Another of former Republican President Donald Trump's ride or die supporters—former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton—is again speaking out to contradict his former boss.
After the Department of Justice (DoJ) issued a search warrant for Trump’s Florida paid membership resort Mar-a-Lago—a warrant executed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)—Trump and his allies have given a wide variety of responses and excuses.
The National Archives notified the DoJ they believed the prior return of documents—improperly taken to Mar-a-Lago for storage in an unsecured location by Trump—didn't include everything, with some missing documents possibly impacting national security.
In response, a search warrant was issued.
The FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. While the resort has a hefty membership fee, reviews regarding national security are not part of the membership approval process. Mar-a-Lago can also be rented as an event space by anyone with the cash to pay the fees.
\u201cThe #MarALagoFBIRaid was just the beginning, with Trump\u2019s world closing in on him, there\u2019s nowhere in the universe left to hide. As the midterms approach, President Biden achieves his final form. \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 \n#DarkBrandon #PleadTheFifth #FBI #DOJ #NYAG #POTUS #Midterms2022\u201d— John Handem Piette (@John Handem Piette) 1660312148
From the Trump camp claiming anything found was planted by the FBI to pointing fingers at former Democratic President Barack Obama to saying Trump declassified everything—a power that is not unlimited—the Trump response continues to evolve.
The current explanation hinges on an alleged standing order to automatically declassify any documents taken to Trump’s properties.
\u201c\u2026 standing order then applied to all documents he removed to Mar-a-Lago, essentially counting that as the equivalent to the WH residence.\u201d— Ron Filipkowski \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Ron Filipkowski \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1660352496
\u201cImpressive foresight on the part of Trump to issue a \u201cstanding order\u201d eighteen months ago to declassify the documents the FBI planted this week at Mar-a-Lago.\u201d— Bill Kristol (@Bill Kristol) 1660388138
\u201cI don\u2019t understand: Trump has been hinting for days that the FBI could have 'planted' evidence against him. Now, he's saying he had a standing order (?) to declassify documents taken to his residence. So are the documents fake or are they real?\u201d— Kyle Griffin (@Kyle Griffin) 1660399202
\u201c@RibaSusan @BlackKnight10k I thought the FBI planted it all\u201d— I Smoked Trump's Passports (@I Smoked Trump's Passports) 1660355128
On Friday evening, Trump’s office stated:
"...in order to prepare for work the next day, [Trump] often took documents, including classified documents, to the residence.”
“He had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken to the residence were deemed to be declassified the moment he removed them."
But in an interview with The New York Times, Bolton said this latest excuse is "almost certainly a lie."
\u201c@TheLastWord @Lawrence What would John Bolton know. Not like he was Trump's National Security Advisor or anything.\u201d— The Last Word (@The Last Word) 1660674612
The former Trump administration member said:
"I was never briefed on any such order, procedure, policy when I came in."
"If he were to say something like that, you would have to memorialize that, so that people would know it existed."
\u201c\u201cMr. Bolton, who served as Mr. Trump\u2019s third national security adviser over 17 months, said he had never heard of the standing order (of declassification) that Mr. Trump\u2019s office claimed to have in place. It is, he said, \u2018almost certainly a lie.\u2019\u201d\nhttps://t.co/GExoOGxRbT\u201d— Bianna Golodryga (@Bianna Golodryga) 1660525558
\u201cWhen I first heard the nonsensical contention from Trump's enablement team that there was a standing order that anything he took "home" was declassified, I wondered whether we could trade that for a retroactive standing order that everything he said was deemed to be under oath.\u201d— Duty To Warn \ud83d\udd09 (@Duty To Warn \ud83d\udd09) 1660574461
\u201cTrump just released a statement saying he took classified documents to Mar-a-Lago all the time with a standing order to declassify every document. Girl I...\u201d— I Smoked Trump's Passports (@I Smoked Trump's Passports) 1660355128
\u201c@dkbufny Im aware of the way the statute is written. What's insane is that he's admitting to even more crimes.\u201d— I Smoked Trump's Passports (@I Smoked Trump's Passports) 1660355128
\u201c@jackisio Yeah, that's the funniest part. For defense materials, it doesn't matter what the classification is.\u201d— I Smoked Trump's Passports (@I Smoked Trump's Passports) 1660355128
\u201cJohn Bolton tells media to call Trump's bluff\u200b and file FOIA requests for all documents he says he declassified https://t.co/2RIHWkT9E2\u201d— Wise PaxCat Stands with Ukraine (@Wise PaxCat Stands with Ukraine) 1660674622
National security experts concur with Bolton—such an order would have to be well documented and readily available for review.
Yet no one from the Trump camp has produced it to back their latest claim.
And regardless if such an order existed—even though its validity is questionable at best—Trump was required by law at the end of his presidency in January 2021 to turn over all White House records in his possession to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).