Friday, June 9th, 2023, the Mar-a-Lago documents criminal indictment was unsealed, and we heard briefly from Jack Smith for the first time. Trump has been indicted on 37 counts including 31 violations of the Espionage Act. These are very serious charges that carry long sentences – up to 20 years for a violation of even one count.

The indictment is shocking. Trump had our vital national intelligence secrets lying around in his bathroom, bedroom, some ended up in a ballroom in high traffic areas at Trump’s club. Some fell out of a box and were strewn across the floor.  Others were lying in and around Trump’s desk. The indictment has five pages full of the kinds of highly classified documents Trump had in his possession. What the hell was he thinking?!

If you believe that people are who they are and what you see is what you get…then you know what Trump was thinking. He took these documents because he wanted to use them to get some benefit for himself. Money. A deal. Something of value for HIM. From Saudi Arabia. From Russia. China. North Korea. We may never know. But we do know these documents are incredibly valuable. People may have died or may die in the future because this information got revealed to our enemies. Our country might be at risk even now because our enemies learned where our nuclear weapons are hidden or what our plan would be if we were attacked or an ally of ours were attacked.

Trump was never a normal president, but it was hard to believe he would sell our country out- that he was this much of a traitor. After the election, which he lost and knew he lost, he did everything he could to stay in power in defiance of the rule of law, the constitution and our norms by creating an alternate reality in which he had won. He sold that fantasy to willing Republican allies and sycophants and the MAGA base. He is trying to do that again with these crimes he committed.


Remember when Hillary Clinton was excoriated and reviled in Trump rallies for her emails? Remember how Trump promised that he would keep confidential information confidential if he were elected president? Remember those chants led by Trump himself of “lock her up?” Well guess what, boys and girls, the person who should end up in the slammer turns out to be Donald Trump for taking and, more importantly, refusing to return our vital, highly classified top-secret documents at Mar-a-Lago. He kept them there even after he was asked very nicely and formally to return them. He didn’t have to keep them. If he had returned them, he would not have been indicted. But he lied about returning them and the FBI was forced to get a subpoena to search his club to retrieve them. Even after that, Trump had more top-secret documents he was hoarding. He probably still has some.

Yeah, okay, everyone deserves to be considered innocent until proven guilty. But in this case, we already know a lot of the evidence because it has been revealed by Trump himself. Much of this “speaking indictment” is Trump speaking in his own words and much is also from his aides who were following his orders! It’s almost like he thinks he is above the law. Oh, wait. He DOES think he is above the law.


On Friday, CNN reported that federal prosecutors are in possession of a tape in which the former president can be heard saying that he kept “secret” military information that he no longer had the power to declassify.

In the recording, made during a private meeting in 2021, Trump admits to being in possession of a classified Pentagon document about a potential attack in Iran, according to CNN.

“As a president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t,” a transcript of the tape mentioned by the news channel said. (Newsweek)

 This quote shows that Trump knew how to declassify documents when he was president and that he also knows he is NOT president now.


William Barr, his former attorney general, told “Fox News Sunday” about events described in the 37-count indictment:

“If even half of it is true, then he’s toast. … It’s a very detailed indictment, and it’s very, very damning.”

“They’re not his personal records,” Barr added:

“Battle plans for an attack on another country, or Defense Department documents about our capabilities, are in NO universe Donald J. Trump’s PERSONAL documents. They are the GOVERNMENT’S documents.”


The indictment is a very detailed account that exposes the evidence that will be introduced at trial.  Everyone should read it. It includes photos. There is clear evidence that Trump picked and chose the documents he took to Mar-a-Lago and knowingly transported them (including to Bedminster) after he left the White House. People who just take classified documents out of the protected areas where they are kept go to jail for that.

But it gets worse.

The photos show that Trump kept boxes of our precious top-secret documents sitting around in a bathroom, a closet, an office, a storage area, a ballroom. He showed highly sensitive documents to people. There are two instances recounted in the indictment of him doing that at his club in Bedminster. There were likely many more instances of that behavior, but prosecutors cannot speculate. They can only include evidence they can prove up. He lied to the FBI about having these documents. He tried to get his attorneys to lie to the FBI about them.

His valet, Walt Nauta, (also indicted), was loyal and did what Trump asked him to do to help Trump keep the documents from being returned and moving boxes of documents after Trump had carefully gone through them himself. There was a suspicious flood in the room where surveillance cameras and logbooks are housed right around the time the FBI arrived to retrieve boxes of secret documents and video footage. Fortunately for the prosecution team, one of his attorneys, Evan Corcoran, kept a detailed log of events including events surrounding Trump’s nonreturn “return” of documents to the feds that should help the prosecution make its case. Corcoran did that to protect himself from becoming a target and ending up in jail himself or disbarred the way so many Trump lawyers end up.

What is not clear is what Trump could raise as a defense.

We are not hearing a defense on the merits from Trump or his lawyers. Instead, we are hearing a robust pre-planned PR response by Trump and his Republican sycophants. If his overarching goal is to get back into the White House again, then the PR approach makes sense. Trump may (accurately) think that the only real way out of jail is to rouse the MAGA rabble to defend him so he can get re-elected or hope for a MAGA to get on the jury and hold out against conviction.

It is not clear is what his motive was and is when it comes to these documents.

My personal bet is that Trump sold our secrets for money or personal gain. And I am not the only one who thinks that. We know that Trump has nothing but contempt for our FBI, CIA, and our national security, or really anything or anybody but himself. To me it makes the most sense that he sold us out to the Saudis or China or Russia in exchange for money or some other deal that benefits him. He’s the eternal grifter, after all, and behavior is on a continuum. Maybe this is why his lawyers can’t articulate a defense.

