Coup-Plotting Trump Might’ve Also Had Documents Revealing US Intelligence Sources
When the FBI conducted a perfectly legal search of Donald Trump’s tacky Florida alligator rest home, Republicans demanded to know why the Department of Justice would dare inconvenience a former coup-plotting president. It turns out the feds were retrieving classified documents Trump had stolen at the end of his term. This led to Republican hacks insisting there’s no such thing as “classified” documents if Trump wishes real hard.
Trump’s former campaign strategist Jason Miller claimed Trump had a “standing order” that whatever important documents he took with him to Mar-a-Lago were instantly declassified.
\u201cQ - How much trouble is your former boss in?\n\nJason Miller - I don\u2019t think he\u2019s in trouble at all. Pres Trump can declassify any of these documents when he chooses. And he had a standing order that anything he had removed to the WH was brought to Mar-a-Lago .. was declassified.\u201d— Ron Filipkowski \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Ron Filipkowski \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1660511465
This seems remarkably sloppy and unsafe. It’s also not entirely legal. As Graeme Wood writes for The Atlantic, there "are certain materials that presidents cannot classify and declassify at will.” The first big one — as in “KABOOM” — is nuclear secrets.
The Atomic Energy Acts of 1946 and 1954 produced an even stranger category of classified knowledge. Anything related to the production or use of nuclear weapons and nuclear power is inherently classified, and Trump could utter whatever words he pleased yet still be in possession of classified material.
The Washington Postrevealed Thursday that the classified documents the FBI was after weren’t in fact personal love letters Trump had exchanged with Kim Jong-un but nuclear secrets, which the president can’t “declassify” — certainly not on his way way out the door after a failed coup. C’mon, just read those last few words out loud.
The other inherently classified information is the identity of spies. According to federal government sources, "documents with the potential to reveal U.S. intelligence sources, including human sources on the American government payroll” were potentially in Trump’s possession. Whoops!
We have to use vague terms such as “potentially” because the FBI and Department of Justice can’t release an itemized list of the classified data Trump stuffed in a Mar-a-Lago basement.
Intelligence sources familiar with the classification system and the investigation say that neither the search warrant nor the inventory, if unsealed, will likely answer most people's questions about whether the search was necessary.
"In order to prove that this was a matter of national security and essential to be done in this way, some detail on what Trump was keeping will have to be revealed," one intelligence officer, granted anonymity to speak about an ongoing investigation, tells Newsweek. "That might be difficult for the government precisely because of the sensitivity of the documents."
The supposed “transparency” that Trump’s Republican enablers demand is actually a national security risk, which they probably know and are exploiting to their advantage when spreading lies about a politically motivated “witch hunt.”
Let’s assume, just for the moment, that Donald Trump is a dishonest man. It should greatly concern reasonable people that he might’ve stolen documents containing nuclear secrets and the identity of government spies. This is valuable information, and as Wonkette’s noted while pointing and laughing, Trump is personally leveraged all to be damned. His businesses will have to pay lenders an estimated $900 million by 2024. He’s not personally a Top Gun sequel so he can’t just raise that over the summer.
Forbes reported back in 2020:
About half of the debt coming due from the start of 2021 to the end of 2024 is secured against assets that the president and his children own outright. He will have to pay back loans against his hotel in Washington, D.C., his golf resort in Miami and his tower in Chicago. He’ll also have to sort out the debt against Trump Tower and Trump Plaza in New York City.
Trump isn’t just a desperate broke-ass former president, although that’s a sufficient security risk. He also literally attempted to overthrow the duly elected government. He’s a fascist wannabe autocrat with nothing but contempt for liberal democracy. We shouldn’t put it past him to trade nuclear secrets and American lives with hostile foreign powers if it meant installing himself as US dictator for the remainder of his miserable life.
Trump is an active domestic threat, and it’s time for the hammer to fall.
Follow Stephen Robinson on Twitter.
Yr Wonkette is 100 percent ad-free! Please subscribe, donate, and otherwise help keep us alive and kicking!
Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."