Just Because The Espionage Act Has Been Abused For Political Purposes, It Does Not Mean The Trump Case Is Politically Motivated

from the actual-experts-weigh-in dept

The federal court-authorized search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate has brought renewed attention to the obscure but infamous law known as the Espionage Act of 1917. A section of the law was listed as one of three potential violations under Justice Department investigation.

The Espionage Act has historically been employed most often by law-and-order conservatives. But the biggest uptick in its use occurred during the Obama administration, which used it as the hammer of choice for national security leakers and whistleblowers. Regardless of whom it is used to prosecute, it unfailingly prompts consternation and outrage.

We are both attorneys who specialize in and teach national security law. While navigating the sound and fury over the Trump search, here are a few things to note about the Espionage Act.

Espionage Act seldom pertains to espionage

When you hear “espionage,” you may think spies and international intrigue. One portion of the act – 18 U.S.C. section 794 – does relate to spying for foreign governments, for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.

That aspect of the law is best exemplified by the convictions of Jonathan Pollard in 1987, for spying for and providing top-secret classified information to Israel; former Central Intelligence Agency officer Aldrich Ames in 1994, for being a double agent for the Russian KGB; and, in 2002, former FBI agent Robert Hanssen, who was caught selling U.S. secrets to the Soviet Union and Russia over a span of more than 20 years. All three received life sentences.

But spy cases are rare. More typically, as in the Trump investigation, the act applies to the unauthorized gathering, possessing or transmitting of certain sensitive government information.

Transmitting can mean moving materials from an authorized to an unauthorized location – many types of sensitive government information must be maintained in secure facilities. It can also apply to refusing a government demand for its return. All of these prohibited activities fall under the separate and more commonly applied section of the act – 18 U.S.C. section 793.

A violation does not require an intention to aid a foreign power

Willful unauthorized possession of information that, if obtained by a foreign government, might harm U.S. interests is generally enough to trigger a possible sentence of 10 years.

Current claims by Trump supporters of the seemingly innocuous nature of the conduct at issue – simply possessing sensitive government documents – miss the point. The driver of the Department of Justice’s concern under Section 793 is the sensitive content and the connection to national defense information, known as “NDI.”

One of the most famous Espionage Act cases, known as “Wikileaks,” in which Julian Assange was indicted for obtaining and publishing secret military and diplomatic documents in 2010, is not about leaks to help foreign governments. It concerned the unauthorized soliciting, obtaining, possessing and publishing of sensitive information that might be of help to a foreign nation if disclosed.

Two recent senior Democratic administration officials – Sandy Berger, national security adviser during the Clinton administration, and David Petraeus, CIA director under during the Obama administration – each pleaded guilty to misdemeanors under the threat of Espionage Act prosecution.

Berger took home a classified document – in his sock – at the end of his tenure. Petraeus shared classified information with an unauthorized person for reasons having nothing to do with a foreign government.

The act is not just about classified information

Some of the documents the FBI sought and found in the Trump search were designated “top secret” or “top secret-sensitive compartmented information.”

Both classifications tip far to the serious end of the sensitivity spectrum.

Top secret-sensitive compartmented information is reserved for information that would truly be damaging to the U.S. if it fell into foreign hands.

One theory floated by Trump defenders is that by simply handling the materials as president, Trump could have effectively declassified them. It actually doesn’t work that way – presidential declassification requires an override of Executive Order 13526, must be in writing, and must have occurred while Trump was still president – not after. If they had been declassified, they should have been marked as such.

And even assuming the documents were declassified, which does not appear to be the case, Trump is still in the criminal soup. The Espionage Act applies to all national defense information, or NDI, of which classified materials are only a portion. This kind of information includes a vast array of sensitive information including military, energy, scientific, technological, infrastructure and national disaster risks. By law and regulation, NDI materials may not be publicly released and must be handled as sensitive.

The public can’t judge a case based on classified information

Cases involving classified information or NDI are nearly impossible to referee from the cheap seats.

None of us will get to see the documents at issue, nor should we. Why?

Because they are classified.

Even if we did, we would not be able to make an informed judgment of their significance because what they relate to is likely itself classified – we’d be making judgments in a void.

And even if a judge in an Espionage Act case had access to all the information needed to evaluate the nature and risks of the materials, it wouldn’t matter. The fact that documents are classified or otherwise regulated as sensitive defense information is all that matters.

Historically, Espionage Act cases have been occasionally political and almost always politicized. Enacted at the beginning of U.S. involvement in World War I in 1917, the act was largely designed to make interference with the draft illegal and prevent Americans from supporting the enemy.

But it was immediately used to target immigrants, labor organizers and left-leaning radicals. It was a tool of Cold War anti-communist politicians like Sen. Joe McCarthy in the 1940s and 1950s. The case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed for passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, is the most prominent prosecution of that era.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the act was used against peace activists, including Pentagon Paper whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. Since Sept. 11, 2001, officials have used the act against whistleblowers like Edward Snowden. Because of this history, the act is often assailed for chilling First Amendment political speech and activities.

The Espionage Act is serious and politically loaded business. Its breadth, the potential grave national security risks involved and the lengthy potential prison term have long sparked political conflict. These cases are controversial and complicated in ways that counsel patience and caution before reaching conclusions.

