Trump Charged With Additional Crimes in Documents Case

He is not a master criminal.

[Documents taken in August Mar-A-Lago search]

NYT (“Trump Faces Major New Charges in Documents Case“):

Federal prosecutors on Thursday added major accusations to an indictment charging former President Donald J. Trump with mishandling classified documents after he left office, presenting evidence that he told the property manager of Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence in Florida, that he wanted security camera footage there to be deleted.

The new accusations were revealed in a superseding indictment that named the property manager, Carlos De Oliveira, as a new defendant in the case. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Miami on Monday.


The revised indictment added three serious charges against Mr. Trump: attempting to “alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal evidence”; inducing someone else to do so; and a new count under the Espionage Act related to a classified national security document that he showed to visitors at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.


The revised indictment said that in late June of last year, shortly after the government demanded the surveillance footage as part of its inquiry, Mr. Trump called Mr. De Oliveira and they spoke for 24 minutes.

Two days later, the indictment said, Mr. Nauta and Mr. De Oliveira “went to the security guard booth where surveillance video is displayed on monitors, walked with a flashlight through the tunnel where the storage room was located, and observed and pointed out surveillance cameras.”


The indictment contains an additional charge related to a classified document — a battle plan related to attacking Iran — that Mr. Trump showed, during a meeting at his Bedminster golf club, to two people helping his former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows write a book.

The updated indictment provides specific dates during which Mr. Trump was in possession of the document — from Jan. 20, 2021, the day he left office, through Jan. 17, 2022, the date Mr. Trump turned over 15 boxes of presidential material to the National Archives. The specificity of the dates indicates that prosecutors have the document in question and the indictment describes it as a “presentation concerning military activity in a foreign country,” adding it was marked top secret.

The meeting at which Mr. Trump showed off the document was captured in an audio recording and Mr. Trump can be heard rustling paper and describing the document as “secret” and “sensitive.”

Presuming an impartial jury can be empaneled in Florida, I don’t see how Trump gets off here. We’ve literally got video and audio of him committing these crimes.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DK says:


  2. Jen says:

    Presuming an impartial jury can be empaneled in Florida,

    Yeah, jury selection is going to be interesting. You’re going to have people from both camps trying to get on the jury to either sock it to him or let him off. It’s almost impossible to find someone truly impartial who is also mentally functioning.

    I don’t see how Trump gets off here. We’ve literally got video and audio of him committing these crimes.

    Yet, he’s managed to weasel out of things before. I won’t hold my breath, but it’s about effin’ time. The man’s been a single-source crime wave for decades.

  3. charontwo says:

    So, previous indictment with a few edits added.

    Teri Kanefield does a comparison:

  4. charontwo says:
  5. Argon says:

    Another indictment… I gotta say, it’s so much nicer waking up to news of yet another charge than whatever stupid brain fart the Twitterer-in-Chief thumbed out during his early morning work-out on his gold plated shitter.

  6. Daryl says:

    DJT is fuq’d.
    If the new guy indicted, handyman Carlos De Oliveira, doesn’t flip I’ll be shocked.
    The only thing that will save Trump is that the jury pool in the area around Fort Pierce (we called it Port Fierce when I lived there in 1981) is deeply crimson red. If he can get one person to ignore the mountains of evidence maybe he can get a hung jury……which he will call total exoneration.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    He is not a master criminal.

    Yep, he is a master baiter.

  8. CSK says:


    If he can find it beneath all that lard he’s carrying around his midsection.

  9. stevecanyon says:

    I am hoping for wall to wall coverage of this trial and (I hope) a J6 trial of Trump next summer. Bigger hope is Trump meltdown during this period where we basically see springs and bolts coming out of his head. Doubt he’ll ever spend a day in a real jail but permanently disgraced and no longer listened to would be good enough for me.

  10. Kathy says:


    I’m hopeful of a lottery paradox* effect. Perhaps the odds of conviction on one charge are low, but the aggregate odds of conviction in at least one of the dozens of charges is high.

    *Spoiler alert: there’s no paradox involved.

  11. DK says:

    @Argon: Drama Queen Donnie is now the TruthSocialer-in-Chief. Luckily, his deranged ravings now have a smaller audience and are barely legible, so his minions often cannot decipher their instructions.

