Trump was apparently sitting on a whole bunch of state secrets
The New York Times reported that the government has now recovered 300 classified documents from Trump.
Donald Trump’s post-presidential era is shaping up to be even more ridiculous than his time in office. Right now, it’s all fueled by the news that Trump apparently held onto basically an entire DMV’s worth of state secrets. Yep, that’s right: Reports indicate that Trump took over 300 classified documents to Mar-a-Lago after his presidency.
Once a president leaves office, they have to hand over their documents, which are considered property of the American people. They’re all stored with the National Archives and Records Administration. You can thank Nixon for that. But to nobody’s surprise, Trump has been trying to dodge his final presidential duty.
In January, the National Archives retrieved 15 boxes’ worth of White House records from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property. On Monday, The New York Times reported those boxes included over 150 items marked as classified. This kicked off Trump’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad 48 hours earlier this month, as FBI agents conducted a surprise raid on Mar-a-Lago to possibly retrieve more classified info.
Per the Times, the government has now recovered over 300 individual classified documents from Trump. That includes the original documents seized in January, another set given to the Justice Department by Trump aides in June, and additional documents discovered during the FBI’s search two weeks ago.
As expected, Republicans initially reacted to the FBI raid with outrage. On Aug. 9, longtime Republican strategist Alice Stewart appeared on CNN and said that “anything short of finding the nuclear codes at Mar-a-Lago is going to hugely backfire on the Biden administration.”
Funny enough: On Aug. 12, The Washington Post reported that the FBI was searching for “classified documents relating to nuclear weapons,” among other items. And while it’s still not clear what exactly was in the boxes, a person briefed on the matter told the Times that the trove recovered in January included documents from the CIA, the National Security Agency, and the FBI on a number of topics concerning national security.
No matter what, though, Trump having those documents at all is illegal, period. In a May letter to Trump, the National Archives noted that some of the documents it already recovered had the highest levels of classification, including Special Access Program (SAP) material.
According to the Times, investigators have requested surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago in an effort to understand how the documents got there to start. However, the outlet noted some say it wasn’t Trump’s staff who packed the boxes, but the General Services Administration.
While The Hill reported that Trump claims he declassified the documents obtained by the FBI, that argument probably isn’t going to hold up for long. At this point, describing Trump as a dumpster fire would be unfair to both dumpsters and fires everywhere. So let’s just say that this situation is both entirely predictable and incredibly, incredibly ridiculous.