Trump Probe May Be Complicated By Documents At Biden Office
WASHINGTON — The U.S. The number of classified documents is vastly different, as are the discovery conditions.
But the revelation that President Joe Biden’s lawyers discovered a “limited number” of classified materials in a locked closet is an unexpected twist for a Justice Department already probing Donald Trump for the preservation of top secret documents at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago.
Despite significant factual and legal disparities between the scenarios, Trump seized on the news to mitigate his vulnerability – at least in the eyes of the public. The information is unlikely to impact the Justice Department’s decision to charge Trump. However, it may make a criminal case more difficult to sell politically, increasing the mistrust of Republicans in Congress and others who have questioned the basis for a plausible prosecution.
“I don’t think it affects Trump’s legal judgment at all, but it certainly affects the political narrative going forward,” said a U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama during Trump’s presidency.
A special counsel is leading the Mar-a-Lago investigation, and the Biden situation is being looked into by the top federal prosecutor in Chicago, who is still working for the Trump administration. All of this is taking place as newly elected Republicans gain control of the House, with plans to target the agency with allegations of politicized law enforcement.
People Call for Raids Of Bidens Home
Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, who is the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, has already asked the director of national intelligence for a damage assessment of the classified information that was leaked. And, in response to the FBI’s discovery of boxes of secret records at Mar-a-Lago in August, Trump wondered on Twitter, “When is the FBI going to raid Joe Biden’s numerous houses, possibly even the White House?”
DOJ investigating potentially classified Biden documents
The White House says the Justice Department is evaluating potentially secret materials discovered in President Joe Biden’s former institute’s Washington office space and swiftly turned over to the National Archives. (Jan. 10)
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He later questioned why “the ‘Justice’ Department” had not made the information public before the November midterm elections.
The Differences Between Biden and Trump
There are differences between the situations of Trump and Biden, especially regarding the seriousness of the ongoing Mar-a-Lago grand jury investigation.
The search for his property came after months of back-and-forth between government officials and Trump representatives about the keeping of presidential records.
After finding classified information in a Palm Beach, Florida, home, the National Archives and Records Administration took 15 boxes from the House and called the FBI in January. However, Trump representatives rejected the Archives’ demands to surrender all papers for months. Even though officials from the Justice Department sent a subpoena for classified information and went to Mar-a-Lago last spring, they say that the former president’s staff did not give them all the documents.
Unclear When A decision Will be Made
FBI agents returned in August with a warrant indicating that they were investigating crimes such as deliberate retention of national security information and attempts to hinder the federal investigation. They say they found more than 300 of these papers in the building. They found documents marked “classified” in a storage room and an office desk drawer.
It’s unclear whether Trump or anyone else will face charges or when a decision will be made. The former president will face criminal charges in a separate investigation in Atlanta, where a special grand jury probing efforts to alter Georgia election results has completed its work.
The White House is also trying to tell the difference between the Mar-a-Lago case and the secret information found in Biden’s old institute’s Washington office.
Richard Sauber, the president’s lawyer, said on Nov. 2 that the president’s lawyers found “a small number of classified documents” from the Obama administration when they were putting files in a locked cabinet to leave the Penn Biden Center.
The statement stated that the White House contacted the Archives that day, that the Archives took possession of the materials the next morning, and that the Archives had not previously requested the records – a clear contrast to how the Trump administration handled Archives requests.
Even still, major concerns remain, such as the substance and exact amount of the Biden records, how they got to the center, why they stayed there, and why the administration took more than two months to disclose their finding. The Justice Department has remained silent as well.
The Biden news was a stroke of good fortune for the former president, who had earned the nickname “Teflon Don” during his long business career for frequently escaping repercussions, and who had for months falsely compared his treatment of presidential records to that of his predecessors.
More Political accusations for Trump
Politically, the accusations come at a good time for Trump, who just launched a new presidential campaign at the end of last year and is getting ready to speed up his campaigning. More and more people are looking into how he handled sensitive documents and how he tried to change the results of the 2020 election. The new developments could give political cover, particularly among casual audiences who are too busy to dive into the specifics of either claim.
“Certainly, it offers him something to talk about. “Not that requiring something to be factual has ever stopped him before,” Tim Miller, a former Republican strategist turned Trump critic who worked on Jeb Bush’s 2016 campaign, said.
When looking into Espionage Act crimes, like the one the Justice Department did about Trump, the focus is often on whether or not the action was done on purpose or by accident.
That was going to be the case with the Trump investigation, but proving Trump’s willfulness beyond a reasonable doubt is likely to be especially important now if the Justice Department is to ensure public trust in any indictment it brings — and to demonstrate that the allegations amount to more than simple misplacement or mishandling of government secrets.
SOURCE – (AP)
Biden’s DOJ Criminally Charges Former President Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump has been charged with federal crimes as a result of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s months-long investigation. Trump is charged with at least seven felony offences, including document tampering and obstruction of justice. He has been summoned to federal court in Miami on Tuesday.
Trump announced the indictment on his Truth Social social media site. According to sources, federal prosecutors told Trump’s attorneys of the charge shortly before he publicized it.
