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Former President Tiny Hands Straight-Up Owns Himself

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | August 23, 2022 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | August 23, 2022 |


GettyImages-508077104.jpg

The latest on TFG’s legal woes are as follows: As we have learned from the NYTimes, TFG had over 300 classified documents in his possession at Mar-a-Lago. The National Archives received 150 of those documents in January, which meant that Trump specifically retained the other 150. This is why the DOJ acted with so much urgency: It took the National Archives a full year to recover only half the classified documents in TFG’s possession, which included classified documents from the C.I.A., the National Security Agency, and the F.B.I. spanning a variety of topics “of a national security interest.” The January recovery came after TFG apparently went through all the documents himself.

A few dozen more docs were turned over in June, a year and a half after he left office. Why did he keep the other documents that were not his to begin with? All Presidential documents belong to the National Archives, which is where they should have gone when TFG left office. The National Archives cut him some slack, presumably, and gave him a year to sort through the documents. He gave some back. They gave him another six months to give the rest back. He refused. It was only after he was out of office for nearly 20 months and he still hadn’t returned documents that weren’t his — i.e., they were stolen — that the DOJ authorized the search and seizure of Mar-a-Lago.

At this point, the FBI is still not certain it’s recovered all the documents, and the FBI continues to seek surveillance footage to determine who else had access to those top secret, highly classified documents. According to the footage they have seen, “it revealed people moving boxes in and out, and in some cases, appearing to change the containers some documents were held in.”

In the meantime, as we await the redacted affidavit backing the search warrant for Mar-a-Lago, TFG has requested a “special master” to review the seized materials. He wants this special master to set aside any seized documents with executive privilege. But here’s the thing: TFG is not the President. Joe Biden is. Executive privilege only flows to the sitting President. Not TFG. Moreover, “executive privilege” implies the documents belong to the “executive” branch, and anything that belongs to the executive branch necessarily belongs to the National Archives. TFG’s political move also has the effect of TFG telling on himself.

Now, for some reason, the Trump-aligned John Solomon thought that publishing a letter from the National Archives to TFG earlier this year was somehow good for TGF. Why did anyone think this paragraph would reflect well on TFG?

As the Department of Justice’s National Security Division explained to you on April 29, 2022: There are important national security interests in the FBI and others in the Intelligence Community getting access to these materials. According to NARA, among the materials in the boxes are over 100 documents with classification markings, comprising more than 700 pages. Some include the highest levels of classification, including Special Access Program (SAP) materials. Access to the materials is not only necessary for purposes of our ongoing criminal investigation, but the Executive Branch must also conduct an assessment of the potential damage resulting from the apparent manner in which these materials were stored and transported and take any necessary remedial steps. Accordingly, we are seeking immediate access to these materials so as to facilitate the necessary assessments that need to be conducted within the Executive Branch.

Instead of giving up the documents, TFG attempted to assert executive privilege. Now, this is where TFG’s guy thinks that this is helpful to TFG:

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 assertion of executive privilege.”

TFG Republicans are like, “It was a political hit job! Biden was in on it from the beginning!” It clearly says here that Biden basically said, “Do what you think is best and leave me out of it.” And the National Archives was like, “Dude. A former President can’t assert executive privilege against a sitting President. What are you, stupid?”

The Assistant Attorney General has advised me that there is no precedent for an assertion of executive privilege by a former President against an incumbent President to prevent the latter from obtaining from NARA Presidential records belonging to the Federal Government.

The National Archives is saying that TFG cannot claim executive privilege, and it’s not even a close case!

The question in this case is not a close one. The Executive Branch here is seeking access to records belonging to, and in the custody of, the Federal Government itself, not only in order to investigate whether those records were handled in an unlawful manner but also, as the National Security Division explained, to “conduct an assessment of the potential damage resulting from the apparent manner in which these materials were stored and transported and take any necessary remedial steps.”

John Solomon — who undoubtedly received the letter from TFG — published a damning letter but because Joe Biden’s name is in it, Solomon somehow thinks that this is a political winner for TFG.

Good job, TFG! You just owned yourself!