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Tags: donald trump | fbi | indictment | tom fitton | lawyers

WashPost: Trump Told Lawyers No to Making Deal on Docs

By    |   Thursday, 15 June 2023 12:01 PM EDT

Former President Donald Trump was unwilling to negotiate with Justice Department investigators last fall, firm in his belief his documents were protected under the Presidential Records Act (PRA), according to The Washington Post.

Christopher Kise, one of Trump's new attorneys, reportedly sought to approach the investigators before special counsel Jack Smith was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, seeking to "take the temperature down" and make a deal that would avoid a federal indictment.

But Trump reportedly rejected that route, preferring to take a legal stance that was ruled on in the "Clinton socks case" against Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton.

Trump has been taking advice from Fitton — at times against the advice of his own hired legal counsel — about the Clinton socks case, the PRA precedent, and his legal right to retain items he did not want to surrender to the National Archives, according to the Post.

Kise, a former Florida solicitor general, declined to comment to The Washington Post.

"President Trump has consistently been in full compliance with the Presidential Records Act, which is the only law that applies to Presidents and their records," a Trump spokesman wrote in a statement to Newsmax. 

"In the course of negotiations over the return of the documents, President Trump told the lead DOJ official, 'anything you need from us, just let us know.' Sadly, the weaponized DOJ rejected this offer of cooperation and conducted an unnecessary and unconstitutional raid on the President’s home in order to inflict maximum political damage on the leading presidential candidate. 

"The Biden regime's despicable efforts are failing. President Trump maintains a commanding lead in the polls and is poised to reclaim the White House for the American people and make our country great again."

The National Archives has long rejected Trump's claims.

"The PRA requires that all records created by presidents (and vice presidents) be turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) at the end of their administrations," it wrote in a June 9 statement as Smith unsealed the 37-count indictment against Trump.

"The PRA treats the records of the president and those of the vice president in almost the same manner such that, in most cases below, president and vice president can be used interchangeably."

Instead of using the PRA as the basis for the indictment, Smith's charges reference the Espionage Act of 1917.

Fitton has made the case that the charges against Trump allege no crime and "won't survive scrutiny."

"I testified before the grand jury for four hours, and there were a few questions, I guess, they needed to check off in terms of potential criminal activity related to classified information and such, but most of the time was spent arguing with obviously partisan lawyers about policy debates," Fitton said on Newsmax's "Eric Bolling The Balance" on Monday before Trump's arrest and arraignment. "And after four hours, I thought, 'Why am I being questioned on this First Amendment activity?'

"I saw firsthand that this was a politicized process.

"They set it up so they could concoct and manufacture obstruction when, in fact, there was no obstruction. They left out the fact that [Trump] cooperated and told the senior Justice Department official in his home, 'You can have whatever you want.' And he directed his attorneys, right in front of him, 'Give them anything they want.' That didn't make it into the indictment. This indictment is evidence of corruption by the Justice Department."

Fitton told the Post that he dined with Trump on Monday, telling the paper he was giving Trump advice but declined to elaborate.

"I think what is lacking is the lawyers saying, 'I took this to be obstruction,'" Fitton told the Post. "Where is the conspiracy? I don't understand any of it. I think this is a trap. They had no business asking for the records … and they've manufactured an obstruction charge out of that. There are core constitutional issues that the indictment avoids, and the obstruction charge seems weak to me."

Smith's grand jury heard from a number of witnesses who were asked about Fitton's role in advising Trump, according to the Post.

Fitton has been publicly active in seeking to get Biden's Senate records made public, which could include documents related to Tara Reade's allegations of sexual misconduct when Biden was a senator.

Reade, fearing for her life, fled to Russia seeking asylum.

Reade, who worked as a staff assistant in 1992-1993 for then-Sen. Biden, D-Del., has alleged Biden sexually assaulted her and had filed a Senate personnel complaint, which alleged Biden actively withheld from being released from the University of Delaware.

The Clinton socks case Trump has repeatedly mentioned as precedent for the retention of records was originally related to Fitton's Judicial Watch in 2012, which former President Barack Obama-appointed Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled NARA could not force former President Bill Clinton to turn over audio tapes he kept in his sock drawer.

Jackson has been frequently used by the Justice Department against Trump-related officials, lending credence to House Republican arguments there is a weaponization of justice and the government against Trump and conservatives.

Fitton told the Post he remains convinced Trump lawyers "should have been more aggressive in fighting the subpoenas and fighting for Trump."

Eric Mack

Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Former President Donald Trump was unwilling to negotiate with Justice Department investigators last fall, firm in his belief his documents were protected under the Presidential Records Act, according to The Washington Post.
donald trump, fbi, indictment, tom fitton, lawyers
Thursday, 15 June 2023 12:01 PM
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