Eleventh Circuit Rules for DOJ on Classified Documents As Trump Claims the Right to Declassify with a Thought


447 thoughts on “Eleventh Circuit Rules for DOJ on Classified Documents As Trump Claims the Right to Declassify with a Thought”

  1. Donald Trump, ‘the Donald’ as his first wife Ivana (RIP) referred to him, grew up indoctrinated in the art of lying. Creative lying is the art of the deal, is it not?
    And so the Donald, at first uncomfortable at turning to politics, found a home among chronic liars, some of them very good at it, some terrible at it.
    We’re not supposed to lie under oath, but otherwise, all bets are off, in business and in politics.
    Who was it who coined the phrase ‘the business of America is business!’ Truman? Eisenhower? Joseph Kennedy? Al Capone?

  2. Jonathan: I don’t think anyone was surprised by the 11th Circuit decision slapping down Judge Cannon. It seems the Court, given the opportunity, would slap down Cannon’s entire order. This is bad news for Donald Trump as the DOJ now ramps up its investigation of the Trumpster’s crimes .But Trump keeps digging his legal pit deeper. He now says he could declassify anything–just with a “thought”. That’s what Kings do–simply waving a hand and making it happen because when the King has a “thought” his advisors are duty bound to carry it out. Unfortunately, in the real world Trump’s lawyers could offer the Court no actual evidence their client had ever declassified anything and the 11th Circuit’s unanimous ruling shows facts do matter–not “thoughts”.

    But in your previous column (8/15/22) you argued “while many legal experts have cited the detailed process for declassification, some [!?] fail to note that presidents have long exempted themselves from declassification procedures. Indeed, Trump claimed the right to declassify material unilaterally and orally at the start of his term”. You even bizarrely claimed that Trump had a declassification “standing order” so anything he took when he left office may have been declassified even though the “classification markings on the cover pages and internal headings might not have been crossed out”. I doubt the 11th Circuit read your column but they said “it is a red herring because declassifying an official document would not change its content or render it personal. So even if we assumed Plaintiff did declassify some or all of the documents, that would not explain why he has a personal interest in them”

    It looks like Judge Cannon is not the only one with egg or her face. You have a lot to explain with this attempt to rehabilitate your earlier position that Trump might have declassified everything to took back to Mar-a-Lago. This column does not whitewash your previous untenable position.

    1. @Dennis,

      Washington could have been made a king but refused.
      Still that’s pretty much the level of power the POTUS has… within certain limitations.

      The question you have to ask is what did Trump mean. Was Trump being so literal? Most likely not.
      But yes, he has the ability to take any document and declassify it. How? That’s not really well understood or documented.
      He could write a note on a napkin. Or he could have ordered a set of docs to be declassified, yet the classifying agency slow walks it. So are those documents declassified or what? Limbo.

      So if Trump said… any docs I take w me outside of the WH are hereby declassified… then that’s it.
      But did he say it?
      Could he just sign an affidavit to that effect w no other witnesses to confirm?

      Who knows?


  3. I am puzzled by the Special master and court of Appeals insistence that Trump’s lawyers show proof that the 100 or so classified documents in question have been declassified. Has Trump or his lawyers been shown the 100 documents ?
    If not, how can one reasonably assert that they were declassified.
    Of course, we know as reported before that Trump declassified many documents related to the Crossfire hurricane investigation.

    1. The declassification process has paperwork associated with it so that it is clear what is being declassified and what is not. Also the markings on the documents needs to be changed. That paperwork should be easy to located. The “I declassified it and did not tell anyone” is BS that Trump made up.

      1. Trump may have verbally instructed someone to declassify a document. I don’t see a formal procedure outlined in any court filing.
        Even so, I fail to see how one can provide proof without being shown the documents in question.
        Again I think it depends on what the underlying documents are. If this is about crossfire hurricane I think it’s about FBI trying to cover themselves. If this is about nuclear secrets, then clearly Trump does not have a right to take them.

        1. Why do you say Trump clearly did not have a right to take nuclear secrets? I’m aware that there’s an Act of Congress on that, but is that act, if it limits the President’s powers as commander in chief, constitutional?

          1. I am not saying Trump can’t declassify nuclear secrets and take them home, but he would pay a political price for that.
            Surely Trump has no use for nuclear secrets as a private citizen.

    2. They were all previously in Trump’s possession. Why would he need anyone else to tell him what he’d had in his possession?

      1. He has thousands from his 4 years in office. Which 100 are we talking about. If they were declassified by a verbal order by Trump it may have been handled by different people over the 4 years.

        1. Thousands OF WHAT?

          There were not “thousands” of documents with classified markings **in his possession at MaL**, which is the focus of this court ruling. We’re talking about the 100+ documents with classified markings that were still illegally in his possession after his Custodian of Records certified that everything had been returned.

          For those documents that Trump declassified, however he declassified them, there should be a record telling the original classifying agencies that they’ve been declassified and should be marked declassified. All Trump needs to do is present all of his notifications to the original classifying agencies.

          1. I don’t see a formal procedure for declassification that needs to followed by a President in any of the DOJ’s filings (at least I don’t see it). So I guess it depends on whether a verbal order is possible with/without a paper trail.
            In any case I fail to see why Trumps lawyers can’t be shown the documents and then asked for proof of declassification.

            1. A verbal order from Trump to someone else who then notifies the original classifying agency is possible. But the original classifying agency has to be informed so that they can change the classification markings to declassified.

              Trump’s lawyers don’t have the appropriate security clearance to see these classified documents. One of his lawyers is a witness. Another of his lawyers is a registered foreign agent.

              It’s ultimately irrelevant whether they were declassified. They are government documents, not Trump’s personal documents, and Trump has no privilege to assert.

              1. If I remember correctly former FBI director James Comey gave at least one classified document to his friend Richman for the purpose of leaking to the NY Times. I think Comey claimed he considered the documents his personal records. There was no protection of Comey.
                I think there is a gray area in what are personal and Govt. records.
                In any case we have no clue as to what these 100+ documents are about because the DOJ won’t tell us.

                  1. I am not talking about the contents of these classified documents. I am talking about the subject matter they relate to, e.g. Crossfire hurricane, Iran nuclear deal, etc etc.
                    I don’t see why DOJ cannot release that information. Otherwise we have endless speculation.
                    Just asserting national security is BS in my opinion.

                    1. Judges tend to agree with prosecutors. The lack of transparency by the DOJ about releasing the subject matter of these 100 documents (likely contained in the affidavit) is a little strange.
                      Also the optics of the current administration investigating and possibly prosecuting a future political rival is pretty bad. This should have been handed off to a special counsel at the very least.

                    2. They’re classified documents. There’s nothing at all unusual about the government not being transparent about their contents.

