Even before Trump was finally forced out of the White House, I predicted that he would steal top secret papers to sell to Russia, China, the Saudis, Peter Thiel, North Korea, Israel... whomever would offer the most. Did he already sell any? I would bet he did. I would also bet we'll never know. Although... maybe he'll wind up on trial for this. Jacqueline Alemany and Tom Hambuger wrote about just how serious this crime was.
"Some of the presidential records recovered from former president Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago," they wrote, "are so sensitive they may not be able to be described in forthcoming inventory reports in an unclassified way... The revelation comes as Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) sent the National Archives and Records Administration a request for further information on 15 boxes of records recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort last month. The Archives set Friday as its deadline for an inventory of the contents... The inventory is expected to provide more information on the volume and scope of classified documents, including details on the level of classification, according to the two people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic. There are records at the very highest levels of classification, including some that can be viewed by only a small number of government officials."
People who think Trump stole the material because he was trying to hide his own misdeeds in office-- as many members of Congress I spoke with have told me-- are barking up the wrong tree. Trump was peddling the plans for Fort Ticonderoga, 2022 version.
“There are records that only a very few have clearances” to review, one of the people told The Post. The documents are so sensitive that they may not be able to describe them in an unclassified way, and, therefore, such documents might be described broadly in a classified addendum to the inventory, according to the two people.
Maloney is requesting the additional information as a part of the congressional investigation into Trump’s handling of White House records.
In a letter to sent Thursday evening to Archivist of the United States David Ferriero, Maloney asked for a “detailed description of the contents of the boxes recovered from Mar-a-Lago … and identification of any items that are classified and the level of classification” by March 10.
Maloney also requested a description of any potential reviews conducted by other federal agencies of the contents of the recovered boxes, all presidential records transferred to the Archives that Trump “had torn up, destroyed, mutilated, or attempted to tear up, destroy or mutilate,” and communications between the Trump White House and the Archives related to the Presidential Records Act.
“I am deeply concerned that former president Trump may have violated the law through his intentional efforts to remove and destroy records that belong to the American people,” Maloney wrote. “This Committee plans to get to the bottom of what happened and assess whether further action is needed to prevent the destruction of additional presidential records and recover those records that are still missing.”
The letter suggests that the House committee led by Maloney was broadening its efforts to probe the breadth of potential records act violations under Trump, who frequently flouted the legal requirements to safeguard documents produced during his presidency and, at times, seemed intent on destroying records.
Maloney is looking for the wrong kinds of documents-- like e-mails and social media content. I'm hoping that sharper House Oversight and Reform Committee members-- like Jamie Raskin, AOC, Ro Khanna, Katie Porter, Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, Ayanna Pressley and Mark DeSaulnier-- will help Maloney understand what's really at stake. Maybe it's premature to talk about it publicly yet, but eventually real treason will have to be the focus.