Right off the bat I’ll say the suggestion in the title would be way more than unusual and hugely controversial.  I can understand if your reaction is “has this guy lost his mind?” or something similar but in rather less polite language.  I can also understand fellow veterans asking “is this actually possible?” Well, I’ll ask you to read on, and think on it for a while.  And then decide on your answer to the Title Question.

It’s not exactly lost in the news coverage but Trump’s indictment (and soon arraignment) on National Security charges due to illegally taking, retaining and even showing (to people without clearance) classified documents and other information includes another guy.  His “body man”, retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Walt Nauta.  Smith has Nauta dead to rights with video of him moving boxes, text messages about moving them, pictures from Nauta’s own freaking cell phone and who knows what else?  But Nauta is now under federal indictment just like Trump and looking at a long, long time behind bars.

However, Trump is covering his legal bills (meaning Nauta’s lawyer is going to put Trump’s interests first) and has probably convinced Nauta who has gulped down entire vats of orange Kool Aid he once helped make to keep silent.  Trump has also convinced Nauta they will both beat the rap, or at least delay things past the election, and that Trump will win and pardon him.  Nauta could have flipped long ago and gotten a deal of some sort.  Not a great one but a whole lot better than what he’s facing if convicted.  Still, he likes his odds if he sticks with Trump so he’s refused to cooperate in exchange for some leniency.

So let’s take a look at Nauta to see what led him to where he finds himself today, and more importantly why he thinks he might walk away from all this unscathed.

Nauta met Trump because he was a steward assigned to the the WH years before Trump became President.  As a steward with the Navy Mess (that means culinary worker folks) it’s natural he’d have met Trump at times, just as people in that kind of job meet any President and higher ups.  Somebody has to take the meals, the snacks, the drinks upstairs and serve them to the high up folks.  Anyway, the two hit it off and eventually Nauta became a “body man” for Trump, an aid Presidents have nearby at all times to see to really mundane but necessary stuff.  In fact it was Nauta who came up with the “red button” idea so Trump could call up someone to bring him a Diet Coke or a snack.  For Trump that’s more than enough to decide someone has Trump Org. high management chops!   Trump like Nauta enough to order his promotion to Chief Petty Officer, a BFD if you know how things work.  Getting to Staff NCO rank is a BFD in any branch but moving up to E-7 is really huge.

Given the state of things it was natural for Nauta to follow Trump down to FL.  But this is where it gets interesting.  Nauta enlisted in the Navy in July, 2001.  He retired in September 2021.  Got that?  He put in twenty years meaning retirement with all the benefits goodies.  It also means something else.  The charges in the indictment show a pattern of conduct, as in Nauta taking part of stealing the National Security documents in the first place, and then committing multiple acts at Trump’s direction to obstruct justice and hide them so his boss wouldn’t have to give them back while still on active duty in the Navy! (Check those dates in the various counts.)

It’s reasonable here for you to ask what this article has to do with Smith handing Nauta over to the DOD so let me explain.

Even someone who serves a single four year enlistment often will join an active Reserve unit to continue to build up retirement benefits like PX privileges and the full range of medical care including dental.  And some other stuff.  Most don’t due to the one weekend per month and two weeks a year part.  Spouses and employers often object. (Yes, I know it’s illegal for employers to create problems but don’t get me going on that one.  They can and do and they get away with it!)  However it’s standard for even a “four years of active duty and I’m done with the military” people to at least have another four years of obligation in what is called the Individual Ready Reserve.  If you’re in the IRR you don’t really have any obligations like attending drills or stuff like that.  When I left active duty in 1988 I recall a yearly drive down to Quantico (I lived in the DC area) for a short lecture and video that was a “If needed people in Active Reserve Units will be first to get called back to active duty, then next are you folks in the IRR so keep fit and don’t forget stuff about your M.O.S. – see you next year” and that was it.  As far as I know back in those days nothing happened to those who blew off even that minimal requirement.

The point however is that everyone is subject to recall to active duty for years after leaving the military.  Normally it takes a declared National Emergency to recall someone in the IRR but it can happen for other reasons.  So, in theory just like anyone else Nauta would be subject to recall in special circumstances like say having violated the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) for multiple felonies committed back when on active duty.  Which Nauta did.

Oh, but it gets better!  Remember where I said Nauta was a retired Chief Petty Officer?  That means he was NAVY.  Each branch has it’s own quirks but the Navy is quite different than the other branches.  There’s information on Military.com that explains it well:

When it comes to retaining and recalling retirees and officers, each military service handles the situation its own way.

