NEW YORK — Manhattan federal prosecutors confirmed in court papers made public Friday that they chose not to pursue Jeffrey Epstein in 2016, with one former assistant U.S. attorney saying she “felt horrible” after learning of Epstein's abuse of the criminal justice system in Florida. The disclosure by the Southern District of New York came in a 212-page filing responding to Ghislaine Maxwell’s legal challenges to an indictment charging her with grooming underage Epstein victims in the mid-1990s and lying under oath. The Daily News exclusively revealed last year that lawyers for Epstein accuser...
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Donald Trump's possession of documents marked with top secret classification at Mar-a-Lago was the focus of another bombshell report published online by The New York Times on Saturday evening.
"Last year, officials with the National Archives discovered that Mr. Trump had taken a slew of documents and other government material with him when he left the White House at the end of his tumultuous term in January 2021. That material was supposed to have been sent to the archives under the terms of the Presidential Records Act," Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush reported. "Mr. Trump returned 15 boxes of material in January of this year. When archivists examined the material, they found many pages of documents with classified markings and referred the matter to the Justice Department, which began an investigation and convened a grand jury."
A subpoena was reportedly sent in the spring demanding the return of the classified public records.
On June 3 to Mar-a-Lago by Jay I. Bratt, the top counterintelligence official in the DOJ’s national security division visited Mar-a-Lago and the newspaper reported "Bratt and his team left with additional material marked classified, and around that time also obtained the written declaration from a Trump lawyer attesting that all the material marked classified in the boxes had been turned over."
The subpoena for the records' return was not the only subpoena DOJ sent in the case.
"The Justice Department also subpoenaed surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago recorded over a 60-day period, including views from outside the storage room. According to a person briefed on the matter, the footage showed that, after one instance in which Justice Department officials were in contact with Mr. Trump’s team, boxes were moved in and out of the room," The Times reported. "That activity prompted concern among investigators about the handling of the material. It is not clear when precisely the footage was from during the lengthy back-and-forth between Justice Department officials and Mr. Trump’s advisers, or whether the subpoena to Mr. Trump seeking additional documents had already been issued.
Read the full report.
Donald Trump is seeking to staff up his legal team as he faces investigations in Florida, Georgia, New York, and Washington, DC.
In Georgia, Trump bulked up his legal team by hiring "Billion Dollar Lawyer" Drew Findling, who is best known for defending famous rappers. Findling called for Trump to be impeached on his 24th day in office.
Trump is also seeking to expand his Florida legal team after the FBI executed a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
The report noted former OAN reporter Christina Bobb "became the face of Trump’s legal pushback, booking time on Fox and other conservative media outlets. But behind the scenes, Trump’s allies initiated a hunt for new attorneys who might be more experienced with the complex battle with the Justice Department they knew was about to begin."
However, Bobb may have to recuse herself as a witness in the case.
"There was a growing realization, in the words of one close adviser, that the former president could be in for a 'big fight for a long time.' It was a familiar predicament for Trump, who has changed lawyers repeatedly since 2016 and has at times had trouble finding high-powered counsel to take up his cause," the newspaper noted.
Trump's rag-tag team pushing his election denialism included Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and John Eastman.
"Jon Sale, a prominent Florida defense attorney who had been part of the Watergate prosecutorial team, confirmed he was asked this week to represent Trump — and declined. He called the request a 'privilege' but said that because of 'other professional commitments,' he did not have the time to provide the kind of lawyering he believed Trump will need."
Read the full report.
Former White House chief of staff John Kelly explained to The Washington Post that his former boss did not understand why America's secrets are classified.
Kelly's comments were included in a Washington Post deep-dive by reporters Josh Dawsey, Rosalind S. Helderman, Jacqueline Alemany and Devlin Barrett titled, "Trump’s secrets: How a records dispute led the FBI to search Mar-a-Lago."
"A Trump adviser said the former president’s reluctance to relinquish the records stems from his belief that many items created during his term — photos, notes, even a model of Air Force One built to show off a new paint job he had commissioned — are now his personal property, despite a law dating to the 1970s that decreed otherwise," the newspaper reported.
The newspaper interviewed Kelly, who also served as Secretary of Homeland Security and as a four-star Marine Corps general.
“His sense was that the people who are in the intel business are incompetent, and he knew better,” Kelly said. “He didn’t believe in the classification system.”
Former national security adviser John Bolton told the newspaper, “almost nothing would surprise me about what’s in the documents at Mar-a-Lago.”
“People were nervous enough about his lack of concern for classification matters that the briefers typically said, ‘Well, we need to take it back,’” Bolton said. “He’d usually give it back — but sometimes he wouldn’t give it back.”
Read the full report.