Donald Trump’s stolen classified government document scandal quickly rose to notoriety among the media, legal experts, and American voters, to say the very least — especially after the shocking search and seizure warrant raid, ordered by the Biden Justice Department, was conducted by the FBI at Donald’s Mar-a-Lago golf resort turned post-White House home. Following months on end of efforts by the National Archives and Records Administration to recover classified materials from Trump’s property, only to be repeatedly lied to by the former president and his people, that bombshell search warrant ultimately confirmed what we all knew in the back of our minds to be true — Donald J. Trump quite literally stole thousands upon thousands upon thousands of highly-classified, top-secret documents and materials from the United States federal government.
But the biggest question that has continued to remain unclear is why?
According to bombshell reporting from The Independent, that answer could come down to Russia.
The Independent reports that “Investigators working for Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith have reportedly questioned multiple ex-Trump administration officials about the fate of a large tranche of classified documents pertaining to the FBI probe into Russia’s campaign of interference in the 2016 election.”
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The publication cites a recent report from Murray Waas, a freelance investigative reporter and former National Journal staff writer, who revealed that investigators working with Special Counsel Smith have questioned “at least three” figures within Trump’s innermost circle regarding whether or not Donald Trump took “thousands of pages” of documents from the White House — including those clearly bearing highly-classified and top-secret markings — upon the tumultuous end of his term, with the intent to publicize the documents in a desperate attempt to discredit the United States Justice Department’s infamous investigation into the 2019 Trump Campaign’s ties with the Russian Federation.
Recent reporting has already confirmed that Trump desperately tried to declassify a large chunk of this information in the final, waning days of his presidential term, hailing back to a January 19, 2021 memo titled, “Declassification of Certain Materials Related to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation.” In this memo, the then-outgoing president ordered that the documents in question be “declassified to the maximum extent possible.” It remains unclear as to whether or not there was ever any follow-through on that order.
According to Waas, both the FBI and the DOJ intentionally slow-walked Trump’s declassification order, citing “concerns about how compromising the identities of FBI informants could dissuade witnesses and human intelligence sources from cooperating with US law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the future.” Both entities also expressed concern regarding potential violations of the Privacy Act, should they follow through with Donald Trump’s demands. The report indicates that Trump openly expressed his upset over the fact that, if they didn’t follow through with the order while he was still in office, he would no longer bear the authority to declassify the information once he left office and Biden was inaugurated.
Waas further cites “sources familiar” with the ongoing special counsel investigation, who confirmed that prosecutors have been grilling ex-Trump Administration officials about any conversations they may have personally had with the scandal-ridden now-ex-president regarding the stolen trove of documents, records, and materials. Investigators have also reportedly pressed for information regarding any talks between senior DOJ officials and the White House Counsel’s Office, as well as a January 20th memo hailing from Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, in which Meadows appeared to have reversed many of Donald Trump’s declassification orders, citing the aforementioned Privacy Act concerns.
Read the full report from The Independent here.
Featured image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore, under Creative Commons license 2.0