Patterico's Pontifications

2/10/2022

Questions: How Did Trump Handle Classified Information and Why Are There Gaps In White House Phone Logs From Jan. 6?? (UPDATE ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:41 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Uh-oh:

A U.S. congressional committee is investigating former President Donald Trump’s handling of White House records after 15 boxes of documents were transferred from his Florida resort to a federal agency, including whether the material included classified information, the panel’s chairwoman said on Thursday.

House of Representatives Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said in a statement she was “deeply concerned” that the records were not promptly turned over to the National Archives when Trump’s term ended in January 2021 and “that they appear to have been removed from the White House in violation of the Presidential Records Act.”

An upcoming book written by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman said staffers found documents clogging Trump’s toilet in the White House during his tenure – an account that the Republican former president in a statement called “categorically false.”

“Staff in the White House would periodically find the toilet clogged” and would then find “wads of clumped up, wet printed paper … either notes or some other piece of paper that they believe he had thrown down the toilet” in his bathroom, Haberman told CNN, adding it was unclear what types of documents were found.

Obviously, Trump released a statement pushing back against the report. Here it is in full:

Following collaborative and respectful discussions, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) openly and willingly arranged with President Trump for the transport of boxes that contained letters, records, newspapers, magazines, and various articles. Some of this information will someday be displayed in the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library for the public to view my Administration’s incredible accomplishments for the American People.

The media’s characterization of my relationship with NARA is Fake News. It was exactly the opposite! It was a great honor to work with NARA to help formally preserve the Trump Legacy.

The papers were given easily and without conflict and on a very friendly basis, which is different from the accounts being drawn up by the Fake News Media. In fact, it was viewed as routine and “no big deal.” In actuality, I have been told I was under no obligation to give this material based on various legal rulings that have been made over the years. Crooked Hillary Clinton, as an example, deleted and acid washed 32,000 emails and never gave that to the government. Then, they took large amounts of furniture out of the White House. And Bill Clinton kept numerous audio recordings that the archives wanted, but were unsuccessful at getting after going to court. We won’t even mention what is going on with the White House in the current, or various past administrations.

Also, another fake story, that I flushed papers and documents down a White House toilet, is categorically untrue and simply made up by a reporter in order to get publicity for a mostly fictitious book. The Democrats are just using this and the Unselect Committee of political hacks as a camoflauge for how horribly our Country is doing under the Biden Administration.

In the United States there has unfortunately become two legal standards, one for Republicans and one for Democrats. It should not be that way!

And while the Jan. 6 Committee awaits more information from the National Archives, gaps have been discovered in the White House phone logs from that fateful day:

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has discovered gaps in official White House telephone logs from the day of the riot, finding few records of calls by President Donald Trump from critical hours when investigators know that he was making them.

Investigators have not uncovered evidence that any official records were tampered with or deleted, and it is well known that Trump used his personal cellphone, and those of his aides, routinely to talk with aides, congressional allies and outside confidants.

But the sparse call records are the latest major obstacle to the panel’s central mission: re-creating what Trump was doing behind closed doors during crucial moments of the assault on Congress by a mob of his supporters.

UPDATE: Apparently, the documents retreived from Mar-a-Lago weren’t just only marked “classified” :

Some of the White House documents that Donald Trump improperly took to his Mar-a-Lago residence were clearly marked as classified, including documents at the “top secret” level, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The existence of clearly marked classified documents in the trove — which has not previously been reported — is likely to intensify the legal pressure that Trump or his staffers could face, and raises new questions about why the materials were taken out of the White House.

Per Kyle Griffin:

Reminder: A ‘top secret’ classification is applied to information where unauthorized disclosure “could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security” according to the Archives’s Information Security Oversight Office.

Will #LockHimUp be trending soon?

–Dana

61 Responses to “Questions: How Did Trump Handle Classified Information and Why Are There Gaps In White House Phone Logs From Jan. 6?? (UPDATE ADDED)”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (5395f9)

  2. Maybe phone records got flushed, too.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  3. Will #LockHimUp be trending soon?

