The actions that the Department of Justice has taken in the criminal case against Donald Trump, both before and after the appointment of Special Counsel Jack Smith, have already made clear that the DOJ is on track to criminally indict Trump for stealing classified documents. But as anyone who has ever watched a real-world criminal trial knows, the odds of conviction are higher if you can demonstrate motive.
When Trump is put on trial, his lawyers will likely claim that he took the classified documents by mistake, or that he honestly believed he had a legal right to do so. Trump has already weakened this defense with his ridiculous social media posts. But now it turns out Jack Smith is looking to establish proof that Trump did in fact have a villainous motive for taking the classified documents.
Smith is reportedly investigating whether it can be proven that Trump took the classified documents in an attempt at proving one of his wacky conspiracy theories called Crossfire Hurricane. This would prove that Trump took the documents for reasons that he knew to be nefarious and illegal.
This may sound like a small point. But when it comes to criminal trials, an obviously guilty defendant will nearly always aim for a reasonable doubt defense. If Jack Smith can prove that Trump took the documents so he could pursue his conspiracy theories, it’ll completely wipe out Trump’s reasonable doubt argument that he took the documents out of mere confusion.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report