OnPolitics: DOJ lays out strongest obstruction evidence against Trump yet – USA TODAY

Good afternoon, OnPolitics readers!

One of former President Donald Trump’s most prominent defenders amid the Justice Department’s investigation into classified documents stored at his Florida estate is a fixture in Trump political circles.

Christina Bobb, 39, spent years in the public eye as an on-air host for conservative news network One America News Network where she made no secret of her support of Trump. But she only burst onto mainstream news channels in recent weeks after the FBI executed its search warrant on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club.

The FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago elevated Bobb’s role as one of Trump’s attorneys and as a person tightly tied to the investigation. 

A filing late Tuesday implicated Trump’s team, including his lawyers, alleging that government records were concealed in an effort to obstruct the FBI’s investigation. If true, the revelation could open Bobb to potential legal exposure, though it’s as likely that she would serve as a witness – and be forced to testify against Trump – should any charges be brought against the former president, said Norm Eisen, former Obama administration ethics czar and counsel in the first Trump impeachment.

To learn more about who Bobb is and her role in FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago, click here.

It’s Amy and Ella with today’s top stories out of Washington.

DOJ mapped out strong obstruction evidence against Trump, aides in filing, experts say

 A Justice Department court filing elaborating on the search of Donald Trump’s Florida estate explains in the strongest terms yet – short of actually filing charges – a potential case for obstruction of justice against the former president and his aides, according to legal experts.

The extraordinary filing, a response to the former president’s request for a third-party special master to oversee the review of seized records, accused Trump’s team of concealing and moving documents in an effort to impede the investigation, possibly implicating them in a scheme to shield hundreds of classified documents from investigators for a year and half after he left office.

“Donald Trump has drawn a bullseye on himself,” said David Weinstein, a former Florida federal prosecutor, referring to a striking photograph included in the government’s filing which showed clearly marked classified documents strewn across the floor of Trump’s office next to a box of what appears to be Time magazine covers.

What was the FBI looking for? The Aug. 8 search warrant sought evidence for potential violations of three statutes: the Espionage Act, mishandling national defense documents and obstruction of justice. The obstruction charge is more serious, carrying a maximum 20-year prison sentence, than the Espionage Act’s maximum 10-year sentence.

A key element for proving obstruction would be the false statement made June 3 from a Trump aide that all classified documents had been returned to the government, Ryan Goodman, a former special counsel to the general counsel at the Defense Department and now a law professor at New York University, said.

Prosecutors would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that lawyers knew the statement was false or that Trump knowingly gave them false information, but witnesses and surveillance tapes could prove that case, Goodman said.

“If it can be proven that Trump directed or otherwise ensured that documents with classified markings be kept from the DOJ following the subpoena it would likely be an open and shut case under all of the charges cited in the arrest warrant,” Goodman told USA TODAY.

Real quick: Stories you’ll want to read

Female troops saw biggest surge in unwanted sexual contact since DOD began collecting data

Women in the military endured the highest level of unwanted sexual contact since the Defense Department began tracking the data sixteen years ago, a new Pentagon survey obtained by USA TODAY shows. The startling finding shows sexual crimes are rising steadily despite hundreds of millions spent to curb the problem and vows by senior leaders to tackle it.

The Pentagon estimates that sexual assaults among women service members surged an estimated 35% from 2018 to 2021. The survey shows that 8.4% of women and 1.5% of men in the active-duty military said they had been the victim of a sex crime, ranging from groping to rape, according to results of the survey. In 2018, an estimated 6.2% of women in the armed services were victims of unwanted sexual contact.

The previous high for women was 6.8% in 2006, the same year that produced the highest on record for men at 1.8%.

The Pentagon’s so-called prevalence survey had been delayed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is considered the best measure of sexual abuse because it relies on an anonymous survey of troops to estimate the extent of the problem, rather than on formal complaints of sexual assault, a crime that is underreported.

President Joe Biden will host Barack and Michelle Obama to unveil their official White House portraits years after former President Donald Trump snubbed the former first family by not hosting them to unveil the portraits during his time in office. –Ella & Amy