Politics - News Analysis
Jack Smith Reportedly Believes Trump’s Motive for Stealing Classified Documents Involves Russia
Investigators working for the Justice Department’s Special Counsel, Jack Smith, have allegedly questioned numerous former Trump administration officials regarding the fate of a large cache of classified documents that pertain to the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference during the 2016 presidential campaign, The Independent reports.
A report by freelance investigative reporter Murray Waas showed that “at least three” figures in Trump’s inner orbit have been pressured by prosecutors as to whether Trump took “thousands of pages” of documents from the White House. Many of the documents were marked “classified,” which raises questions as to whether attempts would be made to make the records public in order to discredit the DOJ’s investigation into alleged ties between Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russian Federation.
Trump, who will go down in history as the only U.S. president to be impeached twice, tried to declassify many of the records in question before he left office after issuing a January 19, 2021 memo titled “Declassification of Certain Materials Related to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation.” While Trump ordered that the documents be “declassified to the maximum extent possible,” it isn’t known if this directive was followed.
Waas reports that the FBI and DOJ “slow-walked the declassification order,” per The Independent, due to “cited concerns about how compromising the identities of FBI informants could dissuade witnesses and human intelligence sources from cooperating with US law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the future. The Justice Department informed the White House that portions of the records violated the Privacy Act,” Waas wrote.
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Trump had reportedly been complaining that after he left office he would not have the power to make the records public.
According to Waas, “sources familiar” with the ongoing probe say that prosecutors have asked the former Trump administration officials about conversations they may have had with Trump regarding the classified documents, as well as discussions between senior DOJ officials and the White House Counsel’s Office, and a memo written by then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on January 20, which appeared to reverse some of Trump’s orders, “citing the aforementioned Privacy Act concerns,” The Independent reported.
So it looks very much like the screws are being tightened. Let’s hope Smith soon has all that he needs in order to do the right thing.
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