Federal agents and prosecutors have come to believe former president Donald Trump’s motive for allegedly taking and keeping classified documents was largely his ego and a desire to hold on to the materials as trophies or mementos, according to people familiar with the matter.
As part of the investigation, federal authorities reviewed the classified documents that were recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club, looking to see if the types of information contained in them pointed to any kind of pattern or similarities, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.
That review has not found any apparent business advantage to the types of classified information in Trump’s possession, these people said. FBI interviews with witnesses so far, they said, also do not point to any nefarious effort by Trump to leverage, sell, or use the government secrets. Instead, the former president seemed motivated by a more basic desire not to give up what he believed was his property, these people said.
Several Trump advisers said that each time he was asked to give documents or materials back, his stance hardened, and that he gravitated toward lawyers and advisers who indulged his more pugilistic desires. Trump repeatedly said the materials were his, not the government’s — often in profane terms, two of these people said.
The people familiar with the matter cautioned that the investigation is ongoing, no final determinations have been made, and it’s possible additional information could emerge that changes investigators’ understanding of Trump’s motivations. But they said the evidence collected over a period of months indicates the primary explanation for potentially criminal conduct was Trump’s ego and intransigence. [Continue reading…]
Lawyers for former President Donald Trump are arguing that hundreds of documents that the FBI seized from his Florida residence are “personal” because he said so.
But federal prosecutors say he cannot deem the records personal “simply by saying so.”
In a new court filing, the Department of Justice also accused Trump of “gamesmanship” by saying he will assert executive privilege over dozens of documents if a court-appointed watchdog rejects his claim that they are “personal” in nature. [Continue reading…]