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“This is an indictment that comes across as a very public relations-oriented document”

“This is an indictment that comes across as a very public relations-oriented document”

My takes on the Trump indictment: “They knew there would be fury from Team Trump, from Trump himself, from Trump supporters. So they felt they needed to put more in there, but I’m not sure they’ve put enough in there to actually prove their case as opposed to getting past the hurdle of sustaining an indictment.”

I appeared on two radio shows today to discuss the Florida indictment of Donald Trump. I appeared on Tony Katz live streaming on Rumble (and YouTube). Here’s a 4-minute clip when I discuss the obstruction of justice charge:

WAJ: These are prosecutors. Their goal is to get an indictment. So take everything that’s in there as being subject to actual proof.

So when they say Trump said something or did something, presumably they have a good faith ground for that. But that’s not the whole story. And I think that’s particularly true with regard to the obstruction of justice charges. What you have is a small number of snippets of things that Trump said that really there’s no context to them. And a lot of them are, well, [things like] what if we didn’t comply? What if we didn’t play ball with them? Is that obstruction? Is that a client asking an attorney for an opinion? What was the attorney’s opinion? Did the conversation go any further?

So particularly as to the obstruction, the indictment, while it rings loudly, I’m not sure how much there is to it. You’d have to hear the testimony.

The most troubling part of it is they say they have a recording of Trump acknowledging that a document he was holding had never been declassified, and they allege it was about battle plans to invade another country. People are speculating that’s Iran. and that it was in some manner shown to people who were interviewing Trump. But it doesn’t say in what manner were they able to read it, how close were they? So there’s a lot there. There’s certainly a lot there that’s shock in awe and that takes this likely out of the realm of a hoax, out of the realm of Russia collusion. But how strong a case it is really remains to be seen.


I think the question is what was the actual full conversation? Were they asked to destroy documents? Was it a question that Trump asked? And certainly, you know, you could have a nod and a wink to do that. Did they actually do it? What was the conversation? So we only have little pieces, and again, it’s probably enough to sustain the indictment, but whether it’s enough to sustain a conviction, what did the attorneys think they were being told to do? Did they think they were being told to destroy documents or is this Donald Trump just being Donald Trump again, bragging about how, look, Hillary got away with it. Her people destroyed all 30,000 pages of documents.

So I think that there’s enough there to sustain the indictment, but we really need to know the full context. If Trump was suggesting that documents be destroyed, did the attorneys actually do it? Is this more of an attempted obstruction of justice as opposed to an actual obstruction of justice?

There’s a lot in the indictment about the moving of boxes but there’s no allegation in there that I recall, you know it is 49 pages. I’ve read it multiple times. But there’s none that I recall that he had actual knowledge that there were documents in the boxes that were moved that were the subject of the subpoena. Maybe he did, maybe someone will testify to that. But the mere moving of boxes, while it’s certainly is suggestive of misconduct, doesn’t necessarily prove that it was part of a plan to obstruct justice.

So that’s what I’m saying. This is an indictment that comes across as a very public relations-oriented document. They knew there would be fury from Team Trump, from Trump himself, from Trump supporters. So they felt they needed to put more in there, but I’m not sure they’ve put enough in there to actually prove their case as opposed to getting past the hurdle of sustaining an indictment.

Here’s the full segment

I also appeared on Chicago’s Morning Answer and made many of the same points:



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I still want to know why things were different with trump than other presidents.

All previous presidents’ records were sent to a location near the president’s home residence that was controlled by NARA
As soon as every president since Reagan left office, as required by the Presidential Records Act were moved by NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) and the GSA (General Services Administration), and it was NARA and the GSA, not those presidents, that moved those documents out of the nation’s capital to NARA-managed temporary archival facilities near where their permanent presidential libraries would be built. The NARA-managed facility where records from the George H.W. Bush administration were stored was indeed a former restaurant and bowling alley, but it had been turned into a full-fledged archival facility, and professionally secured in various ways, by the time the documents were moved in. When Obama left office his records went to a NARA controlled property in Chicago, in fact it was a closed up furniture store.
Why was Trumps records sent to Mar A Lago. Why didn’t the GSA and NARA move them to a NARA controlled site in the first place? Trump did not move himself the GSA did…..
Did NARA set president Trump up?

    Concise in reply to starride. | June 12, 2023 at 9:19 pm

    Interesting theory. But regardless, this is a meritless banana republic political prosecution. The matter is controlled by the Presidential Records Act and Biden’s police state prosecutor is twisting and perverting the Espionage Act, which has never had anything to do with the disposition of presidential records.

    gonzotx in reply to starride. | June 12, 2023 at 9:39 pm

    Because it’s President Trump

    He wins the only one they are really afraid of, he has stood up to everything they have thrown at him… and yet he stands

    They hate us and he’s only standing in the wayyyy will own nothing amd you will like it!

