Donald Trump’s possession of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago is drawing calls for the Justice Department to indict him, including from national security lawyer Bradley Moss.
The National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of records from Trump’s Florida compound this week, some of which contained classified materials that should not have been taken from the White House. The matter has since been referred to the Justice Department for investigation. In addition, Trump inappropriately removed White House furniture and other items.
But it’s the classified information that is the most concerning and puts Trump in the most legal jeopardy. While trump’s defenders claim that Trump can have the information if he declassified it, it does not appear he did any such thing prior to leaving office in January 2021.
In fact, Moss pointed out on Twitter that declassifying documents is a process and is not as simple as an authoritarian wave of Trump’s hand. Moss concluded by calling for Trump to be indicted.
1) No, a president can’t “verbally” declassify a document without further action.
2) No, a president can’t declassify a document in his head.
3) No, a former president can’t take classified documents with him outside of secure control mechanisms.
4) Indict him.
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) February 10, 2022
Moss would go on to discuss the situation further with CNN by posing questions that investigators should try to answer.
“Did he know? When did he decide to put those documents there? And did he take any action to declassify them before he left office?” Moss asked.
Trump’s possession of classified information is a threat to national security. He could easily have used the information for personal or political gain, including by selling it to foreign adversaries such as Russia or North Korea. This breach should be taken deadly seriously by the Justice Department and indictment should occur immediately. A message needs to be sent to deter future removal of classified information from the White House by outgoing presidents.
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