August 27, 2022

If you’re not up on your MAGA excuses for Donald Trump’s stolen classified material, a big one has been that the Department of Justice could have just asked for the documents Trump took instead of searching his home.

None other than Karl Rove shot down that excuse on Fox News, shortly after the unsealing of the redacted affidavit behind the search warrant.

Rove said his takeaway from the affidavit was that requests were made to Mar-a-Lago soon after Trump left the White House. Rove explained that the National Archives and Records Administration must have known that documents were missing because there’s a process by which all documents that go to the president are tracked by the Office of Records Administration. So, NARA got a log of all documents Trump had received and “probably quickly realized” that a large number were missing from what he turned over to the National Archives.

That, according to Rove was probably what “began this discussion” in which NARA requested documents that were not returned by Team Trump.

When they got the 15 boxes of documents from Trump in January, 2022, Rove continued, NARA probably quickly knew that classified material was still missing, based on the log from the Office of Records Administration. “That’s why I think they made the referral [to the DOJ] on February 9th,” Rove added. Because NARA had spent almost a year asking for classified material back.

Rove appeared on Fox after legal hack Jonathan Turley. That supposedly neutral legal analyst had argued that the released part of the affidavit did not establish that the Trump team had been non-cooperative or uncommunicative with official requests to return all the documents they should not have had.

Ironically, it was uber Republican operative Rove who set viewers straight.

ROVE: Look, it is clear that beginning sometime in early 2021, through January of 2022, the NARA, the National Archives and Records Administration, was continually asking for the return of all material. The Presidential Record Act is clear. A president does not have the right to leave the White House and pick and choose what documents he wants to take with him. …

So, they were asking. How many times, we don’t know, but the impression in the affidavit is that they asked for ‘em multiple times and in January, were given material back. They again begin to ask, the federal government begins to ask the former president for return of anything else he has there, and they know there’s material there. I mean, they go on June 3rd and view the boxes of material. They have a general sense of how many boxes are there.

So, you know, maybe we ought to ask the government how many times did you ask for the return of the material? And President Trump has said several times all they had to do was ask. Well, my sense is they were asking for a year and a half and why he was holding on to these materials when he had no legal authority to do so under the Presidential Records Act is beyond me.

Why Trump refused to turn over the documents is the big question, along with what he did or planned to do with them. But oops, time was up. Neither of the two Fox anchors wanted to explore that very damning issue.

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