Today in What The Absolute Eff, a new court filing reveals that Donald Trump’s legal team—the one defending him in his indictment for stealing classified national security documents and hiding them from the federal investigators tasked with retrieving them, not the one defending him from his indictment over a seditious plan to topple the United States government—has a new proposal for how the review of classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago should be handled.
Specifically, Trump’s team proposes that the government “approve re-establishment of a secure facility in which [Trump] was permitted previously to discuss (and review) classified information during his term as President.”
That’s right: Trump’s legal team is objecting to a plan that would require discussion and review of the classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago to take place only in the “designated SCIFs in the Southern District of Florida where the classified discovery will be housed.” They want the government to create a new Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility, or SCIF, inside Mar-a-Lago like the one he had when he was in the White House.
That way, Trump and his lawyers can discuss the classified documents seized from Trump’s house … inside Trump’s house.
For example, the government could designate a certain chandelier-festooned bathroom to be a new SCIF, and that would allow Trump and his lawyers to discuss the precise details of the classified national security secrets that the FBI had to cart out of that same bathroom after Trump hid them there in cardboard boxes.
There is no word on whether any other secret-stealing defendant in history has ever succeeded in getting the scene of their own crime turned into a designated SCIF, so there’s really no way to judge whether this is the stupidest idea ever proposed by any lawyer anywhere or only the second or third stupidest, but jeebus, the entitlement of this guy. The premise of the request is that it would be “virtually impossible” for Donald to haul his ass over to the existing SCIF “as necessary to conduct a defense consistent with” his rights, what with having to bring an entire Secret Service detail with him, and so it is only “reasonable and appropriate” that the government grant him a new SCIF he can get to by shuffling over in his slippers.
You can tell Trump’s own legal team feels this request is pretty dodgy, because the very first footnote reminds the court that they reserve the right to argue that, actually, none of the classified documents are classified at all, because reasons, and the second footnote notes sheepishly that, “To be clear, President Trump is not asking for the proposed CIPA Protective Order to be modified to permit any classified materials to be transported to or reviewed or stored in, this location,” and footnote five reiterates, “Again, President Trump is not requesting that any classified materials be transported to or reviewed or stored in this location.”
So no, they don’t quite have the gall to insist that Trump be allowed to move the stolen classified docs right back into Mar-a-Lago, this time with the express permission of Judge Aileen Cannon. It’s just that Trump wants to discuss the classified information in the documents without having to drive somewhere else. Oh, and the government should pay for it, because Donald sure as hell isn’t.
This is a very bold play, not in the least because it suggests that there is still someone on Trump’s now-shredded defense team who still believes that whether or not a room of his house is designated a SCIF will make the slightest damn difference in whether or not Trump starts blurting out national defense secrets. That’s kinda the whole point of why we’re all here, is it not? There’s a whole audiotape from Trump’s Bedminster estate in which Donald directs the room’s attention to the classified Pentagon document that he says he absolutely shouldn’t be showing off.
And Judge Cannon will probably try to grant the motion, just because she seems determined to let Trump hoard or sell or display the documents on New York’s Fifth Avenue rather than hold the seditionist lout to the same standards as other defendants. Whether she legally can, however? Now, that’s a different question.
But it’s a ridiculous request, and utterly insincere on the part of his lawyers. What exactly is there to “discuss” about the classified documents and their contents that will need Trump and his lawyers to haul themselves over to the existing SCIF for more than an hour or two? And faced with spending the rest of his life in prison, Donald will still find it too onerous to spend a few days or even weeks of his life commuting to the SCIF in which his stolen documents are kept?
Damn, do the people running the SCIF need to make sure he gets a mint on his pillow whenever he shows up? Do they need to fluff his special document-reviewing cushions every so often so his rear end doesn’t get sore? Just how coddled can one seditionist asshole get?
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