What the Trump indictment contains

The indictment against serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT) and his personal aide Waltine Nauta have been unsealed and can be read here. It is far more wide-ranging than I anticipated. The indictment describes how sloppy SSAT was with the documents, including for a time having boxes of them on the stage of one of the ballrooms at Mar-a-Lago, in a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom, and a storage room, and showing documents to others who had no security clearance, and moving some of them to the Bedminster golf club in New Jersey when he went there.

The indictment consists of 37 felony counts but 31 of them are the same charge but related to different individual documents, leaving just seven distinct categories.

31 of those counts are for “Willful Retention of National Defense Information” and each relate to individual documents that are at issue. (p. 28-33)

#32 is for “Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice” and deals with a conspiracy by SSAT and Nauta to obstruct justice by keeping “classified he had taken with him from the White House and to hide and conceal them from a federal grand jury (p. 34)

#33 is for “Withholding a Document or Record” and describes how the two of them misled one of their attorneys by hiding documents from him so that he would make false statements to the grand jury. (p. 36)

#34 is for “Corruptly Concealing a Document or Record” by hiding boxes from the attorney so that he would not find them and give them to a grand jury. (p. 37)

#35 is for “Concealing a Document in a Federal Investigation”. (p. 38)

#36 is a “Scheme to Conceal”. (p. 39)

#37 is for “False Statement and Representations” with SSAT hiding information. from his own attorney causing his attorney to make false statements to the grand jury that all requests for documents had been complied with. (p. 40)

#38 is against Nauta for lying to the FBI about his knowledge about the boxes and what had been done with them.

It is clear from the indictment that this was not a case of SSAT haphazardly packing up boxes of stuff at the last minute when he was forced to leave the White House on January 20, 2021 and possibly accidentally taking classified documents among them. It is clear that he really wanted these documents and was willing to go to great lengths, even lying to the authorities and hiding them from his own lawyers, to hang on to some of them. The indictment did not speculate on the motives for doing so.

What a stupid, stupid, man.


  1. says

    What a stupid, stupid, man.

    I’d go with dementia. Sometimes people suffering from dementia develop fixed focus on concepts or objects -- sort of like compulsion. It’s possible that Trump values those papers because they ratify his importance to himself, or they are the kind of thing a very smart person would have access to, thereby ratifying his sense that he is smart. I knew a person who suffered from dementia, years ago, who concluded that the staff who came to change the sheets were actually stealing sheets and they were investigating an inter- care home sheet stealing ring. It doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t have to -- it’s a failing brain trying to form concepts and evaluate importance like it use to, and it doesn’t work anymore.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    Marcus Ranum @ # 1: I’d go with dementia.

    You’d have a lot of evidence to support that. Look up old Trump™ interviews: he used to lie in complete sentences.

  3. says

    Pierce R. Butler@#2:
    You’d have a lot of evidence to support that.

    Also, my family has a pretty in-depth experience with dementia. Trump has a lot of the characteristics of it. Also, the cognitive decline test that they gave him is not something a neurologist would ever give a person who was not already demonstrating symptoms. As my neurologist explained, when she gave me that test, “it’s so we can measure if you start getting worse.” One would not give POTUS that test for yuks.

    Generally, when talking about Trump’s mental state it’s traditional to point out that he’s a malignant narcissist. Sure, I’ll buy that, too. What does a malignant narcissist with dementia look like? They’re not mutually exclusive. One can have a whole menu of things going wrong with brain and behavior at the same time.

  4. sonofrojblake says

    And does ANY of that disqualify him from running for president? He’s still arguably the best the Republicans have got…

  5. JM says

    I think it’s interesting that there are apparently a bunch of things they could have charged him for and didn’t. If they are going by individual document there are way more then 31 he kept. Likely they didn’t charge him for the insignificant ones and the ones not tied to his obstruction.
    There are also charges they could have brought for showing the documents to people who didn’t have security ratings even if they didn’t read them. Could be hard to prosecute though because Trump has the easy defense of claiming to not wave around the real documents.
    It looks like they cut down the list to the fairly clear cut cases where Trump doesn’t have much defense.

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