    The title of Chief Twit now belongs to Elon Musk (R-Apartheid), King of Incels, Duke of Trollingham, Baron of Conspirashire. His tweets are sometimes equally stupid — but cogent, mostly nonviolent, and only rarely unhinged. Thus, slightly less dangerous. Slightly.

  12. charontwo says:


    Cameras and recording devices are disallowed in Federal courts.

  13. Kathy says:


    I find it hard to square the fact that trials are public, yet cannot be shown to all the public; only to those who manage to snag a seat at the courtroom.

  14. CSK says:


    It’s federal trials that don’t permit photography. They do, however, permit sketch artists.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: There are of course 2 different interpretations of my statement either one of which is true. Kind of telling which way you took it. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  16. CSK says:


    To be sure. When in doubt, I always go for the dirty interpretation. 😀

  17. James Joyner says:

    @Kathy: The argument, which I think has some merit, is that, if cameras were allowed, attorneys and witnesses would play to the public rather than to the judge and jury. There’s also the fact that judges like to have as much control as possible over their courtroom.

  18. gVOR10 says:


  19. Jay L Gischer says:

    You know, given that Musk has had 10 children with multiple women as mothers and other girlfriends, “King of the Incels” seems a very strange moniker. Men in tech (and possibly women too, I’m not sure about that) have historically been often portrayed as unfit as sexual partners. Meanwhile, I know lots of them that are married with children. You know, like me. I’m a bit sensitive on this point.

    Some of the other stuff Musk is called he has earned, though.

  20. charontwo says:

    Summary from Jack Smith of update (.PDF file):


  21. CSK says:

    @James Joyner:

    States allow cameras in their courtrooms, and have for some time.

  22. Kathy says:

    @James Joyner:

    I heard a lot of criticism about just that at the time of the infamous OJ murder trial.

    I don’t know. The public doesn’t have a vote on the verdict, nor can we rule on motions, objections, etc. And from a lifetime of watching NFL football, I know I’m completely incapable of influencing the result, the plays that are chosen, the reaction by the defense, or even the ruling of the officials.

    If anything, the OJ trial should be a valuable teaching aid in law schools, and in police academies as well. It shows clearly so many mistakes and unforced errors, along with the consequences of them.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    Back in 2015/2016 when I argued on OTB that Trump was, let’s say, less than intelligent, I got push back from a number of people who, although they weren’t Trump supporters, argued that his success in business demonstrated that he wasn’t an idiot.

    In this latest episode, Trump has appeared to involve at least four and possibly more people in attempting to destroy evidence after receiving a grand jury supoena. One of these people he doesn’t seem to have known very well. Now, destroying evidence doesn’t speak to intelligence directly, but rather to criminality and guilt. But doing so in such a half assed and moronic fashion does indicate something about his intelligence. There have been a number of cases recently where the defense was essentially, look at what a dumbass my client is, you can’t possibly think he was a serious danger (the Michigan Militia who went after Governor Whitmer come to mind) and Trump’s inept and bumbling coverup here seems to fall into that category. So I’m wondering if there is anyone who has changed their minds about Trump’s intelligence? Or do you still feel that he is a brilliant (or even competent) businessman who only gets into trouble when he strays from his area of expertise? I’m generally curious.

  24. CSK says:

    I think whatever intelligence Trump has is constrained by his total amorality. I was never one of those who regarded him as a genius, or even particularly bright. But his amorality and his criminal bent have given him a certain cunning that allows him to survive.

  25. Daryl says:


    …argued that his success in business demonstrated that he wasn’t an idiot.

    I question that very premise.
    He seems to be a successful crook, but not a very successful businessman.

  26. CSK says:

    Trump says he’ll still run if he’s convicted and sentenced on the documents charges, says ABC.

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: TBH, outside of vague name recognition I knew nothing at all about him or his business experience before he rode down that escalator. I didn’t need to so why waste any energy on that which affected me not at all.

  28. Kathy says:


    I didn’t really know much about him. I think I visited a building with his name on it* when I was in NYC, sometime in the mid-80s. It was somewhat impressive, at a far remove from buildings like the Empire State or Mexico’s Latin America Tower, but with tackier decor. It left me with an impression of a cheap show-off.

    Next think I know he was hosting some kind of reality show. I’ve never cared for that genre at all, so I saw not one ep.

    Past that I saw an interview with him in 2015 or 2016 when he was running, and I thought he was a dumb, cheap show-off with a bad case of narcissism.

