Reality Winner, the first person to be prosecuted in violation of the Espionage Act under the Trump administration, said she was “blown away” by the voluminous detail found in the 49-page indictment against the former president in the sprawling Mar-a-Lago documents scandal. The former intelligence contractor and Air Force linguist made the comments in a new interview with NBC broadcast Friday.
In 2018, under the Trump administration, Winner pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years and three months in prison after leaking a top-secret report on Russian hacking to the media—the longest sentence imposed for this crime at the time, according to prosecutors. Now, five years later, Trump himself has been accused of retaining and withholding national security information in violation of the Espionage Act, as well as conspiring to obstruct justice, and lying to the FBI. Winner has previously described the case against Trump “incredibly ironic.”
“It wasn’t hard to believe,” Winner told NBC on Friday. “This is a man that really likes trophies.”
In August 2022, the FBI seized top secret and classified documents from the former president’s Florida estate. On Thursday, Trump was indicted on 37 charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and including willfully retaining national defense secrets. Since the indictment’s announcement, Trump has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. His personal valet, Walt Nauta, was also listed in the suite of charges.
Winner spent five years in jail for taking one document for a legitimate whistleblowing purpose. The idea that an ordinary person wouldn’t be prosecuted for what Trump did is an intelligence-insulting lie even by the standards of Trump boot polishers.
But that’s not what his going on in this Trump case. He was *already* given a ton of latitude and difference; any average citizen would have been in jail long ago on these charges, and no average citizen would have gotten their case removed to a special prosecutor at DOJ. 3/— Matt Glassman (@MattGlassman312) June 10, 2023
But most importantly, even his most ardent defenders here aren’t willing to defend him on the merits, because you can’t. The actual alleged behavior here is insane: he was showing randos classified military ops docs and refusing to turn them over to the government. 5/— Matt Glassman (@MattGlassman312) June 10, 2023
Trump had the opportunity to avoid prosecution that an ordinary citizen like Winner would never have been afforded. He chose not to take them because he believes he is entirely above the law, and his fascist supporters agree. It’s not wrong to say that the Espionage Act is vulnerable to selective prosecution, but that’s not remotely what’s happening here.