For example, in the Navy, when an enlisted member retires after 20 years of active duty, they are transferred to the Fleet Reserve. They remain in the Fleet Reserve until they have a total of 30 years’ service, then are transferred to the retired rolls. That means that, if you are a Navy retiree who retired nine years ago, you may be recalled to active duty if there is a reserve recall.

So, while it would be unusual to recall someone to active duty to be tried under the UCMJ, Courts-Martial offenses, and stealing or aiding in the stealing of National Security documents/information and Obstruction of Justice by taking active part in a conspiracy to hide them from the government sure seems like enough to me.  Just like if someone who spent a career working in Supply or Disbursing (the money handlers) were discovered after leaving active duty to have committed felonies (black market sales of supplies, weapons for example, or for Disbursing folks embezzling a bunch of money) would be recalled and charged under the UCMJ.  When it comes to Courts-Martial their are four types.  The highest level, a General Court Martial carries the same force of law as a civilian felony conviction.

There’s more than one reason I like this option for Nauta.  First and most important even though Nauta spent much of his career in the cocoon of DC and the even smaller one of the WH he knows damn well that while he’d have the same rights in a General Court Martial as in a federal civilian court, when it comes to the judge and jury he’d be facing something Trump and MAGA can’t influence.  The members, Officers all would if the evidence was there (and it is) take a VERY harsh view of a defendant.  And despite public belief to the contrary the annual Military Times survey has from the beginning shown that unlike in the past more Officers have viewed Trump unfavorably than favorably.  It got worse over time.  Enlisted pukes (I use that term in a fun way because I was one!) still inexplicably maintained an overall positive view of Trump but not the Officer Corps.

And the panel of members in a Court Martial is only Officers.

Nauta seems to believe despite all the evidence, Trump/Trumpism or even jury nullification can save him from Jack Smith.  But the same factors Natua is counting on in federal court down in FL would work against him in a General Court Martial!   I can assure you Nauta wants NO part of spending a couple of decades or more at Portsmouth or Quantico in the brig!  If Smith hasn’t done so (and I realize how “political” it would look) he should strongly consider jumping through the hoops with Garland and SecDef Austin to at least get authorization to have Nauta recalled to active duty to stand trial via a General Court Martial.  Maybe I’m completely full of crap but if Smith’s team sat down with Nauta and showed him the memo authorizing that recall Nauta would get real serious and real fast.

When his Trump paid attorney tried to lean on him Nauta would finally realize what some others from the Trump WH, like Cassidy Hutchinson did which is that if the attorney is paid for by Trump that attorney is working for Trump and not for them.  Nauta would ask for time to get a new attorney of his own choosing and if you think Trump has freaked out already we will see a level of freak out beyond human imagination.

If Nauta sticks with Trump he will be an old man before he breathes free air again.  But I have a more petty, vindictive reason for wanting Nauta to be convicted at a General Court Martial.  Beyond a longer sentence and serving it in harsher conditions than many federal pens, and the problems any convicted felon faces (especially if not well off financially) when they get out.  Nope.  Conviction under the UCMJ in a General Court Martial would mean loss of ALL military benefits!  No VA health care.  No PZ or base access privileges.  Hell, not even flag for his coffin when he dies!

F**k him.  I want him to lose it ALL!

However, in exchange for a lesser prison sentence and having it imposed in civilian court he can hang on at least to his retiree benefits.  Which he’ll need.  I for one think that would be enough to get him to finally flip on Trump.  Still, I haven’t gotten to the best part!

Flipping on Trump is huge.  No question about that.  But as Trump’s “body man” he saw and heard all manner of stuff that could, if he becomes a cooperating witness cause quite a few Trump cronies and various hanger’s on/co-conspirators a$$hole snap shut hard enough to turn turds into diamonds!   Bear in mind how easily such people are just “there”, and pretty much after a while just part of the scenery that after having been viewed so often gets ignored!  

Jack Smith doesn’t need Nauta on the witness stand to convict Trump in the National Security case about classified information.  He’s got tapes of Nauta, and texts and no doubt other stuff.   But remember, Smith is also working to build a case about Trump’s involvement in January 6!   A cooperating Nauta could be the linchpin to take down not just Trump, but Stone, Bannon and others.

Again, I freely admit all this is unusual/unorthodox and even controversial.  Still, I think it’s worth considering.


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  1. As a retired Navy person, I like it! Absolutely TFG wouldn’t be able to interfere with military justice! Since the crimes were committed during active duty, it seems appropriate.

