John Bolton tells media to call Trump's bluff​ and file FOIA requests for all documents he says he declassified
John Bolton (Screen Capture)

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."

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"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