
President Obama’s Warehouse:
President Obama kept a trove of literally millions of documents – at least some of which were officially “classified” – in a private warehouse. At a minimum, these documents resided in said warehouse from early 2017 when President Obama left office, to at least September 2018. So, at least a year and a half there. But if those documents are still sitting in that warehouse – and there is no reason to think they are not – the timeline is at least seven years. Keep in mind that President Trump has been out of office for barely two and a half years.
In an article posted online titled “Letter Surfaces of Obama Foundation Admitting in 2018 They Keep Classified Documents in Unsecured Storage at Furniture Warehouse” there are links to documents sent to the NARA by a Mr. Robbin Cohen, the Executive Director of the Obama Foundation, on September 11th of 2018. If you download that document you will note that bullet item #7 clearly refers to the negotiated move of “classified documents” from Hoffman Estates (the name of the warehouse in question) to “NARA-controlled facilities”, presumably for the purposes of digitization by the NARA for their archives, because the original documents, whether “classified” or not, will, eventually, all reside in President Obama’s library, just as they do in the Reagan Library, the Bush Library, and others.
Currently, these millions of documents are scheduled to be transferred to the new Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, which is currently under construction. And when that happens, his library will also NOT have security equal to any SCIF.
Now, across my 40-year Army career, I’ve worked inside our nation’s most secure facilities; at the NSA at Fort Meade, at the Pentagon, inside Cheyenne Mountain, and a dozen other Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs) around the world, including SCIFs at CENTCOM, EUCOM, NORTHCOM, SPACECOM, CYBERCOM, INDOPAC, and USFK.
I guarantee you that President Obama’s warehouse was NOT properly secured to store “classified” materials and documents of any level, and certainly not Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI)… NOT! Not even close. But that was perfectly fine with the NARA and FBI at the time… and, indeed, to the present date.
President Biden’s Garage:
Next, we come to President Biden and his officially “classified documents”. So far, “classified documents and materials” held by President Biden have been discovered in at least four locations:
- On November 2nd, 2022, President Biden’s personal attorneys found “classified documents” dating back to his senate position, some of which were TS/SCI information, in a locked closet while packing up files at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C, a think tank where President Biden worked after leaving the government in 2017. But President Biden relinquished his senate position in January of 2009. So, the timeline here is more than 13 years.
- On December 20th, 2023, a second batch of “classified documents” was discovered by President Biden’s attorneys in the garage of his home in Wilmington, Delaware. You know, the garage where President Biden parked his 1967 Corvette Stingray… the Corvette frequently driven by his crack-addicted son Hunter, now accused of laundering millions of dollars into more than 20 shell corporations controlled by President Biden and his family? That guy!
- On January 11th, 2023, a one-page “classified document” was also found in a room adjacent to the Wilmington garage, described as President Biden’s ‘private library’.
- And, on January 20th, 2023, the FBI conducted a 13-hour search of the entire premises of President Biden’s Wilmington home and removed six more documents marked “classified”.
As I mentioned previously, it’s been reported that at least some of these documents were from President Biden’s time as a senator, when he would have had no authority to declassify such material, and when his retention of this type of material would not have been covered by the PRA. But even as vice president under President Obama, he had no authority to declassify.
Obviously, President Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware home and garage were not SCIF certified, nor was the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. Perhaps President Biden’s ‘private library’ may have been (just as SCIFs have been built in homes for other presidents), but I find no record of that.
Formal, certified SCIFs have been built (at least) in the private residences of:
- President George W. Bush at his Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas (which he used as his Western White House),
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at her Washington, D.C., and Chappaqua, New York, homes, and
- President Trump’s residences at Trump Tower in New York City, and at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida
… and likely other locations for other presidents and high-ranking cabinet secretaries. That detail is elusive.
How it All Ties Together:
If you read this article with an open mind, you’ll see that judicial precedence has, indeed, already been set in these matters of presidents maintaining “classified documents” when they leave office. And whether the NARA or the FBI wants those records back is of relatively little consequence, so long as plans are in place and documents are eventually made available… over a period of many years.
The point is that Presidents of the United States are given the ultimate and broad authority to “classify” and “declassify” documents and material which others simply are not afforded.
As you can see from the examples I’ve cited here, our presidents are also given broad consideration when it comes to the movement and storage of “classified documents” when they leave the White House, and many (most?) of these storage locations are not SCIFs. Further, the negotiations between the outgoing president and the NARA are liberal (pardon the pun), congenial, favor and accommodate the former president involved, and span many years.
