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Indybay Feature

United States v Donald J Trump and Waltine Nauta: Read the Actual Indictment

by Dave Id
"I don't want anybody looking through my boxes" — Trump to his attorneys on May 23, 2022
sm_trump-maralago_boxes-of-document-by-a-toilet-and-in-a-shower.jpg
(From the federal indictment, photograph of boxes stored in a Mar-a-Lago bathroom. Note the boxes piled up behind the shower curtain, visible at the top right.)


The charges filed in the Department of Justice indictment on June 8, 2023, are:

• 31 charges of retaining and failing to deliver national defense documents, with Trump as defendant. Each of these charges is a separate document; according to the indictment, they included documentation of US nuclear weapons; foreign military attacks, plans, capabilities, and effects on US interests; foreign nuclear capabilities; foreign support for terrorist activity; communications with foreign leaders, attacks by foreign countries; US military activities; and White House daily foreign intelligence briefings. (Over 100 classified documents were seized in the August 2022 search of Mar-a-Lago.)

• 5 charges relating to withholding and concealing the documents, with Trump and Walt Nauta as co-defendants

• 2 charges of making false statements, one each for Trump and Nauta

Trump will surrender at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida for his arraignment on Tuesday, June 13.

Download and read the full indictment below for all of the lurid details (PDF)

----------------------------------------------

Who knows where the case will lead?

It's a strong and well-documented case of illegal retention of National Defense Information documents (Espionage Act violation) and obstruction of justice that almost anyone else would have been arrested for much quicker. The feds basically have Trump dead to rights.

Yet, the trial could be delayed until after the November 2024 election, at which point a republican president could pardon Trump before he's ever tried or convicted. If Trump loses the case and wins the next election himself, he could be serving time behind bars as the next president, or try to pardon himself.

If Aileen Cannon ends up as the trial judge, and runs interference for Trump with off-the-wall rulings like she did after the related FBI search of Mar-a-Lago in July 2022, she could see to it that voir dire, evidence exclusion, or any number of other procedural matters go in Trump's favor, tanking the prosecution.

And it only takes one juror to prevent a conviction. A jury could always vote to acquit. Trump could flee the country at any time on his private jet. Separately from the trial itself, MAGA psychopaths might kill any number of people over this.

Trump has never been held accountable for a single one of his many crimes throughout his entire life — and VIPs such as David Petraeus and Spiro Agnew walk away with slaps on the wrist while whistleblowers like Reality Winner are the ones sent to prison — so it's seems foolish for anyone to get their hopes up too high that criminal justice is finally coming for Trump.

----------------------------------------------

Special counsel Jack Smith's southern Florida grand jury indictment is what's known as a narrative or speaking indictment, meaning it goes beyond the mere statement of charges. It tells a story, and what a story. The feds have contemporaneous text messages, photos, audio recordings, notes, and testimony from multiple sources, including Trump's own lawyers and employees. And that's just what's in the indictment. Presumably, they have even more incriminating evidence to be used at trial.

Here are excerpts from pages 1-21 of the indictment (of 49 total), which covers the time of Trump's post-presidency shenanigans jerking around the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) through to the opening of an FBI criminal investigation, the convening of a federal grand jury, the issuing of a subpoena for the documents, and Trump's early discussions with his attorneys on how to deal with the subpoena. "Well what if we, what happens if we just don't respond at all or don't play ball with them?"


Jun 8, 2023

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DONALD J. TRUMP and
WALTINE NAUTA,
Defendants.

...

The classified documents TRUMP stored in his boxes included information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries; United States nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military, attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack.

...

TRUMP endeavored to obstruct the FBI and grand jury investigations and conceal his continued retention of classified documents by, among other things:

a. suggesting that his attorney falsely represent to the FBI and grand jury that TRUMP did not have documents called for by the grand jury subpoena;

b. directing defendant WALTINE NAUTA to move boxes of documents to conceal them from TRUMP's attorney, the FBI, and the grand jury;

c. suggesting that his attorney hide or destroy documents called for by the grand jury subpoena;

d. providing to the FBI and grand jury just some of the documents called for by the grand jury subpoena, while claiming that he was cooperating fully; and

e. causing a certification to be submitted to the FBI and grand jury falsely representing that all documents called for by the grand jury subpoena had been produced-while knowing that, in fact, not all such documents had been produced.

