Reading the indictment. A thread:
Paragraph 3 is perhaps one of the most damning statements ever made about an American president (1/x) https://t.co/wxjDXsazDF
Paragraph 6 is pretty terrible as well, revealing the plan of attack despite revealing he knew it was classified and doing the same with a military map (2/x) https://t.co/v99dFtclaR
Paragraph 7 is the bottom of the slippery slope that he embarked upon by beginning his administration with constitutional violations of the Emoluments Clause. For six years since he’s been plummeting into worse illegality like this. (3/x) https://t.co/Dp2ZysCr9d
Nauta’s role here is heartbreaking. When I worked in the White House, I worked a lot with the Navy staff & they are loyal to a fault. I don’t know Nauta but I blame Trump 100% for dragging him down this slippery slope. (4/x) https://t.co/LPGgKzzI6S
As I’ve been saying a lot on TV lately, Executive Order 13526 governing classification and declassification is central to this case. I oughta know—I helped write it when I was in the White House! (5/x) https://t.co/z0Yp2EVpxV
Paragraph 21 of the complaint enumerates the staggering array of intelligence community agencies as to which Trump retained classified documents. My reaction: “What a nightmare!”
As Ambassador I held highest security clearances. This is so damaging to the IC and America. (6/x) https://t.co/CtulMrXxMe
OMG, paragraph 22, this is a classic speaking indictment that also makes the case for Trump’s bad intent. It enumerates his knowledge of the importance of protecting classified information! (7/x) https://t.co/2VDNXoSFLP
Paragraph 25 is crazy too, with the pictures of Trump’s boxes literally on stage in a ballroom where public events took place! This is one step removed from leaving them on stage at a Broadway theater (& Trump’s ballroom may be more attended than some shows I’ve gone to). (8/x) https://t.co/iLdaULyADO
In 27, we learn Trump’s employees refer to these boxes (which contained some of our nation’s most sensitive secrets) as the “Beautiful Mind paper boxes,” referencing the mad professor in the movie. Nothing beautiful about it—this is a horror movie for national security. (9/x) https://t.co/SI4NrsIZhy
More photographs on pages 12, 13, 14 & 18 showing the evolution of the mishandling of the insecure storage of these sensitive documents. Incredibly dangerous.
Also a very effective example of the 21st century speaking indictment —a speaking indictment with visual aids
The most horrifying of these is the picture on p. 14 from December 2021 in which a box fell & highly classified documents poured onto the floor of an insecure room. This is insane. (11/x) https://t.co/BrjgzxytFk
Trump is showing attack plans for another nation for the amusement and laughter of a staffer.
This is also a reference to E.O. 13526--which I wrote. Trump says that he could’ve declassified these documents as president, and now he can’t. (12/x) https://t.co/AyWQYRsxXE
Posting pages 15 and 16 again. What a devastating blow to Trump's "automatic declassification" defense. (13/x) https://t.co/gbADJtMJbB
In #36, the special counsel goes past a speaking indictment to a shouting one.
This is snarky, but relevant to the public case that I urged him to make in my @NYTopinion piece today. It's not really necessary to conviction–I enjoyed it, however. (14/x) https://t.co/vfLAnbgf8B
This whole long section that starts on page 17 and runs with paragraph 37 through paragraph 49. Devastating. (15/x) https://t.co/FGoznTUH3a
Starting with paragraph 52, the plot thickens with the arrival of the subpoena.
The Evan Corcoran notes that show up in paragraph 54 (a, b, c, and d) are absolutely debilitating in demonstrating Trump’s intent. (16/x) https://t.co/au9DiWvPPV
This is a simple case & Smith is treating it simply. Trump removed national defense materials he wasn’t entitled to, violating the Espionage Act
& when caught, he covered it up illegally, violating statutes prohibiting that. We explain @NYTOpinion (17/x)
In Paragraph 58c, Nauta said “I think he wanted to pick from them. I don’t imagine him wanting to take the boxes.”