Joseph Ferguson, Co-Director, National Security and Civil Rights Program, Loyola University Chicago and Thomas A. Durkin, Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, Loyola University Chicago

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article

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Comments on “Just Because The Espionage Act Has Been Abused For Political Purposes, It Does Not Mean The Trump Case Is Politically Motivated”

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268 Comments
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re:

What is very interesting about Trump storing classified documents in his home is that through all of his career every aide of his has reflected on him being borderline dyslexic and unwilling to read anything which doesn’t have his name in it.

Yet he bothers to grab a bunch of ultra secret documents and cart them home?

Here’s my question – do we trust Trump not to sell copies of top secret documents to foreign powers as long as enough money on a swiss account is involved?

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Rocky says:

Re: Re:

Here’s my question – do we trust Trump not to sell copies of top secret documents to foreign powers as long as enough money on a swiss account is involved?

I think the reasons are much more mundane: His narcissism, he has on more than one occasion waved secret documents in the face of dinner guest. There is also the aspect that the documents may contain things that can be viewed as embarrassing for him in some fashion – imagined or real.

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Redback (profile) says:

Re: Re: RE:

If you think Trump was the only ex-president to take documents, like they’re purporting, he was not the only one, every ex-president did the same thing. This is a witch hunt to stop Trump which has backed fire spectacle bad for the Democratic, look no further than that thing called Lizzy Cheney. The Public knows what this is, the gullible will make any excuses.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:

If you think Trump was the only ex-president to take documents, like they’re purporting, he was not the only one, every ex-president did the same thing.

Who are “they”? Elaborate please, because I haven’t seen anyone say that. At issue isn’t that ex-presidents have taken documents with them – the issue is that Trump refused to return documents when requested.

look no further than that thing called Lizzy Cheney.

She’s a republican, not a democrat. It’s also telling that you call her a thing, I guess you can’t really stand people who actually have principles.

The Public knows what this is, the gullible will make any excuses.

Yeah, they make excuses and defend the indefensible at every turn because acknowledging that Trump is a grifter and a conman also means admitting they are gullible idiots.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Obama and Bush (W) both hold classified records in their libraries. According to the national archives documentation.

He is, I believe, the first not to turn anything over to a senatorial board. But I also believe he’s the first former president to have been asked to do so.

For whatever all the reasons are, this is all unpreecedenteded.
Let’s just all watch it play out.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Obama and Bush (W) both hold classified records in their libraries. According to the national archives documentation.

Oh, I didn’t know the next phase of ‘they planted evidence’ would turn into ‘the room was a presidential library.’

For whatever all the reasons are, this is all unpreecedenteded.

So then not at all like Bush & Obama?
You just threw that in for what, laughs?

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

Three things

What does he have? A few here jumped to nuclear. Possible. Or just as easily, staff reports or meeting notes.

Why does he have them. Nothing exists as a blanket requirement that classified documents cannot move. If he is, was, cleared to have them. The change of presidency doesn’t negate his current clearance. So he may well be holding them legally.

What is is intent. Sure, there’s conspiracy theories about bargaining and sales. And how many officials are reptilians? I lost track.

Let the investigation play out.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:5

So he may well be holding them legally.

No, because he doesn’t own the documents per the PRA and he should have turned them over when he left the office.

Here’s is the highlights from the PRA:
* Establishes public ownership of all Presidential records and defines the term Presidential records.
* Requires that Vice-Presidential records be treated in the same way as Presidential records.
* Places the responsibility for the custody and management of incumbent Presidential records with the President.
* Requires that the President and his staff take all practical steps to file personal records separately from Presidential records.
* Allows the incumbent President to dispose of records that no longer have administrative, historical, informational, or evidentiary value, once the views of the Archivist of the United States on the proposed disposal have been obtained in writing.
* Establishes in law that any incumbent Presidential records (whether textual or electronic) held on courtesy storage by the Archivist remain in the exclusive legal custody of the President and that any request or order for access to such records must be made to the President, not NARA.
* Establishes that Presidential records automatically transfer into the legal custody of the Archivist as soon as the President leaves office.
* Establishes a process by which the President may restrict and the public may obtain access to these records after the President leaves office; specifically, the PRA allows for public access to Presidential records through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) beginning five years after the end of the Administration, but allows the President to invoke as many as six specific restrictions to public access for up to twelve years.
* Codifies the process by which former and incumbent Presidents conduct reviews for executive privilege prior to public release of records by NARA (which had formerly been governed by Executive order 13489).
* Establishes procedures for Congress, courts, and subsequent Administrations to obtain “special access” to records from NARA that remain closed to the public, following a privilege review period by the former and incumbent Presidents; the procedures governing such special access requests continue to be governed by the relevant provisions of E.O. 13489.
* Establishes preservation requirements for official business conducted using non-official electronic messaging accounts: any individual creating Presidential records must not use non-official electronic messaging accounts unless that individual copies an official account as the message is created or forwards a complete copy of the record to an official messaging account. (A similar provision in the Federal Records Act applies to federal agencies.)
* Prevents an individual who has been convicted of a crime related to the review, retention, removal, or destruction of records from being given access to any original records.

You are sure showing signs of getting more and more stupid.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

And… there are as-need exceptions baked into records law as well.

Here are the laws involved, what exceptions do you have in mind?