...

Between January 2021 and August 2022, The Mar-a-Lago Club hosted more than 150 social events, including weddings, movie premieres, and fundraisers that together drew tens of thousands of guests.

...

After his presidency, TRUMP was not authorized to possess or retain classified documents.

...

The Executive Branch Departments and Agencies Whose Classified Documents TRUMP Retained After His Presidency

After his presidency, TRUMP retained classified documents originated by, or implicating the equities of, multiple USIC members and other executive branch departments and agencies, including the following:

a. The Central Intelligence Agency ("CIA"). CIA was responsible for providing intelligence on foreign countries and global issues to the president and other policymakers to help them make national security decisions.

b. The Department of Defense ("DoD"). DoD was responsible for providing the military forces needed to deter war and ensure national security. Some of the executive branch agencies comprising the USIC were within DoD.

c. The National Security Agency. The National Security Agency was a combat support agency within DoD and a member of the USIC responsible for foreign signals intelligence and cybersecurity. This included collecting, processing, and disseminating to United States policymakers and military leaders foreign intelligence derived from communications and information systems; protecting national security systems; and enabling computer network operations.

d. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency was a combat support agency within DoD responsible for the exploitation and analysis of imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial information in support of the national security objectives of the United States and the geospatial intelligence requirements of DoD, the Department of State, and other federal agencies.

e. The National Reconnaissance Office. The National Reconnaissance Office was an agency within DoD responsible for developing, acquiring, launching, and operating space-based surveillance and reconnaissance systems that collected and delivered intelligence to enhance national security.

f. The Department of Energy. The Department of Energy was responsible for maintaining a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent to protect national security, including ensuring the effectiveness of the United States nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear explosive testing.

g. The Department of State and Bureau of lntelligence and Research. The Department of State was responsible for protecting and promoting United States security, prosperity, and democratic values. Within the Department of State, the Bureau of lntelligence and Research was a member of the USIC and responsible for providing intelligence to inform diplomacy and support United States diplomats.

...

TRUMP's Public Statements on Classified Information

As a candidate for President of the United States, TRUMP made the following public statements, among others, about classified information:

a. On August 18, 2016, TRUMP stated, "In my administration I'm going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information. No one will be above the law."

b. On September 6, 2016, TRUMP stated, "We also need to fight this battle by collecting intelligence and then protecting, protecting our classified secrets. . . . We can't have someone in the Oval Office who doesn't understand the meaning of the word confidential or classified."

c. On September 7, 2016, TRUMP stated, "[O]ne of the first things we must do is to enforce all classification rules and to enforce all laws relating to the handling of classified information."

d. On September 19, 2016, TRUMP stated, "We also need the best protection of classified information."

e. On November 3, 2016, TRUMP stated, "Service members here in North Carolina have risked their lives to acquire classified intelligence to protect our country."

As President of the United States, on July 26, 2018, TRUMP issued the following statement about classified information:

As the head of the executive branch and Commander in Chief, I have a unique, Constitutional responsibility to protect the Nation's classified information, including by controlling access to it.... More broadly, the issue of [a former executive branch official's] security clearance raises larger questions about the practice of former officials maintaining access to our Nation's most sensitive secrets long after their time in Government has ended. Such access is particularly inappropriate when former officials have transitioned into highly partisan positions and seek to use real or perceived access to sensitive information to validate their political attacks. Any access granted to our Nation's secrets should be in furtherance of national, not personal, interests.

TRUMP's Retention of Classified Documents After His Presidency

In January 2021, as he was preparing to leave the White House, TRUMP and his White House staff, including NAUTA, packed items, including some of TRUMP's boxes. TRUMP was personally involved in this process. TRUMP caused his boxes, containing hundreds of classified documents, to be transported from the White House to The Mar-a-Lago Club.

From January through March 15, 2021, some of TRUMP's boxes were stored in The Mar-a-Lago Club's White and Gold Ballroom, in which events and gatherings took place. TRUMP's boxes were for a time stacked on the ballroom's stage, as depicted in the photograph below (redacted to obscure an individual's identity).