    “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case”

    JF (e1156d)

  4. Eh. HRC as Sec. of State’s handling of classified stuff is a little different than that of a POTUS.

    How does POTUS declassify?

    Is there a formal process to declassify? Or can POTUS just do it?

    Put it another way: let’s take Trump of the equation… hypothetically, say Joe Biden, suffering from a bad day of dementia, accidently blurts out some super-duper secret during a 60 Minute interview. Did he break any laws???

    whembly (7e0293)

  5. Investigators have not uncovered evidence that any official records were tampered with or deleted,

    But that doesn’t stop us from claiming, without any evidence, that Trump flushed documents down the White House toilet. Or asserting, without evidence, those records would have proven Russian collusion. Or that one of those documents was a blackmail letter from Putin threatening Trump — which we know to be true even without evidence. Just the same way we don’t need any evidence to ask questions about the video tape of Trump ordering prostitutes to pee on a bed Obama once slept in. We don’t NEED evidence.

    That’s the rule now, right?

    pouncer (6c33cf)

  6. The President (not former President) can declassify anything he wants, since the classification system is not governed by laws, but by executive orders. As far as I know, he can “just do it.” For example, President Johnson revealed the existence of the SR-71 during a campaign speech to counter criticism from Goldwater during the 1964 presidential campaign.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  7. I’m sure mistakes have been made by the press when attacking Trump, pouncer, but he was still a rotten president, wouldn’t you agree?

    norcal (2c7427)

  8. The Oval Office doesn’t have a paper shredder?

    Mattsky (55d339)

  9. So, Politifact addressed the question of presidential powers to declassify. I’m copy/pasting from there because they’ve already done the research, including links:

    Experts agreed that the president, as commander-in-chief, is ultimately responsible for classification and declassification. When someone lower in the chain of command handles classification and declassification duties — which is usually how it’s done — it’s because they have been delegated to do so by the president directly, or by an appointee chosen by the president.

    The majority ruling in the 1988 Supreme Court case Department of Navy vs. Egan — which addressed the legal recourse of a Navy employee who had been denied a security clearance — addresses this line of authority.

    “The President, after all, is the ‘Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States’” according to Article II of the Constitution, the court’s majority wrote. “His authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security … flows primarily from this constitutional investment of power in the President, and exists quite apart from any explicit congressional grant.”

    Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy, said that such authority gives the president the authority to “classify and declassify at will.”

    In fact, Robert F. Turner, associate director of the University of Virginia’s Center for National Security Law, said that “if Congress were to enact a statute seeking to limit the president’s authority to classify or declassify national security information, or to prohibit him from sharing certain kinds of information with Russia, it would raise serious separation of powers constitutional issues.”

    The official documents governing classification and declassification stem from executive orders. But even these executive orders aren’t necessarily binding on the president. The president is not “obliged to follow any procedures other than those that he himself has prescribed,” Aftergood said. “And he can change those.”

    Dana (5395f9)

  10. Uh-Oh

    A U.S. congressional committee is investigating former President Donald Trump’s handling of White House records after 15 boxes of documents were transferred from his Florida resort to a federal agency, including whether the material included classified information, the panel’s chairwoman said on Thursday.

    House of Representatives Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said in a statement she was “deeply concerned”…
    _______________________________

    Where was that concern (and the concern of the DOJ/FBI/Lame Stream Fake News Media) when Hillary Clinton destroyed the 33,000 emails from her illegal private unsecured server – that had been and were under subpoena, that jeopardized national security?

    Gary L. Zerman (a1521c)

  11. I think the better question is, what about the documents they found at Maralago that were marked at ‘top secret’ level? Can a president declassify those??

    Dana (5395f9)

  12. I think the better question is, what about the documents they found at Maralago that were marked at ‘top secret’ level?

