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[–]Qu1nlanCalifornia[M] [score hidden] stickied comment (0 children)

Thanks for coming to the AMA, WaPo and everyone who asked questions! We're locking the comments now to conserve moderation resources and save the AMA for posterity.

[–]Comments_Wyoming I voted 125 points126 points  (2 children)

How did he get so many high level documents to Maralago? There is supposed to be a chain of custody where even one classified folder should never be unaccounted for, much less dozens. Did Trump have accomplices at NARA do a smash and grab before he left office? Are the people currently still in control of top level secrets being investigated also?

[–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 156 points157 points  (1 child)

From Jacqueline Alemany:

We have not figured that one out. But I can definitely say that Trump did not have “accomplices” at the Archives. Most of the archivists we have spoken with throughout the course of our investigation over the past seven months feel that Trump’s mishandling of documents is anathema to what they do, which is to preserve and secure documents and records.

Something a former acting Archivist Trudy Peterson told me in a conversation best captured the essence of NARA’s mission — and why Trump’s treatment of presidential records and classified materials is so problematic: “Without the preservation of the records of government, and without access to them, you can’t have an informed population, and without an informed population, you lack one of the basic tools to preserving democracy.”

There’s also a national security component to the discussion here, too. The government’s record keeping practices essentially provide a dashboard for the U.S. government to function and make decisions. Without some of these documents, the decision making processes could be impaired or incomplete. Especially when there is a transfer of power from one administration to the next, the new administration relies on having a complete set of materials and tools at their disposal to ensure continuity of U.S. policy.

Back to the question of how so many high level documents got to Mar-a-Lago… We do know that Trump flouted and rejected the record keeping practices of the White House office of records management (known as WHORM) for years. This is an office that sits inside the White House to keep track of the flurry of documents that live in the building. WHORM transfers most of the presidential records to the Archives during a transfer of power. While he was reminded by his White House counsel and top aides of the Presidential Records Act and was required by law to properly handle these records, along with classified information, he found ways around it. He would keep materials in his residence, fail to return items, and consistency carried around boxes that we were told he used as his unofficial record keeping system.

“Any documents that made it to the White House residence were these boxes Trump carried around with him,” Stephanie Grisham, a former senior White House staffer, told us for a piece we worked on last month. “Usually the body man would have brought them upstairs for Trump or someone from the outer-Oval at the end of the day. They would get handed off to the residence and just disappear.”

[–]PooblesTheHobo 94 points95 points  (0 children)

I love the idea that there's like crazy amounts of security around these secrets until some random guy picks them up and drops em off for Donny.

[–]amatrip123 218 points219 points  (3 children)

Who packed the boxes?

[–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 323 points324 points  (0 children)

From Jacqueline Alemany:

This is an excellent question and one we are still pursuing answers to. When we first reported that the National Archives recovered 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago in January, we reported that Trump was noticeably secretive and had overseen the packing process himself with great secrecy, according to people familiar with the process. Even top aides and longtime administrative staffers did not see the contents inside the boxes, these people said.

When Archives employees began opening up and sifting through the first recovery of material, they noticed an immediate problem with these boxes: they were missing any kind of inventory to describe their content, according to a person familiar with the recovery. Instead, they contained a hodgepodge of documents, including some that didn’t even come from Trump’s time in the White House.

We also are unsure of who initially packed the boxes at the White House to be transported to Mar-a-Lago but we have reported that Trump’s lawyers were notified in the days before he left office that two dozen boxes of records identified in his residence were supposed to be returned to records management personnel and never were.

“It is also our understanding that roughly two dozen boxes of original presidential records were kept in the Residence of the White House over the course of President Trump’s last year in office and have not been transferred to NARA, despite a determination by Pat Cipollone in the final days of the administration that they need to be,” wrote Gary Stern, the agency’s chief counsel, in an email to Trump lawyers in May 2021, according to a copy reviewed by The Washington Post.

[–]Gullible-Order3048 85 points86 points  (1 child)

When you receive a leak as explosive as "ex-president had foreign nuclear secrets kept at his residence", what sort of vetting do you do on the source of these leaks? I am assuming this source must be extremely credible if you are able to hang your proverbial hat on the story you published.

You don't publish this story unless you are 100% sure it is credible. Am I correct in thinking this?

[–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 132 points133 points  (0 children)

From Jacqueline Alemany:

These questions are so good and give us the opportunity to open the door a bit to some of our processes that I know can seem opaque and confusing to people at times. We strive for 100 percent accuracy and only publish information that we are sure is 100 percent credible and rock solid. At a minimum, we mostly require two credible sources on any piece of information we are putting out into the universe. Sometimes we obtain information in other ways — via a transcript, audio recording, etc. In that case, we have a process to verify that the document or item and the source who provided it to us to ensure we are reporting real and accurate information. We take our responsibility of protecting our sources extremely seriously which means not revealing anything about the source that they do not wish to be revealed. So during the editing process, if we are working with other reporters on a story, our editor ensures that we do not have duplicative sources. Even information that comes to us on the record — meaning that we can clearly attribute where a piece of information is coming from — needs to be verified.

[–]Nova-Drone 1533 points1534 points  (64 children)

He gonna go to jail or what?

[–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 840 points841 points  (61 children)

From Perry Stein:

That's a question a lot of people want answered! But I don't think anyone actually knows what's going to happen. Justice Department lawyers said last month that they are still in the early stages of this investigation so there's potentially a long way to go until there's any conclusion.

One other thing to keep in mind: A few weeks ago Chuck Rosenberg, a former U.S. attorney attorney and senior FBI official, told my colleagues that the evidence would need to meet a higher threshold than would be necessary in a typical case.

An excerpt from the hyperlinked piece (From Angel, The Post's reddit guy): Newly public details from the Justice Department’s criminal probe of documents taken to Mar-a-Lago suggest enormous legal peril for two of Donald Trump’s attorneys — and considerable uncertainty for Trump himself, intelligence and legal experts said.

There’s no way to predict whether the Justice Department will ultimately pursue charges against the former president or his associates. But in a court filing Tuesday night, government lawyers recounted numerous instances in which Trump’s lawyers allegedly misled government officials during the investigation, and in which Trump or his team appear to have haphazardly handled materials that contained national security secrets.

[–]roleparadise 137 points138 points  (12 children)

I know it's impossible to give an exact answer, but by "a long time" are we talking months? Seasons? Years?

[–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 242 points243 points  (9 children)

From Perry Stein:

The Justice Department has said that they have conducted this investigation by the books -- and we haven't seen any indication that they haven't. The judge ruled in Trump's favor in his request for a special master, but she also noted that -- contrary to Trumps' lawyers claims -- “there has not been a compelling showing of callous disregard for Plaintiff’s constitutional rights”

On to the election part of your question: The Justice Department typically enters its traditional 60-day “blackout” period ahead of elections. (2024 is a long ways off, but the midterm election blackout period is about to begin.) During this time, the department typically refrains from taking public steps in politically related cases — such as executing a search warrant or indicting someone — that could be perceived as politically motivated and could affect the results of the election.

[–][deleted] 333 points334 points  (0 children)

During this time, the department typically refrains from taking public steps in politically related cases — such as executing a search warrant or indicting someone — that could be perceived as politically motivated and could affect the results of the election.

LOL, someone tell Hillary that.

Just more bullshit.

