The strongest case against Trump is simpler than espionage

Trump’s best defense would likely be that he didn’t really know that classified material remained at Mar-a-Lago, because he relied on his aides and lawyers, who told him that they gave all the classified material back to the government. The problem for Trump is that doing so would likely waive attorney-client privilege between himself and the lawyers he is pointing the finger at, and it’s unclear whether any of them would be willing to take the fall for him.

Obviously, the underlying evidence against Trump is not yet public, but even based on the limited information we have, it looks like the DOJ has viable charges against him. That doesn’t mean that they will bring them. The main purpose of the search warrant was likely the recovery of classified material, and DOJ might go no further.

I would not be surprised if DOJ refuses to pursue charges, regardless of their strength, in the absence of a “plus factor” like obstruction. But that factor might be present here, given recent reports that one of Trump’s lawyers signed a written statement falsely asserting that “all material marked as classified” had been returned to the government. That falsehood might be why an obstruction statute was included in the search warrant executed at Trump’s residence.

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