How Clinton's 'sock drawer' lawsuit is vastly different than Trump taking classified docs
Trump speaking at a rally in 2019. (

A bizarre case involving former President Bill Clinton and Donald Trump's stolen documents was broached by a producer for MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, Steve Benen, on Monday.

Writing for the Maddow blog, Benen recalled that while serving as president, Clinton frequently spoke with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tylor Branch, resulting in several tapes that were perhaps to be used as part of a memoir or biography. At one point, however, those tapes were stored in a sock drawer.

The right-wing group, Judicial Watch, filed a lawsuit demanding the recordings be turned over. They ultimately lost the lawsuit with the federal court, with the decision saying that it was considered to be personal records not presidential.

In Trump's filing on Monday, his lawyers used the case as an example of how Trump should be given access to any document that he touched as president.

"If Clinton made such a decision with his records, the argument goes, and that was considered legally permissible by a federal court, then Trump should have similar discretion," Benen characterized.

“[U]nmentioned by Trump’s defenders who began raising the issue of the sock drawer case last month is that Jackson’s ruling explicitly states that the Presidential Records Act distinguishes presidential records from ‘personal records,’ defined as documents that are ‘purely private or nonpublic character,'" CBS News reported.

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Benen explained that the major difference is that Trump didn't merely take tapes of his conversations with a reporter, he took classified documents involving the nuclear capabilities of a foreign country as well as documents that were such a high level of classification that only Cabinet-level or higher could view them.

Benen explained, the two can hardly be compared.

The last filing is slated for today.

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