    The Chinese probably did meet his price, but in the end they could not find a way to get the money to him undetectably or he chickened out of the deal.

    nk (1d9030)

  13. I’ve updated the post with this breaking news:

    Some of the White House documents that Donald Trump improperly took to his Mar-a-Lago residence were clearly marked as classified, including documents at the “top secret” level, according to two people familiar with the matter.

    The existence of clearly marked classified documents in the trove — which has not previously been reported — is likely to intensify the legal pressure that Trump or his staffers could face, and raises new questions about why the materials were taken out of the White House.

    Dana (5395f9)

  14. I love, LOVE, the Trumpers reaction to this. It’s not surprising and it’s funny to watch. Compared to their defense of an attempt to steal the presidency this isn’t a big deal. Which is why it’s easier to laugh at them.

    Time123 (ec6536)

  15. The Chinese probably did meet his price, but in the end they could not find a way to get the money to him undetectably or he chickened out of the deal.

    I’m sure Hunter Biden could have facilitated the deal.

    Mattsky (55d339)

  16. The toilet flushing story sounds peculiar.

    Was Trump ever in the habit of destroying papers by flushing them down the toilet?

    Not that maybe he blocked the toilet. But it might have been other things. He may not have been used to low flush toilets.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  17. I think the better question is, what about the documents they found at Maralago that were marked at ‘top secret’ level? Can a president declassify those??

    Dana (5395f9) — 2/10/2022 @ 4:08 pm

    I think the answer is “yes,” but the question is, did he?

    As your Politifact link indicates, a president’s declassification powers are very broad, maybe even unlimited, both as to substance and procedure (he can “classify and declassify at will”). But I assume he still has to do something to memorialize the declassification. I can’t imagine he can just declare after the fact that, although he never created a record of it, or even told anyone about it, nothing he’s accused of mishandling is classified, since he declassified all of it years ago in his mind.

    lurker (59504c)

  18. Reminder: A ‘top secret’ classification is applied to information where unauthorized disclosure “could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security” according to the Archives’s Information Security Oversight Office.

    Pfft. Golly.

    Was it the Bigfoot files? The Project Iceworm dossier?? The Cat Soldiers Plan???

    They say Pat Nixon’s recipe for pot roast was a killer. 😉

    https://stacker.com/stories/3205/famous-declassified-government-secrets

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  19. An upcoming book written by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman said staffers found documents clogging Trump’s toilet in the White House during his tenure – an account that the Republican former president in a statement called “categorically false.”

    They found nothing. Nobody flushes a toilet like I do. Trust me, when I flush a top secret document it stays flushed. Why doesn’t the Fake News Media ask Maggie Haberman if she ever even flushed a gold toilet? I’ve done it thousands of times. I even had an Attorney General whose only qualification was selling toilets for well-endowed men. Not as well-endowed as me of course, but still an impressive toilet credential. What does Maggie Haberman know about toilets?

    lurker (59504c)

  20. “(Clinton) sent vast amounts of classified information, including information classified as top secret. Top secret. OK? And this is where they said that she was extremely careless and, frankly, I say grossly incompetent. She would be such a lousy president, folks. So sad. OK, the lives of American people were put at risk by Hillary Clinton.”
    –Donald J. Trump, 7/5/2016

    “Crooked Hillary Clinton and her team ‘were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.’ Not fit!”
    –Donald J. Trump, 7/6/2016

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  21. As I said when Hillary was accused of this, mishandling TS and TS:SCI material is a serious crime. If I did it I would be in jail for the rest of my life. MAYBE it’s a different rule for politicians, but this is actually worse than anything that happened on Jan 6th.

    It should be over for Trump here.

    Again.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  22. Trump flushes only the best documents, the most top secret documents down his toilets.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  23. “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case”

    There was no clear and convincing evidence. I would love to hear Hillary’s unguarded and immediate reaction here.

    #LockHimUp

    Kevin M (38e250)

  24. I think the better question is, what about the documents they found at Maralago that were marked at ‘top secret’ level? Can a president declassify those??

