Feds tighten the noose on Trump, probe alleged mishandling of ‘classified’ map at Mar-a-Lago

Federal investigators are reportedly trying to determine whether former President Donald Trump showed off a map that contained classified information to several aides and visitors after leaving office.

“One person briefed on the matter said investigators have asked about Mr. Trump showing the map while aboard a plane. Another said that, based on the questions they were asking, investigators appeared to believe that Mr. Trump showed the map to at least one adviser after leaving office,” The New York Times reported Wednesday.

A third individual with “knowledge of the investigation” added that Trump may have also shown the map to a journalist who’d been writing a book.

There are also rumors that Trump had shown the map to political donors.

According to the Times, determining whether Trump shared this map, as well as other classified materials, is “crucial” to the feds’ ongoing investigation into his classified documents scandal.

According to New York University Law Prof. Ryan Goodman, the fact that the feds are so concerned about the map is a sign they’re thinking of charging him under the Espionage Act.

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg concurs.

“I think the reason that they asked about the map is another statute, 18 USC 719 (e), ‘The Espionage Statute,’ says that someone who is unauthorized to have possession of a map and then shows it to someone who can’t see it violates that statute,” Aronberg told MSNBC in the clip below.

“So, they’re not just going after him for obstruction, but also espionage, which is punishable by up to ten years in prison. That’s why there’s a lot of trouble ahead,” he added.

Meanwhile, zealous anti-Trump attorney George Conway told MSNBC early Thursday morning that the whole classified documents affair is “the shortest distance between Donald John Trump and an orange jumpsuit.”

“If he was moving documents around himself, if he was trying to hide them so he could show them off to people, well, you know, that’s obstruction of justice, even apart from the illegal retention of the documents, which he essentially stole from the American people because he just claimed they belonged to him when they didn’t,” Conway said.


All this said, some critics like professor Heidi Kitrosser of Northwestern University argue that what’s happening to Trump at the moment provides a perfect opportunity to nix the widely panned Espionage Act.

“[T]he Trump saga highlights the act’s extraordinary breadth and the consequent need for reform. Section 793(d) effectively draws no distinction between a spy, a whistleblower, and a former president who hoards highly sensitive national security information for his own amusement or private gain. Worse still, § 793(e), which largely mirrors § 793(d) but applies to those with unauthorized access to information, opens the door to prosecuting journalists,” she wrote last year for Lawfare.

“As president, Trump happily embraced the Espionage Act’s breadth, outpacing even his prolific predecessor in initiating Espionage Act prosecutions for alleged leaks of information to the media. It would be ironic were his own legal travails—however unsympathetic the facts of his case may be—to spark a long overdue reassessment of the act,” she added.

Dovetailing back to the investigation, another crucial concern involves determining why exactly the former president had stored so much classified content at his Mar-a-Lago estate. The feds are also trying to decipher what days he’d been at the estate.

“In particular, they [are] interested in whether he remained at Mar-a-Lago to look at boxes of material that were still stored there before Justice Department counterintelligence officials seeking their return came to visit in early June,” according to the Times.

All this comes despite claims from Trump and his more ardent supporters that he did nothing wrong — and that the so-called “classified” documents and maps he’d allegedly shared with others had already been declassified by him.

Speaking on Fox News’ “Hannity” last September, the former president was asked to provide evidence that he’s declassified the documents.

“There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it. You’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified, even by thinking about it,” he replied.


But others say he’s missing the point, which is that he allegedly showed the classified documents around after he left office.

“As president, Trump could have shown the map to anyone he wanted. Hell, he could have tweeted it with zero criminal consequences. But he was showing this map to people in his post-presidency,” journalist Yashar Ali noted in a tweet.



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Vivek Saxena


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