In short, while all the material recovered could be considered stolen government property, the classified documents that the FBI retrieved and that were marked “top secret” and “various classified/TS/SCI” are of special concern. Although the Espionage Act does not require that “information related to the national defense” be classified, these highly sensitive documents would likely fall under the definition of “information relating to the national defense” under the Espionage Act.
Neither that subpoena nor the lawyer’s June delivery produced the 11 sets of classified information that the FBI said it took from Mar-a-Lago last week.
While this new report on a lawyer’s letter casts added light on the situation, gaps necessarily remain. As is standard operating procedure, the Justice Department has not released the FBI agent’s sworn affidavit supporting the search warrant. Such affidavits, and the evidence they contain, are closely held until soon after the DOJ files any criminal charges.
Trump remains one of the most polarizing characters in American politics, and any action taken could have an impact on the midterm elections. That is so even though Trump has not declared his candidacy for 2024 and is not on any ballot.
The accumulation of allegations adds to the chances that Trump might be charged. It’s not just the possible removal of documents, or even the more serious national security ones. It’s that documents appear to have been withheld again and again.
There are three fronts on which federal criminal investigations are likely to proceed, quietly before November but perhaps more loudly afterward: alleged document crimes, conspiracy to defraud the United States by seeking to overturn the 2020 election before January 6, 2021, and obstruction of Congress on January 6.
Trump’s groundless caterwauling this past week proves he’s concerned about possible prosecution. He should be. There are just too many ongoing investigations to think that he can dodge them all.