According to disgraced, one-term former president Donald Trump, he had a “standing order” that stipulated any classified documents he took from the Oval Office to the White House residence residence, meaning it wasn’t improper or illegal for him to have thousands of top secret files at his Mar-a-Lago resort because he had already declassified them.
But 18 former officials who served in the Trump administration, no order was ever issued and the ex-president is lying yet again, according to a report from CNN.
“Nothing approaching an order that foolish was ever given,” said John Kelly, who served as Trump’s chief of staff for 17 months from 2017 to 2019. “And I can’t imagine anyone that worked at the White House after me that would have simply shrugged their shoulders and allowed that order to go forward without dying in the ditch trying to stop it.”
A senior White House official dubbed Trump’s assertion of automatic declassification “total nonsense,” adding, “If that’s true, where is the order with his signature on it? If that were the case, there would have been tremendous pushback from the Intel Community and DoD, which would almost certainly have become known to Intel and Armed Services Committees on the Hill.”
Another fact that directly undercuts Trump’s claim of a “standing order” of declassification according to David Laufman, the former chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence division, is that “Programs and officials would have been notified. There is no evidence they were.”
Multiple sources said they believed that Trump’s claim the documents were declassified was nothing more than a transparent attempt to try to defend himself for taking the documents to Mar-a-Lago.
“There is a process to declassify, the president can’t just wave a magic wand,” a former senior Trump White House official said.
Meanwhile, Trump and his ragtag collection of so-called “attorneys” are trying to get the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant unsealed without any redactions, a move that could threaten the lives of federal law enforcement officials and jeopardize the ongoing Justice Department investigation of whether or not the former president violated the Espionage Act.
A federal magistrate said Thursday that the DOJ has until Thursday, Aug. 25 to submit a redacted version of the affidavit which he will then rule on.