  2. I think your view of UCMJ and courts-martial are a little skewed. When I was stationed at Ft Campbell, I dated an MP. He was assigned to some undercover narcotics unit and was quite cocky. One of the enemies he made was a co-worker who managed to shoot him in the head while they were in the dayroom awaiting that day’s assignments. Of course, the guy that shot him claimed it was an accident, but everyone who has ever had a job that entailed hand-guns knows you don’t unholster unless you’re prepared to use your weapon. He was court-martialed and because of some soft-headed female 2nd LT received only 2 yrs for negligent homicide. There was enough evidence of the bad blood between them, he should have been charged w/2nd degree and received at least 10 yrs.

    Later in my career, I was at the Presidio of San Francisco, where I met an MP who had worked at Leavenworth. She told me the threat of Leavenworth was really funny to her, because she claimed they were the most pampered prisoners in the US. According to her, most prisoners leave there w/college degrees they never would have been able to attain on the outside, not to mention living conditions that would be the envy of every enlisted person in the military.

    So, while I understand your point, the only thing Nauta would lose in a court-martial as opposed to federal court would be his pension and bennies. He’d probably do less time and in more comfortable accomodations.

    • Interesting. I’m an old fart and while on active duty found myself attached to an MP unit. Later on back in “The First Civ. Div” I knew a retired Col. who’d been with the Corps of Engineers and was stationed out there (we bonded over being Chief’s fans and he gave me one of his commemerative mugs from their then one and only Super Bowl win) and was familiar with it. From the accounts I got it was no hellhole but not plush either. As for degrees, people don’t usually wind up there unless they have a long sentence so that doesn’t surprise me. Sure, they messed up bad but also had enough to make it through training so somewhere in every prisoner is the kind of discipline and perserverance that would enable them to complete a degree. I never heard much about Portsmouth despite being in the Naval Service (jarhead) but those two aren’t the only options. The brig at Quantico is able to handle “high profile” prisoners and that’s a place I don’t think Nauta would want any part of unless things have changed.

      Regardless, being tried and convicted under the UCMJ would definitely mean a longer sentence – the presiding Officer and Judge would use military standards instead of the federal sentencing guidelines. And, then there’s the loss of those “bennies” which would do more than sting.

      • I agree the loss of bennies, especially for someone from Guam, would be major and yes courts-martial don’t follow federal sentencing guidelines. But like in civilian cases, the panel, like a jury, has to agree unanimously as to charge and sentence. The judge in the case I cited was disgusted w/ the panel’s decision and polled the panel which made it clear the butter bar would not convict on anything more serious than negligent homicide or consider a sentence longer than 2 yrs. So a trumper on the jury or court-martial panel could affect either venue. It may be different w/other branches, but in the Army, the presiding judge cannot change the sentence decided by the panel.

        • When I was on active duty the Guamanians I encountered were tough as nails and demanding as hell yet likeable. An interesting mix of no-nonsense and humorous. Then again, I was in the Corps and freely admit that all of us who made that choice are a wired kinda differently in a weird way to begin with! What I know about Guam is that people from there possessed a fierce loyalty to the U.S. before, during and after WWII. I can’t imagine Nauta being raised and learning values from his parents and others during that time imparting values that would allow him to justify what he’s done. But hey, things change and maybe generations of kids there were grandchildren of the WWII generation instead of their parents having lived through all that are different. I do believe that part of what has led to some of the ugly changes in our own country are due to the loss of damned near every American who lived through that time, and it’s been long enough that a fair number of the children of those in that “Greatest Generation” started dying off too.

      • As I was working in the telephone industry for 36 years before retirement, one thing we made perfectly clear to new-hires was, as they were working in ANY telephone office, the office building and everything in it was customer property, no matter what the decor of the project required, blue jeans and a nice shirt or coveralls and mud boots, they were representing OUR company’s unit and any unsafe actions or risk to a customer’s well-being, building or operating equipment was never allowed, and MIGHT lead to termination, of course, there was union representation, but the union was well aware of this significant rule and goofing off, running with scissors kind of things were very hard to excuse …

        My thoughts say that if this man was working on Trump’s behalf in his uniform representing the service unit where he normally was stationed, if Trump ordered him to do odd jobs that challenged his common sense analogy, he should have bumped it up right away, and if Trump threatened him, THAT should have been part of his report as well … by the time Trump was playing hide and seek with our Country’s security, I’m sure most service members and public clerks were well aware of Trump’s lizard complex …

        I actually believe Trump should take the brunt of this because this guy looks like a young man that was out to do a good job, but unaware of the gravity of him being close to Trump on any projects there …