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/793
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2071
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1519

Also if you’re interested in learning what’s going on rather than blindly defending Trump:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekefMUICOGo

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6

I hope they (anyone) find something, anything, somewhere, anywhere, to hit her with.

They’ve been doing it for the entire time Trump was in office.

Even with the decks stacked in their favor, they couldn’t pull it off.

Failing to deliver on the wall thing is something you consistently quibble with as something that was never going to actually happen the way Trump’s critics claimed he’d promised. Fair, but the failure to go after Hilary Clinton is nothing short of a huge fucking joke. The same way your boys constantly scream that the election was stolen, despite given multiple opportunities to put some substantiated evidence up front that isn’t simply pointing a trembling finger and going “but but but”.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

except the election wasn’t stolen.
Not in they way republicans claim anyway.
There’s no evidence of result-changing level fraud.

From my understanding, the few cases of ballot dumping resulted in the ballots being carefully vetted, verified, and then counted. So there were no lost republican votes in trashed ballot dumps.

There’s no evidence Russia, China, or any other country hacked into our machines and changed votes.

And while no real investigation was done, even if the Philadelphia votes were back-dated after midnight, it wouldn’t have changed the results as Republicans claim(ed). If anything, it would have resulted in republican illicit votes. Since trump didn’t win in those counties, it’s meaningless as to the results.

And a quick look at maps of voting history shows that even if Georgia had “missing” or “lost” votes not counted, the few districts that show below 100% counted are blue. Finding the “missing” votes, if they exist, are just more democrat votes.

And while I deeply believe faithless electors are treasonous scum that should be drawn and quartered, NONE of the contested electors were faithless (as far as I can tell).

Anyone still clinging to fraud is delusional.

Nemo_bis (profile) says:

"a Creative Commons license"

That’s meaningless.
https://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#which-cc

Under section 3(1)(C) of the license, one must “indicate the Licensed Material is licensed under this Public License, and include the text of, or the URI or hyperlink to, this Public License”. I suggest to include a link to https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/ , but saying “under CC BY-ND 4.0 license”, or similar, is also possible.

Nemo_bis (profile) says:

Re: The Conversation reuse guidelines

Yes, I did notice that The Conversation claims “By copying the HTML below, you will be adhering to all our guidelines”. So it’s not like they’re likely to sue for copyright infringement (or win in court if they did). However, their advice is incorrect. By following that advice, reusers are relying on some implied license, not on the semi-free Creative Commons license they think they’re using. So it’s best to actually follow the public license.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“And while he might not have handed documents to other powers…”

What else would he have done with them? For all of his career every documentary about Trump at some point brings up that he’s reluctant to read any form of documents which doesn’t have his name in it and his recalcitrance to reading any of his white house briefing material. Some suggest he’s borderline dyslexic.

Yet he carted home top secret documents to store in his safe?

We could argue he’s narcissist enough he thinks it’s “cool” to have that sort of stuff in his safe and sure, once you strip away the wrinkled face and malice he’s fermented for half a century what you end up with is a petulant entitled child. I won’t call it beyond him to violate law and rules just for shitz’n’giggles.

But there are plenty of reasons to look at Trump as an agent of foreign powers.
Someone offered to stand as guarantee to Deutsche Bank in order for one of their departments to come up with a 300 million USD loan to him in 1998 when his credit rating was similar to that of a homeless crack addict.
And he’s persistently treated people like Kim Jong-Un and Putin as if he could barely hold himself back from giving them reacharounds in public.

At this point learning that he used the office of the presidency to sell secret information to adversarial states wouldn’t even be a shocker. Just Donald being Donald.

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Michael Cohen says Trump likely kept classified documents at Mar-a-Lago as a ‘bargaining chip’ to avoid any potential jail time

Michael Cohen, who was once former President Trump’s personal lawyer, believes Trump kept top-secret documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence as potential bargaining chips that he could leverage if he were ever at risk of going to jail.

“My belief is that he was going to use it as a bargaining chip, as a get-out-of-jail-free card,” Cohen said on CNN. “The second that they put him in handcuffs, he’ll turn around and say, ‘You don’t seem to understand. I have the documentation showing, for example, where our nuclear launchpads are, or other information — sensitive national security information.”

Cohen painted a scenario in which Trump would threaten to have his “loyal supporters” release the classified information he had kept to Russia, Iran, or “whoever it might be.” He added that he didn’t believe Trump “cared about this country.”

CNN host Alisyn Camerota also asked Cohen if thought any of the documents Trump kept at his Florida home were mementos.

“I’m sure some of it was Kim Jong Un love letters, or a letter he may have received from Vladimir Putin about his Miss Universe pageant, something that he can show off if he ever felt he needed to have that document,” Cohen said.

“But I believe that the sensitive information that’s there was used or was going to be used by him as a get-out-of-jail-free card,” he added.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re:

Though it likely wouldn’t help their Dear Leader in this particular instance if they really think the law oversteps the mark then his supporters in office should be pushing to have it overturned and taken off the books as unless they want to just completely tip their hand by trying to argue that it shouldn’t apply to them(which I wouldn’t put past them) it does seem like he’s screwed with it in it’s current state.

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Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That is, of course, assuming the DoJ pursues an indictment, which is not a given (but is a lot likelier than it was a few months ago and seemingly getting likelier all the time).

Recovering the documents could have been an end in itself; it’s entirely possible the DoJ could stop there.

