Speaking to MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Monday evening, legal analysts Andrew Weissman and Brad Moss walked through how Donald Trump made his legal problems even worse with his latest court filing.
Weissmann, who previously served as the counsel for the FBI and under Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation, explained that the two stories in the Times and the court filing pair well together because they both link Trump to responsibility. The court documents name Trump as providing the requested documents multiple times when asked before the search was executed.
First, Trump was asked for them by the National Archives, holding back several boxes after personally going through them, according to the New York Times. By May 11, 2022, the Justice Department had subpoenaed Trump for the documents he didn't turn over. A month later, he replied, saying he would give them back. So, he turned over some of them, but still not all of them. That's why the FBI was forced to use a search warrant to obtain what Trump refused to turn over.
What the Times also revealed in its report is that the former president was keeping some of the documents hidden in his own closet in his personal office.
"You know, I read the story, and I just felt the noose tightening around his neck," Weissmann said of Trump and the Times report. "But I think there's another shoe to drop here, just to mix a lot of metaphors, which is with the filing today that Donald Trump made, he is opening the door wide for the Justice Department to respond. The attorney general has famously said we only speak through court filings. Well, this is going to allow the attorney general to respond to all the false statements that are in that filing and to fill in some of the timelines and corroborate or not The New York Times story because they know all of the facts and all of the truth and can easily dispel it. But they now have a perfect vehicle for doing that."
He went on to say that he anticipates the Trump filing is possibly going to reveal some of the methodologies behind the Justice Department's affidavit that they don't want to be public. A response to Trump's filing from the DOJ could ultimately give the details around the efforts to try and get the documents back over the past eight months.
O'Donnell noted that Trump lawyer Christina Bobb may have implicated herself as having lied to the court under oath in an affidavit she signed saying that Trump handed everything over.
Moss explained this puts her and Trump in a "whole lot of trouble." He also joked that the real abbreviation for MAGA is "Make Attorneys Get Attorneys." He told Bobb that she should be hiring a lawyer as soon as possible. The next step for the DOJ and FBI is to watch the CCTV tapes to see if Bobb knew that there were more documents and if she lied knowingly or lied because her client lied to her.
\u201cChristina Bobb is reportedly the attorney who signed a statement to DOJ indicating that, to the best of her knowledge, all the classified material stored at Mar-a-Lago had been returned.\n\nIf she knowingly lied, that was a crime. She needs her own lawyer. https://t.co/7r0DHjDYkN\u201d— Renato Mariotti (@Renato Mariotti) 1661216819
Weissmann noted that it's highly suspicious that his other lawyer, Evan Corcoran, let Bobb sign the affidavit and that he didn't.
"But he is in just as much trouble under aiding and abetting if he knew it was false," he explained. "And she was going to sign it. Look, it is going to be a situation where it is either the lawyers or Donald Trump is going down, based on that statement. And the lawyers presumably are going to say, hey, I thought it was true because that is what my client told me. The client being Donald Trump."
He explained that is what happened in the Paul Manafort case under special counsel Robert Mueller.
"He told his lawyers to say something and made representations about what they should convey to the Department of Justice," recalled Weissmann. "And we got a court order from the Chief Judge in D.C. saying about that lawyer. There is no attorney-client privilege there. The lawyer can reveal exactly who they learn the information from. And Paul Manafort was charged with lying to the government because he caused those statements to be made. Exactly the same play can be made and the case law is very strong on that issue. And look, the lawyers have to make a choice. Is it them or is that the client? I would actually suspect that it is the client. I think the lawyers would be incredibly foolhardy to sign something that they knew was false."
\u201cHere, Trump accuses his own lawyer, Christina Bobb, who is referred to in this filing by reference, of incompetence.\u201d— emptywheel (@emptywheel) 1661205187
See the full conversation below:
'The lawyers or Donald Trump is going down': Legal expert says he feels 'the noose tightening' www.youtube.com
NOW WATCH: Donald Trump Jr. says 'it would probably be good' if 'nuclear codes' were stashed at Mar-a-Lago
Donald Trump Jr says 'it would probably be good' if 'nuclear codes' were stashed at Mar a Lago www.youtube.com