- Trump’s lawyer compared keeping classified documents at Mar-a-Lago to not returning a “library book late.”
- He made the comparison to a federal district court judge on Thursday, according to the Lawfare legal blog.
- The DOJ is investigating whether Trump violated federal laws when he brought classified documents to Mar-a-Lago.
A lawyer representing former President Donald Trump has likened the retention of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago to failing to return an “overdue library book.”
According to the legal blog Lawfare’s summary of proceedings at a federal courthouse in Palm Beach, Florida, on Thursday, Trump’s attorney, Jim Trusty, tried to convince a judge that the investigation into Trump’s mishandling of documents classified was overhyped.
Trusty reportedly complained about how the dispute between the former president and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) had turned into a “criminal investigation”. He likened the situation to a spat over an “overdue library book” turned into a criminal case, Lawfare reported.
Continuing the criminal investigation, Trusty argued, would cause “irreparable harm” to Trump and the institution of the presidency, according to Lawfare. Trusty made the same library book comparison on Fox News earlier this week, according to the Independent.
The dispute between NARA and Trump, which Trusty referred to, began in 2021. NARA, responsible for preserving presidential records, alerted Trump’s team to the missing material in May 2021, according to The New York Times. The archives continued to seek their return for several months, the newspaper said, before 15 boxes containing sensitive information were finally recovered in January 2022.
In February, NARA asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether Trump broke the law when he took boxes of official White House documents with him to Mar-a-Lago. Over the next few months, this led to investigators obtaining subpoenas, with Attorney General Merrick authorizing a search at Mar-a-Lago and the subsequent raid by FBI agents in August.
Federal agents uncovered more than 10,000 government documents at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, according to a recently released inventory.
The DOJ is investigating whether Trump violated three federal laws, including the Espionage Act, when he took classified documents to his Florida property. According to a former senior counterintelligence official, the investigations appear to be moving toward criminal charges against Trump, Insider’s Tom Porter reported.
But Trusty isn’t the only Trump ally to downplay the investigation and the potential legal issues facing the former president. Insider reported that Jared Kushner told Sky News the investigation “appears to be a paperwork issue”.