In March 2021, NAUTA and others moved some of TRUMP's boxes from the White and Gold Ballroom to the business center at The Mar-a-Lago Club.

On April 5, 2021, an employee of The Office of Donald J. Trump ("Trump Employee ") texted another employee of that office ("Trump Employee 2") to ask whether TRUMP's boxes could be moved out of the business center to make room for staff to use it as an office. Trump Employee 2 replied, "Woah! ! Ok so potus specifically asked Walt for those boxes to be in the business center because they are his 'papers.'" Later that day, Trump Employee 1 and Trump Employee 2 exchanged the following text messages:

Trump Employee 2:
We can definitely make it work if we move his papers into the lake room?

Trump Employee 1:
There is still a little room in the shower where his other stuff is. Is it only his papers he cares about? Theres some other stuff in there that are not papers. Could that go to storage? Or does he want everything in there on property

Trump Employee 2:
Yes - anything that's not the beautiful mind paper boxes can definitely go to storage. Want to take a look at the space and start moving tomorrow AM?

After the text exchange between Trump Employee 1 and Trump Employee 2, in April 2021, some of TRUMP' s boxes were moved from the business center to a bathroom and shower in The Mar-a-Lago Club's Lake Room, as depicted in the photograph below.

In May 2021, TRUMP directed that a storage room on the ground floor of The Mar-a-Lago Club (the "Storage Room") be cleaned out so that it could be used to store his boxes. The hallway leading to the Storage Room could be reached from multiple outside entrances, including one accessible from The Mar-a-Lago Club pool patio through a doorway that was often kept open. The Storage Room was near the liquor supply closet, linen rooni, lock shop, and various other rooms.

On June 24, 2021, TRUMP's boxes that were in the Lake Room were moved to the Storage Room. After the move, there were more than 80 boxes in the Storage Room, as depicted in the photographs below.

On December 7, 2021, NAUTA found several of TRUMP's boxes fallen and their contents spilled onto the floor of the Storage Room, including a document marked "SECRET/ /REL TO USA, FVEY," which denoted that the information in the document was releasable only to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance consisting of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. NAUTA texted Trump Employee 2, "I opened the door and found this... " NAUTA also attached two photographs he took of the spill. Trump Employee 2 replied, "Oh no oh no," and "I'm sorry potus had my phone." One of the photographs NAUTA texted to Trump Employee 2 is depicted below with the visible classified information redacted. TRUMP's unlawful retention of this document is charged in Count 8 of this Indictment.

TRUMP's Disclosures of Classified Information in Private Meetings

In May 2021, TRUMP caused some of his boxes to be brought to his summer residence at the Bedminster Club. Like The Mar-a-Lago Club, after TRUMP's presidency, The Bedminster Club was not an authorized location for the storage, possession, review, display, or discussion of classified documents.

On July 21, 2021, when he was no longer president, TRUMP gave an interview in his office at The Bedminster Club to a writer and a publisher in connection with a then-forthcoming book. Two members of TRUMP's staff also attended the interview, which was recorded with TRUMP's knowledge and consent. Before the interview, the media had published reports that, at the end of TRUMP's term as president, a senior military official (the "Senior Military Official") purportedly feared that TRUMP might order an attack on Country A and that the Senior Military Official advised TRUMP against doing so.

Upon greeting the writer, publisher, and his two staff members, TRUMP stated, "Look what I found, this was [ the Senior Military Official's] plan of attack, read it and just show... it's interesting." Later in the interview, TRUMP engaged in the following exchange:

TRUMP: Well, with [the Senior Military Official]-uh, let me have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him. They presented me this-this is off the record, but-they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him.

WRITER: Wow.

TRUMP: We looked at some. This was him. This wasn't done by me, this was him. All sorts of stuff-pages long, look.

STAFFER: Mm.

TRUMP: Wait a minute, let's see here.

STAFFER: [Laughter] Yeah.

TRUMP: I just found, isn't that amazing? This totally wins my case, you know.

STAFFER: Mm-hm.

TRUMP: Except it is like, highly confidential.

STAFFER: Yeah. [Laughter]

TRUMP: Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this. You attack, and-

***

TRUMP: By the way. Isn't that incredible?

