It will often be heard, “Ignorance of the law is no defense,” and that is certainly true. However, if Trump is charged with possible espionage, obstruction of justice, or illegally-held files, prosecutors must prove intent and Trump’s mental state, which can be difficult in this type of case. Furthermore, it doesn’t take a lawyer to understand that when considering indicting a former president, it must be based on overwhelming evidence that is almost irrefutable. To that end, it sounds like the DOJ has more critical and irrefutable evidence. The NYT reports that former White House Counsel and post-election half-hero Eric Herschmann has warned Trump against keeping the files:
A former White House attorney under President Donald J. Trump warned him late last year that Mr Trump could face legal liability if he failed to return government materials he took when he left office, three said with the Matter familiar people.
The attorney, Eric Herschmann, tried to impress Mr. Trump on the seriousness of the problem and the potential for investigation and legal exposure if he failed to return the documents, particularly classified material, the people said.
“Trying to impress Mr. Trump…” It sounds like, despite everything he’d already been through with Trump, Herschmann was still “seeking” to save Trump from himself and return the files. It is significant that Trump refused, and it is consistent with the evidence we already know exists.
One of the strongest elements of the Justice Department investigation and search warrant is the evidence, showing that Trump faced a choice many times between doing what he knew was right, returning the files, or doing what he knew was wrong, keep his own purposes. Despite several points that most people would consider their “last chance,” Trump knowingly broke the law for his own ends. It’s a testament to his state of mind and intent.
If Herschmann’s testimony is as good as this article suggests, the DOJ will be able to determine a key element of the charges set forth in the search warrant affidavit — his mental state. This is usually the most difficult thing in such cases. https://t.co/4qNXd04p7r
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) September 20, 2022
We have yet to see or hear any evidence of Trump’s possible plans for the documents. Trump’s motivations could range from the dangerously mundane “need to feel important and keep the trappings of office” to a Rosenberg-like scenario in which Trump wanted to take this critical and top-secret information and sell it to the highest bidder. We do not know it. But the clearer the evidence of those “nodes” or turning points where Trump knew he faced extremely serious consequences and yet chose to risk it all, the stronger the charge against Trump. This evidence also reinforces suspicions that Trump had a specific, serious, and recklessly dangerous reason to keep the information.
@JasonMiciak believes a day without learning is a day not lived. He is a political writer, columnist, author and lawyer. He is a Canadian-born dual citizen who spent his teens and college days in the Pacific Northwest and has since lived in seven states. Today he enjoys life as a single father to a young girl and writes on the beaches of the Gulf Coast. He loves making his flower pots, cooking and is currently studying philosophy of science, religion and non-mathematical principles behind quantum mechanics and cosmology. Please do not hesitate to contact us for lectures or other concerns.