    By then 90s or so, I realized the rich only have more money, not necessarily smarter minds. So, I never thought of Benito as smart.

    *There is or was a Benito branded hotel in Vegas. Since it had no casino nor any attractions, I never bothered to visit it.

  29. dazedandconfused says:

    @MarkedMan: There are many forms of intelligence. Was the Rain Man intelligent or very stupid? The idea it can be measured with a yardstick is highly misleading.

    What the Rain Man was with numbers is what Trump is with BS. He has gotten people to lend him millions, and despite being a dead beat continues get more to do so to this day. Millions of people without a pot to piss in flat give him money. A game-show host who managed to win the Presidency. Twice impeached and thrice indicted (so far), let a bimbo bilk him for $130K, yet is still viewed as a “winner” by his marks.

  30. stevecanyon says:

    @charontwo: Coverage doesn’t have to be video of the proceedings to be effective. In fact given the slow pace of trials it might even make them less impactful. Articles introduced into evidence, including video and audio of Trump committing crimes would certainly be part of coverage as would highlights and summaries of court events.

  31. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Kathy:

    It’s harder to escape him for those of us in the northeast.

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Yep. He was a fixture in the 80’s when I lived in NYS as he burned through his father’s fortune with scheme after scheme. Of course, at the time it was believed that it was his own money, although the actual NYC real estate magnates no doubt knew the truth. But it left an impression that there just might be something more than meets the idea about his seemingly stupid business decisions, because he had made a fortune in the past, right? But of course, now we know that it was his father and grandfather who made the family fortune.

  33. CSK says:


    Spy magazine, which was very Manhattan-oriented, had a field day with Trump in the eighties, as we all know. The covers alone were hilarious. What upset him most was when Spy referred to
    him as a “short-fingered vulgarian.” It wasn’t the “vulgarian” part that offended him; it was the “short-fingered” part.

  34. CSK says:

    Trump says he can’t be tried for Jan. 6 because he already WON that case when he was impeached for the second time.

  35. Kathy says:


    As scientists like to say, that’s not even wrong.

  36. JohnSF says:
  37. CSK says:


    Well, Trump DID say at some point that the FBI had planted them. I forget whether that was before or after he said he had declassified them by thinking about it.

  38. JohnSF says:

    But is the thought of declassifying a non-existent document a real thought?
    Or something like that.
    I think I need more wine.

  39. dazedandconfused says:


    Heisenberg seem relevant: In physics a thing observed is a thing changed, and this applies to people too.
    Hawthorne Effect.

  40. dazedandconfused says:


    Wine will not help. Psilocybin, maybe.

  41. Kathy says:


    Even without cameras, everyone knows they are observed by the judge, the jury, the opposing counsel, the public in the courtroom (including reporters), the bailiffs, the stenographer, and the sketch artist. They also know much of what transpires will be reported in all forms of media.

    I fail to see how adding cameras would change things too much.

  42. JohnSF says:

    Have to take that under advisement.
    At least until the autumn ‘shroom crop.
    (Joking. I never was confident enough at ID’ing fungi, and as they say: “All mushrooms are edible. But some are only edible once.”)

  43. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..I fail to see how adding cameras would change things too much.

    Well, you never know who else will be there!
    Like character witnesses.

  44. dazedandconfused says:


    Works in theory, but when you stare at that lens and know you might be in Prime Time Tee-Vee…it’s a different ball game.

    What concerns me most is Trump demanded his trial on the docs be televised a few days ago. It’s a fair bet it would affect his behavior. They can’t tie him to a chair and gag him like a Bobby Seal.

  45. dazedandconfused says:


    The latter may be preferable for a trip into Trump’s brain.

  46. Kathy says:


    He could accrue enough contempt of court rulings, he’ll spend his life in prison even if he’s acquitted.

  47. al Ameda says:

    Trump Charged With Additional Crimes in Documents Case
    He is not a master criminal.

    I agree that he is not a master criminal, however I believe that he is,
    de facto, a career criminal.

  48. gVOR10 says:

    @al Ameda: I’m listening to Trump docs case commentary. We have a new defendant. With a Trump paid lawyer. How can anyone feel comforted by Trump saying, “Don’t worry. I’ll pay for a lawyer for you.” There are the usual comments that this is the way the mob operates. Somebody pointed out the mob has some sense of honor. You take a fall for the boss, the boss will take care of you. Trump won’t.