But if they do, it won’t be because they don’t have a strong case, it’ll be because they don’t want to get involved with something this politically sensitive.

(I think it would be a tremendous mistake not to prosecute him; I think the reason we’re here in the first place is that nobody prosecuted Nixon, Reagan, or Bush. But unfortunately, that history makes it very easy for me to believe nobody will prosecute Trump either. For all the talk about how no one is above the law, the evidence says otherwise.)

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Refusing to prosecute just because someone is politically powerful is not only a huge sign of corruption and/or cowardice but it ensures that while there may be less ‘hassle’ currently the problem will only get worse over time since others will see that at a certain point ‘no one is above the law’ is simply not true and therefore so long as they have enough power the limits and law won’t apply to them either.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

To quote Thad:

I think it would be a tremendous mistake not to prosecute him; I think the reason we’re here in the first place is that nobody prosecuted Nixon, Reagan, or Bush. But unfortunately, that history makes it very easy for me to believe nobody will prosecute Trump either. For all the talk about how no one is above the law, the evidence says otherwise.

You were saying?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8

I have to say, each and every time this douchebag shows up and tries his best to mimic Toom1275 and Rocky while accusing Techdirt regulars as secret trolls posting anonymously, it’s a fucking riot. All because some idiot couldn’t accept Bayside Advisory getting referred to as “copyright law’s best and brightest”.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What will be really interesting now is all the back talk from both sides.
The republicans, including trump, kept making noise to punish Clinton. How they will set it out that she deserves punishment but not trump.

On the other side, we have all the dems so against pursuit of Clinton who no have to explain why there’s a sudden difference.

I look forward to all the babbling that’s going to happen now!

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Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:3

If you go back and look at the information on what top secret information was on Clintons server, it wasn’t. That happened later, they reclassified some the documents contained in emails to Top Secret 4 years later when the House Select Committee on Benghazi was in full swing.

Funny how that reclassification happened while the committee was trying to pin anything on Clinton.

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Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:5

Which is entirely beside the point.

Hillary used a private server because it was convenient for her, documents ended up on it through normal work-related communications.

Trump intentionally took documents to MAL when he left the White House, stored them insecurely and obstructed the efforts to have them returned which led to a warrant being served.

And you think the situations are comparable somehow? Both deals with documents, but as usual – it’s the intent that matters.

So how about you fucking stop using other peoples fuckups as excuses for the orange ape’s actions. It’s moronic but I guess we can’t expect more from someone who reflexively defends the indefensible.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

it’s the intent that matters.

We have no idea what trump’s intent was/is. Just our own personal opinions.
Godking godthing mediafling. Not once did I say he shouldn’t be investigated here. Absolutely, do so.
Nor did I complain once that they took documents back.

What I complained about was the pure abusive display of show and pomp in power. Two marshals could have done the same recovery. The ‘raid’ was for show. That is my single complaint.

(I still am uneasy with the safe issue, but that has more to do with my views on warrant use and what should and should not be dictated).

If trump is guilty, have at it. That’s what investigations are for. To, er, investigate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8

We have no idea what trump’s intent was/is. Just our own personal opinions.

Are you so fucking stupid you don’t understand the sentence refused to hand over the documents. He was intentionally withholding them from the National Archives. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fucking fact.

What I complained about was the pure abusive display of show and pomp in power. Two marshals could have done the same recovery. The ‘raid’ was for show. That is my single complaint.

You are still stupid, you fail to take a lot of things into consideration which I can guarantee the FBI didn’t. MAL is a huge place so it only makes sense to have a lot of personnel there because a) you have to have control over the area, b) make sure no one tampers with any evidence and preserve the chain of custody, c) stop idiotic MAGA supporters from interfering.

How the fuck do you propose 2 marshals accomplish that? Hat in hand and asking nicely at the gate “Pardon the intrusion, but please can we have the documents now?”

The reality is that Trump broke the law by withholding the documents and here you want the FBI to treat him with kid-gloves because it may hurt his feelings or some other inane reason.

If trump is guilty, have at it. That’s what investigations are for. To, er, investigate.

And to do that, Mr Pea-Brain, they have to serve warrants and gather evidence which in the real world usually means an amount of people that is proportional to the circumstances and the property’s size they need to search.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10

If carrying trump’s water is:
If saying dozens of armed meant picking up a few boxes of paperwork is excessive.
If saying he has a right to a fair trial as any citizen of this country.
If saying how poorly, and flashy, this was was going to bring every nutter out to vote.

If that, somehow, equates to active support, you’re so delusional I can’t come up with a reply.
Some of us still believe in law, order, and justice.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11

If saying dozens of armed meant picking up a few boxes of paperwork is excessive.

Should they have just sent a few agents so it would take a lot longer? Or are you suggesting the FBI is going to execute a raid unarmed?

If saying he has a right to a fair trial as any citizen of this country.

What are you talking about? He hasn’t even been charged with a crime yet. There is no due process violation here.

I’ve yet to hear trump state why he had them. Or of any evidence as to what he intended to do.

That’s fine, but it doesn’t matter. The laws he’s being investigated under don’t have loopholes based on why the subject mishandled government documents.

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LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

Comparable in that not cases involve storage of classified materials in places where they (apparently) should not be.

