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Trump defends stockpiling 'cool keepsake' classified documents at Mar-a-Lago

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 1/18/2023 Ryan King

Former President Donald Trump rationalized his stockpiling of folders with classified markings at Mar-a-Lago as a "'cool' keepsake" Wednesday.

"I did NOTHING WRONG. JOE DID," Trump contended in a fiery Truth Social post. Officials collected classified documents during his White House days, and he retained the classification folders while dangling the prospect that "Trump Hating Marxist Thugs in charge" may "plant" evidence against him, he wrote. Court records in the document case contradict his claims.


"Remember, these were just ordinary, inexpensive folders with various words printed on them, but they were a 'cool' keepsake. Perhaps the Gestapo took some of these empty folders when they Raided Mar-a-Lago, & counted them as a document, which they are not. It's also possible that the Trump Hating Marxist Thugs in charge will 'plant' documents while they're in possession of the material," Trump wrote.

Documents seized during the Aug. 8 search by the FBI of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate are displayed across the floor. (AP) © Provided by Washington Examiner Documents seized during the Aug. 8 search by the FBI of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate are displayed across the floor. (AP)

Last year, the Justice Department collected more than 300 documents with classified markings from his Mar-a-Lago resort. Materials seized ranged from "CONFIDENTIAL to TOP SECRET information," according to an affidavit for the Aug. 8 raid on Mar-a-Lago.

At one point, Trump's lawyers admitted in court that "it would be appropriate for the special master to possess a Top Secret/SCI security clearance" to review the documents, indicating that there were sensitive materials in the trove.

Still, Trump downplayed the Mar-a-Lago document debacle and blasted media outlets for suggesting that his scandal was more significant than President Joe Biden's recent classified document saga. Roughly two dozen documents with classified markings have been found in a think tank and Biden's Wilmington residence since November of last year.

"The Fake News Media & Crooked Democrats (That's been proven!) keep saying I had a 'large number of documents' in order to make the Biden Classified Docs look less significant. When I was in the Oval Office ... they would often be in a striped paper folder with 'Classified' or 'Confidential' or another word on them. When the session was over, they would collect the paper(s), but not the folders, & I saved hundreds of them," Trump added.

The Mar-a-Lago documents were flagged after the National Archives and Records Administration reached out to Trump's team about missing materials from his presidency. Under the Presidential Records Act, presidents and vice presidents are required to transfer documents to the agency at the conclusion of an administration. Trump's team handed over 15 boxes of material last January, and classified documents were found in the tranche.

Justice Department officials opened a review into the matter and had multiple communications with Trump's team in the months that followed. Eventually, the DOJ became convinced there was still outstanding material and conducted the Aug. 8 search.

Biden's classified documents were discovered by happenstance, and the president's lawyers initiated a search for more material.


Trump lamented the DOJ's diverging approaches to him and Biden. He previously contended that he had declassification powers as president to absolve him of wrongdoing, unlike Biden, who was vice president during the time period in question.

"Biden is being treated so smuch [sic] better than me, I'm shocked (not really!). Why aren't they raiding his house, & how come his representatives and lawyers are allowed to work together with the Gestopo [sic] in looking for documents, when my lawyers & representatives were not allowed anywhere near the search. We weren't even allowed to know what they took when they raided my home," Trump added.

Special counsel Jack Smith is tasked with overseeing the DOJ's Mar-a-Lago document saga, while recently appointed special counsel Robert Hur has been tapped to spearhead the Biden investigation.


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Tags: Donald Trump, News, Mar-a-Lago, Robert K. Hur, Classified

Original Author: Ryan King

Original Location: Trump defends stockpiling 'cool keepsake' classified documents at Mar-a-Lago


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