Politics - News Analysis
‘OBSTRUCTION!’: Americans Shocked at Trump’s Lie That Stolen Documents Were Just ‘Newspaper Clippings’
It’s been years since most of us have learned that Donald Trump and the truth are two separate entities that rarely connect. But now he’s spinning what’s likely a previously untold untruth freshly unearthed from the FBI’s confiscating box upon box of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago in August.
In the months before officials from the National Archives hauled hundreds of classified documents out of Trump’s Palm Beach home, they were told that none of the material was sensitive or classified, The Washington Post reports. Instead, they were told Trump had only 12 boxes of “news clippings,” say people well-acquainted with conversations between Trump’s team and the Archives.
In September 2021, in a phone call between top Archives lawyer Gary Stern and former deputy White House counsel Pat Philbin, who offered reassuring information, saying he had talked to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who asserted the dozen boxes were stuffed with news clippings, the sources say. Philbin relayed the information he said he obtained from Meadows and asserted Trump’s team wasn’t aware of any other material.
Quite obviously, the “information” relayed in this conversation was a huge misrepresentation of the vastness of the documents involved — including top-secret records that were eventually retrieved by the Archives or the FBI.
Stern wanted to talk to Philbin because he suspected Trump was still hanging on to more than two dozen boxes, and he was worried about whether digital records had been stored properly, said one person familiar with the situation. And Archive higher-ups also believed there were more materials than they’d been told about, according to other sources who know how the officials think.
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So far the spokeswoman for Philbin has declined to comment and a lawyer for Meadows is also declining to comment. Attempts to contact a spokesman for Meadows also went nowhere. One source close to Philbin said he didn’t know what the contents inside the boxes were, adding he didn’t know there were classified materials inside them.
It’s been a year since that call, and in that time, Archives and Justice Department officials have recovered an astounding 42 boxes of records from Mar-a-Lago. This includes 15 boxes of documents handed over by Trump’s representatives for the Archives last January and another 27 boxes retrieved by the FBI during its raid of Trump’s home in August.
Those records recovered by the FBI during its court-ordered search included documents that detailed top-secret U.S. operations and reports about the nuclear defense-readiness of a foreign government, per The Washington Post. And of course, there’s Trump’s infamous habit of ripping documents up and attempting to flush them down the toilet.
— How much legal trouble may Mark Meadows be in over MAL docs?
— What incentives would he have to cooperate with feds?
— What implications for Trump?
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) September 17, 2022
Trump’s nefarious behavior is coming full circle, with many people grasping a better understanding of just how far that went, and the Twitterati are responding. The situation is definitely piling higher and deeper as we find out more about those classified documents Trump tried to keep hidden.
In September 2021, Trump team claimed the boxes they had were only 12 boxes of news clippings. We now know they were hundreds of classified documents.
Trump’s lawyer, Philbin named Mark Meadows — who had a lot of contact with NARA.
— Outspoken™️ (@Out5p0ken) September 16, 2022
I'm just a simple unfrozen caveman lawyer. Your world confuses me. But I recall that people go to jail for obstructing justice, stealing classified documents, and lying to federal authorities. Oh well. It's good to be Trump. I guess he needed those "newspaper clippings."
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) September 16, 2022
Mar-Lago documents seized were not”news clippings” as Trump now claims: 1. evidence photo exhibit and DOJ papers confirm that classified and top secret docs were seized 2. If need clippings, then there is NO PRIVILEGE- why seek a special master? TFG can’t pick his defense
— Sara Azari (@azarilaw) September 16, 2022
How many different BS excuses has trump tried so far?
1. “The FBI planted the documents”
2. “There are no documents”
3. “The documents aren’t classified”
4. “They’re mein”
5. “Writing my memoir”
6. “But Obama”
7. “We were busy with treason and forgot”
8. “They’re just clippings!”
— Luke Zaleski (@ZaleskiLuke) September 16, 2022
— T J (@TTj76447322) September 16, 2022
So why does Trump want a special master if the seized documents are just news paper clippings? https://t.co/8zoxc7ZJCm
— Island Girl 🇺🇦 (@DearGoodPeople) September 16, 2022
Now the documents were “news clippings.”
Rule #1: Trump always lies, even about the little things
Rule #2: See Rule #1
— ML Swift (@mlswift1) September 16, 2022
Soooo…..Meadows told Philbin who told the Archives, who told the DOJ, who issued a subpoena, and told Trump, who told Judge Cannon.
Sooooo…..now we know how Judge Cannon wrongfully believes that the national security documents were only clippings.
— Stephen Elpop (@ElpopGolf) September 16, 2022
He keeps updating the excuse
There weren't any documents
The documents found were planted
There were documents but I declassified them
The documents were mostly newspaper clippings
What's next? Will Trump claim that all the FBI found was toilet paper?
— UNCfaninDE (@UNCfaninVA) September 17, 2022