Robert Costa Profile picture
Aug 14 10 tweets 3 min read
(thread) I've been following up today on something @AmbJohnBolton told @CBSNews in recent days and it has led to a new understanding of a part of this story: how Trump handled defense and intelligence-related documents inside the White House, and how that led to the FBI search.
To understand how certain documents landed in certain boxes, and then ultimately at Mar-a-Lago, you have to understand how Trump digested daily briefings.
What happened in the briefings often touched on the most sensitive aspects of U.S. national security and defense, as you'd expect for the commander-in-chief. But since much of the briefings were verbal, Trump would only glance at papers most days and sometimes asked to hold them.
"Sometimes they forgot."

That line stuck with me. If they forgot to take the papers back, where did they go?

That's the question I started asking intel types and former Trump officials today. If the briefers sometimes let him keep the papers, where did they go?
Here's more Bolton. A key exchange.
So, according to Bolton, you have a president who asks intelligence briefers to at times share documents after mostly verbal briefings. They take them back most of the time, but not all the time.

Then what? Here's what I've learned...
According to multiple sources who worked in the Trump White House, Trump had a tendency to work from the residence. He got briefed in the Oval and enjoyed the dining room, but enjoyed morning and evenings working from the residence.

And he'd often take a pile of stuff.
That transit, from West Wing to the residence, is where there was often a breakdown in the tracking of documents since most days few, if any, people confronted or asked Trump about what he was carrying, the sources said.
Trump at times kept those piles at the residence. At some point, some of those misc. piles were boxed up.

More Bolton:

COSTA: Why do you think he took potentially sensitive documents back to Florida after the presidency?

BOLTON: Because he thought he could get away with it.
(end) Bolton to @CBSNews: "I was always concerned about him asking for those documents, because once he had them and we left the Oval Office, there's no telling what he did with them."

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More from @costareports

Aug 13
CBS News has confirmed the @maggieNYT @GlennThrush report that a Trump lawyer signed a statement saying the former president's team had complied with the federal subpoena regarding classified and gov't documents, following the June visit by investigators to Mar-a-Lago...
Here's what I'm hearing on this story today per several Republicans familiar with the episode... A federal grand jury subpoena is issued in the spring, time TBD. Investigators then come in June. Meet with Trump's lawyers about classified material that might be at the property.
After that June meeting, as first reported by NYT team, a Trump lawyer tells investigators, as a formalization of the visit and subpoena request, sign a statement that any problematic materials/documents in Florida were accounted for and, if necessary, returned to the U.S. gov't.
Read 5 tweets
Aug 11
An August reckoning for American democracy. A Republican who co-led a probe into a GOP president and an attack on Capitol faces voters. A twice-impeached president takes the 5th, days after FBI search, and many Rs rally to his side. Historians warn Biden democracy is on brink.
“President Biden paused last week, during one of the busiest stretches of his presidency, for a nearly two-hour private history lesson from a group of academics who raised alarms about the dire condition of democracy at home and abroad.”…
“Polls show Ms. Cheney losing badly to her rival, Harriet Hageman, Mr. Trump’s vehicle for revenge, and the congresswoman has been all but driven out of her Trump-loving state, in part because of death threats, her office says.”…
Read 4 tweets
Jul 29
(thread) It didn't get much attn at the time, but we opened 'Peril' with a long prologue on Milley/China because that was the key behind-the-scenes worry re: Jan. 6. How would the Chinese respond to the disruption in democracy? As Trump watched TV, the world was watching the U.S.
Then and now, there were concerns at the highest levels of the U.S. government and military that the Chinese could see an opening of some sort for action... or could misinterpret what was happening, all as both nations' warships were holding intense drills in the South China Sea.
This story today is part of that ongoing and intensifying behind-the-scenes U.S. alarm about China's posture and manuevers in the S. China Sea, knowing the Chinese are closely watching for U.S. political developments that they could use as a cudgel.…
Read 7 tweets
Jun 23
Rep. Mo Brooks just texted this document to @CBSNews
And he texted this: "The email request says it all. There was a concern Democrats would abuse the judicial system by prosecuting and jailing Republicans who acted pursuant to their Constitutional or statutory duties under 3 USC 15…”
"… Fortunately, with time passage, more rational forces took over and no one was persecuted for performing their lawful duties, which means a pardon was unnecessary after all."
Read 4 tweets
Jun 15
(thread) Thursday’s hearing will focus on how an American president tried to weaponize the vice presidency to try to stay in power. Use the VP to scramble the certification in Congress.

It was a final, strained gambit after losing in court. It was convoluted. But it happened. Image
Eastman’s memo, which we reported & excerpted in “Peril,” gave Trump the blueprint, a cover, to pressure VP to refuse to oversee the certification and join him in pushing for a delay. Since DOJ refused to echo fraud claims, then supposed alternate electors became the next play.
Dec. 30: Bannon talks by phone w/ Trump, urges focus on 6th/VP

Jan. 2: Eastman memo circulated by WH to Lee, others

Jan. 4: VP confronted by Eastman, Trump in Oval

Jan. 5: Trump 1-on-1 w/ VP. “Mike, you can do this.”
Read 11 tweets
Jun 12
(thread) preview of the June 13 @January6thCmte hearing featuring Trump 2020 camp mgr Bill Stepien and Chris Stirewalt, fmr Fox Newser. This hearing is about tracing the origin of J6 back to Trump's *decision,* stoked by Giuliani, to embrace the false claim of a stolen election.
Nov. 3-5 2020. Trump furious re Fox News calling AZ for Biden. Pressure put on Fox News from WH (Stirewalt likely to detail). Trump camp's legal strategy, as planned, goes into motion. Challenges in the courts. Stepien, counsel Matt Morgan and others had sketched out weeks prior.
Trump frustrated with the traditional approach of his camp's legal strategy. It's aggressive but not alleging an outright stolen election. He wants more. Talks to Rudy. Rudy agrees. Trump gives his blessing to Giuliani to start poking around the campaign. Be his eyes and ears.
Read 9 tweets

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