Judge Grants Special Master over Mar-a-Lago Docs: Read It For Yourself

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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73 Responses

  1. Philip H
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    says:

    24 pages of optics designed to “reinforce” the appearance of “fairness” to a general public a large portion of which will not accept that “fairness” no matter what. One can only hope the DNI’s review is damning enough to proceed.Report

  2. LeeEsq
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    says:

    Shorter decision: Federalist hack judge rules that Trump has executive privilege because he is the true President and Biden is not.Report

  3. North
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    says:

    Do you think it’s going to get overruled by a higher court?Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to North
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      says:

      The next highest Court is the 11th Circuit, which is dominated by Trump appointees and then the Supreme Court, also 6-3 Republicans. Legal realism suggests not.Report

      • Philip H in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Other then its disasters implications for democracy, I’d LOVE to see a SCOTUS ruling on this regarding the alleged Executive Privilege question. Roberts – having been effectively neutered by Dobbs, would have one hum dinger of a time keeping what’s left of the court’s reputation intact.Report

        • North in reply to Philip H
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          says:

          For given values of intact? My understanding is the courts rep has plunged like a paralysed falcon since Dobbs?Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to North
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            says:

            Republicans really don’t care because they still control the Federal judiciary and have all it’s power. They are still betting on the Democratic Party containing just enough institutionalists and lawful despites to do nothing about this.Report

  4. Chip Daniels
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    says:

    For anyone who thinks “fascism” is too strong a word to be applied to the Trumpists, this is a good example of how it fits.

    The law for them is optional, something that can be dispensed with whenever it becomes inconvenient.
    When possible, they follow the outward appearances, going through the motions of form and protocol, but it’s little different that the Soviet courts. This judge started with the verdict and worked herself back into it.

    At other times, like the phony elector escorting the Trumpist in to the elections office to breach the machines, they just ignore even the outward forms of the law.

    And of course, as with Jan 6 when all else fails they resort to violence.

    Once again, for anyone who wishes to be regarded as a non-fascist conservative, this is your offramp. Don’t pass it by.Report

  5. DavidTC
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    says:

    Honestly, I think the Justice Department should say ‘Okay, you know what? We will not be using the contents of _anything_ we found. We…don’t need to. In fact , a chunk of them are classified and we couldn’t reveal the contents in court.’.

    Because the Justice Department is not going to use the _contents_ of the documents in court. They are going to use the fact the documents were where they were.

    The premise is basically ‘My lawyer wrote a note to me, and I slipped it inside the notebook I stole, and now you cannot use that seized notebook as evidence towards the crime of me stealing the notebook’. Um, no. That is not how anything works.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to DavidTC
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      says:

      That’s a good counter to this action. The Federalist Society will have another defense but the prosecution of Trump is not going to be easy, so we should do this anyway.Report

    • Pinky in reply to DavidTC
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      says:

      From Comey’s statement about the Clinton emails:

      “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information….
      “In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.”

      By what standard would the Justice Department pursue charges on the basis of the existence of these documents but the FBI not recommend pursuing charges on the basis of the existence of those emails?Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
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        says:

        Uh, how about these standards:

        Clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information;

        Vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct;

        Indications of disloyalty to the United States;

        Efforts to obstruct justice.

        There is credible evidence of every single one of these.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
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          says:

          I don’t see how #s 1 and 4 clearly rise above Clinton’s emails. There is no evidence for #2 that I’ve heard – they were in a box somewhere unnoticed. And #3 is just speculation, right? I mean, a lot of speculation on your side of the aisle, but just speculation, right?Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
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            says:

            “B-but Hillary!!” Isn’t much of a defense.
            If you want to litigate her conduct you have to do the work of showing why Comey was wrong.

            Here we have clearly intentional mishandling, because Trump has admitted to deliberately holding on to documents he knew to be classified, and keeping them in a bizarrely unsecured manner, satisfying 1 and 2.

            And then he repeatedly lied about it in an effort to obstruct, satisfying 4.

