Judge Rules Against Trump Dismissal Motion

Donald Trump | Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The judge hearing former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case ruled on Thursday against his motion for dismissal, citing “Constitutional vagueness.”

“Although the Motion raises various arguments warranting serious consideration, the Court ultimately determines, following lengthy oral argument, that resolution of the overall question presented depends too greatly on contested instructional questions about still-fluctuating definitions of statutory terms/phrases as charged,” U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon wrote in a two-page decision.

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is challenging Trump on his right to withhold records. It is the first time in history that NARA has made a challenge against a president’s determination as to which documents were considered personal rather than presidential, as reported by Fox News.

Trump’s legal team claimed the action by NARA was politically motivated and that the former president moved the documents while he was still president, which other presidents have done.

“All that might be right. But I don’t see how it leads to a dismissal of the indictment,” Cannon told Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, during oral arguments. The judge added that Blanche’s arguments may have “some force at trial [as a defense], but it’s hard to see how it gets you to a dismissal.”

Although the judge denied the motion for dismissal, she acknowledged NARA’s unprecedented move, calling it an “extraordinary act,” per Fox.

“We don’t have a lot of case law on this because this has never been done before,” Blanche argued. “While he was the president, he took records, like many presidents … For the first time ever, NARA took a different path and made a criminal referral.”

“President Clinton hid tapes in his socks and NARA said there’s nothing we can do about that,” he added.

The tapes former President Bill Clinton allegedly took were never recovered.

Trump’s team is also seeking a dismissal based on the Presidential Records Act (PRA), which gives the president the authority to remove documents. Blanche has argued that the PRA does not address what records may be kept and is silent on whether documents with classified or top-secret markings can be removed.

Earlier this month, Special Prosecutor Robert Hur declined to seek charges against President Joe Biden over a similar matter in which classified documents that he took during his time as vice president were recovered from the basement of his home. Biden also disclosed the content of the records to a ghostwriter while relating information for a memoir. The ghostwriter later deleted the audio recordings to prevent prosecution and obscure what was said.

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