This weekend brought the strange news that Jack Smith, the special counsel investigating Donald Trump, asked the grand jury to issue a subpoena to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago office for an empty folder. Why?
The Guardian reports that last month, Smith subpoenaed the folder, marked “Classified Evening Briefing,” even though Trump’s lawyers told him it had nothing in it. This tells us something important: that Smith is serious about pressing forward with a case against Trump for his 18 months of obstructing government efforts to get back all government documents he stashed at his Florida estate.
When zealous prosecutors are intent on bringing a case, they leave no stone unturned. Trump has told reporters that he thought keeping folders marked classified was “cool.”
That admission, along with the reported hesitation to return this folder, may reflect the same mental state that led him to unlawfully resist returning some of the 300-plus documents with classified markings that were seized in August’s court-authorized search of Mar-a-Lago.
Further, in cases prosecutors intend to bring, they do not want it said that they waved off any legal requirement, especially the Espionage Act’s provisions compelling a former officer’s return of every—every—government document upon request. [Continue reading…]