Former top DOJ official suggests apparent leaks to media from special counsel could result in dismissal of indictment

June 11, 2023
Ben Marquis

President Joe Biden's Department of Justice, by way of Special Counsel Jack Smith, unveiled a criminal indictment against former President Donald Trump in relation to his alleged unlawful retention of classified documents after he left the White House.

A former top DOJ official has now suggested that the entire indictment could potentially be dismissed on a technicality in that it strongly appears that information in the indictment was directly leaked by prosecutors to the media prior to the indictment being unsealed, the Conservative Brief reported.

Indeed, for nearly a week prior to the release of the indictment, certain media outlets published reports detailing information included in the indictment about a 2021 incident that had previously been entirely unknown to the public and unreported by the media.

Leaks to media could result in dismissal

Jeff Clark, a former assistant attorney general in former President Trump's DOJ, took to Twitter on Friday and wrote, "I'm beginning to read the indictment against Trump. But even three pages in, it's clear that the leaks that preceded the indictment are far too close to what is actually being pleaded by DOJ to be a coincidence."

"For example, in paragraph 6a on page 3, we hear about the recording of the Bedminster call, which the MSNBC's of the world have been beating a dead horse about for quite a while based on such leaks," he continued. "This means that Trump lawyers could not possibly be the source of the leaks. Ergo, the leaks are coming from DOJ. They must be investigated and punished."

"Also, this is grounds for granting a motion highlighting jury pool poisoning and dismissing the indictment before it reaches even its one-month birthday," Clark added. "All of this is so outrageous; it shocks the conscience. It's fundamentally anti-American. Trump Witch Hunt Number ... what? I've lost count. Let's call it Trump Witch Hunt #99."

Alleged audio recording of Trump outlined in indictment

As observed by Clark, on page 3 of the 49-page indictment, paragraph 6a outlines an alleged audio-recorded incident in July 2021 at Trump's Bedminster golf club in which he met with four others and discussed an admittedly still-classified military document in his possession that purportedly outlined a "plan of attack" on a particular foreign nation that had been previously prepared for him by a certain "senior military official."

Paragraph 6b also outlines an alleged incident at Bedminster in August or September 2021 in which Trump displayed an admittedly still-classified map of military operations in a particular foreign nation to a close political ally.

Further in the indictment, though unmentioned by Clark, and beginning on page 14 with paragraph 32 through paragraph 35, the indictment further elaborated upon the purported details of those two alleged incidents at Bedminster in which Trump was said to have shared admittedly classified military documents with others who did not have the requisite security clearances to view them.

CNN's "exclusive" report on alleged audio recording of Trump

The information therein from the otherwise secret indictment that was only unsealed to the public on Friday is strikingly similar to an "exclusive" CNN report dated a week prior on June 2 that breathlessly exposed how former President Trump had been caught on tape sharing classified military intelligence documents with others during a July 2021 meeting at the Bedminster golf club.

That report, which cited "multiple sources familiar with the investigation," asserted that the document in question contained plans for a military invasion of Iran that had been drawn up by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley -- according to Trump but disputed by a Milley spokesperson -- in response to an article days earlier that angered Trump in which Milley had accused Trump of wanting to attack Iran after losing the 2020 election ... as was all described in paragraphs 32-35 of the indictment.

The CNN article also noted that special counsel investigators were also looking into "other scenarios in which Trump may have shown national security documents, such as maps, to others, sources say" -- which now appears to be in reference to the alleged incident mentioned in paragraph 6b and further detailed in paragraph 35 about Trump displaying a classified military map to a top representative of his political action committee.

Report now appears to have been based on leaks

Interestingly enough, in light of former DOJ official Clark's assertion that portions of the indictment were leaked to the media prior to that information otherwise being made public, the CNN report included a statement from a Trump campaign spokesperson who decried "leaks" from investigators intended to "inflame tensions" around Trump.

It certainly does appear now that the "exclusive" CNN report published exactly one week before the indictment against Trump was unsealed was based on leaks from the special counsel's investigation. Whether that can be definitively proven or actually result in a dismissal of the indictment is another story altogether, though.

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