[–]Clever4name 842 points843 points  (1 child)

Don’t give us that blackout bs. I remember quite fking well what they did to Hillary. So if there is indeed a Clinton standard, let it be that these announcements can be made two weeks before Election Day.

[–]roleparadise 46 points47 points  (0 children)

I would expect doing that would help the Republicans more than the Democrats. Knee-jerk reaction to being "persecuted".

[–]jupiterkansas 189 points190 points  (0 children)

Have they considered that NOT doing something could affect the results of the election?

[–]wrecked_angle 201 points202 points  (4 children)

So if the Republicans take the House and Senate , all of this goes away and we’re screwed?

[–]roleparadise 62 points63 points  (0 children)

No, this is a Department of Justice (executive branch) investigation. The house and Senate (legislative branch) would have to pass legislation in order to stop the investigation. Which won't happen because even if Republicans win House and Senate, they won't have enough to overcome the filibuster or Biden's veto pen.

[–]MindfuckRocketshipAlaska 4233 points4234 points  (17 children)

I held a secret clearance in the army (and I’m a former Republican). If ANYONE in the armed forces did this with even one special access program top secret document they’d be put away for life so fast their heads would spin. The fact that prison time isn’t a near certainty is blood boiling. We already know the asshole broke deadly serious laws in the most egregious manner possible. If Trump isn’t indicted, tried, convicted, and imprisoned for the rest of his life, it would be the biggest injustice in the history of the United States and give a green light for the GOP to continue their march toward fascism. I’m fucking livid. Every American should be livid.

[–]ALargePianist 133 points134 points  (1 child)

Its frustrating dealing with the unfairness of going to Chipotle, and being told they are out of guac, only to see the next person in line getting a brand new container of guac opened just for them. "Wow, they get guac and I dont?" but thats the end of it, I didnt get guac.

But when theres a "You will lsoe your entire life and have to spend the next 50 years in a small box if you do this" and then you watch someone do it and the same authority figures just go "*shrug*".

I havent had anywhere near secret clearance and my blood is boiling at the hypocrisy without any explaination. I cant understand the scope and scale of this. how is it SO inverted?

You kill one person with a gun, you go to jail for life. But if you mow down a few thousand with an automatic weapon, would we just sit and wait a few years to prosecute them? The more serious the offense, the more serious the response.

But this is entirely inverted

[–]CarmineFields 105 points106 points  (0 children)

This reminds me of Reality Winner. She did something kind of dumb with the intent to help her country and she goes to jail.

Trump stole other countries’ nuclear secrets and fucking nothing.

[–]Budget_Llama_Shoes 495 points496 points  (3 children)

I’m in the same category as you. I’ve been in SCIFs multiple times. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING enters or leaves the SCIF without a series of signatures and protocol. Not only is this an egregious crime, but the SCIF wasn’t unmanned. Someone was there when the documents were taken. There are rosters and accountability processes which I guarantee are being scrutinized as we speak. “I was just following orders,” isn’t going to cut it with derivative classification authority.

[–][deleted] 322 points323 points  (1 child)

I guarantee you if you ask that traitor who was manning the SCIF at the time, they’ll tell you the “election was stolen” and Trump is still his Commander in Chief.

The military should be, getting rid of sycophants. Kicking those Covid shot refusers out wasn’t enough.

[–]Budget_Llama_Shoes 153 points154 points  (0 children)

I’m sure they will, but the buck has to stop somewhere. Check the roster, if it’s missing, find the commander in charge of it. Then their commander. Then THEIR commander. For reference(for everyone else), if a Soldier gets a DUI on a Saturday, his leaders, up to the Battalion Commander (3-5 levels of leadership) all have to stand on the carpet and explain it to their boss. I’m not saying that a DUI is okay, but in perspective to top secret spillage, no one in that chain of command is safe, to include the Commander in Chief, or in this case former CIC.

[–][deleted] 86 points87 points  (0 children)

I guarantee are being scrutinized as we speak.

Sorry, but I don't believe you. 6 years of this bullshit kinda makes me think that everyone in government is just in CYA mode and doing as little as possible to get by.

[–]Ontheroadtw 304 points305 points  (1 child)

What republicans(Barr and others) are saying is “what kind of precedent would this set if a former potus can be investigated and put in jail?”

Umm maybe don’t abuse your position and commit crimes because you think you’re invincible which is exactly why trump does what he does. Either we’re a country with laws or we’re not.

No one is above the law.

[–]momofcoders 203 points204 points  (0 children)

What precedent are we as a nation of laws setting if a former president cannot even be investigated for apparent crime or crimes, simply because he was once president?

What precedent do we set, if while president he/she breaks the laws the rest of us have to abide by, and there are no consequences?

Wouldn't it just make the presidency the ultimate gold ring for powerful, well connected, white collar criminals who know they will never be held to account?

The bar for conduct should be higher, not lower. Why even have laws if those making them don't have to abide by them, themselves?

There should never be political prosecutions by either party, but there should also never be a hands off approach when evidence of wrong doing is clear as day.

Terrible precedent if, in this case, with the evidence as it stands that he cannot even be investigated, let alone charged if that's where the evidence led.

Yes. No. One. Is. Above. The. Law.

[–]PiperMorgan 70 points71 points  (1 child)

yeah. and there's quickly becoming an issue where normal non-violent people are watching our democracy taken from us unjustly.

so, just like the maga crowd got violent at the idea of a stolen election, now we'll have the other side getting ready to get violent about our democracy being stolen.

i want none of that violence. but without laws being enforced what else is there?

we're all livid. and we get this:

Justice Department lawyers said last month that they are still in the early stages of this investigation...

early stages?

i'm getting to the point where Merrick has to go. at this rate trump will die of old age before he's even charged.

[–][deleted] 74 points75 points  (0 children)

Yeah early stages. They found him with illegal material red handed but they still need another 10 years to figure out if their balls still exist and are functional enough to do anything about it.

I'm tired of these apologizers, justice delayed is justice denied. If it seriously takes us this long to do anything about such blatant crimes we don't actually have any justice.

Merrick Garland is fucking up, and he's already fucked up. Stop telling me has to dot all his i's or whatever, it's nonsense. People should be extremely pissed off.

[–]subsonicmonkeyCalifornia 33 points34 points  (0 children)

Dawg, I’ve BEEN livid!

[–]BacklogBeast I voted 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Agreed. And am also livid.

[–]PoignantPie 24 points25 points  (0 children)

Well said!

[–]Stopjuststop3424 265 points266 points  (1 child)

how do you have a "higher" threshold than "was asked to return all docs marker classified", "certified all docs returned and no you cant look in those boxes", and "we found over 70 classified documents, some marked SCI, in the boxes we were told not to search previously". Theres no complicated legal questions. Trump had no authority to declassify, his lawyers lied to the court, and the FBI found boxes of improperly stored documents that never should have been removed from an SCI facility, AFTER being told all docs were returned. Theres no "high bar". He either had the docs and didn't return them when required, or he didnt. If he did he's guilty. This whole "he's a former pres so gets treated with kid gloves" is bullshit.

[–]Foreign_Quality_9623 40 points41 points  (0 children)

Exactly. Lock his ass up.

[–][deleted] 389 points390 points  (2 children)

So basically what Rosenberg is saying is that our justice system is not blind, and there are tiers. One for the wealthy and powerful for them to get off with a slap on the wrist, or even no punishment at all, and one for the rest of us poors and masses where we get sent to for profit prisons to become cheap slave labor. Cool.

This country is so fucked.

