- Trump’s lawyer likened keeping classified documents at Mar-a-Lago to not returning an “overdue library book.”
- He made the comparison to a federal district court judge, on Thursday, per the legal blog Lawfare.
- The DOJ is investigating if Trump broke federal laws when he took classified documents to Mar-a-Lago.
An attorney representing former President Donald Trump likened keeping classified documents at Mar-a-Lago to failing to return an “overdue library book.”
According to the legal blog Lawfare’s rundown 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 classified documents 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 “criminalized investigation.” He likened the situation to a spat over an “overdue library book” being turned into a criminal matter, Lawfare reported.
Furthering the criminal investigation, Trusty argued, would cause “irreparable harm” to Trump and the institution of the presidency, per Lawfare. Trusty made the same library book comparison on Fox News earlier this week, according to the Independent.
The dispute between the NARA and Trump, which Trusty referred to, began in 2021. The NARA, responsible for the safekeeping of presidential records, alerted Trump’s team to missing material in May 2021, per The New York Times. The archives continued to request their return for several months, the newspaper said, before 15 boxes containing sensitive information were eventually retrieved in January 2022.
In February, the NARA asked the Department of Justice to launch a criminal investigation into whether Trump had broken the law when he took boxes of official White House documents to Mar-a-Lago with him. In the following months, this led to investigators obtaining subpoenas, Attorney General Merrick authorizing a search of Mar-a-Lago, and the subsequent raid by FBI agents in August.
Federal agents discovered more than 10,000 government documents at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, according to a newly released inventory.
The DOJ is investigating if Trump broke three federal laws, including the Espionage Act, when he took classified documents to his Florida property. According to a former top counterintelligence official, the investigations appear to be moving toward criminal charges for Trump, Insider’s Tom Porter reported.
But Trusty is not the only Trump ally downplaying the investigation and the potential legal troubles facing the former president. Insider reported that Jared Kushner told Sky News that the investigation “seems like it’s an issue of paperwork.”