Devastating blend in this section of direct and indirect evidence proving Trump’s corrupt intent and Nauta’s facilitation. (18/x) https://t.co/mrXTGwlVka
I feel so bad for Nauta! Very decent people can be destroyed by coming into Trump’s orbit. I’m thinking of my friend Michael Cohen. Unlike Michael, Nauta doesn’t seem willing to break off and cooperate. (19/x)
Note that I said “seven charges” in the NYT this morning. We now know that Trump faces 37 counts across those seven charges, with 31 of those coming on the first charge–the Espionage Act. (20/x) https://t.co/a52ucJySet
On page 24, we get to the false certification to the FBI and grand jury. Smith is keeping it simple: lies, lies, lies, & more lies by Trump aided by Nauta.
It reminds me of the literary trope of a fool unwittingly helping an evil king (unfortunately not a wise fool). (21/x) https://t.co/nPTJkvPOJL
Omg! Trump’s play-acting at the end of 65 pretending that he doesn’t know exactly what’s in these boxes. “Did you find anything… Is it bad? Good?” And then the plucking motion… Corcoran put the knife in here. I think “plucking motion” will become a much-used phrase. (22/x) https://t.co/gFmhLxaIum
And the payoff in this section, the actual false statements that Trump caused to be made in paragraph 69 (noted in abc) (23/x) https://t.co/89jVr7HN5F
Page 27 is perhaps the most literary of this entire dramatic narrative because of the devastating understatement with which Smith brings his speaking indictment to a close before pivoting to charges. (24/x) https://t.co/8hcIxQDIId
Note also the empty page at the bottom of page 27: just a silent, white space to let it all sink in.
Of course, it’s also standard drafting practice to start the counts on a new page, but Smith makes it work for him. (25/x) https://t.co/a2hTB50DDv
Now we’re onto the counts.
Note that I said “seven charges” in @nytopinion this morning. We now know that Trump faces 37 counts across those seven charges.
31 of those are coming on the first charge–the Espionage Act. (26/x) https://t.co/7iAML7NLr9
Looks like they picked the 31 worst documents out of the trove that Trump took.
No need to do hundreds of counts here: 31 are enough to put him in jail for the rest of his days.
& that’s before we get to the six obstruction counts! (27/x) https://t.co/rBiyLDd0FO
Once again, the utilization of keeping it simple, as we noted in our @NYTopinion piece this morning
It’s 31 documents, but it is essentially one point & he has grouped them all as basically one charge (28/x) https://t.co/uLtz6VXyEJ
Like the horror of paragraph 3, look at the doc descriptions here:
3 “Military capabilities of a foreign country”
9 “Military attacks by a foreign country"
14 “Military options of a foreign country”
16 "Terrorist acts;”
18 “Military operations against US forces” (29/x) https://t.co/rfcD8HCqv0
The 6 remaining obstruction counts against Trump are pretty vanilla. Again, simplicity! It’s all just different elements of the coverup. Whether withhold documents, concealing documents,... conspiracy with Nauta, it is all of a kind. (30/x) https://t.co/X7Bge7N6u0
Of course, now comes the hard part, particularly if Judge Cannon sticks here. I’ll have a whole other thread later about why she must recuse herself or be reassigned under US v Martin. (31/x)
That Martin case was in the 11th Cir., which held that the Court can reassign the case to a new judge if the old judge “would have difficulty putting [her] previous views and findings aside.” (32/x) https://t.co/sjHqjra8Fc
That and many complications lie ahead. Smith made the statement we called for in our NYT op-ed 👇
He is up for the challenge! (33/x)
In our MAL model prosecution memo we updated last week we concluded that “a powerful case exists for charging Trump under the federal criminal statutes discussed in this.” (34/x) https://www.justsecurity.org/86771/model-prosecution-memo-for-trump-classified-documents/
Now that I have seen the indictment, I feel that way even more strongly. Trump will very likely be convicted. (35/x) https://www.justsecurity.org/86771/model-prosecution-memo-for-trump-classified-documents/
Huge shoutout to my awesome colleagues who helped me research & analyze & get my thoughts together – Michael, Madison, Allison, Jacob, Arava & Simone! (36/36)