[–]DontGetUpGentlemen 30 points31 points  (0 children)

These guys thought it worked that way, too: Jeffrey Epstein, Mayor Ray Nagin, Bernie Madoff, Stewart Parnell, Harvey Weinstein, Rep. James Traficant, Michael Milkin, Jim Irsay, Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Bernie Ebbers, Mayor Marion Barry, Martin Shkreli, Gov. George Ryan

[–]Foreign_Quality_9623 17 points18 points  (0 children)

Rosenberg wasn't endorsing it by any means, to be clear. He's an educator & explaining what we get when the RUpubliclones do this 💩.

[–]peleles 205 points206 points  (4 children)

One other thing to keep in mind: A few weeks ago Chuck Rosenberg, a former U.S. attorney attorney and senior FBI official, told my colleagues that the evidence would need to meet a higher threshold than would be necessary in a typical case.

Why? I've had it with this guy getting breaks no one else would, thanks to his money and thanks to his position as ex-potus.

[–]ALargePianist 22 points23 points  (3 children)

the frustrating thing is they dont even have to spend that money. Its just "cant touch him because they CAN spend the money to stop us, so lets not"

[–]peleles 29 points30 points  (2 children)

Sure, he can spend money. We, the USA, have more money. We can, and should, outspend him if that's what's needed to bring him to justice.

Only thing stopping us is a worldview that values the rich above everyone else.

[–]ALargePianist 36 points37 points  (1 child)

I fucking agree. Im tired of the rich and privileged being able to play this game in with the judicial system where, actual evidence be damned, the rich can bleed out the poor with endless court cases and litigation. Theres laws to protect those with less resources, but its not enough. The feds need to go after the rich and powerful and bleed them out in their own game. you cant out spend the justice department.

[–]nmceja 107 points108 points  (0 children)

Why would the evidence need to meet a higher threshold? The law is the law and he clearly has broken them and lied. I know it’s easier said then done and it doesn’t want to look like a “partisan witch-hunt”. But the law needs to be upheld and Trump needs to be in prison. The fate of the country rests upon this IMO

[–]UpUpDnDnLRLRBAstartCalifornia 992 points993 points  (11 children)

brb going to steal Israel’s nuclear weapons secrets from the National Archives as a non ex-Commander in Chief and see how a “typical case” would be handled. Wish me luck.

Edit: I’m already in custody. Guantanamo has surprisingly good wifi.

[–]CMDR_KingErvin 29 points30 points  (0 children)

They’ll probably throw you in jail just for joking about it. Meanwhile this orangutan is out there playing golf.

[–][deleted] 24 points25 points  (1 child)

We need a control group! Thanks for taking one for the team. You will have a lot time to go over the results from jail.

[–]dautjazz 76 points77 points  (4 children)

For real, anyone else is locked up on the spot

[–]Stoomba 50 points51 points  (3 children)

For even having one page of one of those documents.

[–]ZintoatreeAlabama 47 points48 points  (2 children)

The cover page alone would be enough for me to go to prison.

[–]dautjazz 41 points42 points  (1 child)

For me the "This Page Was Left Intentionally Blank" page will have me tortured, raped, then burned to a crisp.

[–]Cold_Situation_7803 26 points27 points  (0 children)

Burned to a crisp? I wish! Sounds like a vacation!
I’d be tortured, anally violated, have my head cut off then reattached, then be left with a massive bill because my insurance wouldn’t pay for it, then shot.

[–]Speckled_CloutLouisiana 77 points78 points  (0 children)

Nothing should be uncertain about how Trump walking free right now is absolutely insane. He deserves no special treatment for any reason.

[–]BasicLayer 44 points45 points  (0 children)

Why are we allowing someone who pretends to be rich to get treated differently under law? Also current military, and this is fucking ridiculous and an affront to all uniformed services with its opulent hypocrisy.

[–][deleted]  (1 child)


    [–]bobo-the-dodo 15 points16 points  (0 children)

    Yes, has been dead, just became obvious now.

    [–]Frank_JesusKentucky 91 points92 points  (0 children)

    He hasn't already met a higher threshold? Good lord.

    [–]Js_On_My_Yeet 5 points6 points  (0 children)

    Ok. So is he most likely gunna go to jail or what?

    [–]MixtureNo6814 11 points12 points  (0 children)

    He would be going to jail if our justice system wasn’t just as corrupt as some third world country’s with a better artificial veneer or respectability.

    [–]shu3kCalifornia 15 points16 points  (0 children)

    Asking the real question lol

    [–]Funky_Town22 401 points402 points  (4 children)

    Is Mar-a-Lago really as gaudy as is it looks in the crime scene photos?

    [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 505 points506 points  (1 child)

    From Rosalind Helderman:

    It’s pretty gaudy! But a lot of the décor was chosen not by Donald Trump but by Marjorie Merriweather Post, the cereal heiress who built the home in the 1920s. Trump bought it for just $5 million in 1985 and then paid another $3 million to pick up all of Post’s distinctive furnishings. I got a pretty extensive tour of the place in 2015, for a story on how Trump fought with his Palm Beach neighbors.

    If you’re interested, you can read that story here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/inside-trumps-palm-beach-castle-and-his-30-year-fight-to-win-over-the-locals/2015/11/14/26c49a58-88b7-11e5-be8b-1ae2e4f50f76_story.html

    We also talked a lot about Mar-a-Lago, including its embarrassing security lapses and the club’s employment of foreign labor, in a recent story describing the now famous club Storage Room, here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/02/deep-inside-bustling-mar-a-lago-storage-room-where-secrets-were-stashed/

    [–]SockdolagerIdea 169 points170 points  (0 children)

    Speaking of the fight with locals, did the case ever get settled that said Trump wasn’t legally allowed to use MAL as his primary residence and live there full time?

    [–]doublestitch 30 points31 points  (0 children)

    Mar-A-Lago was open to the public for a brief time before Trump bought it. Marjorie Merriweather Post's tastes ran to European antiques. In the early eighties it was something like San Simeon in California: a grand house built around an art collection.

    Can't speak to what happened to it under new management.

    [–]catfish491 162 points163 points  (5 children)

    When do you think we'll hear from the appeal court?

    [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 189 points190 points  (4 children)

    From Perry Stein:

    Well, it could take a minute. DOJ lawyers have not formally filed their appeal yet-- it has filed a notice to appeal and asked the judge to allow them to access the seized classified materials as part of their investigation. That's something the judge said in her Monday ruling that they were prohibited from during until the special master concluded his/her review. And it could take months for an appeals court to resolve the issue. You can read more about the DOJ's appeal here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/08/justice-appeals-trump-documents-special-master/

    Excerpt from the linked piece (From Angel, The Post's Reddit guy: Federal prosecutors on Thursday asked a judge to restore their access to classified material seized from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, saying their ongoing criminal probe needs to determine if there are sensitive government papers that have not been found yet, and signaling that they plan to appeal the issue to a higher court in the interest of national security. Justice Department lawyers told U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon that if she does not grant them their requested stay by Sept. 15, they would file their appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta.

    [–]cajun_fox 321 points322 points  (1 child)

    Trump has really laid bare the two justice systems in America. The rich and well-connected can be lifelong criminals and never suffer the consequences. They can afford to pull every legal lever to delay justice, and those charged with its administration seem scared of them.

    Every day Trump remains a free man I lose a little more faith that America will survive Trumpism.