            3 is credible because he has allowed foreign agents into the very same building as the unsecured documents, and has a demonstrated pattern of using his position for personal gain.

            This, combined with suspicious “quids” like his son in law’s 3 billion dollar payment from a foreign government for no apparent reason, logically leads to the question of what the “quo” was.

            So no proof yet, but credible evidence warranting an investigation.Report

          • Philip H in reply to Pinky
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            says:

            #4:

            Hi this is NARA – we noticed you have stuff we are supposed to have. Can you send it back.

            45 – sure, come get it.

            NARA – Is that all of it?
            45 – Yes.

            FBI – we have a subpoena for additional classified materials you are supposed to have. Can we have it ALL back?
            45 – Sure. And my lawyer will now sign a sworn statement its all back.

            FBI – we have a warrant for all the stuff you didn’t give us back the last time . . . .

            Clinton gave it all back and even helped DoS and the FBI find stuff they didn’t know they needed. DoJ never had to subpoena her.

            #1 – let’s just say that while her emails were on private servers, they were not in boxes in a publicly accessible office still in folders labeled Top Secret/SCI.

            #2 is fairly easy to infer for Trump from #1 and #4. And #3 is all about the fact that Trump in his presidential oath promised to NOT do what he apparently did with state secrets. I’d go to jail for a long time if I did any of that.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to Philip H
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              says:

              What we’re looking for, here, is what we’re getting: Incredible amounts of ‘splashun for Why Clinton Was Okay But It’s Different Because Trump.

              Because nobody here is consistently defending Trump.

              The purpose of bringing up Clinton’s willful failure to follow security procedure is not to defend Trump.

              None of us are suggesting that Trump should not be in trouble.

              What we wanted to see was whether people would be able to explain how Clinton shouldn’t be in exactly the same amount of trouble, and so far, they’ve got nothing other than the same shit they had six years ago, which is to crack real hard on specific definitions of “classified” and “mishandle” and “communicate” and “is”. Stuff that is so equivocal and nebulous that it could apply equally to, well, Trump.

              You know what? I was wrong, earlier, when I said that nobody here was defending Trump. DavidTC is doing it.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Pinky
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        says:

        By what standard would the Justice Department pursue charges on the basis of the existence of these documents but the FBI not recommend pursuing charges on the basis of the existence of those emails?

        …by following the rules very clearly laid out in the thing you just quoted?

        What Trump did is ‘clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct;’., for the most obvious.

        And you’re about to yammer about Clinton some more, but what happened with Clinton is incidental _discussion_ of classified facts over a communication system they were not allowed. And, I have to repeat this every time because you keep pretending otherwise, classified facts are not allowed over email AT ALL, whether it’s her server or the State Department has literally no bearing on that.

        Having a discussion referencing classified material in an unsecured location is very very different than taking actual classified documents and removing them from a secure location and taking them home with you. The first happens all the time, the later is…prosecuted basically ever time we run across it, ask David Petraeus.

        And if you want to know why: The first thing, the sort of thing Clinton did, is basically never ‘willful’. It is, as Comey said, _careless_.

        If you wanted to leak classified facts that you personally knew (Just facts, not documents), you’d just…tell that person, in private, instead of ‘accidentally’ saying it in a place where someone _might_ overhear. It would be completely absurd to Clinton to leak classified facts by _emailing mentions of drone programs to her employees_ and hoping someone hacked the server, instead of just…telling those facts to the people she wanted to know.

        Whereas taking classified documents is probably willful. Although it is hypothetically possible he’s just a bad packer. But then he refused to hand them back and lied about them…which pretty clearly makes it internal and willful. And at this point, we’re basically at the argument that Trump is fundamentally too stupid to do anything willfully.

        Likewise, we have that of ‘ vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct’ mentioned by Comey.

