Problems And Questions About That Classified Documents Photo
Problems And Questions About That Classified Documents Photo
That photo of documents scattered on the floor of Trump’s office at Mar-A-Lago has sent people in a tizzy over social media and beyond.
Donald Trump has claimed the FBI agents were responsible for throwing classified documents on the floor of Mar-a-Lago – and said they were ‘perhaps pretending it was me who did it’.
‘Terrible the way the FBI, during the Raid of Mar-a-Lago, threw documents haphazardly all over the floor (perhaps pretending it was me that did it!), and then started taking pictures of them for the public to see,’ he said in a Truth Social post Wednesday morning.
‘Thought they wanted them kept Secret? Lucky I Declassified!’ he added during a flurry of posts condemning the FBI agent who retired amid backlash over the Hunter Biden probe.
Now, I’m not going to get into the weeds regarding the debate as to a President’s authority to classify and declassify documents. There are others such as Jonathan Turley who are more versed than I in the subject. What I DO have concerns about is the photo itself.
As we noted earlier, there are already problems with the raid at Mar-A-Lago. Trump’s attorneys weren’t allowed in to supervise the search. I’ve yet to see anyone from the FBI or DOJ provide a compelling reason/case/authority as to why they were ordered to stay outside. To me, that was a red flag.
Then there was the release of the affidavit that supposedly makes the case for the raid. I just have to wonder how compelling a case it is when a significant portion of the reasoning used to make the case was news stories from a Miami news station and Maggie Haberman at the New York Times! Media reports are evidence now??
Per one of the exhibits now made public, the NARA archivist letter shows that, contrary to assertions over these last couple of weeks, Biden DOES know (if his brain retained the information) and WAS advised, in April and May, about the hunt for classified documents at Mar-A-Lago.
The Counsel to the President has informed me that, in light of the particular circumstances presented here, President Biden defers to my determination, in consultation with the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, regarding whether or not I should uphold the former President’s purported “protective asse1tion of executive privilege.” See 36 C.F.R. §
l 270.44(f)(3). Accordingly, I have consulted with the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel to inform my “determination as to whether to honor the former President’s claim ofprivilege or instead to disclose the Presidential records notwithstanding the claim of privilege.” Exec. Order No. 13,489, § 4(a).
Then, as the document was dumped last night, a tweet was sent out and people discovered the document photo (which is this post’s feature photo).
Numerous brightly colored cover sheets for classified information are visible bearing markings of “Top Secret,” “Secret” and “Sensitive Compartmented Information.” The contents of the documents, and even some of the classified headers, were whited out, leaving just a handful of dates visible. At least three of the documents bearing classification markings are on White House letterhead. A box of framed items, including a 2019 Time magazine cover depicting the then-Democratic presidential field vying to defeat Trump, sits nearby.
Numerous people jumped on their various favored bandwagons regarding this photo.
This is a photo of some of the classified materials found at Donald Trump's home. The SECRET/SCI document in the foreground has an 'HCS-P' marking – which means it contains human source intelligence, one of the most sensitive US intel products. https://t.co/zV7cMEHhx8 pic.twitter.com/EhqpvS21Ns— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) August 31, 2022
You know what? All it takes is a quick search and one will realize that you too can find these cover pages and print them out on your own!
Liz Cheney, because of course.
Yet more indefensible conduct by Donald Trump revealed this morning. pic.twitter.com/R5h8M0B7rK— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) August 31, 2022
She’s treated statements by others who appear in front of the J6 Committee as 100% gospel, even as testimony was debunked within minutes. So why not accept this documents photo as THE SMOKING GUN??!! That’s how Liz rolls.
At least CNN admits what Trump is saying. The FBI spread these documents on the floor to take their ‘gotcha’ photo.
Jonathan Turley makes a valid point here.
The Department makes many of the same claims that it used to opposed the release of a redacted affidavit, claims shown to have been misleading and exaggerated after the magistrate ordered the release. Notably, this filing contained details that were likely redacted in the affidavit but just released on the public record.
In the most direct challenge to the former President’s public claims, the Justice Department claimed that he and his staff had failed to turn over classified material and that the Department had no choice but to search areas outside of the storage room. Indeed, it says that it found three classified documents in Trump’s desk without indicating the level of classification or subject matter.
THAT is why I have questions. Why we should all have questions. A significant portion of the warrant affidavit making the case for the raid was redacted. But now, the FBI and DOJ publish the document photo as an explanation as to why a Special Master isn’t needed?
"The impression I got is that it was a public relations effort. This is not needed in a court document to make the case to the sitting judge. This was put out there knowing that they were going to go out there to the media." –@jasoninthehouse responds to latest DOJ flub pic.twitter.com/jfNE3oOOEN— Spencer Brown (@itsSpencerBrown) August 31, 2022
The FBI needs to answer as to WHERE they found those documents and why they were purposefully scattered on the floor. The FBI needs to answer for THEIR own mishandling of these documents in order to claim this photo is “evidence.”
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