    [–]crazee1234 47 points48 points  (0 children)

    You must have read my mind. I think Trump has superhuman powers. He has never been charged with any of his major crimes. His life is a long-term crime spree, and so far, he's doing just fine.

    [–]allholy1 4 points5 points  (0 children)

    What’s the likelihood that the appeal will succeed? And what happens if it doesn’t?

    [–]LillyPip 51 points52 points  (7 children)

    Is there any indication this goes beyond trump? Are any of the usual suspects being mentioned in this investigation?

    Thanks for all your hard work!

    [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 82 points83 points  (1 child)

    From Jacqueline Alemany:

    Yep. We wrote a piece on this last week after a court filing released new details that suggest legal peril for two of Trump's attorney's. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/31/trump-lawyers-legal-jeopardy/

    We of course can't predict whether the DOJ will pursue charges against Trump or his lawyers but the filing outlined numerous instances where Trump's lawyers allegedly misled government officials during the investigation. This could build a legal case that Evan Corcoran and Christina Bobb obstructed the government's investigation, according to legal experts we spoke with.

    Some examples of obstruction provided in the filing: when officials visited Mar-a-Lago in June, Trump’s lawyers did not let them search boxes in a storage room where the documents had been kept. Trump’s custodian of records, who was not identified by name in the filing but previous reporting has shown is Bobb, signed a sworn statement in June pledging to officials that a “diligent search” for classified materials had been conducted at Mar-a-Lago. Corcoran allegedly told investigators at that time that all classified documents had been returned. Two months later... the FBI searched MAL and recovered more than 100 additional classified documents.

    [–]LebojrMississippi 7 points8 points  (1 child)

    If I had to guess, the only way for this not to go 'beyond Trump' is the idea that he took them, packed them in the truck, took them off the truck, and was the only one to look at them in Florida.

    Which is to say, there is no chance that happened.

    [–]LillyPip 5 points6 points  (0 children)

    Yes, but I’m talking about actual co-conspirators, people involved in deciding which documents to take, whether and with whom to share them, and how.

    [–]fleurgirl123 4 points5 points  (1 child)

    Or, alternatively, any indication this wouldn’t rope Trump in? Can this be blamed on his team?

    [–]LillyPip 9 points10 points  (0 children)

    He already killed that defence by claiming the documents are his.

    [–]Dad2DnA 158 points159 points  (1 child)

    What have the MAL surveillance tapes revealed about who potentially had access to the documents and when?

    [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 196 points197 points  (0 children)

    From Rosalind Helderman:

    I like all the great questions that match the questions that we are actively pursuing in our reporting. We know that the government issued a subpoena seeking surveillance video from Mar-a-Lago on June 24 – and then cited the video when they sought permission from a judge to search the club in August. But when the affidavit supporting the search was partially unsealed, one thing that was redacted was exactly what the video shows. Our reporting indicates that the video does show people entering and exiting the storage room area where government documents were kept. One imagines the video helped support the government’s assertion in court filings that that there were signs that documents were removed from the storage room before lawyers started searching for records in response to a May subpoena. We expect to potentially learn more about the video as the case moves forward.

    [–]kakashisma 36 points37 points  (4 children)

    There has been allot of reporting of what the FBI found at Trumps property, for example Nuclear Secrets, dirt on foreign leaders, information about spy networks, ect...

    How is it known that these documents have been found by the FBI? Is this information that is just provided or is it some sort of leak that is providing this information... I only ask this because friends of mine that are conservative leaning are trying to spin this as an internal hit job by the FBI and I don't have an answer for them.

    [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 69 points70 points  (0 children)

    From Rosalind Helderman:

    The vast majority of what we know about what was found at Mar-a-Lago has come from public court filings, including documents filed by the government partly in response to requests for more transparency from Trump’s own lawyers. So, for instance, it is now part of the public record that the FBI seized 27 boxes of material at the club, filled with a mix of personal records and both classified and unclassified government records. There were about 13,000 government documents, of which about 100 had classification markings, including at the very highest levels. We know all of that from public court filings. A few things we’ve learned through investigative reporting as well, like that some of the material described the military defenses of a foreign nation, including its nuclear capabilities.

    [–][deleted]  (11 children)


      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 514 points515 points  (7 children)

      From Perry Stein:

      Good question! But unfortunately I am going to have a bit of disappointing answer here. The FBI did seize dozens of empty folders from Mar-A-Lago that bore a "classification" marking, but we don't know what was in these folders -- or where the contents went. The more detailed inventory list that the judge unsealed last week did not indicate what level of classified documents were in it. Read more about the folders here: https://wapo.st/3B7o7nQ

      [–]Theoldelf 359 points360 points  (6 children)

      I had access to secret classified documents in the Air Force. The folders were generic but when you took one, with its contents, you had to sign for it. Date, time, signature. Out and returned. You’d think this would be the case for documents this sensitive.

      [–]Sgw768 129 points130 points  (3 children)

      This is where I get confused with this case. How did so many documents end up in the WH residence, and then MAL, without people knowing immediately that they were missing? Was every single person in the WH corrupt? They just didn’t track documents at all? There isn’t any neutral party / department who could have put a stop to this much earlier? Most workplaces are more organized than the Trump WH seems to have been.

      [–]RowanIsBae 82 points83 points  (0 children)

      The national records archived started raising concerns immediately.

      Keep in mind though how much of the administration was in on it. Trump's own secret service detail was largely corrupt.

      We have Republicans across several states working to overturn the election. A teacher opening access to the servers for randoms.

      There are a LOT of people in on this because they want the kind of future Trump and the GOP promises them. Laws and rules be damned

      [–]Zone_Dweebie 123 points124 points  (0 children)

      I've been in World of Warcraft guilds that seemed more organized than the Trump WH.

      [–]Speckled_CloutLouisiana 36 points37 points  (0 children)

      You don't need everyone to be corrupt for something like this to happen. Just a couple people that don't need clearance or have to sign off to do anything is all it takes

      [–]nucumber 21 points22 points  (1 child)

      i would think classified docs would be assigned an identifier of some sort for tracking purposes. if so, would that identifier be noted on the folder?

      [–]Theoldelf 41 points42 points  (0 children)

      Yes, and now with bar code tracking. Christ, my Amazon package has better tracking! Un- fucking believable.

      [–]WhenPigsFlyTwice 22 points23 points  (0 children)

      Classified folders will carry a 'folio number' which will link to a classified register which will detail that folder's contents.

      [–]Degofreak 238 points239 points  (2 children)

      Are searches planned for any of Trump's other properties?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 286 points287 points  (1 child)

      From Rosalind Helderman:

      A question we’ve spent a lot of time talking about and trying to learn more about. Everything we’ve seen so far suggests the government is primarily interested in documents Trump had shipped from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. We certainly have seen no signs of subpoenas or searches targeting his other properties. Why? We’re still trying to learn more about that but a reasonable answer would be that the FBI’s extensive interviews with Trump aides and others in his orbit led them to believe that Florida was the place they would find missing government records, as opposed to Trump’s other properties.

      [–]The_I_in_ITNew York 54 points55 points  (1 child)

      What is the likelihood that there are other classified (Top Secret, TCI) documents that the DOJ and the National Archives have not been able to retrieve and, that they could be at one or all of his other frequented properties?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 108 points109 points  (0 children)

      From Perry Stein:

      I don't know a precise likelihood, but we can say that the DOJ thinks it's at least possible that there are additional documents out there. In its filing to appeal the special master decision, the Justice Department said barring investigators from using the classified material until the special master concludes its review could "“impede efforts to identify the existence of any additional classified records that are not being properly stored."

