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Read Now: The Espionage Act and Trump’s documents, explained – 101 Latest News



The Espionage Act and Trump’s documents, explained

#Espionage #Act #Trumps #documents #explained

Photo by GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI’s unsealed warrant tells us why they searched Mar-a-Lago — but not much about what they found

After a week punctuated with reprimands of the Department of Justice by Republican lawmakers and their subsequent demands for accountability following an FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, the search warrant released Friday indicates the search was conducted in connection with, among other things, the Espionage Act.

The Espionage Act is actually a series of statutes under 18 US Code Chapter 37 related to the collection, retention, or dissemination of national defense or classified information. The Mar-a-Lago search warrant referred to Section 793 — “Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information,” which doesn’t just cover “spying” in the sense that many think of when they hear the term. Section 793 specifically states that people legally granted access to national defense documents — people like the former president — are subject to punishment should they improperly retain that information.

Under the Presidential Records Act, which relates to the retention of government documents by the National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, official documents and other material or information a president and vice president may have obtained while in the office must go to NARA for preservation.

The Presidential Records Act is a post-Watergate innovation which “changed the legal ownership of the official records of the President from private to public, and established a new statutory structure under which Presidents, and subsequently NARA, must manage the records of their Administrations,” according to the NARA website. Under that statute, presidential records belong to the national archivist — and therefore the American people — when a president leaves office, unless that person has the permission of the archivist to dispose of records that are no longer useful.

That didn’t happen at the end of the Trump administration; instead, as Maggie Haberman reported on a recent episode of the New York Times podcast The Daily, Trump took 15 boxes of material with him when he departed for Mar-a-Lago as Biden took office. Those boxes contained, as Haberman recounts, items like a raincoat and golf balls. They also contained a number of documents that fell under the Presidential Records Act, and NARA spent the better part of 2021 negotiating with Trump’s team to obtain those records. When NARA finally received those documents earlier this year, Haberman reported, they found several marked “classified.”

Violating the Presidential Records Act alone would be significant enough, but, as Haberman said, “The fact that there were documents marked ‘classified’ in these boxes raised all kinds of concerns from federal officials.” Even more concerning, Trump apparently didn’t return all of the records falling under the Presidential Records Act — prompting Monday’s Mar-a-Lago search. That yielded 11 tranches of documents, four of which are top-secret, three of which are labeled “secret,” three of which are labeled “confidential,” and one of which is labeled “Various classified/TS/SCI documents” meaning they’re meant to be read only in secure rooms by people with high levels of security clearance, according to the Justice Department’s property receipts.

Who has previously been charge under this act, and for what?

High-profile Espionage Act cases often involve leaking classified government information to news sources. Reality Winner was a contractor with the National Security Agency when she leaked a classified government report about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election to The Intercept. She was arrested shortly after the story published in June 2017 and sentenced to five years and three months in federal prison on one count of transmitting national defense information under the Espionage Act.

That Winner’s single charge resulted in more than five years in prison is an indication of just how seriously the Espionage Act can be prosecuted; it’s also part of an almost consistent struggle between the free press and the US government across administrations. Winner and other whistleblowers have done what can arguably be called a public service — risking their freedom and livelihoods to provide the public with information about what the government is doing in their name, or other critical but classified information.

Daniel Ellsberg, for example, was tried in 1973 under the Espionage Act for leaking to the Washington Post and the New York Times the so-called Pentagon Papers — about 7,000 pages of documents covering US involvement in the Vietnam War that countered the government’s official narrative for that involvement. He faced up to 115 years in prison for leaking the report, but his case was dismissed due to the government’s malfeasance in gathering evidence about Ellsberg. The government also attempted to prevent the Post and the Times from publishing the Pentagon Papers, but the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the papers.

Both Winner and Ellsberg had legal access to the documents they leaked; their crime was in sharing it. Trump, too, had the legal right to access the documents and records the government just seized — but not after he left office, and not at Mar-a-Lago, under unclear security measures.

