Trumps Attorneys Fold On ‘Declassification’ Argument


Just within the last week, Trump was on Truth Social, complaining about the picture of the files on the floor, saying that it was terrible that people could see the information on the cover sheet (Only classifications, HIC, etc.), and Trump said it was a good thing he had declassified the documents. Trump floated the “universal declassification” defense from the day of the search. The defense was meaningless because, under the warrant, the government didn’t even list keeping classified files as one of the crimes. They did list espionage and obstruction of justice, neither of which necessitate a finding that the files are classified. Regardless, it had been one of Trump’s own stated defenses. And yet, Trump’s attorneys’ filings yesterday implicitly acknowledge that some files remain classified, and thus, it would seem, the assertion is dropped.

From the New York Times:

“The two sides also clashed substantially over the duties of the special master. Mr. Trump’s lawyers argued that the arbiter should look at all the documents seized in the search and filter out anything potentially subject to attorney-client or executive privilege. By contrast, the government argued that the master should look only at unclassified documents and should not adjudicate whether anything was subject to executive privilege.”

Trump’s attorneys didn’t argue that every document is declassified, and so the classified/declassified distinction remains. The sides disagree as to whether there remains an executive privilege. The argument that Trump declassified all the documents now seems to be foreclosed.

Good thing. Trump’s attorneys faced serious consequences if they asserted that all the documents remained classified, a fact noted by many legal experts this morning.



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