The new reports that want Donald Trump to have been the one to pack the first 15 boxes that were given back to the National Archives which instigated the investigation by the Justice Department could potentially strengthen the government’s case in any potential prosecution of the former President.
This information was published in the Washington Post on Monday, it also included details about how Alex Cannon, one of Trump’s attorneys did not certify that Trump had returned all of the government stored at Mar-a-Lago.
Cannon had also told them that they should not look through the rest of the boxes as there might be classified documents within them. Outside of the indication that Trump’s staff possibly suspected that not all of the documents had been returned, there are also reports of Trump being the one who directly handled all of the records. This could also mean that Trump actively chose which documents should still be stored at home regardless of the government orders.
This can also be used as a counterargument to Trump’s claims that all of the documents stored at home were declassified. This is also something that Trump’s lawyers have so far refused to claim or provide evidence for in court.
Ryan Goodman, co-director of the Reiss Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law, said that if Trump was indeed the one to pack the documents, then the Justice Department can more easily claim that Trump personally knew what documents were there and was actively trying to conceal them.
The search warrant for Trump’s property indicates that the Justice Department suspected that some records had been mishandled and that this violated statutes regarding the handling of government records and the Espionage Act. The FBI raid into Trump’s estate seized over 100 documents of varying classification levels.