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New Evidence May Show Trump Was Warned Mar-a-Lago Docs Were Not Automatically Declassified

© AP Photo / Lynne SladkyПоместье Дональда Трампа в штате Флорида
Поместье Дональда Трампа в штате Флорида  - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.05.2023
In August of last year, the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and seized thousands of documents, including dozens that were marked as classified and top secret.
The US National Archives have informed former President Donald Trump that it will hand over 16 records to special counsel Jack Smith that apparently show Trump and his top advisers were informed about the correct declassification process while he was in office.
The letter sent by Archivist Debra Steidel Wall to Trump was obtained by US media, it states:
“The 16 records in question [that will be sent to Jack Smith] all reflect communications involving close presidential advisers, some of them directed to you personally, concerning whether, why, and how you should declassify certain classified records.”
The records were subpoenaed last year and may affect the grand jury investigation, headed by Smith, into whether Trump mishandled classified documents when he left the White House in January 2021.
FILE - This is an aerial view of President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, Aug. 10, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla. - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.03.2023
DOJ, FBI Clashed Over August 2022 Plans to Raid Mar-a-Lago for Suspected Classified Files - Report
Trump has insisted that as president the documents were automatically declassified when he removed them from the White House. The president of the United States has the power to declassify any document but typically a process is followed to do so.
Trump and his allies say he gave a “standing order” to declassify the material.
The letter also states Trump tried to block Smith’s access to the 16 records by citing “constitutionally based privilege” but Wall rejected that assertion. It states Smith’s office has represented it is prepared to demonstrate why the records are likely to contain evidence that “would be important to the grand jury’s investigation.”
The letter says the documents will be handed over on May 24 unless a court order prevents it.
Republican candidate President Donald Trump participates during the second and final presidential debate with Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.05.2023
Sputnik Explains
From Ukraine to US Debt Ceiling: What Did Trump Say During Heated Town Hall?
During a Town Hall aired on US television last week, Trump again said that the Presidential Records Act allowed him to take the documents when he left office. However, the Act states the National Archives becomes the legal custodian of all presidential records when the president leaves office, and that those records belong to the public.
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