Donald Trump’s “hidden room” at Mar-a-Lago

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As a criminal investigation is playing out – even a high profile one – the public isn’t made aware of most of what’s going on. For instance, no one knew the Feds were about to search Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home with a warrant until it happened. Even then it only became public knowledge because Trump immediately began whining about it. Otherwise we likely wouldn’t have known the search had happened until he got indicted later.

One of the interesting things about getting closer to trial is that more and more details of the case inevitably start to become public. For instance, ABC News is just now reporting that Trump had a “hidden room” at Mar-a-Lago that didn’t get searched by the FBI. Apparently Trump had the locks changed on the room beforehand, and the FBI didn’t end up forcibly entering the room.

This kind of thing can happen. In fact it’s why the Feds often take their time and try to cultivate cooperators within a property before they search it. That’s how they learn where the evidence is being hidden, and where the nooks and crannies are. You may not be able to search a room that you don’t get covered under the warrant. And you certainly can’t search a “hidden” room if you don’t know it exists.

ABC is spinning this as some kind of massive failure on the FBI’s part, but that doesn’t seem reasonable. In reality the Feds appear to have done a very thorough job of mapping out what was going on inside Mar-a-Lago before they went in – as evidenced by the mountain of classified documents that they recovered, even after Trump tried to hide the evidence from them.

Jack Smith later reportedly grilled witnesses about the hidden room, in order to try to determine what if anything was hidden in there. There’s no reporting on whether this trail ever went anywhere. But if anything, this story sounds like good news for the prosecution. One of the key aspects of Jack Smith’s case is that Trump obstructed justice, and that his obstruction is further proof that he had criminal intent to begin with. If Trump was changing locks on rooms and such, it just points to an even stronger obstruction case against him.

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