Trump attorney James Trusty blasted the Justice Department for ignoring his client’s claims of privilege, saying the department is looking for an obstacle angle that “just isn’t there.”
Trusty affirmed former President Donald Trump’s innocence in the DOJ’s investigation into his handling of classified documents found in Mar-a-Lago on Sunday. He also assured host Chuck Todd that he was confident no copies of the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago had been made.
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“They don’t respect any privilege that President Trump possesses and are desperate to find an obstacle angle that just isn’t there,” Trusty said on NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd. “This has a lazy underpinning in terms of politicizing bureaucrats followed by an overly eager DOJ to criminalize what is not a crime.”
Last January, the National Archives and Records Administration picked up 15 boxes from Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago resort and club in Palm Beach, Florida. After discovering documents with secret markings, officials escalated the matter to the Justice Department, which launched an investigation.
“I believe it took 18 years for Nixon’s tapes to finally get to NARA, so there is a delay built into the process as they negotiate in good faith. In this case, NARA was overly sensitive,” Trusty argued. “They skipped right past it with a very happy and willing DOJ.”
In August last year, the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and seized additional footage in a move that followed months of back-and-forth with Trump’s team. At one point prior to the raid, a lawyer for Trump certified that to the best of her knowledge, all related documents were released.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Special Counsel Jack Smith to lead the DOJ investigation focused on Mar-a-Lago as well as the investigation related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Recent reports indicated that Secret Service agents were willing to testify before this investigation and that Smith was targeting one of Trump’s attorneys.
“The President has every right to be frustrated at being politically attacked. I mean, we’re crossing a Rubicon,” Trusty said.
In total, the authorities secured more than 300 classified documents from Mar-a-Lago. Trusty wholeheartedly denied the possibility that Trump packed boxes at Mar-a-Lago, although he recently told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he had “the right” to do so.
“I mean, anyone in their right mind really thinks that Donald Trump, when he was President, came to Mar-a-Lago, I guess in January, and said, ‘Hey, these are the boxes, that I packed. Let’s be careful with those,’” Trusty said. “He points out that it is not illegal for a president to have such documents.”
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Trump has vehemently denied wrongdoing and has insisted a president can declassify documents just by thinking about them. Sensitive material was also found at President Joe Biden’s Delaware home and an office at the Penn-Biden Center, as well as at the residence of former Vice President Mike Pence.
Last week, Trump was indicted on a 34-count indictment by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. He is also pending a criminal investigation in Fulton County, Georgia, and elsewhere.