        What happned with Trump is pretty textbook ‘He sure took a hell of a lot of classified stuff to have done it _accidentally_’. Of course, this isn’t ‘what Trump can be convicted on’, you can’t convict someone on an inference, this is merely the FBI director saying ‘This is one of those things that make someone look so incredibly guilty that we will investigate.’. I.e., one or two documents stuck in a box might be a mistake, boxes of documents probably isn’t.

        As for the other two, we don’t really have any ‘indications of disloyalty to the United States’…I mean, we _do_, but we’re pretending we don’t.

        And as for the last…we do know he has actually obstructed justice before, but…weirdly, as far as I know, not here, at least not in regard to anything classified. Although maybe that will show up.Report

        • Philip H in reply to DavidTC
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          says:

          The Reasonable and Prudent Person would conclude that refusing to hand over things subpoenaed would constitute Obstruction.

          And yes I am well aware I’m mixing civil and criminal analysis standards.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to Philip H
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            says:

            I almost said that, but technically it’s only obstruction if an investigation is already going on, and the response would be ‘Wait, you can’t justify an investigation with things that happen during the investigation! The DOJ had to met that threshold to start with’.

            Yes, that’s not actually how it worked (The FBI can start an investigation for anything that looks vaguely wrong, Comey is talking about the decision at the _end_ of an investigation), but I didn’t want to go into it.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
          Ignored
          says:

          Actually, wait. It’s a lot clearer than that. People need to reread Comey’s statement:

          In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.”

          You notice he classifies those as two different things, mishandling and removal.

          And the list he gives of when the DoJ considers prosecuting he is talking about is about the mishandling of classified information. Everything in that list is about mishanding, that the DoJ will only prosecute for clearly intentional and willful mishanding, or huge amounts mishanded, or disloyal mishanding, or mishandling in a way to obstruct justice.

          Nothing in that is talking about _removal_ of classified information. (Well, probably. The last two are vague) Just mishandling. Comey is explaining the threshold of them deciding mishandling was deliberate or just people carelessly talking about things where they shouldn’t.

          This is not the threshold of ‘removal’ prosecution. This is because they almost always prosecute removal of classified information, if you take classified information from somewhere and move it elsewhere, because almost all removal is deliberate, barring some ‘piece of paper stuck to my shoe’ or something stupid. It’s the mishandling, the ‘said something classified where people could hear’ that he was roughing out where the FBI starts thinking ‘willful’.

          Guess which one Trump did?Report

          • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
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            says:

            I’m not sure if certain people are just _pretending_ to not see the difference between ‘mentioned something classified to someone else who is cleared to know it but did it over an insecure channel’ vs. ‘literally put classified documents in a box and walked out those boxes out of the government facilities and kept them and the lied about giving them back’, but it is a pretty obvious difference about in how provable-in-court that FBI would see _intent_, something they obviously have to consider when a crime requires it. Clinton’s behavior makes intent very hard to figure out, Trump’s behavior is not even debatable.

            Of course, this requires understanding how Clinton actually violated the law instead of the nonsense that the right made up about her, where they pretended she was copying and storing classified information for…herself? To…keep? Or sale?

            Which is the dumbest conspiracy ever. Like, if she was going to steal classified information, I have to suggest that she would have, uh, wrote it down in literally anything besides the known system she was using for email, and then turned that system over to Congress. Especially since the classified information is…rather trivial, like ‘The drone program the papers are talking about exists’ and ‘I made a phone call earlier today to Prime Minster X’.

            I’m pretty sure she could have just…called people and told them those things she knew? Not…had her staff mention it in an email and then kept the emails on a server hoping someone hacked it?

            But the right has rewritten their brains where classified documents were being emailed around willy-nilly and Clinton’s crime was the personal server she kept them on, probably to send somewhere else, which is just so disconnected with the actual events (People occasionally mentioning classified things in email, something that literally happens all the time, and Clinton using a private email server like plenty of other high-level people have…Colin Powell used fricking HOTMAIL.) that it’s hard to even believe we live in the same reality.

