Trump’s lawyers never said in their new court filing that Donald Trump declassified the classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.
Video of Andrew Weissmann on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports:
Weissmann said, “The government here is saying there’s a category that does not need to be reviewed by the special master, and that is all the documents that are marked classified. And the Trump team says what do you mean, they may be marked classified, but it’s not clear they are. But they don’t quite come out and say Trump declassified it. I think there’s a reason. Because there are criminal penalties if they were to lie to a court. That is actually a federal crime.”
Trump continued to stick to his utterly false argument that the classified documents belonged to him:
As former DOJ Counterintelligence Chief @DavidLaufmanLaw notes, there is no scenario under which classified documents belong to Donald Trump. They belong to our government. And the content must be safeguarded according to government rules. When you’re in a hole, stop digging. https://t.co/Szy6eQV0HZ
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) September 12, 2022
Legally, there is no way that the documents could have belonged to Trump. Under federal law, the documents belong to the federal government.
Trump’s lawyers apparently do not want to be criminally charged. The former president’s lawyers know that if they lie in a court filing and falsely claim that the documents were declassified, they could find themselves in a heap of legal trouble, so they dance around the claim by asking if the documents were actually classified, which is something that government should be easily able to prove as there a paper trail when such decisions are made.
Trump is trying to buy himself time, but what the filing doesn’t say is more important than his lawyers’ argument.
It appears that Trump never declassified the documents, which proves that he illegally had government secrets in his possession.