Former President Donald Trump Ignored Plan to Defuse Federal Criminal Investigation
The Washington Post reported that attorney Christopher Kise believed that the U.S. Department of Justice under Attorney General Merrick Garland did not want to charge the former president and that the department would be willing to agree to a settlement in the case if the former president were to return all the remaining documents.
According to the report, Trump was “not interested” in the plan after listening to others in his orbit who urged him to take a more “pugilistic approach.”
Former Trump attorney Alex Cannon warned the former president of the serious legal repercussions he would face if he did not return the documents to the National Archives in the fall of 2021.
Trump Blocks National Archives’ Attempt to Retrieve Missing Documents
When the National Archives discovered that some of Trump’s White House records were missing in early 2021, they reached out to Patrick Philbin, deputy counsel to then-President Trump, for assistance. However, Philbin’s attempts to help retrieve the material were reportedly blocked by Trump himself.
“It’s not theirs, it’s mine,” Trump told several of his advisers, asserting his ownership of the documents.
Former Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann also warned Trump of the serious legal jeopardy he could face if he did not comply.
Trump’s Decision to Listen to Non-Lawyer Advice
Despite the advice from his lawyers, Trump reportedly took the guidance of Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, who is not a lawyer. Multiple reports, including The Washington Post’s, have highlighted this decision.
Trump has repeatedly claimed that he should be legally clear due to the Presidential Records Act. However, former Attorney General William Barr and former U.S. prosecutor Andrew McCarthy have disputed this notion, arguing that the act only covers certain types of records and not highly classified material.
Trump’s Outspoken Response
Trump took to social media to express his frustration, demanding that all charges against him be dropped and everything illegally taken from his home be returned. He accused the investigation of being election interference.
“SO NOW THAT EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS THAT THE PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS ACT, PLUS THE CLINTON SOCKS CASE, TOTALLY EXONERATED ME FROM THE CONTINUING WITCH HUNT BROUGHT ON BY CORRUPT JOE BIDEN, THE DOJ, DERANGED JACK SMITH, AND THEIR RADICAL LEFT, MARXIST THUGS, WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO DROP ALL CHARGES AGAINST ME, APOLOGIZE, AND RETURN EVERYTHING THAT WAS ILLEGALLY TAKEN (FOURTH AMENDMENT) FROM MY HOME?”
Legal Experts Dispute Trump’s Defense
Former Attorney General William Barr and former U.S. prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, both staunch conservatives, have challenged Trump’s defense. They argue that the Presidential Records Act only applies to certain types of records and does not protect highly classified material created by government agencies.
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