    Sure. But an ex-president cannot.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  25. If he asserts that they are no longer classified, then let’s see them in the NY Times.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  26. “Crooked Hillary Clinton and her team ‘were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.’ Not fit!”
    –Donald J. Trump, 7/6/2016

    Yeah, the campaign commercials write themselves, don’t they?

    Kevin M (38e250)

  27. If Trump asserts that he declassified them, then there should be a back-dated order.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  28. 4. whembly (7e0293) — 2/10/2022 @ 2:40 pm

    hypothetically, say Joe Biden, suffering from a bad day of dementia, accidently blurts out some super-duper secret during a 60 Minute interview. Did he break any laws???

    No. His blurting it out constitutes declassification. It might be a bad idea, but it’s not a violation of any law.

    Whoever classifies something has the right to declassify it, or share it. In the case of Hillary Clinton, not all the secrets she stored originated in the State Department.

    Sammy Finkelman (46ec7d)

  29. 5. pouncer (6c33cf) — 2/10/2022 @ 2:54 pm

    , that Trump flushed documents down the White House toilet.

    They say they retrieved stuff from time to time, but they have no idea what it was. Ideas for a speech? Nothing obviously classified.

    Or asserting, without evidence, those records would have proven Russian collusion.

    Someone passed on to him written notes?

    Sammy Finkelman (46ec7d)

  30. TOP 5 FORMERLY TOP SECRET DOCUMENTS

    1. The CIA’s Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90
    2. Watergate: the Nixon Grand Jury Records
    3. 3. Bay of Pigs: Military Evaluation of the Central Intelligence Agency Para-Military Plan, Cuba.
    4. Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction: Senate Report 109-331
    5. John Nash letters to National Security Agency.

    source- https://today.duke.edu/2012/03/classified

    Wanna CYA at the CIA? Stamp it, ‘Classified: Top Secret!’ 😉

    “Never mind what I told you. I’m telling you!” – The Captain [James Cagney] ‘Mister Roberts’ 1955

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  31. Hey President Amtrak: Top Secret!! FDR had a secret underground train!

    https://bestlifeonline.com/hidden-government-secrets/

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  32. Trump to everyone: “[If] you’re not cop, you’re little people”

    (Bryant to Deckard, Blade Runner)

    Kevin M (38e250)

  33. WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA has a secret, undisclosed data repository that includes information collected about Americans, two Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Thursday. While neither the agency nor lawmakers would disclose specifics about the data, the senators alleged the CIA had long hidden details about the program from the public and Congress. – source, apnews.com

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  34. The CIA has a secret, undisclosed data repository that includes information collected about Americans,

    Well, I should certainly hope so!

    nk (1d9030)

  35. From Liz Cheney’s excellent op-ed in the WSJ:

    The Jan. 6 investigation isn’t only about the inexcusable violence of that day: It is also about fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law, and whether elected representatives believe in those things or not. One member of the House Freedom Caucus warned the White House in the days before Jan. 6 that the president’s plans would drive “a stake in the heart of the federal republic.” That was exactly right.

    Those who do not wish the truth of Jan. 6 to come out have predictably resorted to attacking the process—claiming it is tainted and political. Our hearings will show this charge to be wrong. We are focused on facts, not rhetoric, and we will present those facts without exaggeration, no matter what criticism we face. My friend the late Charles Krauthammer once said: “The lesson of our history is that the task of merely maintaining strong and sturdy the structures of a constitutional order is unending, the continuing and ceaseless work of every generation.” Every generation of Americans has fulfilled its duty to support and defend the Constitution. That responsibility now falls to us.