If it is true that he already sold secrets to a foreign government for profit, I am sure he would never tell that truth to his defense attorneys, and Jack Smith would probably have no way of tracking that down. Whether or not he sold us out, his best strategic ploy would be to try to maintain a false reality in which he is being unfairly hounded by the Biden administration for political reasons. The Trump defense team will move heaven and earth to delay and delay and delay everything, appeal everything, and keep treading water until the election in 2024. Trump would have to hope that his followers, and Republicans in general, would keep supporting him and rise up to re-elect him to the presidency, his hidey hole, where he would be safe again thanks to the misguided OLC rule that says a sitting president cannot be indicted (or probably prosecuted).

Brace yourself for an avalanche of deception, disinformation, distraction and misdirection.  He will lob PR bombs at Jack Smith, engage in political assaults on Biden, gin up his grievance donation machine to the extent he can, and avoid working with his legal team in any meaningful way. He will maneuver behind the scenes to get biased judges favorable to him to oversee his case in Florida. He will try to get Republicans to prove their loyalty to him by protecting him.

Trump is Doing Well So Far

And guess what! It looks like his wishes are already coming true because 1) Judge Aileen Cannon, remember her? has been assigned to be the judge once again on this case. Her prior Trump-favorable rulings barring perfectly good subpoenas for a search of Trump’s resort were overturned by an extremely conservative 11th Circuit panel.  Not once but twice. How did it happen that she of all people is back in the driver’s seat as the judge in this case? Hmm. Someone needs to check out the back story on this assignment. 2) 43% of Republicans in a poll say they don’t care if their nominee is guilty of committing crimes. 3) So far, most congressional Republicans are jumping on the disinformation-deception bandwagon by falsely comparing what Trump did to what Biden, Hillary Clinton and Pence did. There is no comparison here.

Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, thinks Trump is holding onto top-secret documents as his get-out-of-jail free card. If it looks like he will go to jail, he will threaten to reveal some crucial information he still has in his possession that our country cannot allow to be exposed. Blackmail, in other words.


I hope the Justice Department understands how important it is to communicate with the American public even though it is part of their protocol to stay silent prior to trial. This is a battle for the presidency and power in congress. It will be fought in the realm of information over social media and on cable news and media platforms before a jury ever gets to weigh in on Trump’s guilt. I think it is unlikely that Trump’s trial will take place fast enough to help the American people understand what Trump did was not only bad and wrong but incredibly dangerous to all of us. Courts work way too slowly and the damage to our democracy happens incredibly fast. Too many news sources are still too concerned with both sideism which they mistake for fairness. Damage to our democracy, our national security and our justice system is going on without a muscular response because justice and accountability lag so far behind the damage.

To date about 1000 defendants have been prosecuted for what happened on January 6th but Trump has not faced any accountability for his role in THAT treasonous activity yet. Because this case is unlikely to be heard by a jury before the 2024 election, the real battle will be waged by Trump on the battlefield he is most adept at, and our legal system is least adept at understanding and managing: namely, public relations. We need a trusted voice to speak up to help Americans understand and to define the situation and frame the case.

1) Biden had nothing to do with this indictment;

2) Jack Smith and his team are apolitical;

3) Merrick Garland and the DOJ did not indict in this case- it was Jack Smith, the Special Counsel;

4) Other people have had classified documents in their homes (Pence, Biden) but what Trump did is totally different because he specifically chose these documents to take for their value (monetary), refused to give them back, he hid them from the FBI (0bstruction), and very likely exposed them for profit to our enemies or will use to keep himself out of jail as Michael Cohen predicts.

We need someone to do opening arguments and closing arguments long before this trial takes place.


I have hope that Trump will not be able to use this indictment to get back into power. The reason for my hope is NOT that he will be tried in time to get a jury verdict, but because Americans are sick of the crazy.  It’s entertaining but it’s too damn exhausting.

Even Trump’s loyal base is getting worn out by all the nutty things he does and all the money he wants from them. How do we know that? When it comes to major donors (think of them as the guys who want a Republican to win so they can stay wealthy, so they bet on the best horse to win) far fewer of them are supporting his candidacy this time. The smaller dollar donations from the MAGA crowd have also been drying up. Trump is using this indictment to pump up donations, but fewer people are willing to give him money. (Maggie Haberman NYT)

Let’s see if people turn out to protest on Tuesday when he is arraigned in Miami.  When he was arraigned in New York by the States’ Attorneys’ Office, the protest there was anemic. Many of the MAGA diehards and insurrectionist leaders were prosecuted by the DOJ for their roles in the January 6th insurrection and are now in prison. Others who might have considered going to a rally for Trump that could turn ugly have seen what happens to people who get caught up in such a protest: it can ruin the rest of your life.

What is upsetting to me, however, and those of us who understand the depth of Trump’s traitorous acts, is that millions of Americans do not and may never understand the danger we now face in our country because of what Trump has done with our precious, hard gained intelligence secrets. Do the Chinese or the Russians now know where our nuclear arsenal is hidden and in the event of a war over Taiwan would strike us first knocking out our protection? Do people who have been willing to tell us secrets that empower our military to keep us safe now live in fear of being killed because Trump has outted them? Will they be killed? Were they already killed? Central Intelligence Agency in October 2021 reported an unusually high rate of capture or death for foreign informants recruited to spy for the United States. (Heather Cox Richardson)

Too many Americans do not understand the profound damage Trump has done to us: our faith in our nation, our democracy, our institutions, and trust in each other. This is real world damage that has been done and is still being done by Trump, a self-serving traitor to our country whose legacy will be seen as far more damning than Benedict Arnold’s.