            Meanwhile, Trump did exactly what they claimed she did, keeping copies of actual classified documents in a place with no controls over it, except he did it with hard copies instead of email, which…is actually worse because that’s physical theft also.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to DavidTC
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          says:

          *Monday*
          Democrats: “Trump did a Code Red!”

          *Tuesday*
          Trumpists:”That’s a lie! He would never do a Code Red! Here’s a long and detailed explanation for his behavior.”

          *Wednesday*
          Trump:”Damn right I did a Code Red! It was a perfect Code Red, the best Code Red. Big husky guys, these big guys with tears in their eyes, they said, Thank you Sir for this Code Red, we’ve never seen anything like it!”

          *Thursday*
          Trumpists:”Here’s a Federalist article by Jonathan Turley-‘The Antiquated And Unconstitutional Prohibition On Code Reds.'”

          *Friday*
          Trump:”When I’m elected, I will do Code Reds everyday, you’ll be tired of Code Reds!” *Thunderous applause*Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
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          says:

          “[W]hat happened with Clinton is incidental _discussion_ of classified facts over a communication system they were not allowed. ”

          Could we have a cite for this, please? Because you keep on saying it. Please provide backup.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
              Ignored
              says:

              FThe FBI actually did a pretty exhaustive survey into her email, and found that none of it except two very silly things ( a call sheet to remind Clinton to make a phone call later, and ‘talking about a newspaper article that talked about a drone program that was classified’) was actually classified at the time it was being discussed.

              Which means, by definition, nothing else could not be a copy of a classified document. And likewise, neither could talking about a newspaper article. (I guess, hypothetically, info about her schedule call to a world leader could have been copied out of a classified document, we don’t know enough there, but that seems really really unlikely.)

              Ie, I’ve actually been kind of exaggerating in this discussion, but not in the direction you might think.

              Because, Clinton didn’t actually mishandle classified information, the FBI couldn’t find any instances of it, beyond the two very silly things I mentioned above, where somehow you can’t talk about a actual newspaper article or you can’t talk about your own schedule. But outside of those two things, which they were four instances of, the FBI did not find _any_ classified information that was classified at the time it was being discussed.

              Any.

              The media has failed to report any of this

              And Comey, while probably not technically lying in his statement, was being extremely extremely misleading.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                (The article goes slightly farther than that and asserts that even those things were not actually classified, and I agree, but I’m not even going to make that argument. I’ll consider them classified for the purpose of this discussion… But it’s still _talking_ about a classified thing instead of removing or copying a classified document.)Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                “Clinton never did ANYTHING WRONG” (posts a link to an article that describes what she did wrong)

                “It was only A COUPLE THINGS, and she didn’t MEAN to keep them” mmhm. “Of the three hundred fifty million people in the United States I only killed one, and that was only by accident, and really it was their fault because they jumped behind my car as I was backing up. I am, therefore, not guilty of manslaughter.”

                also, you suggest that we shouldn’t be bringing up Clinton’s activities in a discussion of Trump. Meanwhile, the article you linked: “In that respect her conduct was no different from her Republican predecessor, the late Colin Powell, who advised her to use private email, or many officials in the Bush White House, including Karl Rove.” lolReport

              • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                You: Could we have a cite for the fact that what Clinton did was a specific lesser thing and not this other bigger thing.

                Me: Sure, here is a pretty clear article about what she did

                You: *makes nonsensical claim that I said Clinton did nothing wrong and the article says she did*

                No, I said, very specifically, that Clinton did not, at any point, email copies of classified documents, or even _have_ copies of classified documents.

                You asked for evidence that it was ‘discussion of classified things instead of classified documents’, I provided that evidence with that artible…because 99.99%of the supposed classified stuff was classified _afterward_, which means by definition it couldn’t have been copied from a classified document!