    Have fun with eating those chocolate covered crickets, more than a few Hollywood idiots have already been making the commercials to tell
    You how wonderful they are.

      Danny in reply to gonzotx. | June 12, 2023 at 10:41 pm

      2018-Democrats won a landslide election

      2020-Democrats won

      2021-Democrats won every election that involved Donald Trump, lost elections that did not involve Donald Trump

      2022-Democrats produced the best results for an in power party in a generation

      2023-Lost the Wisconsin Supreme Court despite Wisconsin voters voting Republican in every state voter initiative in Wisconsin.

      Legislative record-Produced tax cuts, and a trade deal with China (not nothing but nothing that George W Bush wouldn’t be proud of).

      Current approval rating-Low 30s

      Yes totally winning.

        mailman in reply to Danny. | June 13, 2023 at 2:25 am

        In 2018 Republicans retained control of the Senate.

        In 2022 Republicans gained control of Congress.

        Anything is Democrat propaganda because you still didn’t control the two houses you needed for total control darling 😂😂

          oldvet50 in reply to mailman. | June 13, 2023 at 7:25 am

          RUFKM??? Republicans did NOT gain control of Congress in 2022; the House, maybe, although it doesn’t look like it due to all the RINOs. The Dems have total control now since they control the Senate, the person representing the President and all the agencies (FBI, DOJ, Military, etc.)

        mailman in reply to Danny. | June 13, 2023 at 9:29 am

        This is a dumb argument 😂😂 Ok, Republicans didn’t take the house off the Democrats 😂 Man, didn’t take long for election denying no longer being a crime eh 😂😂

        gonzotx in reply to Danny. | June 13, 2023 at 12:23 pm

        Oh Danny boy, you loved through Covid and you still believe in our voting system

        How precious

    Something was (D)ifferent for the other presidents, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…

    Danny in reply to starride. | June 12, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    The reason is because what you said isn’t true.

    Other presidents submitted presidential records to the National Archives, took what they classified DURING their presidency as personal documents, and formally requested copies of non-classified presidential records (which accounts for the vast and overwhelming majority of presidential records).

    What Trump did is he took highly classified records with him after his presidency, refused to give them back, instructed his lawyers to lie without telling them they were lying, and there is the difference.

    He was Hillary Clinton with an R after his name, and he is getting the same treatment Hillary Clinton would have gotten if Comey wasn’t there, and the same treatment literally anyone else who did what he did gets.

    NARA set nobody up. All Trump had to do not to face these charges was not take the documents with him, or if he had to get his kicks by breaking laws provide all requested documents instead of defying the requests.

    NARA threatened to get the DOJ involved if Trump didn’t obey the law and he refused.

      henrybowman in reply to Danny. | June 12, 2023 at 11:52 pm

      “He was Hillary Clinton with an R after his name, and he is getting the same treatment Hillary Clinton would have gotten if Comey wasn’t there


      Azathoth in reply to Danny. | June 13, 2023 at 11:55 am

      Literally none of what you’ve written is true.

    Read that recent prior presidents had 4 years to prepare because they started at the beginning of the second terms. Here, the Archives dropped the ball by implementing no plan during the transition, when it was probably more important than ever. Trump should have received opportunity to protect his personal files, especially when the vibes he gets are accusatory.

    This sure seems like Lawfare. These people invaded his attorney client privilege. TDSers should make a board game of different ways to get Trump. Funny they decry the “gallows” for Pence when you imagine what they would do to Trump.

    Fatkins in reply to starride. | June 13, 2023 at 7:09 am

    Trumps records were sent to Mar-a-Lago because he had his staff pack them and sent there. This isn’t difficult.

    michaelharris99 in reply to starride. | June 13, 2023 at 8:39 am

    Since the early days of le affair Oberlin, I eagerly look forward to my am Legal Insurrection read. But Professor the obvious inference when President Trump caused boxes to be moved so his lawyer could not review them is he knew there was information that was harmful. Guaranteed conviction maybe not but likely to be enough to sustain an appeal in my view as a lawyer

    DaveGinOly in reply to starride. | June 13, 2023 at 11:35 am

    There are no requirements for an FPOTUS to work with NARA. Indeed, a court ruled it could not compel NARA to seize records from FPOTUS Bill Clinton, because it (the court) couldn’t order NARA to do that which it isn’t authorized to do. An FPOTUS usually collaborates with NARA, but NARA has no authority to compel the surrender of records, nor is there any requirement for an FPOTUS to collaborate with NARA. NARA must negotiate with an FPOTUS (as it attempted to do with DJT), but it cannot compel if the negotiations aren’t successful.

