Thursday, June 15, 2023

The Trump 'Gotcha' Indictment

By David Stockman - June 15, 2023 at 09:16AM


We have minimum low regard for Donald Trump, and not merely because he is a bombastic lout and world historic megalomaniac.

His policies were terrible, too. The Federal budget and debt exploded on his watch; the Fed printed money recklessly even as he demanded more; and the free market was kicked hard in the pants by his immigration and trade policies, the unforgivable Covid Lockdowns and the Trump-inspired mass vaccination campaign for an untested gene therapy that he rushed to market via what history will characterize as the cruelly named Operation Warp Speed.

Moreover, we hope against the odds that somehow the Donald will stumble fatally during the course of the GOP primary season, thereby paving the way for at least a half-assed Republican like Ron DeSantis to become the nominee. After all, a nominee who is not Trump is the only real hope of blocking another term for the present occupant and semi-comatose sock-puppet of the Washington ruling class.

Still, the indictment of America’s leading opposition candidate for President in 2024 is a road way, way too far. Indeed, the existential threat to Democracy that was foolishly ascribed to the January 6th yokels’ riot in the US Capitol is, in fact, embedded in the utterly bullshit criminal case filed by the Deep State apparatchik who was appointed Special Prosecutor by the nation’s malefic Attorney General, Merrick Garland.

In a word, the criminal prosecution of an ex-president and current election front-runner entails a super-heavy burden of proof. It needs be predicated upon a damn serious crime and demonstrable threat to America’s national security or core democratic processes. That’s because the present circumstance inherently involves a balancing act between enforcement of the law, on the one hand, and the sanctity of free elections and the absolute need for political neutrality by the agencies of the state and most especially the machinery of justice, on the other.

By contrast, the Jack Smith indictment is the very opposite. It’s self-evidently an exercise in prosecutorial “I gotcha” and an utterly misplaced and inappropriate attempt to demonstrate that nobody is above the law, even its fine points and gray areas. Based on the flimsy content within the four walls of the indictment itself there is no earthly reason why this indictment should have been handed down against a retired president—except to remove a political rival from contention banana republic style.

In truth, this action by the weaponized Biden Justice Department amounts to a present day variation of the aphorism immortalized by Stalin’s security chief, Levrenti Beria: “Show me Donald Trump and I’ll show you the crime”.

That is to say, the indictment does not accuse Trump of using the classified documents in his possession for any untoward purpose. He is not accused of selling them for money or passing them along to his alleged buddy, Vlad Putin, or even to undermine domestic political opponents.

No, the alleged crime is that he illegally possessed documents with “classified markings” and stored them improperly at various times in a ballroom, bathroom and storage room at Mar-a-Logo. So the crime wasn’t illicit use but custodial sloppiness, and that’s only the half of it.

Apparently, the Donald was not the only sloppy housekeeper. Here is a photo of some of the boxes in question after they were stacked on a White House parking lot at the time Trump vacated the Oval Office. There are a bunch of staffers and moving crews standing around, but no armed patrols to safeguard the purportedly sacred national security secrets allegedly contained in the boxes.


So, yes, they were not spirited out of the White House in the dead of night. They were simply dumped there in broad daylight by White House staff, where they were loaded on trucks in plain view and subsequently flown to Mar-a-Logo.

As it happened, these hundreds of boxes were mainly stuffed with newspaper clippings, White House memos, photos, menus and sundry other communications, intermixed with what turns out to be a tiny portion— 337 documents—- containing “classified markings”.

It is utterly clear from the complete silence of the indictment on the matter of the original shipment that this admixture was not the result of some surreptitious effort to sneak classified documents out of the White House in January 2021. They were simply a collection of the Donald’s treasured working papers—just like the ones that used to be piled high in his New York real estate HQ— that had been boxed up and sent out to the parking lot for loading on a truck.

Indeed, this indictment is known as a “speaking indictment” owing to the photos, detailed narratives and endless trivia contained in its 44 pages. All this material is designed to convict Trump in the court of public opinion long before the actual trial.

But when it comes to the unspoken (by the MSM) heart of the matter—the evidently innocent circumstances by which these documents got to Mar-a-Lago in the first place—we have a proverbial case of the dog that didn’t bark.

To wit, purportedly crucial national security documents are held to have just walked out the White House door. But when it comes to a potential illicit purpose for that undisputed fact there is no sinister-sounding DOJ narrative, no accusations, no tick-tock style trivia contained elsewhere in the indictment. For instance, did Donald Trump personally and knowingly select these classified documents and order them to be interspersed among newspaper clippings and photos in order to sneak them out of the White House?

