Trump's Suspected Motive on Documents: 'Ego'

'Washington Post' reports investigators don't suspect former president planned to profit by taking papers
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2022 1:52 PM CST
Trump's Suspected Motive on Documents: 'Ego'
An aerial view of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., from which investigators removed classified documents.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Why did former President Trump allegedly filch hundreds of classified documents from the White House? According to the Washington Post—citing anonymous sources familiar with the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation—Trump was most likely motivated by "ego and intransigence," as the Post puts it, and not a "nefarious effort … to leverage, sell, or use the government secrets." The Justice Department did not comment, but according to sources, witnesses told investigators that Trump "repeatedly said the materials were his, not the government’s—often in profane terms." Ultimately, it appears he was keeping the materials as "trophies or mementos," per the Post.

Trump faces charges related to three possible offenses: mishandling national security secrets, obstruction of justice, and destruction of government records. Motive isn’t required to prove whether a crime was committed, but former federal prosecutor Robert Mintz told the Post it makes sense that prosecutors would "look for some kind of pattern or theme to explain why certain records were kept and why others were not." A special master appointed by a federal judge is expected to complete his review of the classified documents next month; charges are unlikely to be filed before then.

As Politico reports, Trump’s expected launch of a 2024 presidential campaign is unlikely to shield him from legal problems, as prosecutors are likely prepared for the move. Furthermore, those same prosecutors are "unchained" now that the midterms are over, meaning they aren’t hampered by political calculus that may have slowed investigations last month. The same is true for prosecutors working a separate federal probe into Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, not to mention ongoing state-level investigations in New York and Georgia, where major witnesses are testifying this week before a grand jury investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the latter state’s 2020 presidential election, per Forbes. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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