After the DOJ had the FBI carry out a search and seizure warrant for the classified documents that Donald Trump stole and hid in his home, Trump complained that they’d also seized his passports. What did this mean? Were they trying to keep him from fleeing the country? Were they merely in with the boxes of seized documents? Now it turns out it’s a different, and rather damning, answer.
This new DOJ filing reveals that the Feds found clearly labeled classified documents in Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago desk, making it much harder for him to argue that he somehow wasn’t involved in the theft and transport of these documents. The DOJ also found Trump’s passports in that desk, and took them as proof that this was indeed Trump’s desk. This passage flagged by the Guardian’s Hugo Lowell is key: “The location of the passports is relevant evidence.”
In other words, if you’re Donald Trump, and you have classified documents in the same desk drawer that you keep your passports in, then you’re clearly treating those classified documents as your own personal property. This will help erase any reasonable doubt arguments that Trump will try to make at trial.
This is all before getting to the question of whether Trump might have been planning to flee the country, and whether he might have intended to take those specific passport-adjacent classified documents with him. Anyone who’s this deep into the process of being criminally indicted for espionage is surely being watched by the DOJ to make sure he doesn’t try to flee. But would Trump know that?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report