Analysis: The Trump Indictment
The indictment of Donald Trump has been released. You can view it here.
Trump has been charged with 37 counts relating to the retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, the withholding or concealment of documents and records, a scheme to conceal, and false statements and representations. (There is a 38th count in the indictment relating to his aide, Waltine Nauta.)
Here’s our quick assessment: it’s weaker than we thought.
There’s a basic assumption – one that very well might be incorrect – underlying Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment. It’s that Trump “was not authorized to possess or retain” documents he “caused” to be taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago in Florida. These boxes were stored at various locations in Mar-a-Lago, including the club’s ballrooms, business center, and storage room. In June of 2021 there were more than 80 boxes of documents stored there that related to Trump’s time in office.
The Special Counsel alleges that these documents included classified documents originated by, or implicating the equities of, numerous intelligence and governmental agencies, including the CIA, Department of Defense, and the National Security Agency. The Special Counsel further alleges that Trump made disclosures of classified information in private meetings at Mar-a-Lago. One example cited in the indictment was a recorded discussion (allegedly with Mark Meadows and his book writer) relating to a presentation made by Gen. Mark Milley’s plan of attack against Iran.