According to Section 793, part d, it’s illegal to knowingly retain information that one believes could do damage to the US or aid another country and fail “to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it.” On Sunday, it appeared that Trump may have crossed that line, according to a New York Times report. One of Trump’s lawyers apparently signed a document in June stating that all classified material had been returned to the government; the DOJ’s unsealed receipts detailing all the items taken from Mar-a-Lago Monday indicate that statement wasn’t true.

What could be next for Trump

Since the affidavit outlining the DOJ’s reasons for believing that Trump had documents in his residence that could pertain to the Espionage Act has not been made public, we don’t know the evidence that justifies that possibility.

“If the Justice Department wanted to pursue a criminal case, based on the available information known to the public to date, they appear to have a very strong case,” New York University law professor Ryan Goodman told Axios. The unsealed warrant also cites Section 1519, which refers to the destruction or manipulation of records (whether classified or not) related to a federal investigation or bankruptcy proceedings. As the New York Times’ Charlie Savage reported Friday, it’s unclear whether the DOJ invoked Section 1519 regarding Trump’s resistance to giving documents to NARA, or to something else entirely. The warrant also refers to Section 2071, which makes it illegal to hide, remove from its proper location, destroy, or attempt to destroy a government document — something Trump reportedly did while in office.

Though Trump agreed to release the search warrant and receipts of what the DOJ took from Mar-a-Lago, he has offered several excuses for having the documents in his possession, falsely claiming that former president Barack Obama also retained classified documents, floating the idea that evidence had been planted at Mar-a-Lago, and saying that he declassified all the documents in his possession which could be true — but wouldn’t save him from legal penalty, since there’s no record of such an action and some national security documents could carry heavy penalties for improper storage whether or not they’re technically classified.

Regardless, Republican politicians and Trump’s supporters have branded the DOJ’s search a witch hunt and accused Democrats of playing politics, as they did during Trump’s two impeachment trials and the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) compared the search to tactics used by “the Gestapo,” the Nazi secret police, and Trump’s supporters have threatened the FBI over the investigation, the Washington Post reported Friday.

Trump also took advantage of the search by painting it as “lawlessness, political persecution, and [a] Witch Hunt” in a fundraising email Tuesday, which “must be exposed and stopped,” Reuters reported.

Although it’s certainly possible that Trump will be charged with crimes under the Espionage Act or another of the statutes in the DOJ’s warrant, it’s far from certain; there’s still much that is unknown at this point. And while Trump has behaved in some truly alarming ways before, with no repercussions; there’s no indication — yet — that this situation will be any different.


Read Now: Libel Case Against Entertainers T.I. & Tiny (of VH1's T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle) Can Go Forward – 101 Latest News



Parents and Children

#Libel #Case #Entertainers #amp #Tiny #VH1039s #amp #Tiny #Family #Hustle

From Peterson v. Harris, decided Friday by the California Court of Appeal, in an opinion by L.A. Superior Court Judge Audra Mori, joined by Justice Audrey Collins and L.A. Superior Court Judge Helen Zukin:

In January 2021, plaintiff Sabrina Peterson posted a video and messages to her Instagram account accusing defendants Clifford and Tameka Harris (entertainers who perform under the stage names “TI” and “Tiny”) of various forms of sexual and physical abuse. Peterson also accused Clifford of previously threatening her with a handgun. Clifford, Tameka, and Tameka’s friend, codefendant Shekinah Jones Anderson, responded to Peterson through their social media accounts.

Peterson sued for libel, false light, and intentional infliction of emotional distress (among other torts); the Harrises filed an anti-SLAPP motion, but the Court of Appeal concluded that Peterson’s claim can go forward. First, Peterson’s factual allegations:

Peterson is an award-winning business coach, entrepreneur, and founder of Glam University, a company designed to “coach women who are interested in entrepreneurship.” The Harrises are well-known musicians, producers, and television personalities. Codefendant Anderson is a reality television personality who has appeared on a television show covering the Harrises.

At some point during the parties’ friendship, Peterson got into an altercation with Clifford’s assistant. Responding to the altercation, Clifford placed a gun to Peterson’s head and said, “‘Bitch I’ll kill you.'” Peterson ceased communicating with Clifford but maintained her friendship with Tameka.

