Ty Cobb, a former White House attorney, asserts that the “feds are coming fast” for Donald Trump and forecasts that the former president will go to prison as a result of the probe into his alleged misuse of confidential data.
Between July 2017 to May 2018, Cobb, a former U.S. assistant attorney, was a member of the Trump legal team. On Thursday, Cobb told CNN’s Erin Burnett believes there is plenty of evidence to prosecute the former president. Trump has maintained his innocence in this and all other ongoing investigations into possible criminal activity. Special counsel Jack Smith is looking into Trump.
Smith is looking into whether Trump tried to rig the results of the Georgia presidential election in 2020, as well as the indictment already issued against him by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office for an alleged $130,000 hush-money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign via Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen. New York Atto is also looking into the allegations.
CNN reported on Thursday that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) informed Trump that 16 records would be given to Smith, allegedly demonstrating that the former president and his top advisors were aware of the proper declassification procedure while he was president. Cobb stated that Smith would not face “much of a legal hurdle” should Trump decide to contest this in court.
“I would not necessarily expand the case to try to prove the Espionage Act piece of it because there is so much evidence of guilty knowledge on the espionage piece that all they really have to do is show that Trump moved these documents at various times when DOJ was either demanding them or actually present, that he filed falsely with the Justice Department, had his lawyers file falsely with the Justice Department, an affidavit to the effect that none existed—which was shattered by the documents that they then discovered after the search—and the many other misrepresentations that he and others have made on his behalf with regard to his possession of classified documents,” Cobb said.
Cobb asserted that the situation is a “tight case” and that Trump “will go to jail” as a result. He also added that since Trump is always “lying” about the law, he thinks the case is ready for prosecution and doesn’t need to be expanded.
On May 10, Trump said during a CNN town hall that he couldn’t remember if he had discussed the documents with anyone else. He claimed that the Presidential Records Act gave him “the absolute right” to do so and that he was “allowed to” do so.
“When we left Washington, we had the boxes lined up on the sidewalk outside for everybody,” Trump said. “People are taking pictures of them. Everybody knew we were taking those boxes.”
Title 18, Section 1519 of U.S. Code states: “Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”
According to court records, on May 10, 2022, NARA archivist Debra Steidel Wall and Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran corresponded about giving Smith the records.
“As you are no doubt aware, NARA had ongoing communications with the former President’s representatives throughout 2021 about what appeared to be missing Presidential records, which resulted in the transfer of 15 boxes of records to NARA in January 2022,” Steidel Wall wrote.
Included in those boxes were items marked as classified national security information, up to the level of “Top Secret” and including “Sensitive Compartmented Information” and “Special Access Program” materials.
About four weeks had passed since NARA initially informed Trump’s legal team that it intended to provide the FBI access to the boxes “so that it and others in the Intelligence Community can conduct their reviews,” according to the attorney.
The classified papers case, according to former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, who worked in the Trump administration, will be the former president’s worst legal headache.
“It’s very clear that he had no business having those documents,” Barr told CBS News’ Catherine Herridge. “He was given a long time to send them back and he was—they were subpoenaed. And if there’s any games being played there, he’s going to be very exposed.”
Georgia State University law professor Clark Cunningham told Newsweek that he concurs with Cobb and Barr that the Mar-a-Lago classified papers issue presents Trump with the greatest potential of being charged with a crime and found guilty.
In response to a summons to appear before a grand jury, Trump’s records custodian signed a sworn certification form with the date and signature of June 3, 2022.
“I understand that this certification is made to comply with the subpoena, in lieu of a personal appearance and testimony,” said the custodian, whose name was redacted.
It added that based on what the custodian was told, a “diligent search” was conducted of the boxes that were moved from the White House to Florida, that the search was conducted after receipt of the subpoena “in order to locate any and all documents that are responsive to the subpoena,” and that no copies, written notation or reproduction “of any kind” was retained.
“The sworn certification given by Trump’s lawyers to the Department of Justice at Mar-a-Lago last June that ‘all documents responsive to the [grand jury] subpoena’ were being handed over was clearly a false statement,” Cunningham said. “That document by itself is powerful evidence that the federal obstruction of justice statute was being violated—which carries a 20-year sentence.
“The decision who to prosecute turns on who knew the certification was false: the lawyers who gave it to the DOJ, or—as seems increasingly likely—their client, Donald Trump.”