Following the raid on former President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida estate Mar-A-Lago by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), there have been more questions than answers, however, the head of the Republican Party provided answers on Friday regarding classified information.
A statement read on Fox News from Trump’s office yesterday argued that he had a “standing order” while he was president that allowed him to take sensitive information from the White House to ensure that he could continue his work outside of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
“As we can all relate to, everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time. American presidents are no different,” the statement began.
“President Trump in order to prepare the work the next day often took documents including classified documents to the residence,” the statement continued, adding, “He had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken to the residence were deemed to be declassified the moment he removed them.”
Statement from Trump Office: As we can all relate to, everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time… He had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office taken to the residence were deemed to be declassified.. pic.twitter.com/pnTjRnOqif
— Acyn (@Acyn) August 13, 2022
“The power to classify and declassify documents rests solely with the president of the United States,” Trump’s office explained, concluding, “The idea that some paper-pushing bureaucrat with classification authority delegated by the president needs to approve the declassification is absurd.”
During the raid on Mar-A-Lago, the FBI discovered 11 boxes of classified material, some of which were marked “TS/SCI” which stands for “Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information,” in the residence, according to CNN.
Former Trump administration official Kash Patel has claimed that Trump declassified the files shortly before leaving office but that the classified markings had not been removed, according to Business Insider.
The FBI warrant, unsealed on Friday, outlined that the FBI was in search of classified documents which could fall under obstruction of justice charges or the Espionage Act — a 1917 law created shortly after the United States entered World War I, intended to prohibit interference with military operations or recruitment.
“All physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 793, 2071, or 1519, including the following: a. Any physical documents with classification markings, along with any containers/boxes (including any other contents) in which such documents are located, as well as any other containers/boxes that are collectively stored or found together with the aforementioned documents and containers/boxes;” the warrant read.
In reaction to the release of the warrant, Trump shared the following on Truth Social: “Number one, it was all declassified. Number two, they didn’t need to “seize” anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request.”
“They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK,” he continued. “The bigger problem is, what are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?”
While Trump’s “standing order” provides much-needed clarity into the former president’s holding of classified documents, it also raises questions on the reasoning used by the FBI to go into Trump’s private residence to retrieve the documents.
If Trump’s “standing order” legally holds up then the raid is likely more an example of an overreaching bureaucratic agency, the National Archives and Records Administration, than an actual instance of wrongdoing from President Trump, but only time will tell as investigations continue.
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