Trump ‘knowingly put national security at risk’ by stashing classified documents, Schiff says – as it happened | US politics

 Trump ‘knowingly put national security at risk’ by stashing classified documents, Schiff says – as it happened | US politics


Schiff: Trump ‘put national security at risk’

Adam Schiff, a senior Democrat who led the first House impeachment of Donald Trump, says the former president and his allies “knowingly put our national security at risk” by stashing highly classified documents at his Florida residence.

The California congressman gave his assessment in a series of Tweets following the justice department’s legal filing that suggests Trump obstructed an investigation into his improper retention of the documents, lied about having them and tried to conceal them.

The government’s brief is devastating.

The legal arguments are compelling, but what is most striking are the facts outlining how the former president and his team knowingly put our national security at risk.

Here’s what stands out to me:

(1/7) pic.twitter.com/VTS69C22hb

— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) August 31, 2022

“The legal arguments are compelling, but what is most striking are the facts outlining how the former president and his team knowingly put our national security at risk,” Schiff wrote.

“This is Trump’s counsel swearing there were no more classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. That was obviously false. Someone isn’t telling the truth,” he posted alongside an image of the filing in which Trump’s team claims a “diligent search” failed to turn up documents later recovered by the FBI.

“It’s no wonder they wouldn’t allow a look inside the boxes – there were still lots of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago [Trump’s Palm Beach residence and resort].

“The deception was deliberate. The government found classified papers in multiple locations throughout Mar-a-Lago, a public hotel. Considering the secret markings, this is reckless in the extreme”.

Most damning of all, Schiff added, the documents “so sensitive, so protected that senior FBI agents and DOJ attorneys couldn’t even initially review them. [They] were kept at a public resort. Potentially available to God knows who”.

It is not the first time Schiff, a frequent critic of Trump, has accused him of selling out his country. During his fiery closing argument to Trump’s first Senate trial in February 2020, Schiff, the House impeachment manager, said: “He has betrayed our national security, and he will do so again.

“You can’t trust this president to do the right thing. Not for one minute, not for one election, not for the sake of our country. You just can’t. He will not change and you know it”.

The Republican majority in the Senate subsequently acquitted Trump of obstructing Congress and abuse of power.

Key events

Closing summary

We’re closing the US politics blog now, thanks for joining us.

Donald Trump put the security of the country at risk by illegally stashing highly classified documents at his Florida residence and lying about having them, senior Democrat Adam Schiff said.

The California congressman was among a number of political figures reacting Wednesday to the sensational justice department court filing stating its opposition to the former president’s request for an independent “special master” to oversee the investigation into his hoarding.

Trump claims without evidence he “declassified” the documents before leaving office, an assertion the justice department is seeking to debunk.

Here’s what else we followed today:

  • Bloomberg News reported that federal prosecutors are likely to wait until after the November election to announce any charges against Trump, if they determine he broke laws. But the news website says it’s not clear a determination will have been made by then.

  • There will be enough Covid-19 boosters for everyone who wants one, the White House says, after the FDA approved shots of new multi-variant vaccines. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said shots could be in arms as early as next week.

  • Secretary of state Antony Blinken paid tribute to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who died aged 91, as “a man who changed the course of human history”. Jean-Pierre said it was not decided if the government would send a representative to Gorbachev’s funeral in Russia, especially since most administration officials are banned from the country.

  • Charlie Crist, who last week won the Democratic nomination for governor of Florida, resigned from Congress on Wednesday to concentrate on his campaign to try to unseat Republican Ron DeSantis.

Please join us again tomorrow as Joe Biden prepares to deliver a primetime address to the country on “saving the soul of our nation”.

White House: enough new Covid vaccines for all who want them

The Biden administration says there will be enough Covid-19 boosters for everyone who wants one, and that shots of the new multi-variant vaccines approved by the FDA this morning could start going into arms as soon as next week.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at an afternoon briefing that both the both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech retooled vaccines targeting the BA.4/BA.5 Omicron coronavirus subvariants will shortly be shipped to “tens of thousands” of sites nationwide.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks to reporters on Wednesday.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks to reporters on Wednesday. Photograph: Oliver Contreras/EPA

She said the last step was final authorization from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which she indicated was imminent:

Teams are have already started the process of packing and shipping doses across the country and pending CDC action we expect shots in arms to begin in earnest starting after Labor Day weekend.

