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.

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.

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.

meet the author

Megan has lived in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida and she currently lives in Central America. Living in these places has informed her writing on politics, science, and history. She is currently owned by 15 cats and 3 dogs and regularly owns Trump supporters when she has the opportunity. She can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GaiaLibra and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/politicalsaurus

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