August 24, 2022

The story of former President Donald Trump's scandal of stealing sensitive documents that didn't belong to him just keeps taking bizarre turns. Trump kept the boxes of material at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, which is a security nightmare. And of all people, John Solomon, a controversial conservative writer, is Trump's National Archives liaison. He also posted a letter on Monday noting that more than 700 pages of classified documents were retrieved from Trump's Florida home in January.

Trump rifled through the boxes of classified documents himself. I can only imagine his thought process: "I'll take this one. It makes me look important." And "I don't like this one. It won't catch a good price with the Saudis." Seriously, though, what did the former President want with the documents? That's quite a stash!

Via the Rolling Stone:

This trove of documents, separate from the stash of materials seized by the F.B.I. earlier this month, was reviewed by archivists tasked with storing and cataloging materials from the Trump presidency in January. The trove of documents was not made available to federal investigators until after a series of negotiations with Trump's legal team.

In the letter, written by archivist Debra Wall, the Archives outlined that in their review of the recovered materials "NARA identified items marked as classified national security information, up to the level of Top Secret and including Sensitive Compartmented Information and Special Access Program materials."

"Special access program" is a classification protocol specific to highly sensitive materials and information that can include everything from "black projects" to information regarding presidential communications and transportation security. Access to these types of materials is extremely limited, often to just a select group of high-level intelligence and military officials. Additionally, some of these materials may only be stored and accessed in secure facilities.

Wait, there's more.

Via The New York Times:

The letter, dated May 10 and written by the acting U.S. archivist, Debra Steidel Wall, to one of Mr. Trump's lawyers, M. Evan Corcoran, described the state of alarm in the Justice Department as officials there began to realize how serious the documents were.

It also suggested that top department prosecutors and members of the intelligence community were delayed in conducting a damage assessment about the documents' removal from the White House as Mr. Trump's lawyers tried to argue that some of them might have been protected by executive privilege.

I'm not sure why this doesn't set off red flags with the former President's supporters:

In fact, the letter could further implicate Mr. Trump in a potential crime. It confirmed, for instance, that the former President had kept at Mar-a-Lago documents related to Special Access Programs, some of the nation's most closely held secrets, before the F.B.I. searched the property. The search was part of an inquiry into whether the former President had willfully retained highly sensitive national defense papers and obstructed a federal investigation.

What else does Trump have stashed away in Mar-a-Lago? And did he make copies of any of those sensitive documents?

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