We’ve been working with providers, clinics, clinicians, local health departments and other critical groups, and we’ve been doing all of this preparation despite the lack of funding from Congress.

She answered “yes” when asked directly if there would be enough vaccines for anyone who wants, or needs one.

Karine Jean-Pierre is more comfortable talking about Joe Biden’s prime time address to the country on Thursday night entitled “the battle for the soul of the nation”, although she says she won’t “get ahead” of his comments.

But she is happy to talk about the rightwing ‘Make America Great Again’ wing of the Republican party that Biden has taken to attacking in recent weeks, and will no doubt go after again tomorrow night in Philadelphia:

The president thinks there is an extremist threat to our democracy. He is as clear as he can be on that when we talk about democracy, when we talk about our freedoms.

The way that he sees it, the Maga Republicans are the most energized part of the Republican Party. That extremism is an extreme threat to our democracy, our freedom to our rights. They just don’t respect the rule of law.

The president is not going to shy away, to call out what he clearly sees is happening in this country. We’re calling it the soul of the nation. He takes it very seriously when it comes to our democracy.

Other reporters will try, but White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has just shot down the first question about the justice department’s filing in the Donald Trump classified documents investigation at her afternoon briefing.

Had Joe Biden seen the photo of secret papers strewn on Trump’s floor at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida residence? Has the president been briefed on the status of the inquiry?

Jean-Pierre was resolute:

As I’ve said many times… we’re just not going to comment on the investigation. Anything, any underlying pieces of investigation, any content of the investigation.

This is an ongoing, as you all know, investigation of the department of justice. We are not going to politically interfere, we are not going to comment on anything connected to the investigation. And we’re just going to keep it there.

So that’s a no, then.

Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

Another one of the former president’s men has appeared before the special grand jury sitting in Georgia.

The grand jury is hearing evidence related to allegations that Donald Trump illegally attempted to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election result and prevent Joe Biden from taking power.

John Eastman follows hot on the heels of Rudy Giuliani in making an appearance in that case.

Trump lawyer John Eastman appeared before the Fulton County grand jury today and pleaded the fifth, according to a statement from his lawyers. He also asserted attorney-client privilege. pic.twitter.com/Z7YF2b2Tm9

— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) August 31, 2022

In addition to utilizing his right against self-incrimination, Eastman, who was part of Trump’s campaign to stay in office despite losing the November 2020 election, the one-time lawyer to Trump also invoked invoked attorney-client privilege his non-response to some questions asked today in the criminal investigation.

Eastman “is one of a group of Trump allies who were subpoenaed by that panel, which is hearing testimony in Atlanta,” CNBC noted.

The Guardian’s Chris McGreal reported at the weekend that of all the legal investigations into Trump and his business, in Washington, DC, New York and Florida, the Georgia case might have him in the greatest legal peril.

Here’s John Eastman on January 6, 2021.

Attorney John Eastman (left) speaks next to then-president Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, as Trump supporters gather ahead of the president’s speech to claim that Joe Biden did not beat him to the presidency, in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021, shortly before Trump urged the crowd to march to the US Capitol, where the mob invaded to try to stop Congress certifying Biden’s win.
Attorney John Eastman (left) speaks next to then-president Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, as Trump supporters gather ahead of the president’s speech to claim that Joe Biden did not beat him to the presidency, in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021, shortly before Trump urged the crowd to march to the US Capitol, where the mob invaded to try to stop Congress certifying Biden’s win. Photograph: Jim Bourg/Reuters

Bloomberg: no Trump charges until after midterms

Bloomberg is reporting that federal prosecutors are likely to wait until after the November election to announce any charges against Donald Trump, if they determine he broke laws.

The news website cites “people familiar” with the justice department’s investigations into the former president, one over his efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat to Joe Biden, and the more recent inquiry into his improper retention of top secret documents at his Florida residence.

“Under long-standing department policy, prosecutors are barred from taking investigative steps or filing charges for the purpose of affecting an election or helping a candidate or party, traditionally 60 days before an election,” Bloomberg says.

“This year, that would be by Sept 10, which makes it unlikely anything would be announced until after November 8.”