      It was the first time they have suggested in court filings that there could be more unsecured classified material the government has yet to locate.

      [–]camphikedrumpsych 113 points114 points  (5 children)

      Do you have any frustration with your reporting being behind a pay wall? Great journalism occurring and thank you for doing your reporting and this AMA. I ask as it feels like WP is more heavily paywalled than other sources, making it harder for many to see the important work you are doing (with less reputable sites always being free...). Any plans to perhaps remove paywall for some of the future reporting on such a nationally important topic?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 185 points186 points  (4 children)

      From Jacqueline Alemany:

      I feel you — and we do want our reporting to reach as many people as possible. There are times where we drop the paywall so that people can access timely and important information at no cost. But ultimately, the high quality journalism we do requires financial resources, and we do afterall have bills, rent, food, etc. to pay for. That being said, we are extremely thankful and grateful for your support and readership!

      From Angel (The Post's Reddit guy):

      Just piggybacking off what Jackie said - we truly do appreciate readership here and are constantly looking for ways to make quality journalism more accessible while keeping ... the quality in our journalism!

      I will plug that we recently worked out an offer with Reddit to give non-subscribers 7 free articles with an email registration. I also make sure that any link we post in this sub and others also comes with a lengthy excerpt, as a way more people can get a good sense of the scope of our reporting. Much more to come (more AMAs, more Reddit Talks, overall more ways for us to connect our reporters with y'all), and thanks so much for reading.

      [–][deleted] 311 points312 points  (14 children)

      Has there been any word on exactly which foreign country’s nuclear capabilities were found in a document at MaL?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 426 points427 points  (13 children)

      From Rosalind Helderman:

      The Post has reported that among the highly sensitive documents seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago last month was material describing a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities. We don’t yet know what country was involved but our reporting around this topic remains active and ongoing, and we will let you know as soon as we figure it out!

      [–]flawedwithvice 58 points59 points  (0 children)

      Follow up question: Have you been able to rule anyone out?

      You have to imagine that every allied nuclear power was on the phone to the pentagon within minutes of the story breaking, demanding to know if it was them. There is no way that we wouldn't have given our allies assurances.

      [–]After-Walrus-4585 351 points352 points  (4 children)

      When you figure out that it's Israel, please let us know that it's Israel.

      Obviously I'm just guessing but it seems obvious.

      [–]boot2skull 54 points55 points  (0 children)

      My guesses are Israel or Iran. Both are useful to MBS and Saudi Arabia. Even Russia. Israel being our allies, we probably have the most details on their capabilities.

      [–]WhenPigsFlyTwice 28 points29 points  (0 children)

      It's definitely the highest-value secret. NATO allies' nuclear arsenals are not major secrets.

      [–]Iamvanno 22 points23 points  (2 children)

      Would this information ever be released? I would assume that the US government would share this with the country involved in the breach, but never release it publicly.

      [–]wodewose 14 points15 points  (2 children)

      Anyone mind listing the nuclear capable countries that it could possible be?

      [–]trampolinebears 30 points31 points  (0 children)

      Eight countries publicly admit to having nuclear weapons: US, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea.

      Israel has them, but won't confirm so publicly.

      Iran has been working on a nuclear weapons program. It's unclear how close they are.

      [–]WhenPigsFlyTwice 10 points11 points  (0 children)

      Israel, Pakistan, Iran, India....then the known nuclear powers. No prizes for guessing which country's capabilities would be most valuable.

      [–]allmimsyburogrove 120 points121 points  (4 children)

      why can't the DOJ just proceed with the indictment, despite the lower court's ruling for a special master?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 154 points155 points  (3 children)

      From Perry Stein:

      The DOJ could proceed with an indictment if they wanted to/were ready to do so. The special master ruling does not prevent the DOJ from serving indictments.

      As it currently stands, the special master ruling prevents the DOJ from using the seized materials as part of its investigation until the special master concludes his/her review. So if investigators would need to use these materials to still build a case before it indictment someone -- it could slow that process down.

      [–]allmimsyburogrove 17 points18 points  (1 child)

      I think we all know they should be ready to do so, so that leaves "wanted to." Is it because indicting a former president is simply uncharted territory, despite his obvious crimes?

      [–]champs-de-fraises 5 points6 points  (0 children)

      I think the fact that the Midterms are coming up is part of their calculus. We may see DOJ move on this right after the elections.

      [–]seranyti 19 points20 points  (0 children)

      Would they be able to use the information already gathered from those documents as part of the indictment?

      [–]BorazonThe Netherlands 27 points28 points  (1 child)

      first of all, keep up the good work!

      Soo many questions:

      • Is there any proof that the FBI looked into Melania closets or did those area's fall out of the scope of the warrant (given Trump early claims that they rampaged through it). I noticed that any items of clothing listed that were taken, were from the storage area.
      • What is expected origin of the secret documents (found or missing)? How did they arrive at Mar a Lago? Where there still documents from the 4 years of Trump presidency, or is the focus on documents that came over from the white house during the last day(s) of Trump presidency.
      • And of those last documents, would that include documents that were created during the last weeks/days of Trump's presidency, that the NARA hasn't received. That could be documents that would be of interest to say the Jan 6th committee?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 61 points62 points  (0 children)

      From Jacqueline Alemany:

      I only have time to answer one of these questions (I'm sorry!) but the last one I think is important!! It's quite possible that some of the documents taken by Trump to Mar-a-Lago might be documents related to Jan. 6. The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is extremely interested in ensuring that if there are documents found in any of the boxes recovered from NARA and the FBI that are relevant to their investigation, that the agencies are responsive to their document request made at the start of their investigation. It's unclear whether that process has begun though.

      [–]allholy1 18 points19 points  (1 child)

      What do you think his intentions were with those documents? To sell them? To hold onto them for fun?

      Why has it taken so long for this investigation to start?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 38 points39 points  (0 children)

      From Rosalind Helderman:

      Your first question is probably the most important about this whole mess: Why? Why take these documents and then hang on to them? The truth is, we don’t entirely know. We know that Trump stubbornly believed the documents belonged to him and was suspicious of the government entities (the Archives, the FBI) who were trying to get them back. We know he had a long history of being something of a packrat. But was there more to it? A reason he saved these particular documents? We’re not yet sure – our reporting continues. As for the length of the investigation, people often seem surprised that criminal investigations proceed more slowly than they expect. In this case, the investigation went from a single subpoena to a court ordered search in just a few months – that’s pretty fast. That said, the government has said the investigation remains in its early stages, so it could go on for a while longer.

      [–]Guano_Loco 11 points12 points  (2 children)

      Since trump was not there when it was raided, but the documents were, it’s it understood that anyone who was in the building could have accessed the documents? Or were there any (even if basic) security measures?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 29 points30 points  (1 child)

      From Rosalind Helderman:

      We walked through our best current reporting about who might have had access to the Mar-a-Lago storage room where these documents were kept in this story:


      One of Trump’s lawyers has claimed there was only one key to the lock on the door to the room. If that’s true (and other things that same lawyer has said have been contested so we’ll see if it turns out to be true) that would mean that whoever maintained access to the key would have controlled access to the room. Assuming a person was trying to access the room just by using a key – we know that foreign intelligence services would have other ways of getting inside a simple door with a normal lock had they known to try. Trump’s allies have tried to argue that Mar-a-Lago is a secure facility, but the club has faced a number of embarrassing security lapses and people who have visited the club in the last year told us that it’s possible to access to the grounds without even showing identification. That’s one reason the government was likely so distressed by the idea of highly sensitive documents just sitting around in the basement.

