Donald Trump was slapped with a second indictment in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case this week, with special counsel Jack Smith alleging a conspiracy between the former president and two of his staffers to destroy security surveillance footage that showed them moving around boxes of documents at the Florida country club.
But it’s even worse for the former president, noted longtime federal prosecutor Andrew Weissman on MSNBC Friday evening, because the new indictment also revealed Smith is in possession of the highly classified Iran war plan document Trump was allegedly waving around and boasting about at his New Jersey golf club — which limits his options of a defense severely.
“I wanted to ask you, proving this up if you’re Jack Smith, just the sheer existence of the document combined with the tape in and of itself, assuming it’s authenticated and entered into evidence, because it includes an admission by Donald Trump as a defendant in this case — do you need more than that?” asked anchor Katie Phang. “Do you need the actual people in the room to cooperate to be able to testify on behalf of the government to be able to prove this connection between Count 32 and this secret military plan?”
“Yeah, so you do need somebody, and there are at least, I think, four people to be able to say, that is the document that he showed me,” said Weissman, who previously worked on former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. “In other words, the document that is at issue, I recognize that, that is what he describes. So you do need one of those people to do that. But you also — for instance, it’s not going to be that hard to corroborate them, because you have Donald Trump on tape … describing the document.”
In other words, Weissman continued, “the jury’s going to be able to say, yep, that looks exactly like the document, and we know that’s something that Donald Trump returned to the archives, we know he possessed it. So this is like one and one and one, you’ve got three.”
“It’s the duck test,” agreed Phang. “Looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, walks like a duck.”
Andrew Weissman says Trump hurt himself by “describing the document”