    DaveGinOly in reply to starride. | June 13, 2023 at 11:37 am

    BTW, Obama’s docs were not sent to a “location controlled by NARA.” They (all 14 tractor-trailer loads) were delivered to a formerly abandoned warehouse in Chicago, and perfectly legally.

    PuttingOnItsShoes in reply to starride. | June 13, 2023 at 2:21 pm

    Yes I don’t even know what the title of this article means. Of course it’s a public relations document. It’s a complete heavy duty Soviet Style propaganda document. It intentionally leaves out the context of consistent treatment of presidents under past practice. It consistently creates a narrative of alarm over National Security. It’s just a piece of junk. Everybody continuing to parse this thing is doing nothing but giving it more credence.

    The justice department has had multiple tries at trump, and they’ve disqualified themselves as an honest broker. They should not be allowed to even submit to the court any document regarding Trump whatsoever given the fact that every single submission so far has been a lie. They should be disqualified from Trump’s submissions under sanctions that should have been handed out a long time ago stipulating that they’re corrupt when it comes to trump.

And these facilities were set up months in advance…. Where is the facility for Trump??

    It is a valid question, both to why no facility and if it was a setup. All’s fair when you’re dealing with Voldemort. Pretending there was espionage is as ludicous as the dossier. A step too far towards the Biden police state.

      You are comparing requesting copies of non-classified records with the original in the archives to taking classified documents you have no right to?

      In your eyes what exactly did James Comey do wrong involving Hillary (you realize James Comey was against this indictment right?).

        Of course, how silly.

        mailman in reply to Danny. | June 13, 2023 at 2:27 am

        The only person who gets to determine what is and is not classified is the President. There is no higher authority above him who determines whether the Presidents actions are acceptable or not.

        But that’s so old school. Those rules only apply to Presidents with a D after their names.

          Fatkins in reply to mailman. | June 13, 2023 at 7:12 am

          There is no record of Trump declassifying anything, it’s on record that he didn’t with his own voice, and even if he did the law refers to nation defence records not classification. In other words its the contents of the records that matter not the stamp on the front.

          mailman in reply to mailman. | June 13, 2023 at 9:30 am

          Again, there is no mechanism for deciding what is and is not declassified. If Trump says it’s declassified that’s the end of the story. There is no higher authority that over rules his determination.

          Silly me, that’s old school and doesn’t apply to Presidents with an R after their name!

          Concise in reply to mailman. | June 13, 2023 at 11:20 am

          What law is that Fatty? The Constitution that identifies the Chief Executive as Commander-in-Chief? The specific provision of the Presidential Records Act? Oh, I know, the whims of the AG and his prosecutors, taking into account of course, the mood of whatever political animal is in charge of the National Archives.

          CommoChief in reply to mailman. | June 13, 2023 at 11:49 am

          Very true as far it goes. One place it doesn’t go is to cover the document mentioned in count 34, as I recall, where Trump was reported as:
          1. Describing a doc to someone
          2. Declared it wasn’t one he had declassified
          3. Admitted he should have declassified it
          4. Seems to regret his decision not to declassify the doc
          5. Invites someone to view the document

          This whole thing is a ‘get Trump’ operation and the spat with the Archivist shouldn’t have come to this point. Unfortunately it did and an investigation was launched. Once that occurred the unwary or the overconfident tend to step into process crime traps. That’s what seems to have happened here.

          That said the whole thing is an excuse by partisan Trump haters to figure out a way to try and take another shot to ‘get Trump’. Everything in the indictment but the process crimes are very defensible in Court.

When President Obama left office in 2017, NARA took physical and legal custody of the records of his administration in accordance with the Presidential Records Act. NARA made arrangements to move the roughly 30 million pages of paper Presidential records of the Obama administration to a federally acquired, modified, and secured temporary facility that NARA leased in Hoffman Estates, IL, which meets NARA’s requirements for records storage and security. NARA moved the records to Hoffman Estates because of the intention of President Obama to build a Presidential Library in the Chicago area.

In the past, and in accordance with the Presidential Libraries Act (44 U.S.C. 2112), former Presidents would fund, build, endow, and donate to NARA a traditional Presidential Library (NARA-operated traditional Presidential Libraries exist from Presidents Hoover through George W. Bush). Accordingly, NARA would arrange to move the Presidential records to a temporary NARA facility near the designated location of the forthcoming Library – e.g., Hoffman Estates, IL, for the records of President Obama (who subsequently decided not to build a Presidential Library for NARA, see below); Dallas, TX, for President George W. Bush; Little Rock, AR, for President Clinton. In each case, the facility was modified to meet NARA requirements for records storage and security, NARA had physical and legal custody of the records from the end of the Administration, and the temporary facility was under the exclusive control of NARA.

