Federal prosecutors on Tuesday revealed more explosive information about how former President Donald Trump and his team repeatedly failed to hand over classified documents, and how they may have even sought to obstruct the criminal investigation into the matter.
How are members of his party responding to the government? By choosing to simply ignore the documents.
A Twitter account run by the office of Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, mocked a new photo prosecutors provided of some classified documents recovered at Trump’s estate because it included a box of framed Time magazine covers that featured Trump.
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee glossed over the documents marked “top secret,” which contain the most sensitive types of information, including some items related to the work of clandestine U.S. intelligence sources. The Department of Justice said that during the Aug. 8 search of Trump’s estate, in some instances, “even FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents.”
But House Judiciary Republicans found this all much ado about nothing. The FBI agents, they claimed in a follow-up tweet, staged a “photo op” and took the Time magazine covers “as a souvenir.”
While other GOP lawmakers stayed silent immediately following the filing of DOJ’s brief late Tuesday night, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) suggested the FBI was either lying or had somehow planted the documents at Trump’s estate ― a favorite conspiracy theory among conservatives.
“You can see folders, you can see big words on ― do we know that that is really what President Trump brought to his home? Do we know that he put them there? Do we know what’s inside?” Noem posited in a Wednesday morning interview on Fox News.
Noem is viewed as a potential 2024 presidential candidate and has already made several trips to early nominating states.
These are only the latest GOP contortions in defense of Trump’s refusal to return classified documents to the government in potential violation of the Espionage Act. GOP lawmakers previously suggested that FBI agents went rogue during the search, that maybe aliens had something to do with it, and that the secrets weren’t that secret at all. And then there are their attempts to deflect by pointing to Hillary Clinton’s email server.
Trump on Wednesday claimed he “declassified” all of the documents found at his estate despite the fact that his own lawyers never said anything had been declassified during their months of negotiations with the government over the handling of the documents prior to the Aug. 8 search, per the Department of Justice.
The former president also criticized how FBI agents presented the classified documents he kept at his estate in the photo the government provided on Tuesday.
“Terrible the way the FBI, during the Raid of Mar-a-Lago, threw documents haphazardly all over the floor (perhaps pretending it was me that did it!), and then started taking pictures of them for the public to see,” Trump wrote on his social media site, Truth Social.