Donald Trump’s legal team is “confident” the ongoing investigation into the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago won’t result in a guilty charge for the former president, CNN senior legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid said, reflecting on her exclusive interview with Timothy Parlatore.
“They are confident that their client won’t be charged, and if he is charged, he won’t be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” Reid told TheWrap, adding that this insight quickly gets lost in the mix of the case’s complexity.
While Reid’s team also recently broke the news that Trump’s legal team has concluded their search for materials at the former president’s properties, which indicates the investigation may wrap that up in the coming months, Reid pressed Parlatore on why documents continue popping up in the case over two years after Trump exited office.
“His argument is that the process at the end of any administration, be it the Obama-Biden administration [or] Trump-Pence, is very chaotic — most people have left; it’s often done by junior staffers,” Reid said. “He argues that this is a process problem. But we know that’s not the full story, right?”
“We know it’s more than that, because the Justice Department had asked multiple times for the return of these documents,” Reid continued. “It didn’t get everything [and] they had to execute a warrant.”
Nonetheless, amid the recent investigation into the classified documents found by FBI agents at President Joe Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home, Reid points out that there is bipartisan support that “the process is a problem.”
“What the lawyers for all of these folks will tell you [is] that at the end of the administration, there are often young staffers who are responsible for packing up these boxes, and they need a better system,” she said. “All of these are similar in that these are boxes that were packed up towards the end of their time in office, and there just has to be a better system for making sure the classified materials don’t fall through the cracks.”
While the cases into Trump and Biden both look into a possible mishandling of classified documents, Reid notes that the scale of each investigation is very different, as Trump’s case involves a larger volume of material including “hundreds of pages of classified documents,” while Biden’s case, though it is still being evaluated, appears to be “dozens of pages of classified documents.”
“Former President Trump is under investigation for obstruction, where President Biden is not,” Reid clarified.
“The special counsel investigation has just begun for Biden — it just started short time ago. So we expect [there] will be a grand jury, there could be additional interviews and evidence gathering at this point. There is no indication that anyone will be criminally charged,” Reid said, adding that the “greatest risk” in a case likely would be giving false statements to the FBI.
Given the scale of the case into Trump, Reid said that landing the exclusive interview with Parlatore was a get built on years of trust and source building. In the end, it deepened her perspective on all sides of the investigation.
“I’ve always tried to be fair and accurate in reporting on his other clients … But I pushed him to come on the show and allow me to ask some of the questions that people have about what’s going on with his client,” Reid said, adding that while Reid has had “pretty intense exchanges” with the former president, Trump approved the interview.