Trump is completely innocent, claims another criminal
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Donald Trump’s supporters within the Republican Party have produced numerous defenses against his mishandling of presidential records and even more numerous attacks on the Justice Department for its brazenness in taking the records from a locker at Trump’s country club. But for pure entertainment value, none of these polemics can match Conrad Black’s. column in the American Mind, a publication of the Claremont Institute.
Contrary to the devious arguments of the anti-anti-Trumpers, who attack Trump’s opponents (the FBI can’t be trusted, you know) without directly defending his conduct, Black states at the outset that the former president committed no crime. “There is no evidence against Trump doing anything illegal,” he insists.
The Department of Justice has indeed quoted Three laws Trump allegedly violated by taking government records and refusing to turn them over when asked: U.S. Code Title 18 Section 793, which “criminalizes the unauthorized withholding or disclosure of information related to national defense that could be used to harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary”; Section 2071, which “criminalizes the theft or destruction of government records”; and Section 1519, which penalizes the concealment or destruction of documents “with intent to hinder, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter.”
Black doesn’t bother to delve into the legal details of the search warrant, or even skim over them. Instead, he claims the charges have been “gradually downgraded” and “the legal farce is defusing” without substantiating that impression. Maybe it’s just a feeling he has. If so, it belies the impression one gets from reading the news and learning things like the National Archives’ claim that the material seized includes “more than 700 pages of classified material – including “Special Access Program documents,” some of the government’s most classified secrets,” as Politico reports.
Black, of course, doesn’t trust the news, but he presumably does trust the website run by Trump’s house stenographer John Solomon, including JusttheNews.com published the letter.
Black argues by implication that if the material was really important, the government would not have waited so long: “Justice should have proceeded by subpoena and cannot explain why it has waited 19 months since Trump left office. , during which Trump claims to have cooperated fully. with her, to take this step. It’s a good example of conservatives using the government’s cautious approach to Trump’s egregious offenses against him. If the Justice Department had acted faster, rather than granting Trump multiple extensions, that too would have been turned into evidence that he is being treated unfairly.
Black insists it was an “outrage” for the government to take over his files because “a president can declassify anything he wants.” But there is no evidence that Trump actually declassified the material from his locker. (Trump has retroactively claimed to have issued a blanket declassification order for any document he touches, but no less than 18 former senior Trump administration officials have said CNN they had no knowledge of such an order.) Even if it existed, the crimes involving Trump do not rest on the classified documents anyway.
After claiming that the raid had no legal basis, Black posits that it must be politically motivated before going on to claim that it “may also have ultimately generated some empathy from independent voters for” Trump. Naturally, he produces no evidence for this claim either.
However, the episode appears to have rallied Trump’s base, and no part of his base is more dedicated to Trump than Conrad Black, especially on issues of white-collar crime. Black, a convicted felon who served time for fraud and obstruction of justice before Trump pardoned him, has more reason to sympathize with Trump and feel gratitude to Trump than perhaps any other Trump supporter. . (Trump enjoyed an outpouring of support from his base of criminal friends.)
Indeed, Black’s experience as a co-offender and recipient of Trump’s favor is the most relevant reference he has to comment on the case. Alas, the column mentions neither his sentencing nor Trump’s pardon.