      [–]Guano_Loco 11 points12 points  (0 children)

      Thanks for taking the time to provide such an excellent response.

      A locked door isn’t an obstacle to anyone determined to gain access (watch the lock picking lawyer videos to see how comically easy most locks are to bypass) so if that’s literally all that stood in the way of accessing those docs that just adds to the buffoonery.

      Even if you grant him the most favorable possible interpretation of events and completely discount any intent to distribute that information (for profit, under duress, or otherwise), it’s still dangerously accessible to anyone who would know it was there and want to obtain it.

      Astonishing really.

      [–]SpaysOddity 25 points26 points  (1 child)

      There is an obvious focus on physical media being in Trump’s possession here, with these compelling photos of actual classified documents. There’s no mention of any digital media (computers, phones, hard drives, USB sticks) being seized in the property receipt. Is the investigation only focused on “physical” intelligence?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 31 points32 points  (0 children)

      From Rosalind Helderman:

      Good question. The government has filed in court two different versions of an inventory of the items seized during the search, one more detailed than the other. Neither version included mention of any computers, phones, USB sticks, anything like that. Had they seized those kinds of items in the search, they would have appeared on the inventory. So it appears that none were taken during the Aug. 8 search.

      [–]yup79Massachusetts 54 points55 points  (2 children)

      What would you say to those that are criticizing the “leaks” in the FBI/DOJ? Are the sources doing it for political reasons, national security interests, both?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 113 points114 points  (1 child)

      From Rosalind Helderman:

      There are a number of questions here about leaks and sourcing. These can be hard for us to answer because we are never going to say anything that might reveal the identity of our sources. The one thing I would offer is that people often assume they can guess the identity of our sources, and in my experience, they are almost always wrong. People from all walks of life talk to reporters, for all kinds of reasons.

      [–]TheKrs1 Canada 52 points53 points  (0 children)

      It was an underpaid migrant housekeeper that got treated like shit and told to clean the storage room, wasn't it!?!

      [–]anonMLMhater 1219 points1220 points  (4 children)

      Do you ever look at each other and just stare into the abyss of this insanity and go "Can you fucking believe this?"

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 1408 points1409 points  (3 children)

      From Rosalind Helderman:

      Are you spying on us?

      [–]A_bleak_ass_in_toteWashington 294 points295 points  (0 children)

      It's bewildering that this could be one of the most egregious and impactful crimes in the history of this nation, and committed by a former president no less, and yet there are millions of Americans who are shrugging this off as a big nothingburger.

      I can't wait for the movies and documentaries that will try to explain to future generations the insanity of this period of time.

      [–]AllTattedUpJay I voted 429 points430 points  (1 child)

      Check the microwave

      [–]submittedanonymously 23 points24 points  (0 children)

      tiny broadcast burst radio sits idly inside keyboard frame

      [–]1000MousefartsWashington 150 points151 points  (2 children)

      In talking to Republicans off record are many just as horrified as the rest of us or are they still acting cavalier?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 166 points167 points  (1 child)

      From Jacqueline Alemany:

      We never disclose what people say in off the record conversations! Separately, how did you come to get the name... Mousefarts?

      [–]1000MousefartsWashington 192 points193 points  (0 children)

      Always so curious, you journalists. My dog's name is Mouse and he was laying next to me pooting all morning when I was trying to think of a Reddit name.

      But you don't have to disclose what they say but what's the mood on the right that you've observed, generally.

      [–]SecurityAndCrumpets 17 points18 points  (2 children)

      Thanks for giving us this opportunity!

      Did any of the seized documents bearing classification markings have any indications they were formally declassified?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 53 points54 points  (1 child)

      From Perry Stein:

      To my knowledge, there wasn't any physical evidence on the documents that they had been declassified.

      A president has the authority to declassify documents, though there is typically a process for doing that. While Trump and his team have publicly said that he declassified all the documents before leaving the White House, it's unclear if he actually went through the document-by document declassification process, working with the relevant agencies.

      Over the last few weeks, I've spoken to some national security and classification experts and asked them if Trump could simply declassify documents. They suggested that it's a bit more complicated than that and there are other laws that protect sensitive documents beyond their classification levels. For example, if a president declassified a document that would pose a national security risk if it is exposed, that document cannot simply be treated like an unclassified document. And certain types of documents related to nuclear documents cannot be declassified by the president and are protected by a different law, the Atomic Energy Act.

      Here is an explainer on classified documents and how the declassification process works: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/13/trump-warrant-classified-answers/

      [–]SecurityAndCrumpets 10 points11 points  (0 children)

      Thanks for the response!

      That presumably limits his legal options considerably if he attempts to contend some were declassified in his follow-up to the DoJ's motion for a stay on materials bearing classification marks.

      One more question should you have time to get to it: Do you feel like the media has adequately communicated to the public that Trump is not entitled to possess any of the federal or presidential records seized in the search (including all of the documents bearing classification markings)? I feel like an understanding of that key point is necessary to debunking a lot of the public statements made in defense of him (afterall even if he declassified a document, it doesn't make it his personal property).

      Thanks again!

      [–]Marmooset 12 points13 points  (2 children)

      What kind of impact (if any) could midterm results have on the investigation?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 18 points19 points  (1 child)

      From Perry Stein:

      In theory, the lead up to the midterm elections could slow parts of the investigation. The Justice Department typically enters its traditional 60-day “blackout” period ahead of elections, which we are very, very, very close to entering for the midterms. During this time, the department typically refrains from taking public steps in politically related cases — such as executing a search warrant or indicting someone — that could be perceived as politically motivated and could affect the results of the election.

      But the blackout period -- which is not an official law or policy -- wouldn't necessarily bring an investigation to a halt. Officials still respond to court deadlines during this period, and grand juries — which operate behind closed doors — can still convene in potentially high-profile political cases.

      [–]Marmooset 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      Thanks so much for your response! And for your journalism! Regardless of the topic, it's very refreshing to see articles based on actual inquiry and research rather than relaying someone's tweet.

      [–]Asleep-Journalist-94 11 points12 points  (1 child)

      How much of the full story do you figure has been uncovered so far? Is this a tip-of-the-iceberg situation?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 33 points34 points  (0 children)

      From Perry Stein:

      This is going to be another disappointing answer, but I'll take a shot at trying to provide you with at least some helpful information. The Justice Department said last month that it is still in the beginning stages of the investigation, suggesting we may not see a conclusion anytime soon.

      We know that the FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents -- that's on top of the classified documents Trump voluntarily returned earlier -- but we don't know what most of those documents contained or why the former president did not want to return them. (Though we do know that some of the classified documents contained some of the most protected American secrets, including a document describing a foreign government’s nuclear capabilities)

      TLDR: I do not know where exactly we are in the investigation, but it's clear there is a lot we still do not know.

      [–]Impossible-West8665 8 points9 points  (1 child)

      Why did Trump have these files at Mar-a-Lago?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 25 points26 points  (0 children)

      From Rosalind Helderman:

      A few folks have asked versions of this question, so I’ll try it again just because it’s so important. The answer is: We don’t really know! We do know that Trump believed the documents belonged to him (though the Presidential Records Act said otherwise). He was stubborn and didn’t trust the government officials who were asking for them back. He’s also a packrat. But was there more to it? A reason he returned some documents (first to the Archives in January and then to the Justice Department in June) but held on to others? We’re just not yet sure.

