This is endgame stuff


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On Wednesday, the Donald Trump attorney who oversaw the Mar-a-Lago classified documents search abruptly quit. Also on Wednesday, the National Archives informed Donald Trump that it was turning over records to Special Counsel Jack Smith which proved that Trump knew all along that he had no legal right to the classified documents he stole and hid.

Perhaps these two developments are directly related, perhaps not. But even if they’re not, these are the kinds of things you expect to happen at the very end of a criminal probe – and one that’s about to end disastrously for Trump.

Keep in mind that Trump’s departing attorney testified against him to Jack Smith’s grand jury several months ago. If he was going to quit, why not do it back then? Why now? What’s changed? The only real “development” of late in the Trump classified documents probe has been the realization that everyone appears to have already testified and the probe is over. All that’s really left to do is tie up any final loose ends and then have the grand jury indict Trump. And it sounds like these specific National Archives records are the one remaining loose end. The witnesses and evidence already presented in this case have already nailed Trump. But these documents help take away his ability to argue reasonable doubt when it gets to trial.

So now we wait for the one thing that no one wants to wait for: the part where the plane has landed and we’re waiting for the plane door to open. We went through this with the Manhattan criminal probe, where we could tell the case was basically done and we were just waiting for the prosecutor to finish clearing the decks for the indictment. That indictment took a week or two longer than it looked like it would, but sure enough, it happened.

Jack Smith’s criminal indictment of Donald Trump will come soon enough as well. It’ll just be on much, much more serious charges. And as a federal criminal case, it’ll likely get to trial well before the Manhattan criminal case does.

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