As Donald Trump heads to court to meet his requested special master on Tuesday, he was being asked for anything proving that he declassified any of the stolen government documents.
The court filings never allege that Trump declassified any of the documents, but it's something that he'd been saying on his social media sites and in radio and television interviews. It had become such a part of the narrative, that Judge Aileen Cannon put the unsubstantiated information in her own ruling.
"The Court does not find it appropriate to accept the Government’s conclusions on these important and disputed issues without further review by a neutral third party in an expedited and orderly fashion," Cannon wrote last week in her filing.
It's setting Tuesday up for a doozy of a court battle, where Trump isn't expected to appear.
Now that the scandal has reached the six-week mark, former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is reminiscing about the early days of the social media rants, the rabid press releases and quick excuses from ill-informed Republican loyalists.
"Whatever happened to the defense the FBI came in and planted them?" McCaskill asked about the Trump excuses. The Fox networks spent almost a whole day suggesting the boxes could have been planted. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said that no one is certain that the FBI wouldn't "put things in the boxes to entrap him."
"What the FBI is probably doing is planting evidence," said Fox host Jesse Watters said in his Aug. 9 show. Two days later, Watters was saying, it wasn't so much planting evidence as Trump wanted to take home some reminders of his time in the Oval Office like a paperweight from North Korea, or a little bobblehead of the MBS.
Trump claimed by that point, that he didn't have any documents anymore. The National Archives asked for them back and he gave them back.
It was only one of the things that Trump said over the course of the week as he searched for something that would explain the reason he had classified documents from the government in his desk drawers and boxes in his closet.
The excuse then became "they're just news clippings" that some papers may have gotten mixed in with.
In one statement, Trump claimed that people bring their work home all the time. Trump had lost his job by the time he was bringing those documents back to Florida. That same statement also claimed that he'd declassified the documents, which he'd previously said the FBI planted.
After that, they alleged that the FBI was "raiding" Mar-a-Lago because they were part of some wild operation targeting Trump. His MAGA supporters proclaimed: "If they can do this to a former president, imagine what they can do to you."
Then the excuse became that it was President Baack Obama's fault because he stole 33,000 government documents for his presidential library. The National Archives came out with a statement explaining that they actually run the Obama archives of documents, as they do with all presidential libraries. None of those documents are classified.
An aide then said that because Trump thought he'd won the presidency and that he'd be able to stay in office that he never really packed anything. So, he simply threw some things in boxes with 40 boxes of paperwork and file folders saying "CLASSIFIED" or "TOP SECRET" in big red letters. It's hard to believe that Trump was in the White House residence bubble-wrapping things and shoving his clothes in a black trash bag.
The next excuse from Trump is that he's entitled to the documents because they were his.
“They're mine,” three of Trump's advisers told the New York Times that he said repeatedly.
The next excuse became that he needed them to write his book. Trump has already self-published his book, which are pages of photos with post-it notes he has written on and about the photos. The National Archives also disputed this claim because presidents have access to the archives for up to 12 years and Trump could have used that access any time to work on his book. He just never turned over the documents to begin with so they could be cataloged.
At some point in the process there was a comment that he would have given the documents back if they'd just asked. It wasn't long after Americans learned of the 18-month process that the Archives and the FBI went through trying to get them back by sending letters and talking to his aides. He was then subpoenaed, which went ignored and finally the search was executed.
See McCaskill's video below:
what happened to the claim the FBI planted the documents? youtu.be