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Trump rejected lawyers' suggestions to avoid indictment, listened to Judicial Watch instead: report

Fitton criticized the Post story, stating that it focused on "how Trump deserved to be abused by the Biden DOJ because he objected to being abused by the Biden DOJ."

Published: June 15, 2023 8:22am

Updated: June 16, 2023 12:13am

Former President Donald Trump reportedly rejected suggestions from his attorneys to arrange a settlement with the Justice Department to avoid federal charges and instead, he listened to the advice of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, a conservative legal activist, and others who said he could legally keep the classified documents and should fight government prosecutors. 

Trump attorney Christopher Kise wanted to see last fall if he could quietly approach the Justice Department to negotiate a settlement with the hopes that Attorney General Merrick Garland and the agency would want to avoid bringing charges against the former president, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.

Trump was not interested in settling with the Justice Department after listening to other attorneys who advocated for a more aggressive approach, so Kise did not approach prosecutors with his proposal.

Trump had returned 15 boxes of classified documents early last year, leaving at least 64 more at his home. Fitton and others had told Trump he could legally retain the documents and he should fight the federal government.

Fitton had repeatedly mentioned Judicial Watch's "Clinton socks case," which refers to tapes Bill Clinton kept in his White House sock drawer, as justification to Trump, according to the report. His organization lost a lawsuit that demanded for the recordings to be handed over to the custody of the National Archives and designated as presidential records. 

A 37-count indictment unsealed against Trump last week charges him with conspiracy to obstruct justice, making false statements and violating the Espionage Act, among other things. 

"Where is the conspiracy? I don’t understand any of it. I think this is a trap. They had no business asking for the records … and they’ve manufactured an obstruction charge out of that. There are core constitutional issues that the indictment avoids, and the obstruction charge seems weak to me," Fitton said Wednesday.

Fitton criticized the Post story early Thursday morning. 

".@WashingtonPost runs big story on how Trump deserved to be abused by the Biden DOJ because he objected to being abused by the Biden DOJ," he tweeted.

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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