                    3. Well they weren’t transparent about the Steele Dossier. Mueller wrote a whole report without a mention of the Dossier and now we find out the primary source was apparently on the payroll of the FBI.
                      I think it’s best to be skeptical of both sides and assume presumption of innocence.

    3. Trump is the Plaintiff, and as such, it is his burden of proof. That’s how civil litigation works. But, Trump’s lawyers have not actually made the argument that Trump declassified anything. Trump has made that argument out of court but not officially in court (likely because they can’t prove it).

      1. I agree with your comment except to add that Mark Meadows and Kash Patel have publicly said that Trump declassified many CrossFire Hurricane documents in the days/hours before he left office. So the question is whether the 100 documents in question were covered by that declassification.
        The DOJ has not said what subject matter the 100+ documents relate to.
        I think a lot will hinge on whether these are crossfire hurricane related documents or other material.

        1. Trump did not declassify MANY collusion delsuion documents, he declassified ALL of them.
          Meadows and Radcliff, and Patel and ciploine were part of that.
          Regardless, it was done by executive order so there is ZERO question that it occured.

          Further WaPo and NYT have published instances in 2018, 2019 an 2021 where Trump declassified large bodies of documents.

          There is ZERO doubt that Trump declassified LOTS of documents.

          BTW almost NONE of those documents have been made public yet.
          Trump’s EO gave DOJ very limited authority to redact specific information, and required them to complete that redaction in a very short time frame.

          DOJ has been sitting on its hands, and unfortunately Trump has no power to enforce his own EO’s even though they are still Binding. And Biden is sitting on his hands – likely because some of what has been declassified is harmful to Him.

          We forget that Biden was personally involved in the Collusion delusion prior to Jan 20, 2017.
          SOME of his involvement has been made public. But it is near certain that the upper ranks of the Obama Whitehouse were involved significantly more than just the Jan 5. 2017 meeting that has been made public. Which itself is damning.

          A lame duck president, his administration, and the vice president authorized efforts to Entrap Gen. Flynn. the incoming NSA.
          There is zero question of that based on what we already know.
          And it is highly likely there is much more.

  4. There seems to be no unquestioned authority that dictates how the President declassifies classified material. The absence of such leads to the problem we face.

    Turley believes in Congressional power, so he will look at things to lessen executive power and increase Congressional power. Others might think differently, accepting greater Presidential authority.

    This discussion is a zero-sum game without penalty. I don’t see how criminal charges can exist in this situation.

    All this discussion does is act as a curtain to hide the destruction of the Biden Administration. At all other times, this type of problem would not be in the eye of the public and managed quietly.

  5. Trump’s files might have the smoking gun. There is problem at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    Report: Former Los Alamos scientists later helped Chinese military

    A new report revealed on Wednesday shows dozens of scientists have left Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico and fueled military technology innovation in China.

    The shocking details show how American taxpayers may have unintentionally helped China’s military become more of a threat to the U.S. over decades, as government-funded defense research later made its way to China’s labs.

    The report details how China poached talent from New Mexico and then stole American ideas for cutting-edge technology, shining a light on the security of top-secret U.S. research on sophisticated weapons at the country’s top lab.

    “No one can say this is not a national security issue,” said Bill Evanina, a former top U.S. counter intelligence officer. “We are perpetuating adversaries to use weapons against us, and that’s hard for any American to swallow.”

    According to the report, there have been decades of Chinese recruitment. 162 LANL scientists that have left the lab later helped the Chinese military over the last 34 years. Many of them were paid a million dollars to lend their knowledge.

    A Chinese newspaper article reports, “people have dubbed them the ‘Los Alamos Club.’”

    “This is the first time we have a comprehensive, open source reporting that identifies the people, the places, the services and the organizations in China who are benefitting from that talent that once worked here at our national labs,” Evanina said.

    In one example, the report highlighted one Los Alamos scientist, Zhao Yusheng. He got nearly $20 million in U.S. taxpayer grants, and in an 18-year career, he had a top secret “Q clearance”.

      1. Chinese scientists weren’t working on the poo poo platter takeout orders at Los Alamos. Here are some of the menu items:

        >Hypersonic Missiles

        >Miniaturized hydrogen bombs

        >Electromagnetic Neutron bombs

        >Laser cannons

        >Microwave weapons

        >Space satellite doomsday machines

    1. Working at a national lab does not permanently prohibit you from taking employment elsewhere. There is no law or contract that prevents a former lab employee from working out of the country. You are however still required not to disclose classified information.

  6. Professor, et al. I actually dont care any more.

    Recently, a German and a Spanish officials said something to the effect of “the age of abundance is over.”
    Law enforcement in Germany, Switzerland, the UK and a few other EU countries are all warning/preparing for serious civil unrest in the coming months.

    Putin’s recent speech suggesting the use of nuclear weapons is very disturbing.

    The Serbian president said at the UN, “I assume that we’re leaving the phase of the special military operation and approaching a major armed conflict, and now the question becomes where is the line, and whether after a certain time – maybe a month or two, even – we will enter a great world conflict not seen since the Second World War.”

    And our own president exudes incompetence, weakness, and sews division amongst Americans.

    Things go badly as I think they may in the coming months, none of this will matter one iota.

    1. And that’s my fear. All of this stuff is at best a distraction from the far larger issues facing the US and the civilized world right now. Between looming mass energy riots coming in Europe to the very real possibility of direct armed conflict soon with Russia the attention of the chattering classes is seriously off the mark.

      Don’t get me wrong, although I count myself in the Trump camp, at least as far as domestic, energy and border policy are concerned, I definitely support the US and NATO’s efforts to stop the Russian dictatorship from launching a war of territorial conquest in Europe. It’s just that these are very dangerous and risky moves that deserve far more attention than they are receiving. I just wish it were anyone else in charge here at the moment.

  7. It’s been a while since Turley has distanced himself from Trump, and everybody knows it’s only a matter of time before Turley cherry-picks a argument for Trump. But Turley, you have already stepped into it big-time. Maybe it’s time to pull a “Trump” and just claim you never heard of him and post pictures of your vacations.

  8. Here is a copy of a letter written by Obama to the NARA explaining he has classified and non classified documents at a wharehouse he has been renting in Chicago.

    The link will lead you to a copy of the entire NARA letter from Obama
    “The Obama administration told the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) they were going to upload the documents into a digital form for use in the Obama library. The paper documents were, still are, held at the Hoffman Estate warehouse while this digitization process took place. It should be noted, the Obama Foundation has never digitized the records, hence they renewed the warehouse lease.