STAFFER: Yeah.

TRUMP: I was just thinking, because we were talking about it. And you know, he said, "he wanted to attack [Country A], and what ... "

STAFFER: You did.

TRUMP: This was done by the military and given to me. Uh,
I think we can probably, right?

STAFFER: I don't know, we'll, we'll have to see. Yeah, we'll
have to try to-

TRUMP: Declassify it.

STAFFER: -figure out a-yeah.

TRUMP: See as president I could have declassified it.

STAFFER: Yeah. [Laughter]

TRUMP: Now I can't, you know, but this is still a secret.

STAFFER: Yeah. [Laughter] Now we have a problem.

TRUMP: Isn't that interesting?

At the time of this exchange, the writer, the publisher, and TRUMP's two staff members did not have security clearances or any need-to-know any classified information about a plan of attack on Country A.

In August or September 2021, when he was no longer president, TRUMP met in his office at The Bedminster Club with a representative of his political action committee (the "PAC Representative"). During the meeting, TRUMP commented that an ongoing military operation in Country B was not going well. TRUMP showed the PAC Representative a classified map of Country B and told the PAC Representative that he should not be showing the map to the PAC Representative and to not get too close. The PAC Representative did not have a security clearance or any need-to-know classified information about the military operation.

On February 16, 2017, four years before TRUMP's disclosures of classified information set forth above, TRUMP said at a press conference:

The first thing I thought of when I heard about it is, how does the press get this information that's classified? How do they do it? You know why? Because it's an illegal process, and the press should be ashamed of themselves. But more importantly, the people that gave out the information to the press should be ashamed of themselves. Really ashamed.

...

TRUMP's Production of 15 Cardboard Boxes to the National Archives and Records Administration

Beginning in May 2021, the National Archives and Records Administration ("NARA"), which was responsible for archiving presidential records, repeatedly demanded that TRUMP turn over presidential records that he had kept after his presidency. On multiple occasions, beginning in June, NARA warned TRUMP through his representatives that if he did not comply, it would refer the matter of the missing records to the Department of Justice.

Between November 2021 and January 2022, NAUTA and Trump Employee 2 — at TRUMP's direction — brought boxes from the Storage Room to TRUMP's residence for TRUMP to review.

On November 12, 2021, Trump Employee 2 provided TRUMP a photograph of his boxes in the Storage Room by taping it to one of the boxes that Trump Employee 2 had placed in TRUMP's residence. Trump Employee 2 provided TRUMP the photograph so that TRUMP could see how many of his boxes were stored in the Storage Room. The photograph, shown below, depicted a wall of the Storage Room against which dozens of TRUMP' s boxes were stacked.

On November 17, 2021, NAUTA texted Trump Employee 2 about the photograph Trump Employee 2 had provided to TRUMP, stating, "He mentioned about a picture of the 'boxes' he wants me to see it?" Trump Employee 2 replied, "Calling you shortly."

On November 25, 2021, Trump Employee 2 texted NAUTA about TRUMP's review of the contents of his boxes, asking, "Has h~ mentioned boxes to you? I delivered some, but I think he may need more. Could you ask if he'd like more in pine hall?" Pine Hall was an entry room in TRUMP's residence. NAUTA replied in three successive text messages:

Nothing about boxes yet

He has one he's working on in pine hall

Knocked out 2 boxes yesterday

On November 29, 2021, Trump Employee 2 texted NAUTA, asking, "Next you are on property (no rush) could you help me bring 4 more boxes up?". NAUTA replied, "Yes!! Of course."

On December 29, 2021, Trump Employee 2 texted a TRUMP representative who was in contact with NARA ("Trump Representative l "), "box answer will be wrenched out of him today, promise!" The next day, Trump Representative 1 replied in two successive text messages:

Hey - Just checking on Boxes ...

would love to have a number to them today

Trump Employee 2 spoke to TRUMP and then responded a few hours later in two successive text messages:

12

Is his number

On January 13, 2022, NAUTA ltexted Trump Employee 2 about TRUMP's "tracking" of boxes, stating, "He's tracking the boxes, more to follow today on whether he wants to go through more today or tomorrow." Trump Employee 2 replied, "Thank you!"