Bloomberg said its sources asked to remain anonymous when speaking about potential justice department actions.

It further notes that it is not clear if any of the investigations into Trump will have reached the point by November that a decision on charging him could be made.

Blinken: Gorbachev ‘changed course of human history’

Secretary of state Antony Blinken paid tribute to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who died aged 91, as “a man who changed the course of human history”.

Mikhail Gorbachev.
Mikhail Gorbachev. Photograph: Liu Heung Shing/AP

In a statement posted to the state department’s website, Blinken gave Gorbachev credit for several “massive achievements” of the last century – including the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall and reductions in nuclear arms:

We join people around the world in mourning the passing of Mikhail Gorbachev. Perhaps no word is more closely associated with Mr Gorbachev than glasnost, or openness. That’s fitting for a man whose openness changed the course of human history.

Mr Gorbachev was open to acknowledging his country’s history – not just its triumphs, but its tragedies – what he called the ‘blank spots’ of the Soviet Union’s past. He created space for dissenting views, and freed dissidents who had spent years in exile or prison. He was also open to working with other nations, including adversaries like the United States, driven by the conviction that dialogue was in the interest of his people – and all people.

It’s tempting to see the massive achievements of that engagement – including the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first-ever agreement to reduce the nuclear arsenals of the US and USSR – as inevitable. But those achievements would have been unimaginable without the courage and determination Mr Gorbachev brought to his pursuit of openness, and the trust he built with presidents Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush.

He never lost faith in the transformative power of such engagement, even as some of his greatest accomplishments were weakened. In 2018, he wrote, ‘Is it too late to return to dialogue and negotiations? I don’t want to lose hope … We must not resign, we must not surrender’.

He was right, and his life is a powerful reminder of all that can be achieved when we make those ideals a reality.

Trump: I ‘declassified’ seized top secret documents

Donald Trump is repeating his assertion, debunked in the justice department’s legal filing, that he “declassified” the top secret documents seized by the FBI in their raid on his Florida home.

Among a series of posts by the former president on his favored Truth Social platform on Wednesday, he also accused federal agents of “haphazardly” scattering the documents on the floor to photograph them:

Terrible the way the FBI, during the Raid of Mar-a-Lago, threw documents haphazardly all over the floor (perhaps pretending it was me that did it!), and then started taking pictures of them for the public to see.

Thought they wanted them kept Secret? Lucky I Declassified!

As the Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reports, Trump has produced no paperwork that might confirm the insistence of himself and allies that he issued some sort of a standing order when he was president that any materials he took to Mar-a-Lago were declassified.

The justice department, meanwhile, noted in the filing that at no time in the months during which national archives officials were seeking the documents’ return did Trump’s lawyers make any argument he declassified them.

Trump’s predictable response echoes the reaction on Wednesday by Republicans, at least those willing to comment publicly. They attacked the FBI and justice department, and glossed over the fact that numerous top secret documents were recovered, some in his desk, after Trump’s legal team claimed a “diligent search” had failed to yield any.

Vocal Trump acolyte Kristi Noem, the Republican governor of South Dakota, told Fox and Friends: “The one thing I’ve heard across this country Republicans, Democrats, the public, they don’t trust the [department of justice] and they want this to be transparent.

“Hiding these documents and this information, keeping it within the DoJ is wrong. It needs to be transparent so people can start to build trust back in the FBI and the DoJ and what they’re doing”.

Julian Borger

Julian Borger

Donald Trump boasted to close associates that he knew secrets about Emmanuel Macron’s sex life from US intelligence sources, it has been reported.

The report in Rolling Stone magazine comes in the wake of the release of court documents on the classified and national defence documents found in a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home on 8 August, which mention a file referred to as “info re: President of France”.

Emmanuel Macron.
Emmanuel Macron. Photograph: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

It is unclear whether the file on Macron was classified or what it contained. But Rolling Stone claimed that its mention in the official inventory of what was seized at Mar-a-Lago caused a “transatlantic freakout” between Paris and Washington.

A French embassy spokesperson said: “We do not comment on legal proceedings in the US and … the embassy has not asked the administration for any information concerning the documents retrieved at former President Trump’s residence.”

Neither the state department nor Trump’s office have so far responded to a request for comment.