    Contrast against the DOJ-NSD legal position about classified records held in the secure facility of Mar-a-Lago, a 2018 letter {Obama.org pdf here} from the Obama Foundation to the NARA is an example of the two-tiered selective justice system. Within the 2018 letter the Obama team admit to storing both “classified and unclassified” documents at the warehouse: [Page #2, bullet-point 7]”


    1. That warehouse is NARA’s, not Obama’s:

      “The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama Presidential records when President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act (PRA). NARA moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area where they are maintained exclusively by NARA. Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama Presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, DC, area. As required by the PRA, former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration.”

      1. a quick Google fails to show it’s owned or operated by the National Archives. Anyone can rent there according to Loop Net

        1. You don’t present any evidence, you only claim what your personal Google search pulled up, and you didn’t even say what search terms you used. I already gave you a quote and link to the Archives statement and you have … bupkis.

          1. There are/were documents in two places at the same time because Obama was deciding what to keep for his library. You have to read the full length of the stories, preferably more than one source, bc journalists push talking points these days and not “just the facts, Dano”

      2. Are you telling us that the abandoned furniture store in a strip mall was owned by NARA? How convenient. Do you think that was safer than MAL which housed the President of the US.

        You are wrong about almost everything. The only reason you don’t know it is the news media won’t be publishing that until after the elections. I can’t say which ones but everyone gets the idea.

        Hypocrisy is the Democrat playing field.

    2. Iowan2,

      There are significant differences. 1. Obama was coordinating with NARA and cooperating. Trump refused to even turn over documents and had to be subpoenaed.
      2. Obama didn’t have the most highly sensitive classified information in his home or anywhere on that warehouse. Trump declared he declassified all those documents and claimed here were all his personal property.

      Trump is in far bigger trouble and has criminally kept documents by refusing to turn them over. Obama was coordinating and cooperating with NARA which isn’t criminal.

  9. So what exactly is the legally mandated process for a *president* to declassify documents? (That’s a sincere question.)

    1. There is none. The president can declassify any document for any reason or none, and need not follow any specific procedure. Trump’s claim is that by sending them to his residence he declassified them.

      Again, the issue of classification or otherwise is irrelevant to this matter. None of the statutes referred to in the warrant distinguishes between classified and unclassified documents. Any document, whether marked as classified or not, may potentially benefit from attorney client or executive privilege, depending on its content and the context.

      1. The all the documents fall under the PRA. Like classified documents, the President has plenary power to declare anything PRA or personal.

      2. D: Thank you for the explanation.

        If what you say is accurate: “The president can declassify any document for any reason or none, and need not follow any specific procedure.” then what is this all about —
        “What is clear is that the investigation can now proceed with the full use of these classified documents to try to establish knowing violation [of what?] by either Trump or his aides, including lawyers who certified or stated that there were no further classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.” (JT)

        If there is no legally mandated process, then docs are declassified simply on a president’s say so. And if Trump claims they were declassified, then they were.

        1. If you read the ruling, you’ll see that the classification status isn’t key to the ruling.

          “… we cannot discern why Plaintiff would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings. Classified documents are marked to show they are classified, for instance, with their classification level. … They are “owned by, produced by or for, or . . . under the control of the United States Government.” Id. § 1.1. And they include information the “unauthorized disclosure [of which] could reasonably be expected to cause identifiable or describable damage to the national security.” Id. § 1.4. For this reason, a person may have access to classified information only if, among other requirements, he “has a need-to-know the information.” Id. § 4.1(a)(3). This requirement pertains equally to former Presidents, unless the current administration, in its discretion, chooses to waive that requirement. Id. § 4.4(3).
          “Plaintiff has not even attempted to show that he has a need to know the information contained in the classified documents. Nor has he established that the current administration has waived that requirement for these documents. And even if he had, that, in and of itself, would not explain why Plaintiff has an individual interest in the classified documents.”

      3. Again, the issue of classification or otherwise is irrelevant to this matter.

        The DoJ and the Courts have been hyper focused on something that is irrelevant.

        1. They haven’t. Are you choosing to lie about this, or are you simply willfully ignorant?

          They’re actually focused on whether the DOJ can use these documents with classified markings in their ongoing criminal investigation.

          1. To the resolution of that issue the question whether Trump declassified the documents is irrelevant.

            I believe DOJ has focused on continuing use of the documents marked classified in its criminal investigation because it knows or believes that they are more likely than the others to contain information related to the national defence, which is the legal standard under the Espionage Act.

            But attorney-client and executive privilege can apply to these documents as well as to the others. So the SM should be permitted to review them first.

            As for the question whether use in the criminal investigation is necessary for the national security review, the appellate court simply deferred to the assertion by the FBI. I do not think that assertion is entitled to any deference at all.

            1. Daniel,

              Again: the 11th Circuit notes that Trump cannot assert EP against the Executive Branch and has not asserted A-C privilege for any of the classified documents.

        2. This has always been a nothing burger. Like all the witch hunts before, the DOJ is not seriously prosecuting actual crimes but is looking to generate process crimes. This time they will get the poor custodian who signed the affidavit that all documents MARKED classified had been turned over, when in fact some documents marked classified but previously declassified had been retained. Then some turncoat will be coaxed by a lucrative book deal to claim that Trump ordered the custodian to lie. I think even low information voters are on to the DOJ’s BS involving Trump. No one is being persuaded by this nonsense. Our population is just growing more divided, but maybe THAT is the objective of this 6 year psyop.

          1. There’s good reason for process crimes being criminal.

            Perjury, for example, is a process crime. Obstruction is a process crime. Are you seriously going to argue that it’s fine and dandy if people lie in court or obstruct investigations? Have you thought about the impact of that stance on investigations of human trafficking, illegal drug trade, terrorism, …?

            1. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” Sorry, that ship has sailed LOOONG ago.

              You want to use a process crime to snare an Al Capone, fine, I’ll turn the other way, but when the DOJ selectively uses process crimes to go against its political enemies. We have a serious problem.

              Flynn committed no crime, but the DOJ started an investigation anyway, create a process crime and prosecuted it relentlessly. Hillary and crew deleted emails and hammered cell phones, obviously committing numerous process crimes and the DOJ can’t fall over itself fast enough to close the investigation. Hell, Wiessmann and other Mueller team members committed process crimes when they “accidentally” repeatedly entered the wrong password into their iPhones over and over again over an arduous process lasting hours to initiate a factory reset erasing all of their team communications. No investigation, but rather a gig on MSNBC.

              The game is clear, start an “investigation” on any pretext, however thin, initiate lawfare, run up the legal bills, look for process crimes. Rinse, repeat.

              It’s good to know the new rule book for once President DeSantis takes over. He should exert OVERT political control over prosecutorial decisions, squashing some and ordering others commenced, and when the career Democrats start resigning in protest, he should say “Good riddance, don’t let the door hit you on the way out” and fill the vacancy with a loyal partisan.

              It sounds horrible, I agree. It is not how our system of justice should work, but it is how our system of justice currently works. This one way ratchet has to end.

