Donald Trump’s legal peril is now even worse because the National Archives has referred him to the Department of Justice for investigation and potential prosecution for illegally taking documents from the White House when he left the presidency, including classified information.
In January 2021 as Trump was finally moving out of the White House after being defeated by President Joe Biden in the 2020 Election, it appeared that Trump and his minions were literally looting the place on their way out by taking things with them that didn’t belong to them.
Well, it turns out that Trump removed at least several boxes of documents in violation of the Presidential Records Act which requires documents to be transferred to the National Archives. In order to fully comply with a subpoena for documents requested by the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol insurrection, the National Archives had to hunt down missing papers. And they found them at Mar-a-Lago along with some White House furniture that should not be in Trump’s possession.
And that’s not all. In a potential violation of the Espionage Act, some of the documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago may include classified information, which Trump should no longer have because he is no longer president and because the Biden administration stripped him of his access to such information.
According to the New York Times:
“The discovery, which occurred after Mr. Trump returned 15 boxes of documents to the government last month, prompted the National Archives to reach out to the Justice Department for guidance. The department told the National Archives to have its inspector general examine the matter… It is unclear what the inspector general has done since then, in particular, whether the inspector general has referred the matter to the Justice Department.
An inspector general is required to alert the Justice Department to the discovery of any classified materials that were found outside authorized government channels. Making a referral to the Justice Department would put senior officials in the position of having to decide whether to open an investigation, a scenario that would thrust the department into a highly contentious political matter.”
Why Trump took the classified information remains unknown but given his lust for money and close relationships with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Trump may have kept the documents to sell information or use for personal or political gain in the future.
Given that Trump broke at least one law in removing the boxes and may have broken another one by removing and keeping classified information, the National Archives has referred Trump to the Justice Department.
The Washington Post reports:
“The referral from the National Archives came amid recent revelations that officials recovered 15 boxes of materials from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence that weren’t handed back into the government as they should have been, and that Trump had turned over other White House records that had been torn up. Archives officials suspected Trump had possibly violated laws concerning the handling of government documents — including those that might be considered classified — and reached out to the Justice Department, the people familiar with the matter said.”
These latest revelations make one wonder what laws Trump has to break before the DOJ will actually indict and prosecute him. It is long past due for the DOJ to take action instead of continuing to let Trump flout justice and the rule of law. Because right now, Trump is making the DOJ look really bad at its job.
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