Other than that. I just which people would keep investigating Clinton because I hate here as much as you all hate trump.
I just want someone to find something, anything, no matter how small, to slap her with.
It’s that simple. Really.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10

Not as of late.
He did accomplish a few things I agreed with like (start) building the southern wall.
And a withdrawal of Afghanistan occupation forces.
Reduced international involvement.
Negotiated peace accords with west Asian nations.
—all things Obama promised and failed to deliver.
Given that I not only voted for Obama, but was a campaign volunteer, twice, I’m really happy things got done this time around.

And what did the Dems give us? The Burn? No. We get a partisan boot lick with dementia. Who’s the real wizard behind the curtain?

I have no idea how I’ll vote in 24. Chances are high the Democrat party will split over the elite’s forceful push of Biden 2.0. Meaning a 3rd party or alt-Dem candidate with a chance to win.
As long as they’re not an environmental extremist and promise not to take away our rifles when the ‘bad people’ keep their handguns… I’m in.

Especially with a meat tax, I’d definitely start eating more wild meat.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:12

That he’s partisan, or has dementia.
Boot lick, that’s my own opinion. The partisanship leads me so say that.
Dementia. If you can’t see the signs since 2019 then you have no understanding of dementia, or are simply self inclined to ignore it.
I have no time or personal will to convince you either way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11

He did accomplish a few things I agreed with like (start) building the southern wall.

So you’re racist. Noted.

And a withdrawal of Afghanistan occupation forces.

Enacted by Obama as the outgoing President.

Reduced international involvement.

Achieved through the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

Negotiated peace accords with west Asian nations.

His idea? Really?

—all things Obama promised and failed to deliver.

I’ve already disproved that lie.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:12

So you’re racist. Noted.

If secure borders are racist, then so we’re Obama and Clinton. Who both made mild gestures on a promised securing of the border fencing, and expansion.

Enacted by Obama as the outgoing President.

If you wish to point out anywhere he/his administration did anything other than make comments… feel free. I’m open to listening. It was the 16 term that set dates. Drew plans. And prepared movements. That Biden simply ignored it all, is in Biden.

His idea?

Did or did not Arab nations sign agreements with Isreal while his administration was in office, supplying negotiators.

disproved

You ignored Obama’s promise of border wall expansion. You claim with no evidence that Obama made any advancement on an Afghan withdrawal. You pretend Trump’s administration didn’t negotiate historic peace accords.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

I just which people would keep investigating Clinton

Just in perpetuity? She’s been investigated over and over and over and over again. Benghazi, emails, everything. No evidence of a crime was turned up. What would be the purpose of continuing to investigate? Or do you believe that there simply must be something there because you hate her so much, so the investigations should continue until it is found?

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LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8

there simply must be something there because you hate her so much, so the investigations should continue until it is found?

Lol. Sounds exactly like the anti-Trump idea. Right?

How many years. How many investigations. I would be happy with a bit of that going after Clinton. Sure. I’m sure we can find a tax or Parkin violation somewhere. I do hate here that much.
I don’t even remotely know what Benghazi was about.

The emails, maybe she’s just stupid. Maybe not. With as many as we’re deleted, and all the phones destroyed. We can never know 100%.

But like Trump, dig long enough you’ll find something !

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9

Sounds exactly like the anti-Trump idea. Right?

Nope, not even a little bit.

But like Trump, dig long enough you’ll find something !

Are you kidding right now? You don’t even need an investigation to find the terrible things Trump does, just turn on the TV and he’ll be bragging about them. This search was supported by a warrant and signed off by a judge, and guess what? They didn’t leave empty handed. Apparently the evidence was right where they expected it to be on the first try, so not that much “digging” required after all.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:9

Lol. Sounds exactly like the anti-Trump idea. Right?

No, because it’s only people like you who use that type of lame excuse to defend Trump and other deplorables. You repeatedly say things like: “But Hillary…”, or “But BLM…”, or “But Democrats…”.

I do hate here that much.

Well, perhaps you shouldn’t consume so much right-wing dreck then – because it has certainly poisoned you with hate for someone who have zero real life impact on you.

But like Trump, dig long enough you’ll find something !

It’s entirely your own actions that have led you to become a stupid asshole.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:13

“You can’t, and shouldn’t, be held to laws made after the fact.”

Indeed. Whatever you think of Hillary’s buttery males, it wasn’t even against standard practice at the time, let alone illegal, from my understanding. She has also been investigated, no charges have been brought, and that was under numerous Republican attempts.

Whereas, Trump may be falling foul of laws he himself altered, and some of the charges don’t even require the files to have been classified from what I understand, no matter what weak excuses he has for having the files remaining in his possession despite having returned half of them claiming he returned them all.

If your best defence here is “but whatabout..”, you’ve already lost. If Hillary, Hunter, whoever is found to be guilty under the same standard, prosecute them too. But, that doesn’t change Trump’s liability.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:14

I made no defence with what about.
I stated I have no problem with trump being punished if he is guilty.
I didn’t complain at all *about him being investigated ! I complained about **the method of display in doing so.

Go back an read my initial comment!
I wouldn’t wish such a show against the one person on the planet I truly, undeniably, hate.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:16

I didn’t say she was guilty of possessing classified information. She was SOS, and had clearance for it.

I said she was guilty of having classified information outside of government approved location.
Apparently that wasn’t a crime.
But a the very minimum, really gross negligence. So says many who found her not-guilty.