    Dana (5395f9)

  36. @35 It is also about fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law, and whether elected representatives believe in those things or not.

    aka ”legitimate political discourse”

    with her own words, she justifies the resolution against her

    and integral to the constitution is separation of powers, but she’s sees herself as legislator, prosecutor and judge all in one

    what a POS

    JF (e1156d)

  37. Republicans Who Railed About Clinton Emails Are Quiet on Trump’s Records
    ……..
    Several Republicans who once railed against Mrs. Clinton’s document retention practices did not respond Thursday to questions about Mr. Trump’s actions. Others who had been directly involved with investigating Mrs. Clinton declined to discuss the specifics except to suggest, without evidence, that the National Archives and Records Administration was treating Mr. Trump more harshly.
    …….
    The years long State Department probe of emails sent to Mrs. Clinton’s private computer server concluded with a whimper in 2019, when State Department investigators sent a report to Congress finding that “there was no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information.”
    ………

    Jason Chaffetz, a former Republican congressman of Utah who as chairman of the House Oversight Committee led extensive investigations into Mrs. Clinton’s emails, said in an interview on Thursday that the two situations were different……

    In the case of the former president, Mr. Chaffetz said, he needed to know more about what, specifically, Mr. Trump took from the White House, and if there were duplicate or digital copies of what Mr. Trump had reportedly flushed down the toilet or ripped up. When asked about detailed news reports, Mr. Chaffetz said that this behavior did “not necessarily” constitute destroying records.

    “I believe in the sanctity of the federal records,” Mr. Chaffetz said, “but you’re going to have to come up with specific instances.”
    ……
    …… (Trump’s) belief that Mrs. Clinton had intentionally mishandled email from her home office became a central focus of his campaign and a rallying cry for his supporters. The idea so fixated him that he called on a foreign government to conduct cyberespionage against a former Secretary of State.

    “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said, referring to emails Mrs. Clinton had deleted from the private account she had used when she was secretary of state. (The Russians, it turns out, might have been listening.)

    ……… Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, repeatedly used private messaging services for official White House business in a way that may have violated federal records laws.……

    There were signs Thursday that Democrats may approach Mr. Trump’s possible violations with some of the same fervor as their Republican opponents.
    …………
    I’m shocked that Republicans are not as excited about Trump’s purloining of official records down to Mar-a-Lago and I’m doubly shocked that Democrats would seek to take advantage of it!

    Rip Murdock (da0cad)

  38. Several Republicans who once railed against Mrs. Clinton’s document retention practices did not respond Thursday to questions about Mr. Trump’s actions.

    Several of Ms Clinton’s defenders loudly denounced Trump’s actions, including that writer and everyone at the NY Times.

    I believe I’ve been consistent.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  39. #LockThemAllUp

    Kevin M (38e250)

  40. what a POS

    I believe I’ll send her some more money.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  41. The CIA has a secret, undisclosed data repository that includes information collected about Americans,

    They call it “Facebook.”

    Kevin M (38e250)

  42. It is ironic that Biden’s massive stimulus will force the Fed to orchestrate a crushing recession. The good news? We’ll need a new stimulus!

    Kevin M (38e250)

  43. @40 atta boy

    JF (e1156d)

  44. Whence your dislike of Liz Cheney, JF? Because she dared to criticize Trump? Do you not think that Trump tried to overturn a legitimate election?

    norcal (2c7427)

  45. @44 i would find her sanctimonious bullschiff embarrassing

    but clearly you don’t

    JF (e1156d)

  46. @45 More embarrassing than Trump’s bullschiff?

    norcal (2c7427)

  47. The Department of State is a creation of Congress and the Secretary of State is bound by whatever rules Congress enacted for it, as well as by regulations enacted pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act.

    The Presidency is a Constitutional office, and not a federal agency, and the President is bound only by Article II. And, furthermore, contrary to federal agencies, the Presidency is not subject to APA regulations, but instead, the President has a pen and a phone and he issues executive orders.

    TL;DR A President can get away with things that a Secretary of State cannot.

    nk (1d9030)

  48. How did I forget to include this gem of Trump toilet lore?:

    The President claimed Americans are flushing their toilets “10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once”

    I wonder how that could relate to the current story…?