                Was her ‘scheduled phone call appointment’ copied from a classified document? Or just written down by someone who knows? I dunno. But that’s basically the entire extent of ‘things that could be directly copied from a classified document’: A single line saying something like that ‘Call the Ambassador from Wherever at 2:30 and wish him happy birthday.’ (Yes, it was actually a birthday call.)

                also, you suggest that we shouldn’t be bringing up Clinton’s activities in a discussion of Trump. Meanwhile, the article you linked: “In that respect her conduct was no different from her Republican predecessor, the late Colin Powell, who advised her to use private email, or many officials in the Bush White House, including Karl Rove.” lol

                I did not suggest that in any manner. I said you were going to bring her up so I brought her up instead.

                And _I_ fricking pointed out that Colin Powell used private email. Here’s, I’ll mention him again:

                https://www.breitbart.com/news/colin-powell-condoleezza-rice-also-used-private-servers-for-classified-emails/ (Look at me, linking to _Breitbart_.)

                You seem to be thinking this is some sort of gotcha against Colin Powell. It is not. This is me (And the article) pointing out that ‘incidentally referencing classified things over unsecured system is incredibly common and not prosecuted’. (And likewise using private email servers was incredibly common and not even illegal)

                Of the three hundred fifty million people in the United States I only killed one, and that was only by accident, and really it was their fault because they jumped behind my car as I was backing up. I am, therefore, not guilty of manslaughter.

                Or ‘In the US tens of thousands of people bump into each other a day, and attempting to single out Hillary Clinton and prosecute her for assault because she bumped into someone by accident is utterly insane. And doesn’t have anything to do with Trump deliberately hitting a guy with his car and the prosecution for that.’Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                Did you read the linked article?

                There were 3 emails marked classified, and those were marked by mistake (for example, one “classified” email was a reminder for her to place a condolence call to the president of Malawi)Report

        • Douglas Hayden in reply to DavidTC
          Ignored
          says:

          I feel that Jordan Peele missed an easy layup by not remaking Its A Good Life. Only the reveal this time is that everyone could actually leave the town of their own free will, but they refused because everyone outside of town kept calling Anthony bad things.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Pinky
        Ignored
        says:

        Just forget it, dude, he already did a big triggeredpost about how Clinton didn’t do anything wrong ever by any standard whatsoever. (He approvingly quoted Morat20 on the subject, who later admitted that he didn’t actually work with material classified at that level.)Report

        • Philip H in reply to DensityDuck
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          says:

          You are always free to read what you want to read into something – but Clinton doing something you consider unethical that’s not actually illegal is not the Whatabout you think it is.Report

          • Pinky in reply to Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

            Do you think that’s a description of something potentially unethical, or something illegal but not typically prosecuted?Report

            • Philip H in reply to Pinky
              Ignored
              says:

              Had I done what Donald Trump has done with classified materials I’d already be in jail. I would have been arrested when the search warrant was served.

              What Secretary Clinton did or didn’t do has no bearing on this situation.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                If the idea is to argue about the legal standards, then comparable cases aren’t whataboutism, they’re precedents.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Four instances of Secretary Clinton discussing classified materials on a potentially unsecure email server is not in the same league as a former President possessing thousands of pages of classified materials in unsecured storage which he actively refused to return AFTER he was subpoenaed for those documents. Her conduct and the investigation into it set no precedent for this one.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                “From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification. Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were “up-classified” to make them Confidential; the information in those had not been classified at the time the e-mails were sent.”

                Clinton failed to turn over those emails through the first 2+ years of investigation. A potentially unsecure email server can be accessed far more readily than a box in unsecured storage.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Take it up with the DoJ and DoS under Mr. Trump. if there was anything there they certainly could have locked her up.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                Yeah, right, and if there was a US border with Mexico, Trump would have built a wall, but since he didn’t, the US must not border Mexico.

                I’m assuming that there are standards. Those standards should be applied equally to both sides. You may be willing to Resist those standards or apply them rigorously depending on who’s in office, but I’m not. I’m not even interested in selectively remembering things to make it look like I’m applying standards equally.