On January 15, 2022, NAUTA sent Trump Employee 2 four successive text messages:

One thing he asked

Was for new covers for the boxes, for Monday m.

Morning

*can we get new box covers before giving these to them on Monday? They have too much writing on them . .! marked too much

Trump Employee 2 replied, "Yes, I will get that!"

On January 17, 2022, Trump Employee 2 and NAUTA gathered 15 boxes from TRUMP's residence, loaded the boxes in NAUTA's car, and took them to a commercial truck for delivery to NARA.

When interviewed by the FBI in May 2022 regarding the location and movement of boxes before the production to NARA, NAUTA made false and misleading statements as set forth in Count 38 of this Indictment, including:

a. falsely stating that he was not aware of TRUMP's boxes being brought to TRUMP's residence for his review before TRUMP provided 15 boxes to NARA in January 2022;

b. falsely stating that he did not know how the boxes that he and Trump Employee 2 brought from TRUMP's residence to the commercial truck for delivery to NARA on January 17, 2022, had gotten to the residence; and

c. when asked whether he knew where TRUMP' s boxes had been stored, before they were in TRUMP's residence and whether they had been in a secure or locked location, NAUTA falsely responded, "I wish, I wish I could tell you. I don't know. I don't-I honestly just don't know."

When the 15 boxes that TRUMP had provided reached NARA in January 2022, NARA reviewed the contents and determined that 14 of the boxes contained documents with classification markings. Specifically, as the FBI later determined, the boxes contained 197 documents with classification markings, of which 98 were marked "SECRET," 30 were marked "TOP SECRET," and the remainder were marked "CONFIDENTIAL." Some of those documents also contained SCI and SAP markings.

On February 9, 2022, NARA referred the discovery of classified documents in TRUMP's boxes to the Department of Justice for investigation.

The FBI and Grand Jury Investigations

On March 30, 2022, the FBI opened a criminal investigation.

On April 26, 2022, a federal grand jury opened an investigation.

The Defendants' Concealment of Boxes

On May 11, 2022, the grand jury issued a subpoena (the "May 11 Subpoena") to The Office of Donald J. Trump requiring the production of all documents with classification markings in the possession, custody, or control of TRUMP or The Office of Donald J. Trump.
Two attorneys representing TRUMP ("Trump Attorney 1" and "Trump Attorney 2") informed TRUMP of the May 11 Subpoena, and he authorized Trump Attorney 1 to accept service.

On May 22, 2022, NAUTA entered the Storage Room at 3:47 p.m. and left approximately 34 minutes later, carrying one of TRUMP's boxes.

On May 23, 2022, TRUMP met with Trump Attorney 1 and Trump Attorney 2 at The Mar-a-Lago Club to discuss the response to the May 11 Subpoena. Trump Attorney 1 and Trump Attorney 2 told TRUMP that they needed to search for documents that would be responsive to the subpoena and provide a certification that there had been compliance with the subpoena. TRUMP, in sum and substance, made the following statements, among others, as memorialized by Trump Attorney 1:

a. I don't want anybody looking, I don't want anybody looking through my boxes, I really don't, I don't want you looking through my boxes.

b. Well what if we, what happens if we just don't respond at all or don't play ball with them?

c. Wouldn't it be better if we just told them we don't have anything here?

d. Well look isn't it better if there are no documents?

...

----------------------------------------------

Download and read the full indictment below for all of the lurid details.
§Full DOJ indictment
by Dave Id
doj-indictment-trump_2023-june-08.pdf_600_.jpg
(49-page PDF)
§Boxes in a public ballroom at Mar-a-Lago
by Dave Id
sm_trump-boxes_maralogo-ballroom-stage.jpg
This photograph from the indictment shows boxes of records being stored on the stage in the White and Gold Ballroom at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Help yourself anyone.
sm_trump-boxes_spilled-contents.jpg
This photograph from the indictment shows boxes of records in a storage room with contents spilled out onto the floor. Oopsy.

The classified document which is redacted in this photo is marked "SECRET//REL TO USA, FVEY," which denotes that the information was releasable only to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance consisting of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. (Or any Mar-a-Lago guest, or international spy, who happened upon it.)
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