        3. “ The DoJ and the Courts have been hyper focused on something that is irrelevant.”

          They had to. Trump Judge Cannon prevented them from accessing the classified material that they needed to conduct their investigation on who had unauthorized access and who moved those documents as a matter of national security. It was very relevant.

          Trump claimed he had executive privilege over those documents and that certainly not the case according to the 11th circuit panel.

    2. It’s great question that I had when I wrote an earlier comment of mine.

      Much ado about nothing if the country had not at this moment fallen to authoritarian leadership.

  10. So Trump seems to think that a President of the United States can simply think about declassifying something and it’s automatically declassified? What The Heck!!!

    I have absolutely no sympathy for Donald Trump when he opens his mouth to change socks.

    1. Yes I know that Donald Trump uses hyperbole (exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally) all the time but this is ridiculous even for hyperbole.

    2. Steve, find something to rebut his claim.

      In Court when he challenges the evidence, he can simply hand the judge a paper that represents his attestation that by his legal transferring of papers to MAL represents his declassification process.

      Nothing is statute can be used to debate that simple fact.

      1. LOL that you assume “when.” He hasn’t done what you assume he will do, and there is zero reason to assume that he will do it in the future.

        And IF he were to declassify things simply to make transport convenient for himself, putting national security and human sources’ lives at risk, that would reflect terribly on his judgment.

        1. putting national security and human sources’ lives at risk, that would reflect terribly on his judgment.

          But not a crime. Your quote is exactly the Barr response, when asked if he could just wave has hand and make it so.
          Barr refused to say Trump had violated a law.

          But your claim of horribles is not grounded in any known facts.

        2. He hasn’t done what you assume he will do, and there is zero reason to assume that he will do it in the future.
          A person is stupid to provide any information to prosecutors before you have been charged with a crime. Time is on Trumps side.

          1. Time is not on Trump’s side. The 11th Circuit ruled that the DOJ can this very minute USE the documents with classified markings in their criminal investigation, which is what their application for a stay pending appeal was all about. Trump lost here.

      2. OK, please provide the legal reference citation for this defense which survived appeal.

      3. iowan2 wrote, “he can simply hand the judge a paper that represents his attestation that by his legal transferring of papers to MAL represents his declassification process.”

        You’re missing something in your logic.

        Yes Trump could certainly do that, if the paper exists, and I’m not in any way denying that it might exist; however, a document that does something like that took an action on his part to accomplish NOT simply a thought. There’s a big, Big, BIG difference between thinking something and an actual action taking place as a result of a thought.

        It’s the action that’s relevant and admissible as evidence, the thought is not admissible as evidence.

        1. The action is putting it in a box. The thought, is the attestation in court. The prosecutors have nothing to challenge the Attestation. Other that like you, wailing and stamping your feet

          1. You’re Cranial Power Generation Potential is on the rise.

            iowan2 wrote, “The action is putting it in a box.”

            With all due respect, that’s categorically false!

            The relevant action would have had to have taken place BEFORE the action of putting things in a box, as in there must be hard documented evidence or testimony from President Trump’s staff proving that President Trump had a standing order that when things are transported to Mar-a-Lago (or any other place that he wanted to review them) that they were automatically declassified.

            iowan2 wrote, “Other that like you, wailing and stamping your feet.”

            Bite me.

            1. From a Lawyer I read.

              “My reading of the applicable law is that Trump needn’t do anything at all to declassify a document. In my view, all he has to do is DECIDE, and then act in conformity with that decision. So, I believe that if President Trump moves a classified document twelve inches, say moving it one foot out of the secured area into the common area, that’s all he has to do to declassify.

              Taking the documents to Mar-a-Lago is an act in conformity with his decision to declassify. To me, it’s that easy.

              I base my conclusion on that hypothetical I suggested when I first analyzed this problem. Here it is again. Suppose there’s a global diplomatic emergency. Major powers are about to go to war. Trump is in the Oval Office, intently reading a brand-new classified report that could defuse the entire situation: our intercepts prove a diplomat was really killed by an angry prostitute, not an assassin. Trump has minutes to spare before missiles fly. So the President jams the report in his jacket pocket, hops in the Beast, and races to the Serbian embassy, where he personally presses the report into the ambassador’s hands. And just like that, war is averted.

              You with me so far? Believe me, the President is in the clear. He didn’t break any laws. But let’s take it up a notch. Now imagine the same scenario, but also imagine that Serbia is a U.S. enemy. So Trump is giving top-secret material directly to an enemy of the United States without consulting or even telling anybody.

              I think it still doesn’t matter; I STILL believe what the President did in the hypothetical is 100% legal. It HAS to be, or the President would be completely hamstrung, especially in emergency situations.

              Now ask yourself exactly WHEN in the hypothetical timeline did Trump “actually declassify” the Serbian prostitute intel? Was it when he handed the classified report to the Serbian ambassador? Was it when he got in the Beast with the report? Was it when he jammed the report in his jacket pocket?

              Or, as I believe, was it the moment when, while he was reading the report and realizing what he needed to do, the President silently made a decision to declassify? That’s what I think. I think all it takes is a decision. The President doesn’t have to tell anybody until he’s ready to disclose. That’s the only thing that makes sense.”

              Seems that the president does not have to do anything to “declassify”.

              1. Jim22,
                I understand that opinion and I’ve seen it, or something very much like it, before; but understand this Jim, that is an opinion and an opinion that has not been upheld in a court of law, yet.

                We have multiple things here, there are actual rules and laws, there is historical precedence, and there is opinion. Actual facts are the rules and laws, precedence is verifiable historical application of the rules and laws and need to be applied without hypocrisy or double standards regardless of who is in office, and opinion is at the very bottom of the pile getting stomped into the mud by the facts and precedence. I choose to wait for all the facts and see where precedence takes us.

                At this point in time and until it’s proven false; It’s my opinion that Donald Trump as the President of the United States had the official authority of the office to declassify absolutely anything he wanted for whatever reason he chose, I think as the President of the United States that Donald Trump did declassify the documents that were taken from Mar-a-Lago and there will eventually be documentation or first person testimony evidence to support that, lastly, I think this whole fiasco is a anti-Trump partisan witch hunt orchestrated from the highest levels of government.

                That said; I stand behind every one of my statements above. Donald Trump’s loose cannon mouth is his own enemy.

                1. Steve Witherspoon,

                  “ I think as the President of the United States that Donald Trump did declassify the documents that were taken from Mar-a-Lago and there will eventually be documentation or first person testimony evidence to support that, ”

                  If you believe that is the case why the wait to show proof? Given the seriousness of the issue Trump or anyone else with the evidence to show his claims to be true would have shown it long before even a special master was appointed. The simplest explanation is that Trump is just lying.

