It's been a tough couple of weeks for Donald Trump. After the FBI retrieved government documents from his home, things got steadily worse for Trump. The New York Times reports that Trump was keeping over 300 documents in his basement. Jennifer Rubin writes:
The sheer number of documents previously recovered and their sources (from the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency) raise the stakes considerably for Trump, undercutting his followers’ frivolous excuses and ludicrous accusations of an FBI plot to persecute him.
Even more incriminating, the Times reports, “Mr. Trump went through the boxes himself in late 2021,” meaning he was clearly aware of the contents and could view the classification markings. If the FBI and Justice Department are looking for evidence of Trump’s direct knowledge of the materials and willful refusal to return all of them, this would fit the bill.
If, contrary to what Trump’s counsel said, the government did not previously get back all sensitive materials, the only logical conclusion would be that Trump refused to part with documents he falsely told aides were “mine." This might be the rare case when Trump lacks even a hint of plausible deniability (e.g., the ability to shift blame to his attorney).
If the facts are as damning as they appear, Trump’s risk of indictment is quite high. After the evidence is gathered, Attorney General Merrick Garland will need to decide whether to pursue an indictment from the grand jury. With a discrete set of facts that a jury can easily comprehend, powerful evidence of Trump’s willfulness and the clear interest in protecting the nation’s secrets, Garland will have every incentive to proceed — and surely not wait until the exponentially more complicated Jan. 6 investigation concludes.
And there are other indictments pending -- in New York, Georgia, and DC. There are consequences for fervently believing that you're the smartest guy in the room, particularly when you so obviously aren't.
Image: Vanity Fair