        Trump has been a disgrace to everything to do with the office he was supposed to operate, NOTHING AT ALL was actually done for OUR COUNTRY, other than giant giveaways to the richest 1% of business people … cost us MILLIONS to be playing golf all the time, along with a horrendous quantity of executive down time … What a piss-ass coward, probably jumps when he sees his own shadow … by the end of this day, we may see some more examples of his midget mentality …

        • He was no longer a young man. He was pushing into his late 30s when he chose to commit crimes for Trump. That’s one of the things about conservatives that jack me up. You caused me to recall Henry Hyde Congress (slimy) Critter from my own home state who at one time was a key front for the “moral superiority” of Republicans/conservatives. For people who don’t know, if you’re familiar with the Hyde Amendment (about stopping abortions of course) this is the same guy. Well, it turned out Mr. “Exaomple of Morality for us all” effed around on his wife. A full-blown affair that lasted a while. He was around 40 at the time of his affair and spun it as a “youthful” indiscretion. Sure enough his bullsh!t worked. Drives me nuts. So I must respectfully disagree. Nauta was plenty old enough to know better than to do what he did.

          • after 20 years in the Navy? he damn well knew his sworn duty and he did the opposite. even janitors are trained on what to do if you see classified stuff in an unsecure location.

    • Maybe. One thing to consider: this documents thing borders on, at least, espionage and therefore treason. I cannot imagine too many Naval officers, or officers of any kind, who will think that is worth a slap on the wrist. What former guy did endangered our military. Officers take a dim view of that sort of thing. Shooting someone? Hell, they’re in the military F.F.S. death is a distinct possibility so folks are a little less intense about it. Participating in espionage/treason is a whole other kettle of fish. Not so sure you could find a soft-headed officer, male or female, who would patty cake that. I’m going on my personal knowledge from a few decades ago and things may have changed but I’m not so sure they’ve changed all that much.

      Younger folks with military experience ought to pipe in so we might have a better insight to all this.

      • Your right. My experience in the Army was in the ’80s, so things may have changed. I would also hope that treason is considered much more seriously than murder. But killing someone should cost the perp more than 2 lousy years.

  3. As vets, each of us took a sacred oath to serve and defend the Constitution. Anyone who violates that oath should not be in good standing, and certainly, at the minimum, lose all veterans benefits. IMO.

    • So many times over the decades, even while still on active duty and the Reagan worship was out of control I’d remind people we didn’t swear an oath to a President, or the flag – but rather to the CONSTITUTION! It amazes me still that people are surprised when someone point that out. Every time I raised my right hand and took the oath it meant something to me. I was proud to swear, with my very life if necessary to serve and protect our Constitution. Regardless of who was President, or what political Party had the most power. We haven’t lived up to the ideals of our founding documents, which tragically included a major flaw (NOT prohibiting slavery) but was still startling around the world for what we aspired to be. If I’ve gotten increasingly bitter as I’ve hit senior citizen age it’s because of the increasingly serious efforts to ignore our Constitution and all the service of those who worked so hard to get us in small increments closer to being what we claim to be.

  4. As a fromer (not retired) Marne with a disbursing MOS, I’m familiar wit the Fleet Reserve (we all it “Fleet Marine Corps” Reserve.”) In fact, that was my first thought -“”If he’s still in the Fleet Reserve, it could be done” when I read the headline.

    But my response to thisis the same as itis to questions like “Should Barack Obama be appointed to the Supreme Court?” and “Should Michelle Obama run for President?” – and that is, “Do they even want to?” Would the Navy even want to deal with this?

    Yes, I’m confident that patriotic sailors are riled up and furious about this. But that’s not the same as the Department of the Navy wanting to step in and take a hand in the prosecution. So, don’t as me. Ask the Secretary of the Navy and/or the Admiral of the Fleet. If they are not enthusiastic (or even inr=terested), there’s your answer.

  5. The heck with guy. I signed up for enlisted naval nuke. Body didn’t want to be in classroom (should have been in army … but scores: classroom). Kids … under 21 … got nuclear career cut or taken away even before finishing school (A school for rating, power school and Idaho for on the job reactor training). Oh yeah bonus $$, well used for not freezing in Idaho and no on base housing 🤷🏽‍♂️🤷🏽‍♂️. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s and couldn’t lie or falsify records. (One of reasons navy has had only two incidents with nuclear vessels. & oh yeah us navy in general doesn’t lose ships because of training and standards. Eg. Iraq attack on navy ship in late 1980s. ). So. This fool and idiot. Adios. Oath to USA constitution and its ideals and laws.


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