Former President Donald Trump lashed out at Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday, bizarrely claiming that he’s been “open” and “transparent” when it comes to the inquiry involving his removal of government documents — hundreds of them marked classified — to his Mar-a-Lago property upon his exit from office.
Trump went on to compare the investigation into his removal of government documents to the investigation into the deletion of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails. In a Truth Social post directed at Garland, Trump asked the attorney general when he would investigate and “invade” Clinton’s home over the emails. Notably, Clinton was absolved of any legal wrongdoing by the Department of Justice (DOJ) while Trump was still president.
For Trump to continue bringing Clinton up as a defense for his own actions is purely political, said David Laufman, the former DOJ official who oversaw the Clinton investigation. “People sling these cases around to suit their political agenda but every case has to stand on its own circumstances,” Laufman told Politico in August.
In his post on Monday, Trump also claimed he was more open than other presidents regarding his improper handling of classified material.
“When will you invade the other Presidents’ homes in search of documents, which are voluminous, which they took with them, but not nearly so openly and transparently as I did?” Trump asked.
According to Political Wire’s Taegan Goddard, this is the first time that Trump “explicitly acknowledged taking White House documents when he left office.”
Despite Trump’s claims that he has been “open” and “transparent,” he has been far from cooperative in the investigation into the documents being kept at Mar-a-Lago.
After Trump left the White House, bringing thousands of government documents with him to Mar-a-Lago, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) kept in contact with him and his lawyers, pleading with them to return the documents. The former president and his legal team brushed aside these requests for nearly a year, and at one point tried to use the documents he took as a bargaining chip, telling NARA they would only return the documents if the agency handed over documents relating to the Russia investigation.
At the end of 2021, NARA threatened to involve Congress in the matter, which prompted Trump to relent and agree to let the agency retrieve some documents in January 2022. Soon after, NARA alerted the DOJ that some of the documents Trump had taken were marked classified.
The Justice Department subsequently subpoenaed Trump in the spring of 2022, resulting in another voluntary surrender of some documents. Although the former president and his legal representatives claimed that no additional classified documents were being kept at Mar-a-Lago, evidence surfaced proving otherwise; soon after, a warrant was approved and a search was conducted in early August.
Even after documents were retrieved, Trump sought to obstruct their examination by suing to have a special master appointed to look over them before the DOJ could continue its work. The necessity of a special master is currently being considered by a federal appeals court.
To this day, NARA says there are still documents Trump took when he left office that have not been returned.
It’s likely that Trump’s latest post on Truth Social will be featured in court filings in the near future, as many of his social media posts have been already.
“Trump just admitted to his crimes — again,” tweeted the account for the MeidasTouch Media Network. “Expect to see this in a future court filing.”