                Now, my bias is slipping in a little. When I hear people falling back on “Trump was going to sell them”, it makes me assume that the person I’m talking to isn’t interested in evidence. So I’m trying to counter that by asking: under what terms would Clinton not be prosecuted but Trump would? And I’m not seeing a reasonable answer.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                “Yeah, right, and if there was a US border with Mexico, Trump would have built a wall, but since he didn’t, the US must not border Mexico.”

                This… makes no sense.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                I shouldn’t have to explain this, but I’m making an argument that follows the same structure as Philip’s last comment in order to highlight the flaw in his reasoning. The argument goes like this: Trump promised something in his campaign, so if it didn’t happen, it must not be possible. It overlooks all the reasons a thing might not have happened, including the obvious one that Trump saying something doesn’t indicate an intention to follow through on it.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Yeah, right, and if there was a US border with Mexico, Trump would have built a wall, but since he didn’t, the US must not border Mexico.

                So you don’t remember him moving $15B in military appropriations to fund that wall? Of his administration taking nature preserves by imminent domain to build that wall? Here, let me refresh your memory: https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2022-02-07/how-much-of-president-donald-trumps-border-wall-was-built

                So I’m trying to counter that by asking: under what terms would Clinton not be prosecuted but Trump would? And I’m not seeing a reasonable answer.

                Secretary Clinton’s conduct was investigated by both the Obama Administration AND the Trump Administration. Using standards that didn’t change between Administrations because they are based in federal statutes. Neither Administration prosecuted her. Should they have? If Comey was telling the truth, and Trump’s DoJ was telling the truth, no they shouldn’t.

                Was her conduct unethical? Yes. And many of us on the left said so at the time. In fact I think I pretty adamantly noted I’d be jailed for doing something like that as a civil servant. But she was Secretary of State – and I’m not.

                Trump stole physical documents from the government, lied about taking them, and then refused to give them back when subpoenaed. This Administration is investigating him for that conduct using those same standards. Should he be indicted for it? Based on the publicly available evidence I would say so. You or I would have been already.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                “From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received.

                It really is funny how people seem completely unable to distinguish things that Clinton _did_ vs. ’email found on her server’.

                We do all recall that email servers _receive_ mail, right? We all do remember what ’email chains’ are, right, and they usually are not a single person just replying to themselves over and over?

                Clinton’s State Department had bad handling of classified information. (And again I remind everyone, as I keep having to do, it is exactly as illegal to discuss classified information on State Department email servers as private email servers…or Colin Powell’s hotmail account.)

                The entire department was bad at this, as evidenced by…this FBI report pointing it out.

                And as far as we are aware, Hillary Clinton, like most people her age, really didn’t use email much. She mostly used it for notifications. People who worked with her have mentioned that most of her emailing was basically acknowledging she got the email or saying ‘Do that thing you suggested’ or ‘I read it, call me at 3:20.’.

                In fact, the whole ‘did she send email with (c) marking’ (The closest anyone can say was a crime) is actually the question ‘did she _forward_ email with those markings while knowing what they meant’.

                It seems unlikely that much, if any, of this classified information being emailed around originated with her. It was put into the email system by other people emailing it to her, and she responded to _some_ of them…which as we all know quotes the entire thing, and that appears to be _all_ of the basis for her ‘sending classified email’.

                To be clear here, because seem to think I’m saying it is not, this is illegal. It was illegal for her to take an email with classified information and reply to it while quoting the classified information…I’m not actually sure what she would be required to do but it would probably be to notify someone, but even without that, she certainly can’t _repeat_ the classified information.

                But you know what’s more illegal? Or at least more obvious intent and thus easier to charge? Typing up the classified information and putting it in the email to start with!

                Here’s a fun question: Does anyone here even know the names of these worse criminals in the State Department that very obviously need to be arrested and charged before Hillary because they literally caused the entire thing and we at least know they knew the information was there because they put it there, as opposed to Clinton who could claim to just skimmed the email and missed it before forwarding it?

                No?