                  When he is literally saying that his mere thought is enough to declassify documents without ever telling anyone and you are calling BS on that claim it shows that even you should be skeptical of any of the other claims he’s been making. If he’s willing to make such stupidly bad BS claim he’s certainly lying about everything else.

                  1. Why wait to show proof ?

                    Because the entire burden of proof in a criminal case is on the prosecutor, and it is RARELY in the interests of a criminal defendant to commit to any defense strategy prior to trial.

                    There are numerous pundits right and left debating over the intelligence capability and strategy of Trump’s attorney’s and near universally, they are not expecting Trump’s attorney’s to commit to any affirmative defenses prior to the start of a trial,
                    particularly one that is unlikely.

                    1. “ Because the entire burden of proof in a criminal case is on the prosecutor, and it is RARELY in the interests of a criminal defendant to commit to any defense strategy prior to trial.”

                      This is not a criminal case. It’s civil. Trump hasn’t been indicted yet. When Dearie asked for proof it was Trump’s burden of proof. Not the DOJ’s.

                    2. Yes, but Trumps lawyers no doubt are aware that this may turn into a criminal case, so I don’t blame them for holding their cards close to their vest.

                    3. Sorry Svelaz, this is a criminal case.
                      The current proceedings may be civil, but the moment DOJ issued a warrant everything became about an alleged crime.

                      With respect to Dearle – he was wrong to ask for proof. He was obligated to turn the documents over to DOJ because they were marked classified – unless there was another impediment.

                      Conversely the 11th circuit court of appeals was similarly wrong, because they can only reverse Cannon on questions of law not fact, and their decision rests on their decisions on matters of fact.

                      They should have left Dearle alone. And Dearle should not have raised the issue of whether documents marked classified are classified. Trump will get to raise that defense – if DOJ indicts, and then the budern of proof is on the DOJ.

                  2. Why isn’t the government telling us the nature of these allegedly classified documents ?

                    They do not have to make the actual content public, but they can tell us these are documented related to nuclear defense or related to Crossfire Huricane or ….

                    Revealing the general topic would go a long way towards either reassuring the public that the FBI’s conduct was not politically motivated, or establishing that it was.
                    Nor would it compromise anything, Purportedly Trump knows what is in the documents he has. And frankly if he does not DOJ will lose the case trivially. If Trump does not know he contents, then it is highly unlikely he had anything to do with moving them to MAL. If GSA moved them, there is no case here.

                    I would note, Trump has MULTIPLE defenses that are all in theory winning. But they are not all consistent with each other.
                    If he asserts one and loses, he will look like he is just playing games of legal technicality when he asserts the next.

                    As an example Trump has made a broad claim that he declassified anything that was moved out of secure spaces in the WH for his use. That only works for documents that HE transfered or that HE ordered transfered.
                    If GSA scarfed these up in the midst of moving Trump to MAL prior to Biden moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, then these documents are NOT declassified. At the same time there is no possible way to claim Trump has committed a crime by possessing them.

                    But asserting BOTH the defense that he declassified them AND the defense that he had nothing to do with there being at MAL concurrently looks bad.

                    Conversely if DOJ reveals the general subject matter of these documents and These are all either documents that Trump OBVIOUSLY publicly declassified, or that Trump has an OBVIOUS personal reason for possessing.
                    As an example some classified document that cast the effectiveness of a Trump policy in very favorable light.
                    Then Trump has an obvious reasons for posessing these, and for declassifying them.

                  3. Trump’s “thought” is not enough to declassify a document.
                    Anymore than Biden agreeing with a reporter that Trump does not need access to classified documents revokes Trump security clearance.

                    Lots of stupid arguments are being made – by Trump, by DOJ, by judges, by pundits.

                    The 11th appeals court decision is likely wrong as a matter of law – there was no consequential harm to allowing the SM to procede.

                    The 11th Circuit appeals court botched the burden of proof which rested with DOJ not Trump.

                    DOJ had to prove a harm that was irreparable. Appeals courts do not 2nd guess decisions of lower courts on temporary issues.

                    Trump claimed the documents were personal, he was in possession of those documents – prima fasci they are personal.
                    That is a rebutable presumption – but NOT in this DOJ appeal. The court was obligated to presume Trump had a personal interest. But we have seen lots of court errors such as these.

                    We get lots of nonsense from the left arguing that courts deciding issues of fact – without evidentiary hearing is both meaningful and not lawless.

                    This decision is much like the election decisions. Bad decisions of issues that required hearings and witnesses and evidence and cross examination, and therefore were outside the scope of what the court was asked or required to decide.

                    Appeals nearly always turn on errors of LAW, not errors of fact. Pretrial appeals, as well as procedural appeals ALWAYS turn on issues of law not of fact.

                    In the case before her Cannon was correct – if Trump asserted personal interest, for the purpose of everything prior to a trial Trump’s personal interest must be assumed. The 11th circuit court of appeals erred.

                    I would further note that the Special Master was also correct – with specific respect to his review of documents, the SM must assume if the documents are marked classified they are.

                    Frankly he was WRONG to give Trump’s attorney’s the opportunity to challenge their status as classified. That is a question of Fact to be determined at a trial.

                    Ultimately the 11th circuit appeals court is delivering the correct outcome, But subverting the law to do so.
                    Cannon legitimately appointed a special master.
                    That SM should have just turned the documents marked classified over to DOJ with little examination.

                    None of this is supposed to be about whether Trump is right or not about declassifying these documents.
                    Question of FACT are determined at trial, not by special masters or appeals courts.

                  4. As is typical of left wing nuts, you conflate error with malice and lying.

                    Martha’s vineyard LIED about being a sanctuary city. They did not Err.

                    Conversely While Trump is correct about nearly all his claims regarding classified documents.
                    He is incorrect in his claim that he can declassify something merely by thinking it declassified.

                    He is NOT required to go through the process that the left wishes to impose.
                    But to actually declassify a document he must in some from communicate that the document is declassified by a strong affirmative action or a clear and unequivocal order.

                    removing documents from the WH and piling up in the center of Pennnsylvania avenue is a clear unequival act declassifying those documents. Not “order” is required. But it is still more than just a passing thought. It is a positive unequivocal positive Act.
                    Trump publicly or privately ORDERING the declassificaton of anything. Including a standing order that anything he takes to the east wing or to MAL is declassified until it is returned is sufficient – in fact it is overkill. Merely removing classified documents from the west wing to the east wing, or from the west wing to his bedroom at MAL declassifies them – atleast until they are returned.

                    Trump is in error that presidents can declassify by thoughts. But he is not lying.

                    While Martha’s vinyard was lying when they claimed to be a sanctuary.

                    Your not very good at identifying what is true, what is error, and what is actually a lie.

                    1. “Martha’s vineyard LIED about being a sanctuary city”

                      LOL, no.