I said she was guilty of deleting emails. You may believe here when she said they were personal. I do not.

And I personally find her guilty of being a despicable, step on everyone, self serving, fake caring, oppression ignoring, wealth gathering, self-indulgent, poc of a human.

But not criminally guilty of anything she’s been investigated for.

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:17

I said she was guilty of deleting emails. You may believe here when she said they were personal. I do not.

I believe that, as far as anyone appears able to prove, she believed that the deleted emails were personal, and I have no real reason to doubt that she actually believed that. Whether or not they were actually personal, I neither know nor care.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:18

I simply don’t know
my hatred of her actions translate to a hatred of her and this I fail, and refuse, to agree by accepting her claim.. It’s purely a me thing but her actions have deeply affected some people I care about dearly.

But none of us will ever know. For absolute surety.
It is what it is.
I just hold out hope she gets a few parking tickets.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:19

It’s purely a me thing but her actions have deeply affected some people I care about dearly.

I mean, you’re at least honest enough to admit this has been nothing more than feeding your own ego.

I’m sure a lot of boomers felt affected when their kids decided to get the COVID-19 vaccine instead of injecting themselves with horse dewormer.

I just hold out hope she gets a few parking tickets.

hangintherebaby.jpg

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10

… someone who have zero real life impact on you.

Her policy position on Ukraine during here time as SOS directly effected people I know who lived there.

But just ignore the Country’s overwhelming violent oppression of those of recent Russian descent.

She turned a blind eye to China too. Though I know no-one involved in that oppression.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:11

Her policy position on Ukraine during here time as SOS directly effected people I know who lived there.
But just ignore the Country’s overwhelming violent oppression of those of recent Russian descent.

You mean at the time when the pro-Russian Yanukovich was president? That is some serious mojo she has that can force a pro-Russian to oppress those of Russian descent. Why didn’t she also use the same power to stop Yanukovich from disbanding the NATO committee after his meeting with Putin?

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:12

She was directly involved in the political backend, as SOS, in the lead up to the posting of Oleksandr Turchynov. Having left office in 2013. From there her successor Kerry carried on what would eventually become the violent subjugation of a group based solely on national origin.
She oversaw what resulted in a chain of events that not only made the situation worse for those oppressed, but eventually lead to a war that has now claimed many thousands.
Just another politician that likes to destabilise. From a long line post WWII
This time, it directly effected me.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11

What about them? I’m personally pro choice. I’d like to see a federal healthcare system that made it financially possible for people to carry to term, but we don’t have that.

Pregnancy to term can cost many tens of thousands in the best of cases. Add a zero if anything goes wrong along the way.
I don’t see how people justify such a burden by force.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:15

From the link:

Republican leaders, including President Trump, have slammed the idea, saying it would ultimately fail if it were put into action.

What the public wants and what elected/electable leaders support are entirely different things.

And while I don’t deny that there’s a strong support on the near right for universal tax paid healthcare, (52% polled in the link),
You won’t come close to that for abortion.

Or for the, SLOW!, fazing out of fossil fuel, or a tax funded electric charging platform.

Or federal internet. Federal education.

Good luck finding R majority for those things.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:7

I just which people would keep investigating Clinton because I hate here as much as you all hate trump.
I just want someone to find something, anything, no matter how small, to slap her with.
It’s that simple. Really.

“Boo-hoo, you are mean to Trump which is sooo unfair! Because of that I’ll be mean to someone else!”

Talk about being a childish asshole.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9

Uh, every post I’ve made is readable. Unlike you I have created an account. That records every post I’ve made on my profile.

Put some effort into your trolling if you want to be believed.
Point out directly… anything you incorrectly infer is my saying a politician should not be held to the rule of law.
Whenever you get around to it.

I’ll even help: https://www.techdirt.com/user/lostinlodos/

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8

Whoops!

Maybe, learn to use Markdown, so that your posts don’t look so sloppy, stupid, and trollish.

A president can make most documents classified or declassified simply by willing them so. This peculiar power is so great that the government has an office that exists solely to manage it: the Information Security Oversight Office, which has a strong claim to being the coolest government office you’ve never heard of….

according to the Atlantic.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Oh but it would totally destroy his shit logic if he did that. And then he might realize saying that people who walked through/around/over multiple layers of police barricades somehow didn’t know they were breaking the law and than blaming Hillary for something criminal, because “reasons” is a bit hypocritical. Not to mention trying to compare unorthodox server setups to potential treason…

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

A) I don’t really care. Her innocence or guilt in one matter won’t change my hatred.

B) as the article states

the Supreme Court’s opinion in Gorin v. United States (1941), which suggests that the Espionage Act’s intent requirements are an important feature that save it from unconstitutional vagueness.

Which puts both her and trump in the same boat. Which is, what I said.

C) I’m a geek, not a nerd. Nice, Vice using derogatory statements for tech professionals. And hobbyists.

D) see A. I hate her. Despise here. And will cheer for any investigation that has any chance to see her hanged out. Which is just how many people feel about trump.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5

See, I would’ve thought that would have been done already. With all the rabid fervor about locking her up, and how it was a slam dunk of a case before the election, I’m not understanding why once Trump was in office he, and the justice department did nothing to her.

Not a thing.
In four years.
Despite all that blabbering.

If it was so important, why did the DOJ do absolutely nothing about it?