Prior to the end of his administration, President Trump did not communicate any intent to NARA with regard to funding, building, endowing, and donating a Presidential Library to NARA under the Presidential Libraries Act. Accordingly, the Trump Presidential records have been and continue to be maintained by NARA in the Washington, DC, area, and there was no reason for NARA to consider a temporary facility in Florida or elsewhere.

So did NARA give Trump the same consideration…. Note in the press release it never says they gave him the option or discussed it with him..

    Danny in reply to starride. | June 12, 2023 at 10:36 pm

    1. None of those records contained classified information

    2. No they didn’t they sent copies to Obama

    There is no way to slice this that makes Trump similar to Obama. Obama carefully worked to make sure he was operating inside the law with frankly unimportant documents, while Trump did the opposite.

    Same with Bush, Bush requested copies of things that weren’t classified which everyone has a right to access,

    When you break the law, and when your actions are in a different league (classified documents vs things the public are allowed to see) very different things happen.

      Danny in reply to Danny. | June 12, 2023 at 10:37 pm

      To clarify that was a post in support of the above, I posted it by number points out of laziness.

      starride in reply to Danny. | June 12, 2023 at 11:00 pm

      Dude you are absolutely F.O.S.. There are photos of boxes of documents just dumped on the white house driveway. GSA packed everything up for Trump as they have for 40+ years and for every president since about Nixon. NARA should have had a facility in Florida prepared long before Jan 20th.

      Let me give you some advice. Shut up and stop commenting…… All you are doing is proving how stupid and prejudiced you are. 90% of your comments don’t even match up with the subject matter discussions, you are usually tying to throw in straw man arguments or diversions. It doesn’t work here. We literally just skip over anything you post and don’t read it. I am simply giving you a poke in the hope that you finally take a hint…… I will not respond to you ever again….

      A little secret the opposite of love is not hate, its indifference. The simple fact that if you got squished by a buss right in front of me, I would think nothing more about it than “shit you got my shoes dirty” and wipe them off and keep on my way.

        Fatkins in reply to starride. | June 13, 2023 at 7:16 am

        And, your comment is silly. We know those boxes were sent to Trumps residence. What’s your point. If they weren’t supposed to be there why did Trump hang on to them, prevent return and lie to his own lawyer to avoid return.

    oldvet50 in reply to starride. | June 13, 2023 at 7:31 am

    Everyone should know that the President is subservient to NARA. NARA answers to no one.

    DaveGinOly in reply to starride. | June 13, 2023 at 11:44 am

    You’re talking about presidential records in general, and not those records retained by an FPOTUS. As I mentioned above, NARA has no authority to compel an FPOTUS to surrender documents taken into his (the FPOTUS’) custody. That argument has been adjudicated (in favor of FPOTUS Bill Clinton). Your description of the transfer of documents from an administration to NARA conflicts with this ruling, and therefore must not be describing NARA’s authority over documents taken into personal possession by an outgoing POTUS.

From the same people that brought you the “production” known as the January 6 UnSelect Committee.

Would NEVER happen in a Democrat case
Well that’s the joke is t it, there NEVER will be a Democrat case

    Danny in reply to gonzotx. | June 12, 2023 at 11:11 pm

    Southern Florida is a blue stronghold in your mind?

    That is effectively a confession you have no connection to this planet.

This is the Ninth Circle of Hell and people are still playing checkers when they should be playing

That paper Trump was waving around. Everyone is hot and bothered by it but can’t tell you what it was because no-one saw it. Could have been the next days dinner menu for his restaurant.
The “crime” of his having documents and total dismissal of Biden having decades worth stashed around the country is interesting. Trump said he declassified everything before leaving and I have not seen evidence that he hasn’t. Anyone know the actual procedure a President takes to declassify something? All I’ve been able to gather is that he can declassify anything he wants without asking anyone. Biden on the other hand had no power as a Senator or VP to declassify or even possess and if I’m correct in what I’ve read, it’s not a “he gave them back when asked” it’s taking them in the first place. If I rob a bank but get caught the next day it doesn’t matter if I give all the money back, I’m going to jail.
Get back to me when the matter of declassifying documents is settled. He was negotiating with the Archives for the other documents much like every President before him. They knew where the stuff was, heck they visited on a couple of occasions and even asked him to put a different lock on the door which he did. As for aids moving the boxes around, so what? If he declassified them then no big deal. This seems to me to be a whole lot of media whipped nonsense.

    mailman in reply to diver64. | June 13, 2023 at 9:33 am

    There is no Procedure. If a President decides to talk about something on national to that was formerly classified it then becomes declassified by mere virtue of his talking about it.

