The FBI search warrant against Donald Trump invoked the Espionage Act

On Friday, the court unsealed the search warrant served on Donald Trump’s Florida compound. The court also unsealed the receipt of what the FBI took from Mar-a-Lago. Note, again, that both a copy of the search warrant AND the receipt were given to Donald Trump’s lawyer. Trump could have released the warrant and the receipt early last week and he chose not to. Trump and his Republican allies chose to lie and attack the FBI and law enforcement and doxx the judge who signed the warrant. So what did the release of the warrant & receipt show? Well, Trump had hidden a huge cache of classified documents in a poorly secured Mar-a-Lago basement, basically. The FBI warrant invoked the Espionage Act.

The warrant that authorized the F.B.I. to search former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida residence on Monday listed three criminal laws as the basis of its investigation, offering a glimpse of an inquiry into his possession of government documents.

The first law, Section 793 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, is better known as the Espionage Act. It criminalizes the unauthorized retention or disclosure of information related to national defense that could be used to harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary. Each offense can carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Despite its name, the Espionage Act is not limited to instances of spying for a foreign power and is written in a way that broadly covers mishandling of security-related secrets. The government has frequently used it to prosecute officials who have leaked information to the news media for the purpose of whistle-blowing or otherwise informing the public, for example.

The government has not said what specific documents investigators thought Mr. Trump had kept at Mar-a-Lago, nor what they found there. The inventory of items was vague, including multiple mentions of “miscellaneous top-secret documents,” for example. But the invocation of “the retrieval, storage or transmission” of secret information in the warrant offered a potential clue to at least one category of the files the F.B.I. may have been looking for. One possible interpretation of that phrase is that it hinted at encrypted communications, hacking or surveillance abilities.

[From The New York Times]

We already know that Trump stole documents which are classified “above top secret,” meaning these documents are some of the highest classification and that’s usually the kind of stuff which is extremely close-hold. And he was just keeping it in his basement. They also found paperwork for Roger Stone’s pardon and some kind of “kompromat” file on French president Emmanuel Macron. Macron, the EU’s point person on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Macron, who just won re-election against a Putin-backed fascist, Marine le Pen. The FBI apparently removed twenty boxes of material and multiple binders as well.

One of Trump’s many excuses – he’s done a lot of bluffing in the past week – is that he can declassify any document at will, so anything in his possession was declassified. That is… not the way it works. Trump’s people have also been suggesting that the FBI planted those documents at Mar-a-Lago. Which means he declassified material which was then planted at MAL? On Saturday, he tried out another excuse: sometimes he had to bring his work home AND that he had a standing order to declassify material the moment it left the Oval Office.

Meanwhile, the Times has already caught Trump in a huge lie. You know how the FBI went to MAL in the spring to look at how Trump was storing documents and to see what he had? Apparently, Trump signed a written statement in June that he had already turned over all of the classified material in his possession at that point. That was part of the FBI’s visit to MAL. Meaning, he lied in writing and the FBI did not believe him anyway, and that’s why they got the search warrant.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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