      [–]Jimbob0i0Great Britain 21 points22 points  (4 children)

      Any predictions from the team for either the nominations for special master from each side?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 36 points37 points  (3 children)

      From Rosalind Helderman:

      Not really except that the universe of people with all the appropriate qualifications – expert in laws around attorney-client privilege, expert around the more obscure legal concept of executive privilege, top secret security clearance, acceptable to both sides – would seem to be very small. Judge Cannon asked the two sides to confer and try to come up with a suggestion acceptable to them both. One thing to watch for is the possibility they her today that they’ve been unable to come to an agreement and force her to choose someone on her own.

      [–]MolotovaMassachusetts 10 points11 points  (1 child)

      Stephen Breyer is the only name I could think of. Who would be on your list ?

      [–]Frnklfrwsr 66 points67 points  (0 children)

      Barack Hussein Obama is an accomplished lawyer, Constitutional Law Professor, has top secret security clearance, and a lot of hands on legal experience with executive privilege. I would say he’s a reasonable choice.

      [–]grafixcoder 30 points31 points  (0 children)

      It's going to be Rudy Giuliani, isn't it.

      [–]iDefine_Me 8 points9 points  (1 child)

      How can a judge who was appointed by the Trump administration be someone to roadblock the investigation with the Special Master Appointment? Wouldn't this be considered a conflict of interest?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 19 points20 points  (0 children)

      From Rosalind Helderman:

      No, in our system, we believe – hope, expect – judges to rule based on the law and not political considerations rooted in the party of the president who appointed them. There have been many examples of judges appointed by Trump who has ruled against him in various lawsuits – dozens of them, for instance, in cases involving the 2020 election. We wrote about judges who ruled against Trump in this story:


      [–]SnooCats9683 11 points12 points  (2 children)

      does whiskey call to you after all of this?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 20 points21 points  (1 child)

      From Perry Stein:

      It's 5 o'clock somewhere...

      [–]crimsonconnect 7 points8 points  (2 children)

      Doesnt Joe Biden have to be the special master since hes the only one with the security clearance to review the files?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 26 points27 points  (1 child)

      From Rosalind Helderman:

      Technically, anyone can be a special master. You can read more about special master here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/08/what-is-special-master-trump-documents/

      Joe Biden would be an interesting suggestion from the government but somehow I think he might be busy. Someone else with top secret security clearance could also do the job.

      [–]ctodReddit 10 points11 points  (0 children)

      It actually would be a step above Top Secret because of the SCI documents, consider it Top Secret Plus.

      [–]djpurity666Georgia 6 points7 points  (1 child)

      Who leaked the raid? I hear it was Tr*mp himself (the name I shall never type out)!!

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 25 points26 points  (0 children)

      From Rosalind Helderman:

      Donald Trump was the first to publicly reveal the FBI search, via a post to his Truth Social platform in the early evening of Aug. 8. In keeping with normal practice, the government did not publicly announce that it was conducting the search.

      [–]ExternalVariation733 4 points5 points  (1 child)

      do youse have to work extra hard for a story?

      imagine you’re black-balled by the right?

      [–]washingtonpost✔ Washington Post[S] 14 points15 points  (0 children)

      From Jacqueline Alemany:

      We work extremely hard. (Please tell our bosses).

      [–]HelpfulNotUnhelpful 60 points61 points  (0 children)

      1. The list of items in each box showed that every box has some amount of magazines/newspapers. These were always listed first. Is it fair to speculate that these were items that were on the top? Meaning, could these have been magazines/newspapers literally covering up the gov docs? Seems like intentional positioning to hide (poorly) the sensitive documents.
      2. I've heard it speculated that the DOJ may not press charges because the important part is just getting the documents back. Is this true, and if so, what additional actions would need to be proven to lead to actual charges?

      [–]nohbody123 92 points93 points  (0 children)

      Given the recent implication that the empty classified folders signify documents the DOJ still needs to recover, how is it that the FBI isn't raiding every Trump property on the map? I just get a kind of impression that if this was anyone else the opening move would be to search every one of their properties and I'm trying to figure out if there's any logical reason for the delay beyond "he was a president"?

      [–]LebojrMississippi 23 points24 points  (1 child)

      What has your investigation revealed about HOW the documents left whatever SCIF they were in and wound up in a box on the way to Florida?

      Shouldnt have alarms gone off at the White House and around the country when something went missing that first day in January of 2021?

      Did Trump gather them himself? Is there any evidence someone else took them? What is the procedure for documenting when one of these documents leaves a SCIF and then never returns?

      Surely to God there is someone assigned to monitor these things in REAL time and not just the Archives noticing they've been gone for a month, or a year.

      [–]No_Tea5014 5 points6 points  (0 children)

      You understand that would have meant crossing the President when he was is in his worst mood ever. This is the same guy who tried to strangle his secret service agent when they wouldn’t take him to the capital on January 6th. Offices had been asking for the files back.

      [–]djpurity666Georgia 35 points36 points  (0 children)

      Couldn't Donald just xerox all the documents he wants and store copies elsewhere? He had a major amount of time with them. Esp classified and top secret spy documents that have been reported as possibly in the collection .

      How can anyone be sure he doesn't have several copies of each document xeroxed or scanned to a thumb drive or flash drive or anything ....

      He could still have all of that info, how does anyone know? How would anyone begin to investigate if he copied those documents and data??

      [–]eclecticsheep75 13 points14 points  (0 children)

      Gerald Ford when he assumed the role of the presidency chose to pardon Nixon for all of his crimes, arguing that the damage done to the institution and to American society and our institutions would be too great for the US to bear. Today, Lindsey Graham and nearly other Republicans completely enmeshed in Trump’s world argue (or threaten) that if Donald Trump is prosecuted that there will be “riots in the streets.”

      I personally feel that the danger if we do NOT prosecute Donald Trump for his crimes that there is a greater danger of acknowledging that there are a class of citizens for whom there are no laws that they can be held accountable for. That crimes don’t matter. As Nixon put it “if the President does it, then it is not a crime.”

      What are the long term dangers of the decision to prosecute versus the long term consequences of not prosecuting a former president, from the standpoint of the Justice Department, from the “lens of history,” and to the immediate dangers to the principles of a Government “by the people, for the people” versus the long term consequences of the threat of authoritarian or autocratic minority rule in America?

      [–]flyover_liberal 647 points648 points  (4 children)

      Is anyone making or discussing the connection between the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago and the reports from last year suggesting that many CIA informants are being killed or captured?

      Edit: Disappointing, second most upvoted question didn't get a response.

      [–]HelpfulNotUnhelpful 82 points83 points  (2 children)

      I'd hope we'd only go down this path of speculation with actual evidence. Without actual evidence, we open ourselves up to starting down our own conspiracy theory rabbit hole.

      [–]flyover_liberal 79 points80 points  (1 child)

      Hence, my question.

      [–]HelpfulNotUnhelpful 38 points39 points  (0 children)

      Totally, it's a great question. Seeing lots of folks (on twitter, so yeah, grain of salt...) push this without any speculation, which makes me nervous. But... if this is where the evidence leads, it must be checked out.

      [–]wil_daven_New York 15 points16 points  (2 children)

      Hello, thank you for joining us!