    Nope, can’t think of anything.

    lurker (59504c)

  49. A number of you 81 million that post here must be celebrating the decline.

    mg (8cbc69)

  50. JF: “i would find her sanctimonious bullschiff embarrassing”

    I understand it hurts to be called out. It’s tough to actually defend Trump’s irresponsible rhetoric pre-Jan 6th, his callous inaction on Jan 6th, and his continued maniacal lying afterwards…but Cheney is the one that is embarrassing? I would have thought your embarrassment lobe was critically damaged. Good that you can still feint it.

    AJ_Liberty (3cb02f)

  51. @50 i’m sorry you could not find a single comment of mine here extolling trump as a paragon of virtue, or even defending his actions

    but i guess liz/constitution vs trump is a binary choice

    kind of like biden vs god

    trumpworld and nevertrump have so much in common

    JF (e1156d)

  52. JF: “you could not find a single comment of mine here extolling trump”

    Nor one condemning Trump. Ever if memory serves me. You imply that “complaining about Trump” is not productive and by inference, the only thing productive is to complain about Biden….as the GOP does not have much of a current agenda, outside of fighting imagined election fraud, CRT, and something about Mr. Potato Head. Like it or not, the leading voice for the GOP is Trump. There is no challenge because the party faithful….and their representatives….aren’t insisting on an alternative message. Why is that do you think? I think it’s because the GOP has a deficit of courage and many people see politics as just side entertainment, with Trump offering the most drama.

    Cheney is in effect telling the party to pull up its collective pants, comb its hair, set down the bottle of gin, and get back to grooming leaders of character and substance. That’s a tough message when you’ve grown accustomed to hugging that gin bottle….

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  53. i would find her sanctimonious bullschiff embarrassing

    From someone who doesn’t think Trump is. As my wife says “Consider the source”

    Kevin M (38e250)

  54. The President claimed Americans are flushing their toilets “10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once”

    Some turds are apparently harder to flush than others.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  55. Congress attempted to flush this one twice. Maybe the third time will be the charm.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  56. @54. Some turds are apparently harder to flush than others.

    No kidding:

    https://www.life.com/people/life-with-hillary-portraits-of-a-wellesley-grad-1969/

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  57. 54. Some turds are apparently harder to flush than others.

    Like Drax’s?

    felipe (484255)

  58. Legal experts tell CNN that any unauthorized retention or destruction of White House documents raises a red flag under a criminal law that prohibits the removal or destruction of official government records.

    But for a charge like this to fly, prosecutors would need to show that Trump had “willfully” violated the law — a high bar, though one that prosecutors could potentially meet given the frequent efforts within the White House to try to preserve records Trump would habitually mutilate.

    “Your Honor, everything Donald Trump ever did was willful.”

    Kevin M (38e250)

  59. 8.Mattsky (55d339) — 2/10/2022 @ 3:16 pm

    The Oval Office doesn’t have a paper shredder?

    How could it?

    Google doesn’t seem to allow me now to do a custom date search. Nor Bing except within the last year. I have to use duckduckgo, but I can’t find anything about a paper shredder and the Oval Office,

    Somebody must have written something about this, though.

    I may have to back to the old Julian date “haxk” with Google, if it still works. Or maybe it is possible to change your setting so you can search for a custom date.

    https://www.pcworld.com/article/491043/google_daterange_filter.html

    https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/google-hacks/0596004478/ch01s18.html

    Sammy Finkelman (46ec7d)

  60. The President (not former President) can declassify anything he wants, since the classification system is not governed by laws, but by executive orders. As far as I know, he can “just do it.” For example, President Johnson revealed the existence of the SR-71 during a campaign speech to counter criticism from Goldwater during the 1964 presidential campaign.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 2/10/2022 @ 3:03 pm

    Correct. Speaking as someone who personally dealt with this stuff, for ordinary government workers and even people like Secretaries, there’s a very specific process that’s required to declassify documents. Most classified documents include a declassification date on them–typically, 10-25 years depending on the material. Sometimes, a document is downgraded by levels–for instance, a Secret doc could be downgraded to Confidential after a certain amount of time, then fully declassified at a following date. This was put in place by Bill Clinton to streamline what had been a very inefficient declassification process, for the purposes of increasing government transparency.

