Adam Schiff is the chair of the House Intelligence Committee and on Face the Nation this morning, Margaret Brennan asked him if he thinks that the information that Trump had stolen and stashed at Mar-a-Lago “posed any kind of threat to national security.” Just from information publicly available he said that “there was a serious risk to disclosure potentially of sources and methods, because some of those documents were marked top secret, sensitive compartmented information. That is among the highest of designation in terms of the- the extremely grave damage to national security that could be done if it were disclosed. So, the fact that they were in an unsecure place that is guarded with nothing more than a padlock or whatever security they had at a hotel is deeply alarming. And I have asked for, along with Chairman Maloney, a damage assessment by the intelligence community and a briefing to Congress… I'm confident the intelligence community will do a damage assessment that is, I think, fairly routine when there has been the potential risk of disclosure of national security information or classified information. What is, to me, most disturbing here is the degree to which at least from the public reporting, it appears to be willful, on the President's part, the keeping of these documents after the government was requesting them back. And that adds another layer of concern.”
Like everyone else, Brennan isn’t buying Trump’s bullshit about having declassified all the documents he stole. Schiff isn’t either. He said it needs to be determined “whether there was any effort during the presidency to go through the process of declassification. I've seen no evidence of that, nor have they presented any evidence of that. The idea, first of all, a former president has no declassification authority. And the idea that 18 months after the fact Trump could simply announce, well, I'm you know, retroactively declassifying or whatever I took home had the effect of declassifying them is absurd. But nonetheless, the statutes the Justice Department are asserting in the search warrant, don't even require that they still be classified. If they would be damaging to national security, it's a problem. It's a major problem. And finally, I'd like to add the reaction of many of my Republican colleagues and those around the former president to attack the FBI over this and endanger FBI agents is just another damaging level of irresponsibility.
This afternoon, CNN’s categorizer and tracker of Trump’s lies, Daniel Dale, wrote that “In response to the FBI search of former President Donald Trump's home in Florida on Monday, Trump and his allies in Congress and right-wing media have returned to his preferred strategy for communicating in a crisis: say a whole bunch of nonsense in rapid succession. From his battles against impeachment to his effort to limit the political fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump has attempted to flood the zone with such a quantity and variety of lies, conspiracy theories and distractions that Americans will tune out, turn away or cease to know what is true and not. And he has regularly been joined by a large cast of eager defenders.”
Using his familiar just-asking-questions style of promoting conspiracy theories, Trump posted on his social media platform on Wednesday a suggestion that the FBI could have planted evidence. His legal team had already been suggesting the same thing. One Trump lawyer, Alina Habba, said on Fox on Tuesday: "I'm concerned that they may have planted something; you know, at this point, who knows?"
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky echoed this question on Wednesday, wondering on Fox how we know "they won't put things into those boxes to entrap him." Fox host Jesse Watters had gone further on Tuesday, saying the FBI was "probably" planting evidence, and Paul's campaign had adopted the "probably" by Friday.
There is just zero basis for any of this.