I guess what I’m really saying is, if you’re asking the rest of us ‘what about Hillary?’ you might want to point that question to the folks who, despite its importance, once again, chose to do nothing.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5

How does hating Clinton have anything to do with racial concerns?

Black men used to be hanged on false charges all the time just because white people didn’t like them, which is the same as you screaming for Hillary to face criminal charges just because you don’t like her. So, not so much of a jump as a little hop.

No, I believe in fair trials. By a jury.

So do I, but only where there’s evidence of a crime, not just because I don’t like someone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

On the other side, we have all the dems so against pursuit of Clinton who no have to explain why there’s a sudden difference.

Yeah, keep telling yourself ‘that’s it’ instead of the fucking loudmouth saying how she’d be in jail when he wins just deciding to drop what seems to be such a big fucking deal.

Dems don’t need to protect Clinton. Republicans have been saying she would be in jail for the last 30 years. If it’s not important to them, it must not be important.

GROS says:

Re:

Hate Trump or just avoid him, I think the last word is that the Garfinkle clan is knee deep in this smear campaign–from the archives on down. Here is yet another Garfinkle working at the Archives, with an opinion, lol.

A president can make most documents classified or declassified simply by willing them so. This peculiar power is so great that the government has an office that exists solely to manage it: the Information Security Oversight Office, which has a strong claim to being the coolest government office you’ve never heard of. (The longest-serving director of this office, Steven Garfinkel, told me that for two decades he had access to pretty much every secret in the executive branch

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/08/trump-fbi-raid-classified-nuclear-documents/671119/

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Anonymous Coward says:

Here’s the problem. Years of “trumpkin” and “Russian collusion”, has turned very negative report about trump into background noise. You’re saying “he has secret documents” and we keep hearing “orange man bad”
Kind of how every negative report about Obama ended up being heard as “racists hating a black man”

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Gee, it’s almost as if racists hated Barack Obama for being a Black man no matter what good he did (so much so that one of those racists [successfully] ran for president after being humiliated by said Black man) and Donald Trump is a horrible person who keeps doing horrible things. Imagine that~.

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

Your obvious (because of your trademarked “bullied” delusion) sockpuppet said genuine good samaritans give help to anyonne that needs it. That label obviously applies to me and the others who have only ever posted truth in honest good faith.

“Bullied” and “deliberate misinterpretation” have never been anything more than hallucinatory projections from a pathological liar triggered into psychotic episodes whenever they see someone honest, so naturally ypur bad-faith misinterpretations don’t apply to anyone else at all.

There’s no other possible rational ways to interpret that, so as always you use the word “misinterpretation” (along with “proving” and “hypocrite”) in a fundamentally incorrect way no literate person would.

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

I’m not good at discerning those who actually need help from those I think could use help, but I most certainly don’t “lend[] [my] aid only when there’s someone to be bullied”. At the very least, I genuinely believe that what I am doing is not bullying and that I am genuinely helping people who could use the help even if it’s not strictly necessary, and you have done nothing to demonstrate that my belief is wrong, let alone unreasonable or not genuine.

See, the thing with being a Good Samaritan is that it’s all about intent. You have to demonstrate that our subjectively held beliefs show ill intent in order to prove us to not be Good Samaritans.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

That’s somehow different to the right wailing for decades about Clinton murder lists, endless Benghazi hearings that resulted in zero convictions despite dozens of hearing (unlike the Mueller investigations that led to numerous convictions, even if Trump did end up pardoning his friends who got convicted), etc.?

The Obama criticism = racism was just Occam’s razor. People wailed about taxation in a time for relative low historical taxations, whined about everything from condiments to suit colour, and so on. It was just such nonsense that it was clear there was something else in play. It may have been typical bipartisan nonsense, but it was clear that there was a large increase in such complaints beyond the usual “Democrat in the White House” silliness, and there was little objective reason for it.

The problem with criticism of Trump is that there was a lot of evidence that he was actually doing so things very wrong, and this is just the latest example of actual criminal activity that people are trying to ignore/deflect the solid evidence of. If your guy was committing so many potential crimes and openly anti-American actions that people informing you about them disappear into background noises because there’s so much of it, it’s possible that the problem isn’t the people pointing them out to you.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Arijirija says:

Re:

Of course it’s political. What I am surprised about is that nobody but nobody has connected the dots. The FBI Definition of Terrorism:
“Domestic terrorism: Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.”
Now threatening to hang the then-current Vice-President for upholding the law, invading a sitting Congress for the purpose of overthrowing a legal transfer of power … does that look like an act of terrorism or not? Either way, there’s also law on the material support of terrorism, isn’t there?!?!

It’s turtles all the way down …

OGquaker says:

Re: Re: 18 U.S.C. 2339B(a)(1) prohibits the knowing provision of "any service, training, expert advice or assistance"

A friend of mine (RIP) Ralph Fertig lost that one.
Jared Kushner probably been digging in the boxes.. an easy $2 billion from Saudi Arabia’s “sovereign wealth fund” to start!

See https://www.justice.gov/osg/brief/united-states-v-humanitarian-law-project-petition

N0083rp00f says:

Re:

Funny that.

At that event there was hardly a heavily armed and armored enforcer to be seen, and those that were did nothing or cheered.

Yet weeks and months earlier different protests were met with solid walls of heavily armed itchy uniforms on a hair trigger.