Trump stated that he has “been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM.”
Trump has been indicted for the second time this year. Trump pleaded not guilty in April after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged him with 34 counts of falsifying business documents in the first degree.
Smith was appointed in November 2022 by Attorney General Merrick Garland to examine Trump’s suspected inappropriate retention of secret records at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Trump home raided
In February 2022, NARA informed Congress that Trump had taken 15 boxes of presidential records to his personal property in Florida. The 15 boxes were seized from Mar-a-Lago by NARA, who “identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes.” NARA sent the case to the Justice Department.
These boxes purportedly held “classified national security information,” as well as official correspondence between Trump and foreign heads of state.
Among the classified materials seized by the FBI during the August raid were a letter from former President Obama to Trump, a letter from Kim Jong Un, a birthday dinner menu and a cocktail serviette.
Last year, Trump claimed that the National Archives did not “find” the records, but that they were “given, upon request.” According to sources close to the former president, he was cooperating and there was “no need” for the raid.
The FBI inquiry “established that documents bearing classification markings, which appear to contain National Defence Information (NDI), were among the materials contained” in the 15 boxes Trump first gave over to the NARA, according to the affidavit.
“A preliminary triage of the documents with classification markings revealed the following approximate numbers: 184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked SECRET, and 25 documents marked TOP SECRET,” according to the affidavit.
According to the unsealed and heavily redacted affidavit used to justify the raid, the FBI stated that it had “probable cause to believe” that additional records containing classified information, including National Defence Information, would be discovered on the premises of the Mar-a-Lago home, in addition to what he had previously turned over to the NARA.
According to the property receipt from the FBI raid on August 8, 2022, agents took around 20 boxes of things from the premises, including one set of documents labelled “Various classified/TS/SCI documents,” which refers to top secret/sensitive compartmented information.
Top secret papers
Records protected by that government classification level may contain human intelligence and information that, if exposed, could jeopardise relations between the United States and other countries, as well as the lives of intelligence operations abroad. However, the classification also includes national security material pertaining to the president of the United States’ daily operations.
The property receipt also said that FBI agents collected four sets of top secret papers, three sets of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents, however the document contains no information about any of those data.
The search was performed by the government in response to what it perceived to be a breach of federal laws: Gathering, transferring, or losing defence information is a violation of 18 USC 793; concealment, removal, or mutilation is a violation of 18 USC 2071; and destruction, alteration, or fabrication of data in federal investigations is a violation of 18 USC 1519.
The charge of “gathering, transmitting, or losing defence information” is a violation of the Espionage Act.
The charge follows the discovery of confidential materials in President Biden’s office at the Penn Biden Centre last year. Those records came from his time as vice president during the Obama administration, as well as his stint in the United States Senate.
Investigation into the Capitol riot
Garland initially chose U.S. Attorney John Lausch to conduct an investigation into sensitive data discovered at the Penn Biden Centre. More classified data were discovered at Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware residence in December, but the revelations were not made public until this year.
Garland later hired Special Counsel Robert Hur to investigate Biden’s unlawful retention of confidential records. Hur took up the Department of Justice probe from Lausch.
Meanwhile, secret documents were discovered at the home of former Vice President Mike Pence in Indiana.
On January 6, 2021, Smith also took over the Justice Department’s investigation into the Capitol riot. In that capacity, he investigated whether Trump or other officials hampered the peaceful transition of power following the 2020 presidential election, including the certification of the Electoral College result on that day.
The Biden White House did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Last Monday, Fox News reported that the Justice Department had completed its investigation and that Pence would not be indicted.
CNN Ousts CEO Chris Licht After A Brief, Tumultuous Tenure
THE NEW YORK CNN fired Chief Executive Chris Licht, After a turbulent year in charge of the faltering news organization, culminating in a stinging magazine feature and the growing realization that he’d lost the trust of the network’s journalists, CNN fired Chief Executive Chris Licht.
Just two days after Licht declared he would “fight like hell” to earn the respect of those around him, the change was revealed at CNN’s editorial meeting on Wednesday morning.
In addition to appointing a four-person interim leadership team, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced during the editorial meeting that he would conduct a comprehensive search for Licht’s replacement.
Republicans had grown increasingly wary of the network due to frequent attacks by the late President Donald Trump. Thus, Licht was mandated to try and make CNN more appealing to both sides of the country’s political spectrum.
However, several network employees viewed Licht’s call for change as a rejection of their prior efforts, and a live town hall interview with Trump last month generated strong opposition.
Don Lemon was fired from the network’s morning show earlier this year after Licht tried to modernize it, but it was unsuccessful. Creating a new prime-time lineup was protracted, as Kaitlan Collins was only recently chosen to host the 9 p.m. hour, which has been without a permanent host since Chris Cuomo was let go in December 2021.
CNN fired Chief Executive Chris Licht.
Just over a year ago, Zaslav appointed Licht to succeed Jeff Zucker, a well-liked predecessor who had created shows like MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” CBS’ morning news program, and Stephen Colbert’s late-night show. Zucker was let go for failing to disclose a mutually beneficial relationship with another CNN executive.
