Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), the former attorney general of Missouri, seemed to have a really tough time grasping why a third person had been indicted in the classified documents probe against Donald Trump, despite the senator’s legal background and claims from prosecutors.
His comments followed news that Carlos de Oliveira, a maintenance worker at Mar-a-Lago, had been charged in the Justice Department probe, which is looking at Trump’s handling of classified documents taken from the White House to his Florida estate.
Trump himself was hit with three additional felonies, bringing his total to 40 counts in the case. The former president and his aide Walt Nauta had previously been charged last month.
De Oliveira is accused of helping Nauta move boxes of classified documents stashed at Mar-a-Lago and then lying about it in an interview with federal investigators. He also allegedly sought to erase surveillance footage at the estate on Trump’s instructions.
Hawley cast the addition of new indictments as an effort to distract from a separate case involving Hunter Biden. After a courtroom dispute led a potential plea agreement to collapse this week, President Joe Biden’s son pleaded not guilty to two tax charges while his legal team attempts to broker a new deal.
“After they tried to hide from us the true extent of this plea deal, that gets blown up and then it’s like ‘Oh, we’ve got to go indict Trump on something else,’” Hawley said.
“It’s so brazen,” he added. “It is really a subversion of the rule of law. … We cannot allow this to stand.”
The new charges against Trump include additional counts of willful retention of documents and obstruction of justice, alleging that the three defendants sought to delete surveillance footage at Mar-a-Lago to prevent it from being provided to a federal grand jury.
As social media users noted, Hawley — who bills himself as “one of the nation’s leading constitutional lawyers” on his Senate webpage — should not have had a difficult time understanding the indictments or the reasons for charging de Oliveira, who was very much not a “random” person in the case.
Many online posts criticized Hawley as dishonest and irresponsible.