The decade's most triggering comedy
A new report published Tuesday evening revealed that federal law enforcement officials seized classified material on a foreign government’s military defenses, as well as details on top-secret U.S. operations during their raid on former President Donald Trump’s (R) Florida home at Mar-a-Lago last month.
The Washington Post reported that officials familiar with the criminal investigation into the former president’s handling of the material said that one of the documents recovered had information about “a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities.”
The officials did not disclose the country in question or say where the document was located during the raid.
The report said that other documents recovered “detail top-secret U.S. operations so closely guarded that many senior national security officials are kept in the dark about them,” the report said. “Only the president, some members of his Cabinet or a near-Cabinet level official could authorize other government officials to know details of these special access programs.”
The report said that the type of documents that were seized are typically kept “under lock and key” in a secure compartmented information facility (SCIF) with a officials on site who closely monitor their location.
The report said that the U.S. government has recovered more than 300 classified documents from the former president this year, including documents his legal team sent to the National Archives and Records Administration in January, materials handed over to investigators in June, and more that were recovered during the raid.
Former Attorney General Bill Barr, who served during the Trump administration, slammed the former president during an interview late last week over the case.
Fox News host John Roberts asked Barr if there was “any legitimate reason” for Trump to be in possession of the documents that were recovered during the raid, including “top secret/SCI materials.”
“No. I can’t think of a legitimate reason why they should have been — could be taken out of the government, away from the government, if they’re classified,” Barr said. “I, frankly, am skeptical of this claim that ‘I declassified everything,’ because, frankly, I think it’s highly improbable. And, second, if, in fact, he sort of stood over scores of boxes, not really knowing what was in them, and said, ‘I hereby declassify everything in here,’ that would be such an abuse, and that — and show such recklessness, that it’s almost worse than taking the documents.”
Barr said that the fact that things between Trump and the Department of Justice escalated to the point where the FBI had to conduct a raid to retrieve the material from the former president likely indicates that they likely “have pretty good evidence” that a crime was committed, although his guess was just “speculation.”
“I think the driver on this from the beginning was the loads of classified information sitting in Mar-a-Lago. People say this was unprecedented. Well, it’s also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put them in a country club, OK?” Barr continued. “And how long is the government going to try to get that back? They jawboned for a year. They were deceived on the voluntary actions taken. They then went and got a subpoena. They were deceived on that, they feel. And the record, the facts are starting to show that they were being jerked around. And so how long — you know, how long do they wait?”
When asked whether the former was potentially criminally liable or whether his actions constituted “foolishness,” Barr responded, “OK, it is clearly foolish, what happened, and inexplicable.”
“But, beyond that, they may well be able to make a case out here. But then there’s an additional question. Given the fact this is a former president, given the state of the nation, is it — and given the fact that the government has gotten its documents back, does it really make sense to bring a case as a matter of prudential judgment?” Barr added. “And that’s a question that I think will turn on how clear the evidence of obstruction or deceit is. If they clearly have the president moving stuff around and hiding stuff in his desk and telling people to dissemble with the government, they may be — they may be inclined to bring that case.”
Barr said that he hope that the Department of Justice does not bring a criminal case against the former president.
This report has been updated to include additional information.