Trump’s Document Trove Reportedly Included Information About a Foreign Nation’s Nuclear Capabilities
The classified documents that the FBI seized at Mar-a-Lago on August 8 included information about a foreign nation’s nuclear capabilities, according to a Washington Post report citing “people familiar with the matter.” The Post adds that “some of the seized documents detail top-secret U.S. operations so closely guarded that many senior national security officials are kept in the dark about them.” The trove of more than 100 classified documents included material with markings so restrictive that FBI agents needed additional clearances to examine them.
Trump lawyer Christopher Kise condemned leaks about the nature of the purloined documents, saying they “continue with no respect for the process” or “any regard for the real truth,” which “does not serve well the interests of justice.” This week a federal judge in Miami approved Trump’s request that a special master be appointed to review the documents with an eye toward material that might be covered by attorney-client privilege or executive privilege. Kise said “there is no reason to deviate from that path if the goal is, as it should be, to find a rational solution to document storage issues which have needlessly spiraled out of control.”
The concession that the records seized by the FBI posed “document storage issues” is hard to reconcile with Trump’s claim that he declassified all that material before leaving office. According to Trump, he had “a standing order” as president that automatically declassified anything he removed from the Oval Office to study at his residence in the White House.
Trump has not presented any documentation of that purported policy, which was news to national security officials who should have known about it. But taking him at his word, he decided that all the documents he took with him to Florida did not need to be classified, meaning that allowing general access to them would not pose a threat to national security. If so, it is hard to see why their presence at Mar-a-Lago would raise “document storage issues.”
All told, Trump retained more than 300 documents that were marked as classified: 184 that were found in the 15 boxes that he turned over to the National Archives in January, 38 that his lawyers gave the FBI in June in response to a grand jury subpoena, and more than 100 that the FBI seized during its search last month. The Justice Department says the FBI found 76 of those documents in a basement storage room secured by a padlock, which means dozens were discovered
Article from Reason.com