      Regarding the Empty Folders that were recovered, there has been a lot of speculation about where the sensitive contents of those folders went. A popular talking point coming from the Right is that the documents were declassified and somehow do not need the aforementioned folders anymore

      Can you describe that declassification process, specifically with regards to those folders, and any record keeping/logging that should be done, and/or how those folders should be marked IF the documents were in fact declassified?

      [–][deleted]  (1 child)


        [–]orionsbelt05New York 79 points80 points  (0 children)

        What part of this story is important but not widely known? Most people read headlines and move on. What tidbits of information have been reported but haven't made it into the wider mainstream conversation?

        [–]bigcityhermitCalifornia 18 points19 points  (0 children)

        How do others square the stance of someone like Rubio, the VC of the SCI, who screamed about HC emails being a nat security concern, and in the next breath says that boxes of secure documents at a resort hotel is just solving a storage issue?

        [–]voidchungus 14 points15 points  (0 children)

        There are 6 Trump-appointed judges (out of 11 active ones) in the 11th circuit, where the DOJ's recent appeal will be heard. My understanding is that the appeal will initially go in front of a panel of 3 judges from the 11th circuit. Is this true, and if so, how are those 3 selected?

        Edit: specified "active" judges

        [–]SomeBloke 10 points11 points  (0 children)

        Do you think Trump is planning a Stalingrad defence here? Exhausting every possible appeal and process and technicality and illness to run the clock for the rest of his life?

        And how many delays would that tactic buy him before he exhausts it?

        [–]labz143 11 points12 points  (0 children)

        Reportedly classified documents are tightly controlled, so how then was Trump allowed to keep documents without red flags prior to leaving office? Who turned a blind eye to all the "checked out library books?"

        [–]Erion7Pennsylvania 34 points35 points  (0 children)

        Just a Comment:

        I'm a WAPO online subscriber and your reporting on this (and many other issues) has been exemplary.

        Well done, and thanks.

        [–]frodosbitch 7 points8 points  (0 children)

        They seem to be going in blind and discovering these documents. Isn’t there a tracking or check out system? Shouldn’t they be able to say -500 top secret documents were checked out by Person x (cough Jared cough). We have recovered 300 of them? Basically - does the White House not have a librarian?

        [–]EstablishmentNo1274 6 points7 points  (0 children)

        Is there any reporting that Trump was using the Time magazine frames and other personal stuff to let people smuggle documents out of MAL? It would be noticeable if someone was coming out of the storage room with a big folder marked "Top Secret". It would be another thing entirely if the cameras were just catching people come out with those stupid framed covers.

        [–]StephenDones 5 points6 points  (0 children)

        I’m interested in the mention of another country’s nuclear information being included in the documents. I believe there must be a grave concern from our allies that their safety is compromised. Why haven’t we heard from other countries expressing their fears and anger at the former president and his mishandling of these documents? Can these countries sue to learn whether their counties have been compromised? I don’t think any of our allies are safe from this.

        [–][deleted] 25 points26 points  (8 children)

        Is there any way the current government would NOT have an inventory of all missing classified material? Are there "unknown, unknowns?"

        [–]WhenPigsFlyTwice 7 points8 points  (7 children)

        Pending a WaPo response: From my experience with highly classified documents, the originals are usually thoroughly indexed in registers and regularly audited to ensure they are where they are meant to be. The higher the classification, the more frequent the checks. The highest are checked daily and never leave supervised vaults.

        The problem is photocopies which are untraceable and unauditable.

        [–]basement-thug 4 points5 points  (6 children)

        But the copiers have an auditable log of everything scanned/copied. So they could know if and when a document was copied, and if they have authentication to even use a copier they could know who used it.

        [–]Space-Change 6 points7 points  (0 children)

        In his recent Pennsylvania rally Trump talked about Zuckerberg’s visit with Trump for dinner with him at the White House last week (!) and went into detail about what Z. said… this story has a had virtually no coverage, and yet it seems to indicate a serious time confusion. Why is this being ignored…. it’s on video, after all?

        [–]brodiemcballsack 10 points11 points  (0 children)

        How bad is the fallout going to be from this for foreign relations over the next few decades

        [–]a-man-with-an-idea 7 points8 points  (1 child)

        I want to know about Donny's finger prints! Is there any information on whether finger prints were found on any of the documents, and whether any of those were compromised primarily of hamberder grease?

        [–]madejust4dis 4 points5 points  (0 children)

        Hi and thanks for doing this!

        From my conservations online and in real life it seems that Trump's actions keep being redefined by his constituents, with him never being culpable for his actions. Do you believe that there will be some reconciliation between Right Wing Networks, The Republican Party, and Right Wing Americans if Trump is indicted? Or do you have reason to believe it will only aggravate tensions and further the divide between Republicans and Democrats, with Republicans doubling down on the lies about politicized government agencies?

        [–]BarfOKavanaugh 9 points10 points  (0 children)

        How is it that Trump is above the law in a county where we constantly say that no one is?

        [–]inkslingerben 2 points3 points  (0 children)

        Three questions. Is there a chain of custody for classified documents? If so, are there other documents missing and unaccounted for?

        Why in the list of items taken do you think items of clothing were there? Clothing would normally be a private residence of either Mar a Largo or the White House.

        [–]ianrl337Oregon 3 points4 points  (0 children)

        Everyone seems to be asking about this case in particular. How about the reporting itself.

        In an area like this I'd imagine you have plenty of issues with both people that lie, and are looking for fame. What processes do you normally do to vet sources? or confirm their information?

        [–]ALargePianist 5 points6 points  (0 children)

        Are you staying hydrated? Fed? Sleeping enough? This is a wild time, I hope you all are still taking care of yourselves. Thanks for your reporting.

        [–]Leading_Asparagus_36 2 points3 points  (0 children)

        2 questions: 1) I have to hope that the government keeps records of its top secret documents and has had full knowledge of which documents are missing and the contents of those documents. Why are they claiming otherwise? 2) why isn’t more attention being given as to how it was possible to remove boxes of this information. This is a big part of this ongoing story since this same people may still be in a position to access more of this information. Thank you.

        [–][deleted] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

        What's your feeling about coming timeline of the case ? Do you think it will be essentially paused or slow tracked past the midterms ?

        [–]musluvowls I voted 4 points5 points  (0 children)

        I know we all like to speculate that Trump sold our intelligence secrets to the Saudis etc, but is there any actual proof of this?

        [–]splycedaddyPennsylvania 5 points6 points  (2 children)

        Since Trump said he declassified all of this, can you submit a FOIA request to get them?

        [–]NK1337 2 points3 points  (0 children)

        A lot of people both in and out of the US are looking at this as a sort of proverbial fork in the road. Whether or not Trump actually sees any consequences from this not only sets a precedent, but also sets the stage of our political landscape in the years to come. In your opinion, what direction do you think this whole situation will take?

        [–]Awkward-Painter-2024 2 points3 points  (0 children)

        Can't the DOJ and the FBI just say something like, if you go through with this Special Master BS, we'll just get a warrant for his immediate arrest? Judge Cannon already give Orange Piece of Shit and his lawyers everything. And this special master will give the Orange POS everything, too. What the fuck is going on here?

        [–]HolyWahdontchaknow 2 points3 points  (0 children)

        Classified documents can be numbered for control purposes and tracking. Are the originators of those documents, the handlers or presenters of the classified information in any jeopardy because they “lost” control of those papers when the WH retained them? Especially because now we know exactly where they ended up…