                      Martha’s Vineyard is the name of an island that has 6 towns (and no cities) on it, none of which are named “Martha’s Vineyard.” NONE of those 6 towns claimed to a be a “sanctuary city/town.” The latter claim only exists in some people’s imagination, apparently including yours.

                    2. NO I have provided numerous examples of MV claiming to be a sanctuary.

                      From PBS
                      “Martha’s Vineyard has styled itself as a “sanctuary destination” that welcomes migrants — a position it took early in former President Donald Trump’s administration.”

                      The left is making all kinds of stupid arguments – one I am now hearing – pretty much the flip side of yours is that the Venezuelan’s are not refugees therefore not entitled to sanctuary.

                      So lets start with some reality. Outside of government grants of asylum there is no such thing as an actual legal sanctuary. You can call yourself a sancturary if you wish. Churches are generally recognized as sanctuaries.
                      By tradition – rarely if ever by law, the sanctuary status of churches is recognized. But as a matter of law, outside of a foreign embassy there is no place in the US that you are protected from law enforcement if you have committed a crime.

                      So Sanctuary state, Sanctuary city, Sanctuary destination are all virtue signaling that has little basis in reality.

                      You virtue signaled and you were exposed as hypocrits.

                      “In 2017, Massachusetts’ top state court ruled that Massachusetts court officers do not have the authority to arrest someone suspected of being in the U.S. illegally if that person is not facing criminal charges, the state’s highest court ruled. That’s effectively gave the state sanctuary status.”

                    3. “I would love Martha’s Vineyard to become a haven for new immigrants to this country.”__ Keith Chatinover, (Dukes County Commissioner)

                      “We’ve got to stand up to the Trump administration’s racist, anti-immigrant terror and make sure every Chicagoan is safe, regardless of citizenship status.”__ Lori Lightfoot

                      ATS is a jerk. He pretends to know the law and read all the documents involved, but in the end, he is merely parroting what a left-wing website told him. That is why when uncovering his lies and deceit, he falls badly. But he counts on the fact that every day the discussion changes. He hopes the change will prevent his ignorance from being revealed; everyone lost interest.

                      ATS has been wrong on almost every issue for the past six years. He has wrapped himself in virtue, hoping no one will notice his goofy authoritarian attitude. People should be scared when no-nothings like this run the country.

                      We can see that today. With our present no-nothing President, the world heats up, and questions of a nuclear exchange exist based on prior performance, Afghanistan as an example. We can see this in the economy, inflation, and soon a decrease in production leading to stagflation which will make the Carter years look good. ATS leads to disaster, but what can anyone expect when dealing with him?

                    4. It is not possible to be sloppy about a detail that does not exist.

                      The concept of sanctuary – outside of foreign embassy’s is legally non existant.

                      But if you wish to play legal games, Martha’s Vineyard announced it was a sanctuary destination after Trump was elected.

                      The Massachuesets Supreme court has ruled that Law enforement in MA can not enquire about immigration status and can not cooperate with federal immigration officials, making the entire state effectively a sancturary state.

                      Given that The only actual sancturaries are Foreign embassy’s

                      defintion games are just stupid on your part.

                      Again, if you do not want your inteligence insulted check the facts before posting.
                      ANd you probably shoudl quit trusting whatever sources you relied on – because they are wrong.

                    5. ..’Sanctuary city’ is a colloquialism. It is not a legal term. It is more of a sentiment of the people, and Martha’s Vineyard people have the sentiment of ‘not in my backyard. ATS will skirt the issue (because he doesn’t understand it) and argue that a specific place isn’t a sanctuary city when there is no such thing in the first place.

                      My only gripe with Abbott is he didn’t send these illegals to these places earlier and in greater numbers. Adams, the mayor of NYC, is griping about the hundreds bleeding into a few thousand. He plays his game, but he isn’t handling the crime of American citizens that reside locally.
                      A friend of mine was beaten up in midtown during the day. She ran into a grocery store, and the police were told where the assailant went but didn’t bother to go after the perpetrator. The employees in the store told her that just a couple of hours earlier, another woman was beaten up as well.

                      This is the type of life people like ATS wish to inflict on us. Are we going to permit it?

                    6. I would further note – we are not in court and this is not a question of law.

                      This is entirely about the hypocritical virtue signalling of the left.

                      While the MA supreme court has effectively made the state a sanctuary,
                      and MV has called itself a sanctuary destination, that is just the Coup de Grace on the left wing nut $hit cake.

                      Southern Border states did not ask for these people. The States Biden has sent people on midnight plane flights did not ask for these people. They did not receive prior notice of their arrival. They did not promise these people anything.

                      If MV and MA had not invited these people – DeSantis would still be able to send them.
                      And it still would be hypocritical to behave as they have done.

                      But because one of the most affluent places in the country that has flaunted its hatred for people who do not support unlimited illegal immigration, is suddenly terrified by 50 brown people – that is priceless hypocrisy.

                    7. There is neither a legal nor legalistic defense for hypocrisy.

                      In the event these Venezuelans sue MV for breach of contract – precise legal definitions might matter.
                      But they will not change the gaping hypocrisy

    3. Steve, you’re just getting a glimpse of what democrats see Trump doing nearly every day. Obviously you recognize what Trump said is complete BS.

      Here’s something else that might test your credulity of Trumps claims.

      “ Former President Donald Trump said his company told lenders the financial valuations of collateral he provided could not be relied on.”

      “ Trump said he’d tell banks, “Don’t rely on the statement that you’re getting.”


      This was from his interview with Sean Hannity last night in response to NY AG’s lawsuit.

      What was obvious was that he was not denying the stark differences in valuations. If Trump can make BS claims that he could declassify government documents just by thinking about it without every telling anybody he can certainly make BS claims to lenders and insurance to fraudulently get money to cover his debts.

        1. Steve, that’s not a deflection. Pay attention. I’m pointing out the pattern of how Trump lies.

          All I did was give you another example to contemplate since you have already recognized that Trump’s claim that he could declassify documents with a mere thought is total and complete BS. If he’s capable of making such preposterous lying it is not implausible that he is lying in regards to his claims in response to the NY AG’s lawsuit.

  11. The thing that was obvious to most every legal commentator at the beginning of this was that Trump was just making the stuff up about declassifying the documents. He said it everywhere he could when not in court or under oath and then in court his lawyers coyly said “hmm, maybe he declassified”. Judge Cannon – if she were any sort of bona fide judge of the law, should have also seen through this from the beginning.

    The problem is that Trump has too many of his appointed cronies on the judiciary who are not real judges but will run interference for him. Fortunately, two of his appointees on the 11th Circuit even saw this as a bridge too far.

    Cannon really should be impeached. But she will probably end up on SCOTUS whenever the next Republican is elected President.