What happened to President Trump was, indeed, a Democrat Party (DNC) witch hunt. They’re hoping that their Liberal media lapdogs will bury the truth, or at least confuse the public. In fact, I don’t believe they want a trial in a courtroom at all. They want a trial in the public square.
The Coming Trial:
President Trump will soon have the opportunity to face his accusers in court, unless cooler heads prevail, and the case is thrown out beforehand. He’s currently scheduled for arraignment on June 27th, with a preliminary trial date of August 14th.
At his trial, President Trump and his team of million-dollar lawyers will explain his handling of the “classified” documents and materials he took with him when he left office, just as every other president has done in recent history. No doubt his team of lawyers will compare and contrast the way the FBI has dealt with President Trump as opposed to Presidents Obama and Biden. I think it’s a pretty good bet that he comes out on top of this one, in that regard.
Ultimately, of course, this matter will be decided by a jury of President Trump’s peers, presided over by Judge Aileen Cannon, a federal judge President Trump actually appointed in late 2020 in the Southern District of Florida. Judge Cannon was chosen at random by means agreeable to both the federal government and President Trump’s lawyers.
I’m no lawyer, but I’m reasonably intelligent. I’ve read the charges brought against President Trump, and the laws pertaining to him with respect to the PRA, and I’ve studied the precedence set with other presidents in similar situations. It’s my expectation that this case will not stand up to the scrutiny of a fairly run federal court due to (at least) the following three points:
- The protections afforded by the Fifth Amendment’s ‘Due Process Clause’ require the United States government to practice equal protection under the law, which they have clearly not done in this case (e.g., H. Clinton, President Biden, Vice President Pence, and a great many others),
- Precedence has already been established against the misuse of the Presidential Records Act (e.g., W. Clinton), and in previous NARA practices and policies established with other former presidents (e.g. Obama and Bush the Elder)
- But most importantly, if President Trump is convicted, what becomes of President Biden, who is apparently guilty of equal or greater offenses, which cannot be shielded by the PRA?
But don’t take my word for it. In order that each of you is better equipped to reach your own conclusion I’ve provided a link to a page where you can study the PRA…
… and another link to download and read the actual federal indictment brought against President Trump on June 8th as a PDF…
No Stranger to the Courtroom:
This will not be the last indictment President Trump faces, nor was it the first. One source estimated that President Trump has faced down more than 4,000 lawsuits during his career! And he’s the only president to have been impeached (charged by the House of Representatives) TWICE without being convicted and removed from office (remember that conviction happens in the Senate).
You’ll no doubt recall just this past April Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (bought and paid for by Socialist billionaire George Soros) indicted President Trump with a case so flimsy that it probably never be heard in a court of law, and, in any case, has no chance to survive an appeal to a higher court.
Finally, the word on the street is that Special Counsel Jack Smith – President Trump’s most recent tormentor – has yet another indictment waiting in the wings, just in case his first attempt is shot down!
Miscalculation and Fallout:
The DNC has underestimated President Trump and his followers. They think President Trump will lose votes as a result of this indictment because people will believe the media hype that he’ll be thrown into prison before he can be sworn in. The truth is far different. This indictment will only serve to solidify President Trump’s support. And if the DNC thinks President Trump cannot run an effective presidential campaign and fight this indictment at the same time, well, they don’t know him very well.
Having read this article and (hopefully) having studied the PRA and the federal indictment, regardless of the conclusion you may come to, I think we can all agree on four things…
- These charges and the accompanying indictment are politically motivated; and by the way, the Department of Justice (DoJ) damn sure got President Biden’s approval before executing, despite what the president is saying now,
- Regardless of the outcome, this will only serve to further divide the nation; so much for all President Biden’s talk about bringing us together,
- This is NOT justice applied equally, which only serves to bolster the idea forming in the minds of nearly half of all Americans that real justice here in America is dead,
- And finally, this proves that there most certainly is a deep and serious problem in the DoJ and its subordinate departments (such as the FBI) that they may be so easily weaponized against political opponents and private citizens, in the manner of a “Banana Republic”. That dept of rot cannot be scrubbed clean in a single Presidential term.
In conclusion, ask yourself this question, regardless of your political party affiliation; if the current version of the FBI – an organization that has, in the past been the nation’s premier and most trusted law enforcement agency – came to your door (without a warrant) and asked to come in, sit down and talk to you… would you invite them in?