It turns out Donald Trump and/or his people specifically told Trump attorney Evan Corcoran not to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago office for classified documents and then tell the DOJ there weren’t any. Whoever gave this instruction either knew or suspected the documents were in Trump’s office, and was trying to obstruct the DOJ’s attempt at locating the documents. That’s specific enough to be textbook felony obstruction of justice. But there’s a lot more to it than just that.
Keep in mind, while this detail about Trump’s office is being newly reported today by the Guardian, it’s old news to investigators. This is the testimony that Jack Smith successfully fought to obtain from Corcoran months ago. It’s why the courts struck down attorney client privilege and ordered the testimony. This all played out a long time ago. So why is it coming out publicly now?
The media doesn’t obtain this kind of detailed inside information by magic. This only happens when someone involved with the scandal and probe, who actually knows this kind of fine detail, decides to give them to the media for some specific strategic reason. And only a very small handful of people would know this information to begin with.
Corcoran would know. He could be the media’s source. When inside witnesses are officially on board with cooperating, they’re usually very careful about what they say and don’t say to the media. After getting on the prosecutor’s good side by cooperating, the last thing they want to do is alienate the prosecutor by giving some key secret detail to a reporter.
Whoever in Trump’s camp told Corcoran not to search the office could also theoretically be the source. But no one leaks to the media about how guilty they are. If this were coming from that person, the leak would be about how innocent they supposedly are. It would be spin aimed at downplaying or minimizing their criminal exposure. This leak does no such thing.
Prosecutors, even quiet ones, often strategically leak certain details near the very end. One reason is to let someone know they’re nailed and that they’d better cooperate. This could easily be that. Remember, Corcoran already long ago told Jack Smith who instructed him not to search Trump’s office. And Smith has surely already long ago targeted that person, in an effort to get him or her to cooperate against Trump. But by putting this information out there now, with the names omitted, Smith could be trying to cause panic among Trump’s remaining Mar-a-Lago loyalists. This kind of media leak makes them start to wonder if Smith has them nailed, and they have to think about whether to hurry up and cut a last minute deal of their own.
But even without knowing who’s giving these new details to the media, keep in mind that Corcoran already gave this same testimony to the grand jury months ago. This has all already played out behind the scenes. This case is over. These kinds of leaks after the fact are a sign of last minute positioning before indictments happen. The real story here is that indictments are coming, and soon.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report