  12. I am constantly amazed at Turkey’s refusal to consider Judge Amy Berman’s opinion in Judicial Watch vs National Archives. She states that in any dispute between the Archives and the President as to what constitutes personal papers the court should defer to the President’s decision considering the considerable authority of the President. to declassify at will.

    I am also amazed that Turley references that agencies should have the final say in declassification per Egan but ignored Obama EO 13526 (a)(3)(b) which clearly states Presidents do not have to adhere to the review process that agencies have to adhere to. Nor does the EO apply any restrictions on the means nor manner of Presidential decisions to declassify.

    1. Brian, Thanks for the comment and it would be good to know how JT views that decision in his overall analysis. Could you please check and clarify the EO cite for the exemption — I did not see an (a)(3)(b) as it seems to be organized by section numbers (thanks).

    1. ATS didn’t read the document. He read the empty wheel which is noted for leaving out important arguments to push particular point.

      This is what people do who have no critical thinking skills.

      1. Anonymous (S, Meyer),

        “ ATS didn’t read the document. He read the empty wheel which is noted for leaving out important arguments to push particular point.”

        The author at the empty wheel READ the document in detail. She wrote her analysis in far greater detail than Turley ever will. She didn’t leave important arguments because YOU can’t point out what they are. The only reason you avoid reading her analyzes is because they are too hard for you to comprehend and therefore you dismiss it out of hand rather than really READ what she says.

        What is more telling is we all know YOU didn’t read the ruling at all.

        1. I have torn the Empty Wheel apart in the past. You are not smart enough to see spin nor recognize when you are being told only half the story. Wheeler is good for those who wish to make contrary arguments, but she is not good when searching for the truth.

          Truth is not something you care about. That is why you can say opposite things in different responses.You are not fit to debate.

  13. Turley is quietly conceding that Trump is in effect a liar. In the most mundane portrayal of what trump said he admits Trump is just lying.

    The 11th circuit panel not only partially stayed judge Cannon’s order, but they rebuked her legal reasoning and even put into question her jurisdiction on presiding this case.

    The DOJ can now continue to investigate exactly who had access to those documents and whether Trump took more to other locations. There could be more search warrants issued if the DOJ has any clues that other classified documents are on other Trump properties.

    Trump confirmed on Fox last night that his claims of declassifying documents are pure BS. Which means any other claims he makes in regards to privilege are less credible given his massive BS. Even Trump judges on the 11th circuit don’t buy it.

  14. This makes zero sense to me. The purpose of the SM review is to determine whether documents are privileged. Whether they are marked classified or not is irrelevant. Whether they were declassified or not is irrelevant. DOJ claimed that its taint process worked. The Judge disagreed, and said the SM needed to decide. The Judge also said the national security review could continue and that FBI CI personnel could participate in it, if necessary. The only thing the Judge enjoined was the use of the content of the documents in the criminal investigation pending a determination of their privilege status. The Judge ordered the SM to review first the documents marked classified.

    So the appellate court is saying here that DOJ is entitled to use in a criminal investigation the content of documents that a Judge has determined are potentially privileged. The thin reed on which this stands is DOJ’s assertion that using the content of these documents in its criminal investigation is somehow necessary for the national security review. That is highly doubtful. Even if it were true, why does that automatically override privilege?

    I hope Trump appeals promptly to SCOTUS for an immediate reinstatement of the stay.

    1. Daniel,

      Have you read the ruling? If so, what specific statements do you disagree with?

      The fact that they’re classified tells us that they’re government documents. Trump has no posessory interest, and he cannot assert EP against the Executive.

      “documents that a Judge has determined are potentially privileged”

      They discussed why her reasoning was wrong. You should read what they wrote about it.

      1. As I say, I hope he appeals. The question of possessory interest is irrelevant to the matter of privilege. These documents may benefit from attorney client privilege. They may also fall within the category of documents that could benefit from executive privilege, if it is available. Whether they fit within the category of potentially executive privilege documents is a question of fact, depending on the nature of the document. Whether the privilege is available to Trump in this context is a question of law, which the Judge said remains open.

        I do not accept that use of the content of these documents in a criminal investigation is necessary for the national security review. What specifically makes this necessary?

        1. Daniel, It’s clear the DOJ and its Leftist cheerleaders has developed a new legal standard called, “Preponderance of Presumption”. DOJ is allowed to lie, cheat, and steal, via this new PoP standard, find a low-level judge to sign off on any application for a warrant based on the sketchiest of all PoP (see Steele dossier), take what they want, when they want it (with guns drawn, just for fun). Then it’s up to the defendant to prove they’ve been ‘unlawfully’ robbed of their belongings – even the former head of their own branch of government who had the power to declassify documents (see Russian Collusion investigation). Then, they (Leftists) will fail to see they’ve just given tacit approval for DOJ or any individual within the law enforcement community the rights to use the new PoP standard against any citizen, including Leftist’s, for any of the flimsiest of flimsy ‘thoughts’ any LEO might have. For what’s hopefully a short period of time, they will get away with this lawlessness knowing that their own kind will never allow the PoP practitioners to be prosecuted. However, this will not end well for those who practice and allow this new PoP standard. I just hope I can be there to see the literal shock on their faces when PoP is used against them – you know, like the faces of Martha’s Vineyard residents who couldn’t believe illegal aliens would ever be seen on “their” island NOT holding a leaf blower or pool-skimming pole.

        2. Daniel,

          You didn’t answer whether you’d read the ruling, and I’m guessing that you haven’t. They addressed the privilege issues.

          Why do you ask me a question that you can answer for yourself by reading the ruling?

          1. ATS, what are the national security interests that require anyone to look at the documents?

        3. Yes, why are these documents considered necessary for national security interests today but not yesterday?

          1. S. Meyer,

            “ Yes, why are these documents considered necessary for national security interests today but not yesterday?”

            Because the information within them are still relevant to national security and only those who need to know such as the president who is currently in office.

            Trump or anyone else at MAL has no need to know about the information or even keeping the documents which are NOT his property.

            1. But you cannot name the national security issue can you? Why were classified documents in Clinton’s sock draw not subject to an FBI raid?

              Trump has a right to Presidential documents and the WH has a right to use them as well if there is a need. So far you can’t provide a need except to search for personal gain which is a violation of Trump’s rights. You probably are unable to understand that so go back to bothering Steve.

        4. Why can’t he use a motion in limine to exclude privileged communications, just like every other criminal defendant once he is indicted?

          1. Because he’s not been indicted yet. There has to be a trial before filing a motion in limine.

            Those are determined pre-trial.

    2. Sir, either you have extensive legal training or you possess a better understanding of law and legal process than most attorneys. The fact that Turley did not write what you have written speaks volumes. Confession. I am an attorney with more than 25 years experience. I have handled numerous constitutional cases concerning the first, fourth, and fifth amendments as well as other federal statutory claims one of the 14th amendment.

