DOJ to Supreme Court: It's not even close
I read tonight's DOJ filing so you don't have to
Like Donald Trump’s own government while he was president, in which multiple cabinet secretaries were either fired or resigned under pressure and undersecretaries, chiefs of staff and national security advisers seemed to come and go through a revolving door, it’s a mess. Like Trump’s reign over his own business, the Trump Organization, which underwent multiple bankruptcies and endured a barrage of 3,500 lawsuits in which he or his company were defendants at least 1,500 times, it’s a mess. Like Trump’s love life, during which he has been divorced twice, carried on multiple overlapping affairs, and was charged by 26 different women with sexual harassment, assault or rape, it’s a mess. Like Trump’s beleaguered attempts to overturn the 2020 election, during which he lost no less than 60 lawsuits, attempted to get a secretary of state to “find” thousands of votes so he could win, tried to file slates of fake electors, and ultimately incited a riot against the United States Congress, it’s a mess.
We’re talking, of course, about Trump’s illegal removal of thousands of documents, hundreds of them highly classified, from the White House as he left office in 2021. The National Archives, where the documents belong, and the DOJ, went round-and-round with Trump for months, more than 18 of them, in fact, trying to achieve the return of the documents and other materials Trump removed to his Mar a Lago estate. The National Archives asked for them politely. Nothing doing, said Trump at first. Then the National Archives threatened to involve the Department of Justice. That dislodged 15 boxes of documents and other materials, but the National Archives knew they didn’t get everything, so the DOJ got involved. Still nothing from Trump. Finally, the DOJ issued a subpoena for all the stuff Trump was storing in very unsecure places in Mar a Lago. Trump’s lawyers turned over a few files and certified that a “diligent search” of Mar a Lago had been done, and that there weren’t any more documents to be found.
The DOJ famously went to a federal judge and got a search warrant and on August 8, found two dozen more boxes of files, including the 100 classified folders currently at issue once again, this time before the Supreme Court, at least for the moment in the person of Ginni’s husband, Clarence Thomas, who ordered the DOJ to answer Trump’s request for a “stay” that would return the 100 classified folders to the special master, which resulted in today’s filing.
This is not supposed to be the way these things are handled, is the gist of what Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar wrote in today’s filing with the court. Although she did not come right out and say it, this is a simple case of a criminal investigation of a theft of stolen goods, and everything done by Trump and his lawyers up until this point has been to dissemble and delay and come close to destroying the normal legal process for such a case.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Lucian Truscott Newsletter to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.