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John Bolton tells media to call Trump's bluff and file FOIA requests for all documents he says he declassified
On CNN Tuesday, former national security adviser John Bolton demolished the idea that former President Donald Trump secretly declassified the highly classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago country club — some of which may be nuclear secrets — and pointed out that if these documents really are declassified, the media should call his bluff and file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain them in unredacted form.
"The president said he had to take classified materials to his residence, and therefore he declassified them by doing that," said Bolton. "Look, nobody's worried about unauthorized people in the residence quarters at the White House. If there are unauthorized people there, we have got a problem a lot more serious than documents being compromised. Moreover, if this existed, there had to be some way to memorialize it. The White House counsel had to write it down. Otherwise, how would people throughout the government know what to declassify? You don't declassify a document just as to Donald Trump. If a document is declassified, it is declassified. And no such recordkeeping system existed. And I think this is just a sign of how worried the president's advisers are about the nature of the problem he's in right now."
"A 'fiction,' you called it," said anchor John Berman.
"Yeah," said Bolton. "If he has declassified hundreds, maybe thousands of documents that he took to the residence because he worked very hard on this at night as we all know, over four years, the media should be filing Freedom of Information Act requests for all documents declassified by Donald Trump pursuant to this standing order. I'd love to see what gets produced."
"And we know from seeing the receipt of items taken from Mar-a-Lago that there was a box labeled as SCI — sensitive compartmented information," continued Berman. "Can you think of any reason a former president would have to have sensitive compartmented information in his residence?"
"No," said Bolton. "Look, in a normal administration a president is quite likely to write memoirs. He'll want and deserves access to highly classified information, arrangements are made for former presidents and indeed for former cabinet officers who leave under happy circumstances, that SCIFs are set up that they can go to and look at this classified information. I don't think there is any explanation that carries any weight whatever, why Trump just didn't follow the normal procedures, except he thought he wasn't subjected to procedures."
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John Bolton says media should FOIA top secret documents Trump claims are declassified www.youtube.com
Morning Joe says Trump could lose more Fox hosts after Mar-A-Lago search: 'The news is going to get worse'
Former President Donald Trump appears to be losing one of his top conservative media allies, and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said Republicans may finally be willing to cut him loose before he sinks their election chances again.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham said on a recent podcast that Americans are "exhausted" by the former president and may prefer to "turn the page" to another Republican presidential candidate in 2024, and the "Morning Joe" host said they'd be wise to do it sooner rather than later.
"I mean, from my point of view, that would be best for America, but from somebody's point of view who is interested in the Republican Party defeating Democrats, it would be in the Republican Party's best interest also if that's what they did," Scarborough said. "He has too many negatives. They say it time and again, that guy is not going to ever win back voters he lost in the suburbs of Atlanta or the Philly suburbs or the Detroit suburbs or any of these suburbs. He's toxic for 55 percent of Americans, and he's just never going to get those people back, so it does make a lot of sense."
The former president has been taking on water since the FBI searched his Mar-A-Lago residence as part of an espionage investigation, and Scarborough said his legal problems could sink GOP candidates this fall.
"It makes sense to warn other Republicans, some whom have flocked to Donald Trump over the past week because they wanted to show how loyal they were to him, I mean, they're having trouble even keeping sort of the defense consistent because he keeps changing his story every three or four hours," Scarborough said. "One story contradicts another story. You know, we're just at the beginning of this. The news is going to continue to get worse. This is like the first round of Mike Tyson versus Allen, the boxing club champion of Princeton from 1967. It is not going to get better over the next 14 rounds."
"You know, it doesn't make sense for Republicans to embrace this guy, then be shocked by one revelation after another revelation after another revelation," he added. "They're going to keep coming."
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Trump's 'flim-flam' may not work as he finds himself in 'a position of weakness' against DOJ: biographer
Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly come under legal and financial scrutiny over the years -- only to eventually escape accountability.
But as Trump family biographer Gwenda Blair writes in an essay for Politico, he will likely not be as lucky when it comes to evading legal consequences for stashing top secret documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Blair begins by running down all the ways that Trump has escaped unscathed again and again when his actions have come under scrutiny from the media, from banks, and from criminal investigators.
Trump's high-wire act may have reached its peak in the 1990s when his businesses were struggling and he owed creditors $1 billion -- but he managed to turn around and blame the banks for giving him so much cash.
"The problem, he said in interview after interview, wasn’t that he’d overspent but that the banks had overlent — and the banks, unwilling to risk losing the Trump name on mortgaged properties, rolled over, lowering their interest rates and extending payment deadlines," writes Blair.
The author then documents how Trump discovered that his "flim-flam" worked in politics, as he used it to escape two impeachment convictions.
That said, Blair believes that these tricks will not work as well on the United States Department of Justice and she argues that Trump now finds himself in a "position of weakness."
"For perhaps the first time in Trump’s entire career, the M.O. that had served him so well seemed to be losing its magic," she concludes. "Maybe not for good, perhaps not even for long. The question now is whether it can save his ass yet again. I wouldn’t bet on it."