    Now, if a document is going to be declassified BEFORE that set date, it has to go through a review process by the originating classification authority, which is typically the office that produced it (Note: this gets VERY tricky with classified documents that were created before Clinton changed the rules, because oftentimes the OCA doesn’t even exist anymore. Typically, it just defaults to 25 years from the date of production–so, for example, a document produced in 1988 should have been declassifed in 2013–but there’s exceptions for things like information on our nuclear arsenal). They review the document against a Security Classification Guide devoted to the subject of the document, determine if declassification would not run afoul of anything that would damage national security, and choose whether to declassify or not.

    With that said, what Trump allegedly did here has a lot of problematic aspects to it (assuming that the basis of article is correct). Did he even know there was classified material in the box? Was the box used for recycling, and he just decided on a lark to take it as a souvenir? If he knew there were classified docs in there, did he inform anyone as such and tell them that he was declassifying them? If not, and he was no longer President when he took the box out, then in NORMAL circumstances, yes, he’d probably be in big trouble for mishandling classified info.

    The assertion that he’s run afoul of the Presidential Records Act by not giving that stuff to the National Archives is a devious one that assumes the average reader doesn’t really knows how government records are kept or managed these days. This isn’t the 1950s when people were using typewriters–everything, and I mean everything, is done on computers. Those documents that Trump supposedly had are NOT the originals–that stuff all had a digital parent, and the original copies would be on whatever sharedrive or office terminal of the person who produced the document. If the National Archives wanted the docs, all they had to do was talk to the comm guys at the White House.

    Note that this is actually what made Hillary’s email server such an issue–she not only never received official authorization to have it set up in her house, doing so is a great way of decreasing transparency and insuring that any work-related communications can’t be FOIA’d. Adding to the surreal nature of that incident is that Colin Powell is the one who advised her to do it.

    Republicans Who Railed About Clinton Emails Are Quiet on Trump’s Records

    Well, yeah, that’s the rub–now that the precedent of non-punishment has been established in a situation where it normally would be prosecuted, it’s a bit rich to crow about your political opponent supposedly mishandling classified information, especially when the guy was President and can pretty much declassify whatever he wants, whenever he wants. Given that this is another “sources say” story from the NYT, pretty much every line in there has to be taken with a massive grain of salt. That part about him allegedly flushing torn-up docs down the toilet has Gorilla Channel-level energy, and I’m half expecting that part to be a troll on the part of whomever told Haberman about it.

    .as the GOP does not have much of a current agenda, outside of fighting imagined election fraud, CRT, and something about Mr. Potato Head

    You know, AJ, for all your bellyaching about the culture war, one thing you consistently fail to grasp is that these sort of fights are the direct result of the left’s inordinate overreach and domination of the nation’s cultural institutions to begin with. They are a REACTION to the left’s monopolies, entitlement, and aggressive implementation of their own cultural and political ideologies.

    Now logically, the way to prevent the reaction from occurring in the first place is to ensure that the overreach doesn’t actually happen. That means pushing back with vigor against the left’s cultural agenda, not just its economic one. And by doing so, you kill two birds with one stone–you prevent the left’s cultural nonsense like you repeatedly claim that you’re against, and prevent the right-wing reaction that you complain about non-stop.

    But instead, all you ever do is beg the right, “Stop resisting! I swear, I don’t support the left’s degeneracy and authoritarianism, but really, defending yourself by slapping them in the mouth is too much. Stop it. Stop resisting so hard!”

    Factory Working Orphan (2775f0)

  61. 8.Mattsky (55d339) — 2/10/2022 @ 3:16 pm
    The Oval Office doesn’t have a paper shredder?

    That’s classified information. 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)


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