Former President Donald Trump has tried to deflect from the scandal surrounding his handling of top-secret government documents by arguing that he declassified them before he left office and stashed them away at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
But Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, writes in the Washington Post that this excuse is "no less damning" for the former president given all of the other evidence stacked against him.
Vladeck first shows that, despite his claims, there is no paper trail showing that Trump took any official action to declassify such a broad array of national security documents.
Additionally, he argues that even if Trump were to have issued such a stunningly broad declassification order and then kept boxes of highly sensitive secrets lying around his private club that is a frequent target for spies, it would constitute a gross dereliction of duty.
"Trump’s 'defense' would mean that he committed what would have to be the most stunning and indefensible systematic breach of our national security not just by any president in American history, but perhaps by any person," he argues. "In Trump’s version of events, breaching our national security and potentially exposing secrets happened simply because he couldn’t be bothered to handle classified information correctly. It’s not quite the 'Twinkie defense,' the standard for wildly improbable justifications for improper behavior, but it’s not far off."