On that crucial question we get just crickets.

Moreover, there is good reason why this is so. In 2012, Judicial Watch tried to force former President Bill Clinton to turn over dozens of interview tapes he kept from his presidency and stored in a sock drawer. Clinton claimed the tapes were personal and the court sided with him.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an appointee of President Barack Obama, went so far as to argue that the court had no way to second-guess a president’s assertion of what is and isn’t personal.
“Since the President is completely entrusted with the management and even the disposal of Presidential records during his time in office, it would be difficult for this Court to conclude that Congress intended that he would have less authority to do what he pleases with what he considers to be his personal records,” Jackson wrote.
Indeed, unless you were attempting to manufacture a crime, the evident fact is that the Donald wanted his documents boxed up and sent to Mar-a-Logo and didn’t know about or bother with the official procedures. And no one in the White House said you can’t do that because if they had, Jack Smith’s smash-mouth prosecutors would have threatened someone with a 20-year gig in Uncle Sam’s hospitality suite, who would have coughed it up to the DOJ cops forthwith.

As it is, therefore, what surely constituted a single-digit fraction of the several tons of paper sent to Mar-a-Lago contained “classified markings” because no one sorted them out, not because Trump was trying to break the law.

Moreover, “classified markings” can refer to a range of security clearances including confidential, secret, top secret and also declassified papers that still have their security markings. And in the case of the Donald’s document trove that would especially be the case. After all, he had the undisputed power to declassify them—even without official documentation—when they were being boxed up and to treat them as personal, not official, documents.

Did he do this? Again, crickets in the indictment.

And this gets us to the whole sanctimony about “classified documents”. These are not sacred texts in any way, shape or form. They do not deserve either reverence or the harshest applications of the law because the entire national security classification system is the instrument by which the Warfare State escapes the rule of law and democratic accountability. The system has become so rotten with abuse, excess and deceit that it should be treated with contempt, not as an excuse to arrest a former president for mishandling a relatively small number of these endlessly generated documents as amplified below.

In fact, at the present time there are believed to be a billion documents in existence carrying these “classified markings”. It is estimated that each year more than 50 million new documents are given “classified markings” of one level or another. And the overwhelming aim is not to keep secrets from real enemies and threats to America’s homeland security because there are actually few of these; the purpose is to keep the Congress and the American public in the dark about the machinations of the Warfare State.

Needless to say, it was the infinitely expansive nature of the national security classifications system that enabled a “Where’s Waldo” fishing expedition by the FBI, once it got wind of the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

That the DOJ/FBI was then festering with partisan, anti-Trump bias at the highest levels should have been self-evident from the get-go. After all, the entire RussiaGate witch-hunt ending in the Mueller nothing-burger wasn’t even remotely a legitimate exercise in law enforcement.

But once Trump’s staff voluntarily delivered the initial batch of documents containing 197 papers with “classified markings” on January 17, 2022 to NARA, the proverbial Deep State went into high gear.

Just 14 days later NARA referred the case to DOJ on February 9th, yet there is no indication that any of the 69 documents marked “confidential” or the 98 marked “secret” or the 30 marked “top secret” had been misused by Trump in any way, or that the documents had actually done anything except rest in the boxes originally dumped on the White House parking lot per the photo above.

Still, by March 30, 2022 based on the initial batch of documents alone the DOJ launched a criminal investigation. It then quickly convened a Grand Jury on April 26th and issued a subpoena on May 11th for documents based on no evidence whatsoever that any of these 197 documents voluntarily delivered by Trump’s office had been misused.

In effect, a “Where’s Waldo” hunt was now underway to find something on which to base a criminal charge. But based on the gleeful and context-free MSM reporting on Trump’s arraignment you can’t find even a hint of the Where’s Waldo part.

Yet to backtrack, it needs be recognized that in the first instance this whole affair was triggered by an apparently routine National Archives and Records Administration communication to Trump’s operation. The NARA is supposed to receive all presidential records when a president or vice president leaves office, and in this case it indicated a belief that some official documents—possibly contained in the above piles— were missing and that the archives needed them back.

After several months of to and fro communications with the NARA, Trump’s staff had sent 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago to the archives in January 2022. These boxes contained the aforementioned 197 classified documents, of which just 15% were marked top secret.

