Trump All But Confesses to Mishandling Classified Docs on Fox News – Rolling Stone

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A week after his second post-presidential arrest, this one for his alleged mishandling of classified documents after leaving the White House, Donald Trump turned to Fox News host Bret Baier on Monday to make the case for why he should lead the country again. But he ended up essentially confessing to the crime of which he’s accused: stealing and sharing top-secret government information.

Before that, however, Baier pressed Trump to explain why he kept the boxes of classified materials at Mar-a-Lago and refused to comply with government requests to return them, as described in his new felony indictment. In between dismissing the case as “the document hoax” or accusing other presidents of illegally hoarding their own sensitive documents, Trump offered the bizarre explanation that he couldn’t give up the boxes to authorities because they also contained… his clothes.

“Like every other president I take things out,” Trump said. “In my case, I took it out pretty much in a hurry. People packed it up and left. I had clothing in there, I had all sorts of personal items in there. Much, much stuff.” After a brief digression to call his former attorney general Bill Barr a “coward,” Trump reiterated, “I have got a lot of things in there. I will go through those boxes. I have to go through those boxes. I take out personal things.” Finally, he clarified what those items were: “These boxes were interspersed with all sorts of things: golf shirts, clothing, pants, shoes, there were many things,” he said. 

While not wanting Dark Brandon to seize your golf shirts may prove a compelling argument in court, another of Trump’s evasions seems less likely to hold water. Baier also brought up one of the most damning parts of the federal indictment, a recording from July 2021 in which Trump is heard showing off a document detailing an attack plan against Iran, revealing that it’s still officially secret and he no longer has the power to declassify it. Trump blustered for a moment about what he actually said, then pivoted to the claim that he wasn’t even holding a particular document — despite corroborating testimony from others in the room when it happened. No wonder this guy’s lawyers keep quitting on him.

“Bret, there was no document,” Trump insisted. “That was a massive amount of papers and everything else, talking about Iran and other things. And it may have been held up or may not. That was not a document. I didn’t have any document per se. There was nothing to declassify, these were newspaper stories, magazine stories, and articles.” When Baier referred again to the facts of the recording laid out in the indictment, Trump said, presumably of the prosecutors: “These people are very dishonest people, they are thugs.” He also suggested they could be “stuffing” the boxes with incriminating material.

Trump’s answer immediately made waves, with even some of his frequent defenders suggesting the former president may have just undermined himself. On Twitter, Pro-Trump legal scholar Jonathan Turley praised Baier’s interview — and included an ominous warning for Trump: “Bret Baier conducted an extraordinary interview with Donald Trump who discussed the criminal allegations in detail. Statements of this kind are generally admissible at trial…”

Later on in the interview, Trump and Baier got into a debate on the results of the 2020 election, with the Fox anchor trying in vain to remind the former president that he lost while Trump rambled on about fake ballots. The rest of the conversation involved Trump bashing Biden’s international diplomacy, from Ukraine to the Middle East to China, and musing about how much better things were with him in office.

Afterward, Fox News chief political analyst Brit Hume said that Trump’s answers regarding matters of the law were “on the verge on incoherent,” and specifically mentioned the bizarre detail of not returning the boxes of classified documents because they hadn’t been “separated from his golf shirts or whatever he was saying.” Overall, Hume said, it sounded as if Trump was making the argument that the papers were his to do with as he liked, “which I don’t think is going to hold up in court.”  

Special Report with Bret Baier will air the second half of this interview on Tuesday evening. Will we learn more about the precious polos that Trump was shielding from government overreach? One can only hope.  

 

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Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/donald-trump-all-but-confesses-mishandling-classified-docs-fox-news-bret-baier-1234774379/

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