Trump's defense after espionage investigation 'will fail': former US attorney
Donald Trump (Photo by Madel Ngan for AFP)

Appearing on MSNBC's "The Katie Phang Show" with guest host Cori Coffin, former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said that it does not appear that Donald Trump has a legal leg to stand on should the Department of Justice file espionage charges against him.

Coming on the heels of the release of the warrant used to enter Mar-a-Lago earlier in the week which allowed FBI agents to retrieve multiple boxes containing highly sensitive documents, the former prosecutor said the former president has no defense that she can see that his lawyers will be able to deploy.

"Barbara McQuade, let's talk about the word classified," host Coffin prompted. "Trump is already claiming that the papers in question were, quote-unquote, declassified. If that's true will this change anything in terms of the DOJ probe, especially if we are considering the three laws known to be used to carry out the search?"

"No, this defense will fail because the three laws that they selected to put on the search warrant don't require that the documents be classified," McQuade replied. "I think until we saw that unsealed search warrant on Friday, we expected that they would charge the statute that was used for General David Petraeus and [former NSA adviser] Sandy Berger, which does require the mishandling of classified information. Instead, they require only one charge of government records, another charge related to national defense and another concealment of records when the government comes calling for them."

"So none of those require classification or declassification -- that's a defense they will fail," she added. "I think this is going to be the incredible shape-shifting defense; we've already seen several iterations of this from first denying that he had them and then accusing the FBI of planting certain evidence and now it's the classification."

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"I look forward to what is hearing what's next but it seems likely that this one is going to fail," she concluded.

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