I read a story yesterday in my hometown newspaper, the Boston Globe about how Trump tried to make a deal with the National Archives to exchange the boxes he had taken to Mar-a-Lago for documents related to his claims that he had been the victim of the 2016 investigation into his ties with Russia. As reported in the Globe:
Late last year, as the National Archives ratcheted up the pressure on former President Donald Trump to return boxes of records he had taken from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago club, he came up with an idea to resolve the looming showdown: cut a deal.
Trump, still determined to show he had been wronged by the FBI investigation into his 2016 campaign’s ties to Russia, was angry with the National Archives and Records Administration for its unwillingness to hand over a batch of sensitive documents that he thought proved his claims.
In exchange for those documents, Trump told advisers, he would return to the National Archives the boxes of material he had taken to Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida.
Trump’s aides never pursued the idea. But the episode is one in a series that demonstrates how Trump spent a year and a half deflecting, delaying and sometimes leading aides to dissemble when it came to demands from the National Archives and ultimately the Justice Department to return the material he had taken, interviews and documents show.
That pattern was strikingly similar to how Trump confronted inquiries into his conduct while in office: entertain or promote outlandish ideas, eschew the advice of lawyers and mislead them, then push lawyers and aides to impede investigators.
In the process, some of his lawyers have increased their own legal exposure and had to hire lawyers themselves. And Trump has ended up in the middle of an investigation into his handling of the documents that has led the Justice Department to seek evidence of obstruction.
This must be the most “on brand” story ever told. Of course Trump wanted to make a deal. The “no one can ever hold me accountable” guy essentially wanted to extort the National Archives to give him information that he thought might support his false allegations.
(Spoiler alert: the Russia investigation was completely legitimate. And there is a pee tape, but Putin is holding onto it.)
As the noose slowly tightens, we’re still waiting to see if this guy will every be held accountable for anything.