Nobody talks about that.
It’s almost enough to think there was some sort of conspiracy.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Corrupt and cowardly

I’d love to be proven wrong but I’d honestly give him fairly good odds of avoiding any serious consequences yet again as the republicans don’t dare turn on their Dear Leader lest they face the unhinged wrath of their voting block who support him and the democrats are likely to be cowed into submission the second someone accuses them of using the government to go after their political enemies since clearly that’s the only reason this could be happening.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“the republicans don’t dare turn on their Dear Leader”

Sadly, time will tell. The cult is still there, but there’s a trend toward Fox, etc. turning toward DeSantis as a front runner, along with some other minor figures. They’ve been distracted by the attempt to pretend that investigating crimes is somehow illegal, but there seems to be a push elsewhere.

The biggest problem with Trump is that he might have paved the way for a competent fascist, and you’ll be doing yourself a disservice by becoming complacent just because they still have their clown. They were convinced to vote for an obviously incompetent con artist, they can be convinced to vote for a less obvious evil.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:

Genuine question: what actions did “Slick Willy” escape the consequences of? The only thing I know of was the debacle with Monica Lewinski, and while it certainly tanks respect for the man, that alone is not anywhere on the level of the heinousness of Trump.

So I request enlightenment – what did Bill Clinton do, that he got away with, that is equivalent to the Trump criminalities?

linnen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Not to mention

While Pres. Clinton did get get impeached for lying about a blowjob, the conviction leading to this was thrown out due to the fact that the line of questioning used was shown to have been a perjury trap.

Real Estate? Ken Starr could not get Susan McDougal to support his charges in this. She was thrown in jail because she would not perjure herself.

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LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Ideas

Appears to be a lot going on here.

Both classifications tip far to the serious end of the sensitivity spectrum… Top secret-sensitive compartmented information is reserved for information that would truly be damaging “to the U.S. if it fell into foreign hands.

As the author knows, and left out, is secret levels are often use-coded. LEU/FLE for law enforcement groups, FOP/OP for operational planning. Etc. Even CEO level often has a carved exclusionary.

And here’s WHY that is important. Right now, we know very little of what Trump had, and why. And while the public will likely never be given all the information, a lot of how this moves forward will depend on what the classification reason and use allowances were. As well as the actual why of him having them.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to have them. Though in such cases the holding is usually well documented.
There is a possibility that the hostile change of leadership just caused this to get lost in the exchange of office.

And yes, this could also be malicious. Or just human stupidity.

But both Obama and Bush, W, have possession of classified originals held by their library, non-public. As detailed by records in the national archives on some redacted records made available (original located at:).
Many former presidents have classified records.

So, here’s where this can go. At best, for him, Trump had materials with cause and properly stored. If so, we have a paperwork issue. Failure to file. Usually a slap on the wrist and a record of public admonishment.

More likely he also didn’t have them properly stored. Which would be mishandling of… and that’s exactly what Clinton was/is in hot water over. Though in her case she also transmitted insecurely. Which drives up the response considerably.

There’s the possibility he took them for some personal reason. Such as denying access for Biden. Or because he wanted them. Which is now in the realm of conspiracy and actual crime level.

AMD maybe, however unlikely, he actually intended to transmit them to a non-aligned state. Which like insecure transmission, would move into the treasonous level.

In my opinion, whatever it is he had. He so truly believed the election would be overturned he simply walked out with documents he needed quickly for when he was sworn in.
Or alternatively,
He told some staffer or aid to grab something from somewhere and they just grabbed everything that was there.
Both these scenarios, likely in my opinion, show stupidity and lack of awareness. But not any kind of malice

nasch (profile) says:

Re:

a lot of how this moves forward will depend on what the classification reason and use allowances were.

Not for this particular case, because the warrant doesn’t even mention any laws having to do with classified information. Perhaps some future case will, but right the DOJ is interested in actions taken that may have been illegal regardless of whether any documents were classified or not. Discussion of whether the documents are classified is at this point not much more than a red herring.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

One last time

And again, for the last time!
I have no like or dislike for Trump. Totally apathetic. As my line-by to the “lest we forget” post so popular here with trump haters, I disagree with about 55%. Slightly more than half the “bad” and agree with about 45%, slightly less than half, I consider good.

16 was an opposition to that waste of air Clinton.

20 was simply the devil I know vs the Bumbler.
Ign Ign. Dooo
eep now ake. Iden eep
(S King fans will get the reference).
I had zero evidence to support someone who would be (and now even NYT and CNN say) nothing more than a mentally incapacitated figurehead.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

“And again, for the last time!
I have no like or dislike for Trump”

You claimed you voted for him several times. Including after his incompetence was laid bare. People who are actually apathetic about someone don’t typically vote for him in the middle of a global pandemic.

“20 was simply the devil I know vs the Bumbler.”

The idea that after all the evidence available you’d refer to Biden as the bumbler is very funny. I mean, Joe could be a better public speaker, he could certainly have been better at fighting against certain hostile forces, but he’s got nothing on the rambling nonsense insanity that his predecessor spouted.

Seriously, Trumpers are using mental capacity and accusations of nepotism and inappropriate sexual politics as their attacks? Did you not look at you guy? I mean, I know you’re somehow incapable of using real policy and issues to argue and you have to go with personal attack and identity politics, but can you not pick something that’s not hilariously applicable to your guy?

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