In January 2021, Peterson was the victim of a carjacking. To cope with this traumatic experience, on January 26, 2021, Peterson “shared her traumatic experience with [Clifford] to a group of her followers” on Instagram. As established by the evidentiary submissions discussed below, Peterson also posted messages she had received from other women accusing Clifford and Tameka of various forms of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Clifford, Tameka, and Anderson issued various statements responding to Peterson’s Instagram posts.

In every cause of action, the complaint alleged that Clifford, Tameka, and Anderson “posted certain statements on the public internet site Instagram to their more than 23.6 million followers” and sought to hold all three liable for the statements. The complaint identifies the posts or public statements as follows:

[1.] The Posts on the Harrises’ Instagram Accounts

On January 26, 2021 (the same day Peterson revealed the prior incident involving Clifford), Tameka posted to her Instagram account a photograph of Clifford standing alongside Peterson’s eight-year-old son. Attached to the photograph was the following message:

“‘Hold up… So you want your abuser to train your sons? He was just uncle 2 years ago … now when did you say my husband assaulted you? Did you change your mind or change it back? What’s up wit you today Pooh? … You strange. Everybody know you been special….”

Tameka’s Instagram account has 6.6 million followers.

In a statement released to the public January 29, 2021, the Harrises “’emphatically den[ied] in the strongest way possible the egregiously appalling allegations being made against them by [ ] Peterson.” The same day, Clifford posted a video to his Instagram account in which he stated:

“‘Whatever we ever have done has been done with consensual adults …. [¶] We ain’t never forced nobody, we ain’t never drugged nobody against their will. We ain’t never held nobody against their will. We never made nobody do anything. We never [sexually] trafficked any[body]…. [¶] I also want you to know there’s evil at play…. We’ve had a history in dealing with the particular individual in question.'”

Clifford’s Instagram account has 13.5 million followers.

[2.] The Post on Anderson’s Instagram Account

Also on January 29, 2021, Anderson posted a video to her Instagram account. In the video, Anderson stated:

“‘She’s looking for fucking attention. She wants [Tameka]. She has sex with [Tameka], she wants [Tameka] to be her girlfriend. Now listen, this is my thing, [s]he came out and [Clifford] pulled a gun on her….

“‘She has a problem. But she ain’t talking about how she fucked Tamika [sic] too. I said what I said. Why she ain’t talking about she done sucked his dick and fucked her in her pussy…. I’m trying to figure out why she ain’t tell ya’ll about how much pussy she ate? Why she didn’t tell ya’ll about she wanted the women who used to go recruit the bitches for him to fuck?

“‘What’s up? … Go ask her why [she] ain’t tell you she didn’t get fucked and she went to the apartment? Why she didn’t tell ya’ll if she done had somebody that did too?'”

Anderson’s Instagram account has 3.5 million followers….

[In response to the anti-SLAPP motion, the Harrises submitted] court records from a criminal matter involving Peterson in 2011. Those records reflected a guilty plea [to a federal false statements charge] in which Peterson admitted she had “denied know[ing] an individual named ‘P. Denis,’ when in fact she knew of and had lived with [this] individual.” …

The court concluded that Peterson’s speech was on a matter of public interest, so the anti-SLAPP statute potentially applied:

Clifford and Tameka are accomplished musicians and producers, and both have a television show covering their lives. Peterson herself is a successful entrepreneur and business coach who has been featured in well-known publications. The controversy under which this case arose directly concerns gun violence and sexual abuse by those in the entertainment industry. The many articles covering this controversy clearly establish the public’s interest in it.

Even assuming the statements did not implicate a public issue or issue of public interest, they are still protected as activity encouraging participation “in the context of an ongoing controversy.” Peterson voluntarily thrust herself into the public eye by accusing Clifford of gun violence and the Harrises of various forms of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. All of the statements appearing in the complaint were responsive to Peterson’s own public revelations against the Harrises. As such, Peterson has “subjected herself to inevitable scrutiny … by the public and the media.”

Finally, the activity of Clifford, Tameka, and Anderson all occurred in a public forum for purposes of section 425.16, subdivision (e)(3). With one exception, all of their statements were published on Instagram and could be readily accessed by 3.5 to 13.5 million followers.

