File this under Zero Surprise. Donald Trump responded on Truth Social and X to the ABC News story that he divulged national security secrets to billionaire Anthony Pratt at Mar-a-Lago. As usual, he’s innocent, it’s all part of a plot.

There you have it, Trump’s fantasy vision. Everything you’re going to see from now until November, 2024, will be nothing more than a rinse and repeat of this basic mantra.

Trump spoke with Pratt at Mar-a-Lago in April, 2021. So here was the scene: Trump was in exile at his winter palace, or so he saw it. He was talking about sensitive national security matters and stacking up boxes of classified documents that should not have been at his residence in the first place.

Then, NARA asked for everything back, Trump ignored them and the FBI executed a search warrant on August 8, 2022. There is no way for us to know, although hopefully Jack Smith has been able to piece together, who Trump talked to about top secret matters and what, if any, documents that he left Washington, D.C. with, got photocopied, read, or otherwise transmitted into the wrong hands.

So as usual, we have the blanket disclaimer. The only problem is that there are all those witnesses who can corroborate that Pratt is telling the truth and Trump is lying. Isn’t that always the case?

Forty of the 91 counts he faces are in the classified documents handling case that Aileen Cannon is assigned to. Maybe Jack Smith is giving Cannon enough rope to hang herself. She certainly seems to be doing Trump’s bidding.

Several legal analysts told Newsweek that Cannon is not experienced enough to handle such a major case. However, one said that it would be very difficult for prosecutors to have her removed from the case.

In a motion filed late on Wednesday, Trump’s lawyers urged Cannon to delay the trial until at least mid-November 2024. The judge is now under pressure from both sides of the political fence, having been attacked for her alleged pro-Trump rulings.

Legal submissions by Trump’s lawyers this week claim there have been delays in obtaining the classified records cited in Special Counsel Jack Smith‘s indictment.
“Given the current schedule, we cannot understate the prejudice to President Trump arising from his lack of access to these critical materials months after they should have been produced,” this week’s defense motion stated.

“The Special Counsel’s Office has not provided some of the most basic discovery in the case,” it added.

Prosecutors last week accepted that there had been a “slightly longer than anticipated timeframe” in the case, but said that was no reason for an adjournment. They added that, by today, Friday, they will provide much of the remaining outstanding classified evidence. […]

In a decision last year, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals criticized Cannon for granting Trump’s request that the government be blocked from using the evidence it obtained from the Republican’s Mar-a-Lago residence to advance its investigation.

The appeal court said Trump had failed to provide adequate information upon which she could base a decision, yet “the district court [Cannon] was undeterred by this lack of information.”

And yes, it is difficult to remove a judge but not impossible.

“Smith might well want to wait and see how Cannon handles some of the sensitive issues regarding the handling of classified documents. If her resolution of those questions looks like deliberate slow-walking or obstructionism, that might be the time to raise the question whether her ‘impartiality might reasonably be questioned.'”

If I had to bet, it would be that Cannon will continue to tip her hand and show that she’s biased. Plus, one thing we know about Jack Smith: he doesn’t rush anything. He won’t move until he’s certain he can be effective. As they say, “when you shoot at the King, you can’t miss.”

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  1. Why does Trump’s defense squad actually need to READ what is in classified documents? He was charged with taking them without the authority to do so and refusing to return them (isn’t that the definition of ‘theft’?) and the actual contents are irrelevant to that

  2. There is an urge in most of us, sometimes almost irresistable to known secrets. Of course, sometimes we learn things, especially when confided in that we wish we’d never learned but the point is that most people think it’s cool to be “really in the know” about things that most people aren’t. To be in some exclusive club so to speak.

    THAT is the feeling I get about Trump’s attorney’s and to a degree Trump himself. His “very fine brain” isn’t really the steel trap he imagines and he probably wants to be able to see some of the really juicy stuff whenever he wants, or in this case try to sneak his phone to take pics so he can refer to documents later. But the plain fact is that for trial, highly classified documents have to be redacted to some degree, in some cases a great deal. ONLY enough should be visible to those using (lawyers, jurors, even the judge) them as trial exhibits can reasonably determine that yes, the classification marking is appropriate.

    What matters are those BIG BLOCK RED LETTERS on each page (and the cover) indicating the classification level. National Security experts from the govt. can attest under oath just how sensitive the unredacted version is. A defense lawyer will in such trials question those witnesses credibility and state or imply bias – “they work for the govt. and it’s the govt. prosecuting my client” crap. However in the end these people are pros and can handle such assaults on their integrity. Even from a lapdog judge.

    That’s why this whole crap about “how complicated” this case is, helped by the media starting 2-3 weeks after the arraignment is complete bullshit. Yes, there is an enormous amount of discover BUT it covers the whole saga of all the stuff Trump stole on his way out the door and attempts by NARA to get it back. Some, and I emphasize SOME of that matters for this trial but when you get down to it Smith’s prosecution is only over forty documents (out of at least ten times that, we don’t know how many classified documents were taken but eventually we’ll get a number, or at least a number of those eventually returned to the govt.) and only for a rather narrow time frame – that window from June 22 when Team Trump sent that affidavit (that only one of the lawyers signed) saying everything had (finally) been given back and when the search (it wasn’t a RAID! It was a proper search conducted during normal hours with Trump’s lawyers present) and that’s why Smith’s team gave the defense the “roadmap” of what they’d actually present in court and tabbed the discovery to help the defense to prepare.

    All the “complicated” is pure, unadulterated bullshit. If you remember, prior to the FL indictment and for those first couple of weeks the line in the news was that Smith was (as he did) going to craft a narrow case, small enough in scope that it could be brought to trial by the end of this year. It was only after news bosses decided to issue marching orders that narrative changed. But the plain fact is that it’s the classification of the items for which Trump is being prosecuted and the fact that his case is limited to only forty items of what he said had been returned in June but hadn’t been. With a fair and impartial judge this case WOULD be headed to trial in December and even with a break for Christmas (if needed) we’d have a verdict before middle January, 2024.

  3. So, did Trump–in all his protestations of innocence–ever explain how the prosecutors could make up such a convincing story involving one SPECIFIC individual? And what exactly would’ve led the “prosecutors” to talk to this one SPECIFIC individual about his discussion with Trump or the subject of their talk? Are we supposed to believe that Smith and his team scoured the Mar-a-Lago visitors log and registry to find this one SPECIFIC individual and he just happened to mention the subject of submarines (I know when I talk to people, the subject of submarines comes up all the time–I just can’t escape it) during the questioning?

    Sounds to me like Trump didn’t pay Mr Pratt enough to keep his mouth shut. Maybe a lifetime free pass to all Trump properties might’ve been “worth” it (unless/until Mr Pratt found himself facing some prison time for “obstruction of justice”).


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