Trump Rejected Opportunities To Return Classified Docs, Dodge Criminal Charges: 'We Didn't Have To Be Here'

Zinger Key Points
  • Trump was urged multiple times to cooperate with the Justice Department to avoid an indictment.
  • The former president refused, choosing to spar with the government in a court of law.

Former President Donald Trump’s legal situation is growing more dire by the week, but a new report says his second indictment in a classified documents case could have been avoided altogether if Trump had taken his lawyer's advice. 

What Happened: In the fall of last year, one of Trump’s lawyers, Christopher Kise, suggested he could discuss a settlement with Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department to avoid a federal indictment, according to The Washington Post.

Kise wanted to approach the department quietly to negotiate a deal in which Trump would return the classified documents he stored at his Mar-a-Lago resort to “take the temperature down,” according to the outlet, which could have avoided the appointment of Special Counsel Jack Smith and the 37 charges on which Trump was arraigned in a Miami court Tuesday.

The proposal was just one of many that Trump’s advisors and lawyers repeatedly suggested to the former president that could have helped Trump avoid the array of legal problems he now faces, according to the report. 

Trump’s Response: After speaking to some of his other lawyers, Trump decided against cooperating with the Justice Department, according to WaPo, preferring to take the route of sparring publicly with the government he once led in a courtroom, if it came to that — and it eventually did.

Now, not only is Trump fighting to keep himself from potentially serving decades in prison, but he has cast himself as a symbol of righteousness who is standing between the government and the American people.

“They want to take away my FREEDOM because I will never let them take away your FREEDOM,” Trump wrote on Truth Social Wednesday, adding, “They are not coming after me. They are coming after you. I just happen to be standing in their way.”

Despite Trump maintaining his innocence, his actions, which are part of the indictment against him, suggest he was fully aware that storing and refusing to return all the classified documents in his possession to the National Archives was against the law.

Trump told advisors the boxes at his Mar-a-Lago resort didn’t contain classified documents and told them to make public statements saying that “everything” had been returned. According to the indictment, Trump also asked his aide, codefendant Walt Nauta, to move the boxes to different areas of his club. 

Read Next: From Trump's Valet To Co-Defendant In Federal Case: Meet Walt Nauta

Photo via Shutterstock. 

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