(WASHINGTON D.C.) — So if Democrats decide to charge former President Donald Trump with a crime, what charges could the Department of Justice bring?
The warrant signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart of the Southern District of Florida gave prosecutors the right to seize records containing evidence in violation of three federal laws, 18 USC 793, 2071 and 1519.
Many of the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago by 30 FBI were classified, according to the DOJ so those three laws would apply because they deal with the mishandling of federal government records regardless of whether or not they are classified.
Law 793 prevents unauthorized possession of national defense information, without mentioning whether the records are classified or not. It is punishable by up to 10 years in prison for each infraction.
That law was initially passed under the 1917 Espionage Act, which predates the statutory classification system.
The other laws, 2071 and 1519, make it illegal to conceal or destroy official US documents. They are punishable by up to three and 20 years in prison, respectively. Neither law requires the information in question to be classified.
Federal law also makes it illegal to intentionally take classified documents to an unauthorized location, but that law was not among the three cited in the search warrant.
Q: So when did the DOJ start treating removal of classified documents like a felony anyway?
A: When President Trump signed a 2018 law making it a felony. pic.twitter.com/KA6RKYlQ8L
— Jeff Yarbro (@yarbro) August 9, 2022