We’ve known for some time now that upon his eviction from the White House following the 2020 election, ex-President Donald J. Trump effectively stole an inconceivable amount of highly-classified, top-secret, and federally-protected documents and materials from the Executive Mansion and moved them with him to his Mar-a-Lago compound that he now calls home in his post-presidency days.
We’ve known that Trump remains beholden to certain laws and regulations — such as the Presidential Records Act and the Espionage Act — that disallowed him from taking those materials to his personal residence once he was no longer the sitting US president. We’ve also known that the National Archives and Records Administration has made several good faith attempts to retrieve those documents and materials, but were never fully successful, as Trump and his people repeatedly lied about the existence of more documents at his estate.
We watched this all come to a staggering head in early August when, on August 8th, the FBI executed a search and seizure warrant raid against Donald Trump’s Palm Beach country club and home, that was handed down by the Biden-era Department of Justice and signed off on by Attorney General Merrick Garland himself.
While we’ve known all this time what Trump did, what we still yet don’t have is the why behind it all.
Many a guess has been and continues to be made as to the motive behind Donald Trump’s madness. And while we still don’t have a concrete answer to that question, one former Trump administration official has now spoken out with their theory as to why the 45th president stole all those documents, and what he intended to do with them, and to say that this one is the most petrifying of them all would be the understatement of the century.
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Two former Trump aides made an appearance on a CNN panel with host Dana Bash recently, and admitted that they believe Donald J. Trump may have stolen highly-classified government documents, including state secrets and intel on nuclear weapons, to gain “leverage” for his political future.
Former Trump-era White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah Griffin said on the CNN panel, “I think DOJ has an obligation at some point to give a sense, without revealing, of course, what’s in these classified documents, but those 18 top secret documents, even the subject matter, because I think, knowing the former president, we have to kind of think about why he does things and his motivations behind things.”
“And one we have to keep in mind is leverage. Is this something that he’s holding on to help his future political ambitions?” Griffin went on to publicly question. “Or is this simply that he took classified documents unknowingly, was warned, did not turn them back over, and there was no motive or intent in doing so?”
Host Dana Bash responded to that theory by turning to question Farah-Griffin’s fellow former Trump aide, Stephanie Grisham, who also served as the White House Communications Director for a time, asking Grisham, “What do you think is the likelier answer to what Alyssa just posed, especially when you see that this classified information was seemingly just put together with random press clippings, clothing, gifts?”
Grisham echoed that “leverage” was almost undoubtedly the driving force behind Donald Trump’s decision to steal top-secret documents from the White House upon his departure.
“So, my thought is, as Alyssa said earlier, I think it’s some kind of a leverage. I do think — believe some of it he just felt was cool. And I do believe some of it he just thinks he owns it, which, of course, he does not,” Grisham explained. “So — and, also, the fact that he did not give things back when asked over and over again over the course of a year. So, I think there’s something behind it.”
The Department of Justice recently released a bombshell 36-page court filing, complete with damning photos, confirming that multiple highly-classified government documents, including many with clear “Top Secret” markings, were discovered in Donald Trump’s personal Mar-a-Lago office during the FBI’s execution of the search and seizure warrant raid at his estate.
A detailed list of seized items released by the DOJ included more than 11,000 unclassified government records found at Mar-a-Lago, all of which Trump claims he had the right to keep upon the end of his presidency, that actually belong to the National Archives and Records Administration.
Eighteen marked “Top Secret,” 53 labeled “Secret,” and 31 marked “Confidential” were found inside Donald Trump’s Palm Beach compound. Among those, 7 top secret, 17 secret, and 3 confidential files were discovered in Donald’s personal office.
An additional several dozen folders clearly labeled “classified” were discovered empty in the ex-president’s personal office, raising serious suspicion that the former president or his people lost, destroyed, or hid sensitive documents from government officials.
Reports have since revealed that the majority of the classified materials found at Trump’s compound were discovered mixed in with his personal belongings, such as press clippings, which Grisham says “tracks perfectly” with the way Trump handled the filing of important information during his time in the White House.
“That is exactly what his filing system was. It was just boxes of things randomly placed together,” Grisham explained in the panel. “When I saw the picture, though, and I saw the sheer volume of classified materials, and now we’re hearing that some could be missing, I just don’t know how that amount could be put in those boxes and not be seen and not be noticed.”
At this point, we can’t put anything past this man.
You can watch the clip of the CNN panel at this link.
Featured image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore, under Creative Commons license 2.0