The position “was never going to be easy, especially at a time of great disruption and transformation,” Zaslav wrote in a memo to CNN employees.
He remarked, “Chris put his heart and soul into it. It has been clear throughout his tenure that he has a great affection for journalism and this industry. Unfortunately, things did not turn out as we had intended, and in the end, I was responsible.
An inquiry for comment from Licht has yet to receive a response.
“Inside the Meltdown at CNN,” a lengthy profile of Licht that appeared in Atlantic magazine on Friday, proved embarrassing and probably sealed his demise. Before he arrived, Licht criticized some of CNN’s COVID coverage, which infuriated some journalists.
According to a Wall Street Journal piece published Tuesday night, Jake Tapper, Anderson Cooper, and Erin Burnett, three of CNN’s top anchors, reportedly privately voiced their disapproval of Licht’s management.
In the meantime, viewers were leaving. With 494,000 viewers in May, CNN’s prime-time audience was down 16% from April and fell short of MSNBC, its nearest competitor in the news market.
Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley, Eric Sherling, and David Leavy, four current CNN executives, were chosen by Zaslav to lead the network while a replacement is sought.
In the message, Zaslav stated, “We are in good hands, allowing us to take the time we need to run a thoughtful and thorough search for a new leader.”
SOURCE – (AP)
Boris Johnson’s WhatsApp Messages And Why People In Britain Talking About Them
LONDON — Because WhatsApp is popular among lawmakers and government employees, detractors claim the British government runs “government by WhatsApp.”
Therefore, it only makes sense that the main focus of Britain’s official investigation into how the nation handled the COVID-19 outbreak is a dispute over WhatsApp communications.
The investigation run by retired judge Heather Hallett included a lot of communications between then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson and cabinet members, advisors, and officials during the pandemic. Since some of the messages are private and unrelated to the investigation, the Conservative administration, currently under the leadership of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, wants the ability to modify them before turning them over. It has challenged Hallett’s directive to turn over the unredacted messages in court.
What is the investigation looking into?
One of the greatest death rates in Europe, more than 200,000 people have died in Britain after testing positive for COVID-19, and Johnson’s government’s choices have been hotly contested. Johnson gave in to pressure from bereaved families in late 2021 and decided to launch an investigation.
The scope of Hallett’s investigation will focus on the United Kingdom’s pandemic preparedness, the government’s response, and whether or not the “level of loss was inevitable or whether things could have been done better.”
The former prime minister and many other top government officials are expected to testify during public hearings starting on June 13 and going through 2026.
WHY IS WHATSAPP Johnson OFF?
The texting service, owned by Meta, has grown to be a favorite among British government officials and the journalists who cover them. Users may feel secure knowing their conversations will remain private because of its end-to-end encryption and ease of use for solo and group chats.
This confidence has occasionally shown to be misplaced. Tens of thousands of his texts were given to a writer who was assisting Matt Hancock, a former health secretary who helped lead Britain’s response to the epidemic, in writing a memoir. The journalist gave them to a newspaper, which ran a series of front-page pieces with unpleasant details.
Johnson’s correspondence with more than thirty scientists and government representatives over two years beginning in early 2020 has been requested by Hallett. She also requests access to Johnson’s contemporaneous journals and notebooks.
WHAT IS THE POSITION OF THE GOVERNMENT?
According to the Sunak administration, some texts that took over after Johnson resigned amid scandals in the middle of 2022 are “unambiguously irrelevant” to the COVID-19 investigation. According to the statement, making them public would violate the public’s “legitimate expectations of privacy and protection of their personal information” and other areas of government activity.
The government’s Cabinet Office challenged Hallett’s request for the documents in court papers filed on Thursday. In the upcoming weeks, a hearing in the High Court will be the next step.
Hallett has the authority to call witnesses and subpoena them to testify per the investigation’s rules established at the outset with the government’s consent.
The former head of the government legal service Jonathan Jones stated, “The government has an uphill task,” in a blog post for the Institute for Government. The court will likely rule that the inquiry chair should choose how to proceed and what materials she needs to review.
WHAT SUGGESTS BORIS JOHNSON?
Johnson and his successor Sunak have a history of conflict; Sunak’s resignation from the administration in July 2022 assisted in Johnson’s overthrow.
Johnson has stated that he is happy to turn over his texts, separating himself from the government’s position. He claimed to have sent Hallett’s inquiry the WhatsApp exchanges on Friday.
However, they only cover a portion of the requested time period in another twist. There are no communications from Johnson that date back before April 2021. That period covers the early stages of the pandemic, during which the government made crucial decisions that are still debated today, three periods of the national lockdown, and the dates of the unlawful parties that took place in government buildings and resulted in a large number of people, including Johnson, receiving fines from the police.
Johnson claims that the messages are on a phone that he has been told not to use after the media discovered that his number had been listed online for 15 years.
According to Johnson, the security services ordered him to stop using the phone and never switch it on again. On Friday, he informed Hallett that he had “requested the Cabinet Office for assistance turning it on securely so I could search it for all pertinent documents. I suggest sending you all of this information directly.
SOURCE – (AP)
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