"The level of detail in the recording is said to have angered and unnerved close aides to Mr. Trump, who are worried it contains direct quotes from sensitive conversations," the Times reported.
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, who now teaches at the University of Alabama School of Law, helped write a 186-page prosecution memo that provides some framework for what the Justice Department might use in making charging decisions. It's a guide for non-lawyers to understand how such an indictment might look when/if the DOJ makes its move.
"Under the federal principles of prosecution, first you have to answer the question, could you indict?" Vance explained to MSNBC host Ayman Mohyeldin. "That means, do you have sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction? So, we considered two buckets of charges. We consider charges that are related to illegally retaining these documents, that's the Espionage Act, a retention provision, theft of government property. But we also considered — because of his flagrant conduct — Trump's obstruction of justice."
She explained that they also looked at charges involving obstruction. There are several ongoing examples of that.
"The evidence, if the public record is correct, is a solid evidence, prosecutors should be able to obtain and sustain a conviction. That answers the question, can you indict?" Vance asked. "Then you have to answer the more nuanced question of should you? A big part of that is whether or not an indictment would be consistent with how similar situations have been handled in the past. In this instance, indicting Trump based on his conduct would be very consistent with how other cases involving retention but not dissemination of classified or other sensitive material has been handled."
Vance went on to say that the weapon that the federal government has that reporters don't is the subpoena power to force people to testify before a grand jury.
"Typically, the government knows a lot more than the public does when a case is indicted. This is a little bit different because the reporting has been so outstanding. Many reporters are very well-sourced," said Vance. "But it would be surprising if there weren't a few surprises it would that could be good or bad for prosecutors. It's possible that there could be some form of exculpatory evidence that suggests Trump is not guilty, maybe of any charges, or at least some of them. But It's also possible that the government's evidence gets much stronger when they access information through the grand jury. They may even be able to prove, for instance, that Trump disseminated these materials instead of just retaining them. And we will have to wait until we see the indictment to know how that shakes out."
See the comments from Vance in the video below or at the link here.
Former US Attorney predicts possible 'surprises' that could come up in a Trump indictment