In the days since the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) executed a search warrant on his Mar-a-Lago estate, former Republican President Donald Trump has hit back at suggestions he broke federal government policy regarding classified documents.
Additionally, his claims he had the ability to declassify any and all classified documents or information have been widely disputed by experts who noted there is a specific federal process that must be adhered to before any information can be declassified.
These issues alone place a damper on the former President's insistence he respects laws that protect classified information, particularly since his own aides claimed he had a “standing order” to declassify documents that left the White House for his residence.
Now, a resurfaced video—courtesy of CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski—highlights the levels of Trump's hypocrisy regarding classified documentation, as when he declared during a 2016 campaign stop that he would enforce laws protecting classified information.
You can hear what Trump said in the video below.
"On political corruption, we are going to restore honor to our government."
“In my administration, I’m going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information."
"No one will be above the law."
At the time, Trump's remarks were largely in response to the Benghazi and email investigations, which took place and cleared Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of any criminal wrongdoing.
As Secretary of State, Clinton responded to the Arab Spring by advocating military intervention in Libya but was harshly criticized by Republicans for the failure to prevent the 2012 Benghazi attack. However embassy security staff was cut by Republicans prior to the attack.
Her use of a private email server when she was Secretary of State was the subject of intense scrutiny. The emails were retrieved, not deleted as Republican rhetoric claims. No charges were filed against Clinton as it was deemed a procedural issue and not criminal.
Notably, multiple members of the Trump administration were cited for using private servers, unsecured electronic devices and public apps for official White House communication.
The footage of Trump's remarks—resurfaced so soon after the Mar-a-Lago raid—have exposed him to further criticism.
Last week, Trump sent conservatives into a flurry following his announcement that the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago estate and "even broke into my safe!"
In the days since the raid, sources said Trump was in possession of classified material—including nuclear secrets—that prompted the intelligence community to voice concerns about national security and the possibility classified government secrets could prove a boon to foreign adversaries and even allies.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) says it opposes the release of details from the sworn affidavit describing the basis for the search.
United States Attorney Juan Gonzalez and Justice Department counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt said in a filing that releasing those details would compromise the ongoing criminal probe, writing that the affidavit "would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps."