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Maddow Blog | After Mar-a-Lago search, classified docs found in Trump’s bedroom

In World
May 22, 2024

When it comes to the newly unsealed revelations from Donald Trump’s classified-documents scandal, there’s a big difference between what’s important and what Republicans are pretending is important. Let’s start with the latter.

The former president, referencing newly available materials, claimed by way of his social media platform that the Justice Department “AUTHORIZED THE FBI TO USE DEADLY (LETHAL) FORCE” while executing a court-approved search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. This, according to Trump, is proof that President Joe Biden is “MENTALLY UNFIT TO HOLD OFFICE.”

It wasn’t at all clear how or why the Republican made this leap, but his allies were similarly hysterical. Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, for example, claimed that the incumbent Democratic president “ordered the hit on Trump at Mar-a-Lago.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia added that the Justice Department and the FBI had plans to “assassinate” the former president. Even some Fox News personalities parroted the line.

Trump even issued an outlandish fundraising appeal, falsely claiming that Biden was “locked & loaded” and “ready to take me out” during the FBI’s search of his glorified country club.

All of this was utterly bonkers. As NBC News reported, Trump and allies appeared to be misconstruing “standard operating procedure at the FBI.” In fact, the bureau took the unusual step of issuing a public statement yesterday, explaining reality, and leaving no doubt that the former president and his allies simply had no idea what they were talking about.

But as truly ridiculous as the Republican rhetoric was, it would be a mistake to assume that there were no revelations of note in the newly unsealed court documents. NBC News also reported:

The timeline of events helps clarify matters. In the spring of 2022, the Justice Department subpoenaed Trump, directing him to return the documents he took. In June 2022, the Republican’s attorneys insisted to law enforcement that there were no classified materials at Mar-a-Lago.

When Trump refused to comply with the subpoena, and his lawyer’s claims proved false, the FBI showed up at the venue in August 2022 to retrieve the classified documents the former president wasn’t supposed to have. In December 2022, Trump’s legal team arranged for a sweep of the Republican’s properties to ensure there were no remaining sensitive documents in his possession.

It was at that point when personnel found even more classified documents — in Trump’s bedroom. U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell wondered how, exactly, this happened, and in a 2023 ruling, she wrote, “Notably, no excuse is provided as to how the former president could miss the classified-marked documents found in his own bedroom at Mar-a-Lago.”

In case this weren’t quite enough, a Politico report went on to note, “In a footnote, Howell also noted that another Trump adviser connected to his Save America PAC had acknowledged scanning the contents of the box that contained the classified materials in 2021 and storing them on a personal laptop provided by the PAC.”

There’s a reason the former president and his allies were fixated on absurd “assassination” claims: They were no doubt aware that the reality-based revelations from yesterday made Trump look even worse.

This article was originally published on MSNBC.com

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