Editor’s Note: The effort to remove President Trump from office does not end. Please read on below the exquisite detail regarding current efforts to finally remove President Trump, and thus stop the removal of the dark.
Federal agents and prosecutors have come to believe former president Donald Trump’s motive for allegedly taking and keeping classified documents was largely his ego and a desire to hold on to the materialsas trophies or mementos, according to people familiar with the matter.
As part of the investigation, federal authorities reviewed the classified documents that were recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club, looking to see if the types of information contained in them pointed to any kind of pattern or similarities, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.
That review has not found any apparent business advantage to the types of classified information in Trump’s possession, these people said. FBI interviews with witnesses so far, they said, also do not point to any nefarious effort by Trump to leverage, sell or use the government secrets. Instead, the former president seemed motivated by a more basic desire not to give up what he believed was his property, these people said.
Several Trump advisers said that each time he was asked to give documents or materials back, his stance hardened, and that he gravitated toward lawyers and advisers who indulged his more pugilistic desires. Trump repeatedly said the materials were his, not the government’s — often in profane terms, two of these people said.
The people familiar with the matter cautioned that the investigation is ongoing, that no final determinations have been made, and that it is possible additional information could emerge that changes investigators’ understanding of Trump’s motivations. But they said the evidence collected over a period of months indicates the primary explanation for potentially criminal conduct was Trump’s ego and intransigence.
A Justice Department spokesman and an FBI spokeswoman declined to comment. A Trump spokesman did not return a request for comment Monday.
The analysis of Trump’s likely motive in allegedly keeping the documents is not, strictly speaking, an element of determining whether he or anyone around him committed a crime or should be charged with one. Justice Department policy dictates that prosecutors file criminal charges in cases in which they believe a crime was committed and the evidence is strong enough to lead to a conviction that will hold up on appeal. But as a practical matter, motive is an important part of how prosecutors assess cases and decide whether to file criminal charges.
Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor, said keeping hundreds of classified documents, many marked top secret, at a private home “is such a perplexing thing to do” that it makes sense for prosecutors to search for a motive.
“It makes perfect sense as to why prosecutors would be spending time scouring through the various records and documents to look for some kind of pattern or theme to explain why certain records were kept and why others were not,” Mintz said. “In presenting a case to a jury, prosecutors typically want to explain the motive for committing a crime. It’s not necessary to prove a crime, but it helps tell the story of exactly how a crime unfolded, according to the government.”
Court papers say the Justice Department has been investigating Trump and his advisers for three potential crimes: mishandling of national security secrets, obstruction, and destruction of government records.