We emphasis the “top secret” items because the lower classifications come a dime a dozen in the CYA-oriented security agencies. For instance, in one of the cables leaked by Chelsea Manning an official had marked details of wedding rituals in the Russian region of Dagestan as “confidential”. It seems, however, that most such mundane details were already well known in a region of more than three million people, and had been for centuries.

So at most just a handful of documents with “classified markings” of all levels contained in the returned boxes had any potentially meaningful bearing on national security. But read the indictment as carefully as you please, and there is no indication whatsoever that this first batch of 30 “top secret” documents from the Waldo hunt implicated Trump in any kind of nefarious or dubious plot.

Next, the FBI later learned that Trump had more government documents, but rather than simply ask for them it weaponized-up per the above described sequence of steps, issuing a subpoena commanding their return. In response in June 2022 Trump’s lawyers turned over a packet that included another 38 classified documents, including 17 marked top secret.

Again, the indictment alleges no nefarious implications with respect to these documents, either. So by this point the Where’s Waldo search of tons of paper produced 47 “top secret” documents, none of which apparently implicated any risk to national security. Had the latter actually been the case, you can be sure that Smith’s “gotcha” speaking indictment would have made a big deal of it.

In any event, the FBI apparently concluded that Trump had not fully complied with the subpoena and still had even more classified documents. Waldo had to be in there somewhere!

So that’s when they went full retard on the weaponization front, actually obtaining a search warrant for his Mar-a-Lago property in August and stormed into the joint in Mafia bust fashion.

Folks, that’s damn near the crime itself. After finding 235 documents with “classified markings” during the first two forays and just 47 top secret ones with zero untoward implications, they manhandled an ex-president without any justification whatever.

This time they found another 102 so-called classified documents, of which just 17 were marked top secret. But here’s the thing: With a total of 64 top secret documents from the search, the indictment cites only two instances where they were allegedly misused. And in one instance, the misuse is surely a joke and in the other case the DOJ got the wrong crime.

As regards the joke, at a September 2021 meeting with a representative of his own political action committee, the indictment notes the following:
During the meeting, TRUMP commented that an ongoing military operation in Country B was not going well. TRUMP showed the PAC Representative a classified map of Country B and told the PAC Representative that he should not be showing the map to the PAC Representative and to not get too close. The PAC Representative did not have a security clearance or any need-to-know classified information about the military operation.
For crying out loud!

Did his man–who apparently squinted at the map—have a photographic memory, and what did he do with this flash look at the map, anyway? Apparently nothing—or the indictment would have had guns blaring out the treasonous misuse.

The other implied misuse is even more preposterous. During July 21, 2021 Trump gave an interview in his office at The Bedminster Club to a writer and a publisher in connection with a then-forthcoming book. Two members of Trump’s staff also attended the interview, which was recorded with Trump’s knowledge and consent.

As it turns out, however, Trump exposed the real criminal. A few days before the session the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Mark Milley, had told the press that Trump had wanted to bomb Iran and that he had stopped the Donald from doing so.

To the contrary, it was the Donald’s recollection—true or not—that the boot had been on the other foot. Per the transcript of the recording, Trump told his audience—
TRUMP: Well, with [the Senior Military Official]—uh, let me see that, I’ll show you an example. He said that I wanted to attack [Country A]. Isn’t it amazing? I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him. They presented me this—this is off the record, but—they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him.


TRUMP: We looked at some. This was him. This wasn’t done by me, this was him. All sorts of stuff—pages long, look…..
Let’s see. Had Congress passed a declaration of war against Iran? Had it even debated the matter in any coherent way?

Then again, exactly why is Iran even a threat to America’s homeland security? Do they have nuclear weapons, a program to develop them or a fleet of ICBMs or nuclear submarines or long range bombers to deliver them?

Obviously, the answer is “no” in all cases. So why was there even a plan to bomb Iran?

In short, what would actually be criminal would be bombing of Iran without a declaration of war and for no valid reason of homeland security.

At the end of the day, Tucker Carlson hit the nail on the head on his third Twitter show earlier this week. The Donald had the gall to question the War Party in February 2016 during the GOP primary debates and they have been determined to put him in jail ever since.

Alas, this indictment is such a threadbare “gotcha” job that its true purpose to disable the leading opposition candidate for the 2024 election is plain as day. Unlike the ballyhooed January 6th riot, this is a true insurrection against American democracy, the likes of which we have never before experienced as a nation.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman's Contra Corner.
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from Peace and Prosperity


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