The Rolling Stone report said that during and after his presidency, Trump claimed to some of his closest associates that he knew details of Macron’s private life, which he had gleaned from “intelligence” he had seen or been briefed on.

Macron initially courted Trump, inviting him to the Bastille Day military parade in 2017 just two months after he was elected, inspiring the US president to badger his own generals to stage a similar show of military pageantry in Washington.

Relations soon soured between the two leaders, particularly after Macron’s failure to persuade Trump to stay in the nuclear deal with Iran. Trump took the US out of the deal in 2018, and it has unravelled since then.

Read the full story:

Schiff: Trump ‘put national security at risk’

Adam Schiff, a senior Democrat who led the first House impeachment of Donald Trump, says the former president and his allies “knowingly put our national security at risk” by stashing highly classified documents at his Florida residence.

The California congressman gave his assessment in a series of Tweets following the justice department’s legal filing that suggests Trump obstructed an investigation into his improper retention of the documents, lied about having them and tried to conceal them.

The government’s brief is devastating.

The legal arguments are compelling, but what is most striking are the facts outlining how the former president and his team knowingly put our national security at risk.

Here’s what stands out to me:

(1/7) pic.twitter.com/VTS69C22hb

— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) August 31, 2022

“The legal arguments are compelling, but what is most striking are the facts outlining how the former president and his team knowingly put our national security at risk,” Schiff wrote.

“This is Trump’s counsel swearing there were no more classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. That was obviously false. Someone isn’t telling the truth,” he posted alongside an image of the filing in which Trump’s team claims a “diligent search” failed to turn up documents later recovered by the FBI.

“It’s no wonder they wouldn’t allow a look inside the boxes – there were still lots of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago [Trump’s Palm Beach residence and resort].

“The deception was deliberate. The government found classified papers in multiple locations throughout Mar-a-Lago, a public hotel. Considering the secret markings, this is reckless in the extreme”.

Most damning of all, Schiff added, the documents “so sensitive, so protected that senior FBI agents and DOJ attorneys couldn’t even initially review them. [They] were kept at a public resort. Potentially available to God knows who”.

It is not the first time Schiff, a frequent critic of Trump, has accused him of selling out his country. During his fiery closing argument to Trump’s first Senate trial in February 2020, Schiff, the House impeachment manager, said: “He has betrayed our national security, and he will do so again.

“You can’t trust this president to do the right thing. Not for one minute, not for one election, not for the sake of our country. You just can’t. He will not change and you know it”.

The Republican majority in the Senate subsequently acquitted Trump of obstructing Congress and abuse of power.

Crist resigns from House to prepare for DeSantis fight

Charlie Crist, who last week won the Democratic nomination for governor of Florida, resigned from Congress on Wednesday to concentrate on his campaign to try to unseat Republican Ron DeSantis.

Crist, himself a former Florida governor as a Republican, was House representative for St Petersburg, on the state’s west coast where he has his campaign headquarters, since 2017.

Charlie Crist.
Charlie Crist. Photograph: Chris O’Meara/AP

He told the Tampa Bay Times in a brief statement that his resignation from Washington DC would be effective at the end of Wednesday.

He gave no reason for his decision, but there are fewer than 10 weeks left before the November election in which he faces an uphill battle to topple DeSantis, a popular figure in Republican circles for his “culture war” agenda and a likely candidate for the party’s nomination in the 2024 presidential election.

Representing the people of his district, Crist said, was “an honor and a privilege”.

His resignation erodes Democrats’ working majority in the House, i.e. only voting members, to just three votes.

Lloyd Green

As a first-time presidential candidate, Donald Trump repeatedly demanded that Hillary Clinton be sent to jail. “Lock her up” emerged as a battle cry for the 45th president and his fans. He also pledged that his presidency would properly handle the nation’s secrets.

“In my administration, I’m going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information,” Trump intoned at a 2016 rally in North Carolina. “No one will be above the law.” As promises go, this one aged badly – much like his commitment to release his tax returns.

On Tuesday night, the government filed its 36-page opposition to the ex-reality-show host’s demand that a special master be appointed. (A special master is an independent mediator appointed to go through documents and determine which may be protected by privilege.)

Trump’s gambit backfired, however. Once again, he looks like a liar. Beyond that, his lawyers became his lackeys. Christina Bobb meet William Barr.





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