February 7, 2023

MISSTEPS: Here’s what will lead to Trump’s indictment, according to a former special counsel

Trump indictment will stem from this, according to a former special counsel

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Former Special Counsel to the Department of Defense Ryan Goodman, after analyzing a new report, says he’s found a few details that might just be what pushes the Department of Justice to move for an indictment of Donald Trump.


[United States Department of Justice, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]
Goodman has gone over the latest New York Times report and concluded that there are at least four points that could give Trump more trouble than he was looking for.

First, Trump reportedly tried to make a trade, offering to return the boxes of documents if the National Archives would release to him other documents, which he believed he could use to exonerate himself with regard to the allegations of collusion with Russia to alter the outcome of the 2016 election.

Then, instead of following his attorney’s advice to just return all the boxes of documents he’d removed from the White House, untouched, he instead went through the contents himself first.

Goodman sees these actions as, respectively, “extortion-y,” and evidence of knowledge and concealment — removing any possibility of a plausible deniability defense since Trump can’t claim that he genuinely believed the boxes were just full of newspaper clippings.

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In fact, further ensnaring Trump is the fact that this report identifies Trump himself as the source of that particular false claim — no blaming an attorney or aide for saying the documents were just memorabilia or “dirty laundry,” as Trump is identified as having made those claims himself.

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It’s not just Trump who could go down for that lie though — for passing along the false claim, Mark Meadows could also face legal culpability.

Goodman also lays out how the timeline matters — if Trump made false statements about the contents of the boxes before he went through them himself, he’d at least have some wiggle room to say he was mistaken. Instead, the timeline makes it clear that Trump examined what was in his possession, and after examining the documents himself, he made the decision to have representatives make false statements to the National Archives on his behalf.

So, is the indictment coming? Trump has proven himself to be slippery as an eel when it comes to being held accountable, even when the misdeeds are carried out in plain sight. Still, Ryan Goodman’s analysis suggests this one report is full of good reasons for the DOJ to act.

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.

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