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Day 1170

1/ Special Counsel Jack Smith warned the judge overseeing Trump’s classified documents case that she is pursuing a legal premise that “is wrong” and would “distort” the trial. In an unusual order last month, Judge Aileen Cannon directed Trump and Smith to submit briefs on potential jury instructions for two legal interpretations of the Espionage Act, under which Trump is charged with mishandling 32 classified records. In one version, jurors would be instructed to assume that Trump had complete authority to take any records he wanted from the White House under the Presidential Records Act — a 1978 law that manages the maintenance of White House documents produced during each presidency. Under this scenario, “neither a court nor a jury” would have the ability to review the decision, which could nullify much of Smith’s case against Trump. In the other versions, jurors would review and determine whether a record retained by Trump could be categorized as “personal” or “presidential.” In this scenario, jurors could decided that official documents were mishandled. Federal prosecutors, however, rejected both proposals, writing that the PRA “should not play any role at trial at all,” arguing that Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified records occurred after his presidency ended. Smith added that Cannon’s order was based on a “fundamentally flawed” understanding of the case that has “no basis in law or fact.” Smith indicated that federal prosecutors would appeal if Cannon rules against them and accepts Trump’s arguments about his record-retention powers. (CNN / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Axios / New York Times / NBC News / Associated Press / CBS News)

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