      As you have correctly pointed out, at the core this is an attorney client privilege dispute and not a classified versus declassified dispute. The district judge wisely (in my view) asked/ordered the special master to begin his review with the documents marked classified. How difficult is this for a law professor to understand? How difficult is this for a three judge panel on the 11th circuit court of appeals to understand? Well, they do understand but they are counting on the fact that 99.9% of people will not. Disgusting.

      Now, I don’t watch that particular program anymore so I did not see the interview. But, DJT should really, really think about shutting his damn mouth and allowing his attorneys to communicate with the courts and the public. His comment about the classifying documents by simply “thought” was extremely damaging to his cause. It was a stupid thing to say publicly. He should have had his lawyer say documents may be declassified by acts as well as speech and writing. In other words, the presidential act of packing up a document and taking it with him clearly demonstrates the president’s intent to declassify.

      1. “I am an attorney”

        And did you bother to read the 11th Circuit’s ruling?

        ” at the core this is an attorney client privilege dispute ”

        Nonsense. I suspect that you haven’t read the 11th Circuit’s ruling.

        1. You keep accusing people of not being knowledgeable when you lack critical thinking ability which would help you get your ideas straight.

          Everything is based on what the FBI says, but the FBI has been lying on a continuous basis and it is obvious they cannot be trusted in affairs having to do with Trump. Judges have to start questioning the validity of what the FBI says. The raid was political, some of the pictures were political, the affidavit is not trustworthy.

          None of this should be happening but for laws being stretched in an attempt to prevent an American citizen and former President to run again. Maybe the records should be removed to an unbiased location and not be permitted to be used for any litigation or political reasons. That is what this is all about.

    3. Classified documents are owned by the government and the government has exclusive control over who has access to those documents. That is well established law. They can not be privileged.

  15. Dems needn’t worry – no on is more masterful at foiling Trump than Trump. Sigh. That said, the public still deserves transparency – I struggle to think of anything our Democratic party has done this century that wasn’t shady as heck if not outright illegal. I didn’t expect this to be any different, and they are not disappointing in that regard.

    Additionally, their latest election bill that hinges on ‘an extreme event’ tells me they aren’t done manufacturing nonsense yet and we need to keep our eyeballs positively glued to them.

  16. “I declassified everything.”

    Think about what this would imply: that Trump declassified highly restricted material, putting the lives of human sources at risk and damaging national security, and he did it not because he believed that individual pieces of information were important to declassify, but because he wanted to be able to cart it around easily. It’s a deeply disgusting argument.

    1. Think about what this would imply: that Trump declassified highly restricted material, putting the lives of human sources at risk and damaging national security,

      Just keep making stuff up. The Govt has not made that case. The dragging out of the govt process is proof. All the documents Trump has are copies. Not an original source document in the mix. So he has the plenary power to posses them.
      Trump is smart enough not to launch a defense until the govt files charges, and he goes into trial and challenges the govts evidence. Trump is under no time line. The information he has is timeless. Must likely it has all been digitized and sitting on a hard drive in a vault in Panama.

      1. Apparently you have a hard time understanding how hypotheticals work.

        He doesn’t have a right to possess documents that were subpoenaed by the government. He broke the law by refusing to return them, and I hope he’s charged.

        1. The govt did not take any steps to enforce the subpoena. They went full nuclear tactical war. The DoJ will make charges (in this case precedent) concerning the documents removed be a departing President. New rules may be formed by Garland, lets see if he is smart enough to see the long game.

            1. Let us take notice, the DOJ was there in June. They weren’t thrown out. The raid wasn’t needed. Trump offered to help them anyway needed in the future.

    2. Interesting. Would you mind providing me with a copy of the documents seized? It sounds like you have studied them carefully enough to know that these documents were/are “highly restricted,” “put human sources at risk,” and “damaged national security.”

      And, do you have a transcript or audio recording of your interview with DJD? You have a tremendous insight into his mind and thought processes that could only come from a lengthy interview.

      1. Read the court documents. They say what the classification markings on these documents are. You can look up for yourself what those classification markings mean.

    3. Most classified records should be unclassified to create a more knowledgeable voting public. Government officials, many of which benefit from hiding what they do, want things hidden. Think of the declassified Russia Hoax documents that were to be released but weren’t. Think of all the FOIA requests that are still pending.

      As citizens, we are being kept blind.

      Nothing Trump did violates the security of the nation any more than what occurs daily in the government. If classified material were limited instead of protecting offenders in government, we would have far more security and a far more effective government.

      The argument in the prior post is juvenile and represents one who lacks critical thinking skills.

      1. Anonymous (S. Meyer),

        “ Nothing Trump did violates the security of the nation any more than what occurs daily in the government.”

        He violated the LAW which compromised the security of national defense information that he was not supposed to have as a private citizen. He broke the law when he REFUSED to comply with a subpoena and that refusal resulted in the issuance of a search warrant that a judge legally signed off on.

        The funny thing is Trump could have avoided all of this by simply complying with NARA’s requests a year ago.

        1. You keep saying that but I am waiting for you to tell us how Trump Violated the law. I can show you how the FBI lied, how Biden lied, but I can’t see any significant violation of the law by Trump.

          If you think there is a violation you should be able to state exactly what that violation is and why other rules etc. don’t count. You prefer to be an Empty Head.

          “The funny thing is Trump could have avoided all of this by simply complying with NARA’s requests a year ago.”

          Get your facts straight. The FBI took documents in June just a couple of months ago. Stop being stupid.

  17. Time and again, I’m startled by Trump’s poor legal representation. Moreover, shocked by over-the-top partisan Hannity’s initiative to interview Trump at this juncture. Clearly both Hannity and Trump misjudge the circumstances in believing that the court of public opinion will exonerate Trump from any wrongdoing. As to declassifying by a mere thought is even too absurd a suggestion for a non-legal mind. Imagine the DOJ’s legal team thoroughly appreciated that suggestion.

    1. As pointed out by Professor Turley, one has to wonder why Trump was so insistent on keeping these documents?

    2. It may strike a non-legal mind as absurd, but it does not seem absurd to this graduate of Yale Law School who worked many years in military intelligence with TS/SCI documents.

  18. Looks like JT is seeing the writing in the wall. Trump committed a crime where there is ample evidence and there is no way around that.

    1. Sammy – JT might well try a few “whatabouts” before accepting that Trump is bad news for right wing authoritarian politics.

      1. There’s always more Hunter Biden “scandal” whataboutisms he can pull out if things get much worse for Trump.

        His lawyers at least must be relieved that they won’t have to perjure themselves in front of the special master. I sure hope they will get paid after this. That is if Trump still has money after paying back $250 million or more from his possible tax fraud indictment.

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