    There is no higher authority who then decides whether a Presidents declassification decision is acceptable, well that was up until 2016.

    Apparently that system has changed now and was set aside between 2016 and 2020.

Show trials have been standard operating procedure for a long time.

I appreciate Professor Jacobson’s time and efforts with these posts. Just one thing, I think that the timing of these new indictments is a red flag..
The new developments with the Biden Bribery dumpster fire and the charges coming out basically at the same time.. Funny coincidence.

Peter Floyd | June 13, 2023 at 9:38 am

America’s savior, the savior of Western civilization had laid down the gauntlet. Millions must now rise not just to his defense but the very defense of all that we value, all that we want to preserve, all that we want to pass on to our children. We will win this at the ballot box or in the streets, but win we must at all costs. Not wise to make a man who has 75 million supporters into a martyr . The most likely scenario is for Judge Cannon, appointed by Trump, and who has previously ruled in his favor on related matters, and to which this case has been assigned in Miami will dismiss the case and sanction Jack Smith and the DOJ for election interference. This dismissal can come early, unlikely, and it may await until the jury has been seated or on a motion for aquittal after the prosecution has completed its case. This would make another indictment impossible as double jeopardy would be in effect. This will seal Trump’s election in 2024, and you can imagine the revenge Trump and his 75-100 million supporters will have on the Obiden Junta and their aiders and abettors. This is the fear that is causing them to tremble sleeplessly at night knowing that a jail cell and worse is likely in their near immediate future. Judge Cannon understands this scenario and looks forward to her appointment to SCOTUS by President Trump. The alternative scenario is civil war.

    The_Mew_Cat in reply to Peter Floyd. | June 13, 2023 at 10:54 am

    I think it is more likely she will see the case through to trial, but will give the jury a lot of leeway to find not-guilty on grounds that it is an unfair, politically motivated prosecution, and give jurors a compromise out to convict on some lesser misdemeanors on some of the counts. She will try to get a unanimous verdict that prevents retrial and prevents the prosecutors from appealing her rulings.

    gonzotx in reply to Peter Floyd. | June 13, 2023 at 12:57 pm

    “The Price They Paid To Sign The Declaration of Independence…..

    Five signers were captured by the British as Traitors. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Continental Army. Another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six signers fought and died from wounds or the hardships of the American Revolution.

    Now it’s our turn!“

    Will We answer the call? They are betting we won’t and after Jan6 and the mask zombies of Covid , I’m afraid they may be right

      CommoChief in reply to gonzotx. | June 14, 2023 at 10:52 am

      Very doubtful that folks ‘answer the call’; after all they had two decades to ‘answer the call’ to serve in a military, civilian or non combatant role in Iraq or Afghanistan. Some of us did answer that call, a few of us way more than once. A great many others did not answer b/c reasons which led to others picking up their slack over and over.

    retiredcantbefired in reply to Peter Floyd. | June 13, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    You think the judge is going to rule against the prosecution on an Article 29 motion?

What Hillary did with official State Department business on her private server , and her destruction of over 30,000 emails that were subpoenaed by Congress are far worse than anything that Trump did. Trump could have and should have prosecuted her for her flagrant violation of the law, not to mention her serial perjuries. But he didn’t. So he confirmed the double standard that Democrats don’t get prosecuted, while Republicans do. He gave her the free pass.

I can’t muster much sympathy for him despite the fact that his is obviously a political prosecution. He should have stood up for the rule of law and prosecuted Hillary, then learned from that prosecution and left the classified materials with the government. But he wouldn’t and he didn’t. He really is his own worst enemy.

    mailman in reply to Henry P. | June 13, 2023 at 5:14 pm

    At the time I was dead set against Hillary being prosecuted and also absolutely dead set against the idea of Barry, peace be upon him, also being prosecuted for what ever they could pin because of how it would look like politically targeted attacks on your political enemies.

    However fuck that. I hope Trump goes after these c8nts with every fibre of his being when re-elected. Fuck them all. Democrats started this war so it’s about time we visited that war directly on the fuckers.

    Let them reap what they have sown.

Excellent rant by attorney Robert Barnes running down the constitutional problems with the Trump indictment and explaining Trump’s unreviewable authority to declassify docs as POTUS.

Starts 51 minutes into the video.