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New Trump charges show “devastating proof” of obstruction: Ex-DOJ official

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New charges against former President Donald Trump in the classified-documents case provide “devastating proof” that the ex-president is guilty of obstruction, according to former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann.

Special Counsel Jack Smith hit Trump with three additional charges in a superseding indictment filed on Thursday. The former president, who pleaded not guilty to the 37 counts filed in the initial indictment last month, was charged with two additional obstruction counts and one additional count of willfully retaining national defense information.

Mar-a-Lago employee Carlos De Oliveira also joined Trump and his aide Walt Nauta as an additional co-defendant in the case. Federal authorities accuse De Oliveira, chief of maintenance at Mar-a-Lago, of intentionally flooding an area used to house security video logs. He was charged with obstruction, making false statements and concealing, mutilating or destroying materials.

Weissmann, who served as lead prosecutor in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump 2016 campaign and Russian election interference, said during an MSNBC appearance on Thursday that the suspending indictment is damning for Trump since it accuses the ex-president of ordering the destruction of surveillance footage.

New Trump Charges Show 'Devastating Proof' Obstruction
Ex-President Donald Trump is pictured on July 7, 2023, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann says that the new charges against Trump in the classified-documents case provide “devastating proof” that the ex-president is guilty of obstruction.
Scott Olson/Getty

“The charges and the new allegations are really significant,” Weissmann told host Joy Reid. “This idea of, like, ‘OK, get rid of the surveillance tapes.’ I mean, that is such devastating proof of obstruction and the underlying criminality. You don’t need to get rid of the surveillance tapes if you didn’t do anything wrong.”

Weissmann went on to say that the case against Trump had also become “stronger” due to the new charge related to the July 2021 audio recording of the ex-president saying that he did not declassify a document that he was openly discussing on a purported U.S. plan to attack Iran.

“Now that really incredibly important tape recording is one of the charges,” said Weissmann. “It makes it impossible for the judge not to admit that tape recording into evidence, because it is … not background evidence, it is evidence of an actual charge.”

“So this is now a much, much stronger case,” he added. “And it was already very strong.”

Trump previously claimed that the document he was referring to in the recording, which includes a sound that resembles paper crinkling, did not actually exist, insisting that his words on the tape were only “bravado.”

Weissmann suggested that the new charge could indicate that the Department of Justice (DOJ) now has the supposedly non-existent documents in its possession.

Newsweek reached out for comment to Trump’s office via email on Thursday.

The Trump 2024 campaign said in an earlier statement that the new charges were “nothing more than a continued desperate and flailing attempt by the Biden Crime Family and their Department of Justice to harass President Trump and those around him.”

Trump’s legal team held a meeting with DOJ officials earlier on Thursday, amid mounting speculation that Smith’s investigation of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election result could yield more charges against Trump.

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