                So this is entirely a political witchhunt, then?Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                “It was illegal for [Clinton] to take an email with classified information and reply to it while quoting the classified information.”

                congratulations, you agree with me! and we’re done.

                Because the Justice Department would not use the contents of the documents in court. They would use the fact the documents were where they were.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                Because the Justice Department would not use the contents of the documents in court. They would use the fact the documents were where they were.

                …what? There is no ‘the documents’ in Hillary’s email.

                We still have people trying to misuse terminology to fail to distinguish between ‘a discussion that contains classified facts but is not labeled as such’ and ‘actual marked classified documents’.

                The idea that someone ‘mentioning a classified program to someone else cleared to know over an insecure system and thus possibly being overheard’ is the same as ‘taking a classified document explaining that program in detail and removing it from where it should be stored and taking it home’ is going to be treated the same by the legal system is absurd.

                They aren’t even the same crime. Everyone keeps pretending it’s ‘mishandling’, but that’s not the name of a crime. Trump ‘removed and retained’ classified documents, and that is a very specific (and easy to prove) crime (18 U.S. Code § 1924) that Clinton did not do.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                “…what? There is no ‘the documents’ in Hillary’s email.”

                apparently you don’t remember the words that you wrote. (that’s okay, it was two whole days ago.)Report

        • Pinky in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          I’m not expecting to win the argument, but I think there’s value in making people write out their weak arguments.Report

  6. Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    *Monday*
    Democrats:”Trump is a fascist!”
    Trumpists:”That’s an outrageous smear- Can you prove that he meets the definition of fascism?”

    *Tuesday*
    Trump: “Geoff is a proven fighter who successfully pushes back on the ultra liberal extremists, and who has driven them a little bit wild too because they can’t figure him out, and he’ll rule your state with an iron fist and he’ll do what has to be done.”

    *Wednesday*
    TBD

    *Thursday*
    TBD

    *Friday*
    Trumpists: “Fascism is good, actually!”Report

  7. Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    Two interesting data points:

    The WaPo reports that in the classified document seized from Trump were assessments of the defense capabilities of allies. If that reporting holds, Trump was sitting on stuff people hostile to the US would have paid handsomely for. Whether he sold it or not he damaged our national security – and threatened the national security of allied nations – by possessing it.

    Second, Bill Barr has said the judge’s order is deeply flawed and should be appealed. Always gotta wonder what his end game is.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      One of my favorite things is when people say “well it was PUBLISHED IN A NEWSPAPER that means IT ISNT CLASSIFIED ANYMORE” when the basic training for handling classified material says straight-out that something being published in a newspaper doesn’t mean it’s been declassified.

      Like, these people smugly declare that they know absolutely everything about classified material, and they’re making a mistake on the order of “which end of the knife do I hold”.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        Classification by compilation is another thing that irritates the heck out of me.

        Peanut butter is not classified.
        Breadknives are not classified.
        Bread is not classified.

        But peanut butter sandwiches? YOU BETTER BELIEVE ITReport

        • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          No, it makes sense. Because, obviously, one could possess peanut butter for a variety of reasons, the same with bread, and certainly it’s possible for pantries to hold any number of different foodstuffs.

          But if you see me loading both peanut butter and bread into the pantry, you know that I now have the capability to construct lunch. And if you see plastic bags, you know I have the transport system for it. And maybe you’ll start wondering why I’m so interested in a transportable lunch all of a sudden; am I planning to leave soon?

          The fact that I compiled the peanut butter and bread and plastic bags in my pantry is itself a classified fact, something that I might not want the world to be aware of, even though the individual elements (or their combinations) aren’t classified themselves.Report

      • Pinky in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        Or anything on a “leaks” website. This was a real problem a few years back.Report

  8. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    The interesting evolution of the story that I’ve seen today is that the nuclear secrets that Trump had were not the US’s nuclear secrets, but the nuclear secrets of another country.

    And the fun speculation is about which country (or countries) he had the secrets of.Report

  9. Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    Unless they appoint Putin, Trump will have two special masters.Report

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