But the court also held that Peterson’s case could move forward, because her allegations were legally adequate (their factual accuracy may end up being a matter for the jury). As to defamation, the court reasoned:

Peterson marshaled evidence suggesting both statements were provably false. As to the implied statement Peterson had lied about the gun incident, Peterson averred she had endured the “traumatic experience” involving Clifford placing a gun to her head, and she stated the Harrises’ denials were “false.” The Harrises offered no evidence contradicting these averments. Viewed in context, the Harrises’ statements implied a provably true or false statement that Peterson had lied about the gun incident.

The Harrises do not discuss any of this evidence and instead argue that their statements that Peterson had lied were in fact true. Citing Peterson’s prior criminal matter in 2011, the Harrises contend Peterson “is, in fact, a proven liar.” But while Peterson’s criminal records may establish Peterson lied about something in 2011, they do not conclusively establish that she lied about Clifford threatening her with a gun.

Regarding the salacious sexual accusations, Peterson declared she had “never engaged in sexual acts with either of the Harrises nor have I ever recruited woman [sic] to engage in sexual acts with the Harrises.” These allegations are also capable of being proven true or false….

We also conclude that, contrary to the Harrises’ arguments, Peterson made the requisite showing of actual malice as a limited public figure….

The court concluded that the false light claims were merely “cumulative [of her defamation claim] and will add nothing to her claims for relief.” But the court also concluded that her intentional infliction of emotional distress claim can continue, as to the allegations of her sexual conduct with the Harrises:

[W]e agree with the Harrises that the implied statement Peterson had lied about the gun incident, even if insulting or unflattering, did not constitute extreme or outrageous conduct. However, the salacious sexual accusations against Peterson, made in graphic detail, may properly be considered extreme and outrageous by a factfinder.

Congratulations to Rodney S. Diggs (Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell & Diggs), who represents plaintiff.

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Read Now: Trump Gets Some Brutal Feedback From GOP Iowa Voters – 101 Latest News



Trump Gets Some Brutal Feedback From GOP Iowa Voters

#Trump #Brutal #Feedback #GOP #Iowa #Voters

Some voters at Sen. Joni Ernst’s Ride and Roast showed why Donald Trump may have an Iowa problem in 2024.


One voter told MSNBC, “We’re not big Trump fans. There’s a lot of bluster good ideas, but a lot of bluster. I like Mr. Scott. We share the same faith. He has a really arduous road ahead of him. Being black and a Republican.”

Another Republican voter in Iowa, “I’ve talked to Mike Pence a few times. I like Mike. He’s a good, moderate conservative. Religious family man. I’m not 100 percent Trumper this time. He did some great things. I like what he did when he was in office. I just didn’t like all of the bantering in the background.”

The Republicans MSNBC spoke to voiced a couple of realities about the Republican Party. Tim Scott is going to struggle as a candidate because he is black. Second, the Republican Party has moved so far to the right that Mike Pence could be viewed as a moderate.

Trump didn’t show up for Ernst’s Ride and Roast, so it makes sense that the audience would be composed more of Iowans looking for someone other than Trump.

However, the reason why these voters seemed to be turned off is because of Trump’s personality. It isn’t the legal problems, the criminal indictments, or the corruption.

Some Republicans are sick of Trump’s personality and drama.

The more he campaigns, the more Trump might be costing himself votes.

The MAGA contingent within the Republican primary is so large that it is unlikely that anyone else will be able to beat Trump in a primary, but Donald Trump definitely has an Iowa problem as he heads into 2024.

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Read Now: Biden and McCarthy Both Improved Their Political Standing – 101 Latest News



Quote of the Day

#Biden #McCarthy #Improved #Political #Standing

Playbook: “Somehow, both McCarthy and Biden emerged from the potential economic debacle in better political shape. Politics is often zero sum, but the FRA accomplished the chief political goals of both men.”

“McCarthy, who faced a humiliating path to the speakership, needed to strengthen his position within the House GOP conference.”

“Biden, whose job approval trendline has veered uncomfortably close to sinking below 40%, needed to strengthen his position with American voters.”

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