BY C. Douglas Golden, The Western JournalJune 13, 2023
1 year ago
 | June 13, 2023
1 year ago

Proof It Was a Setup? Trump Was 1st POTUS in 40 Years Who Feds Didn't Help Archive Classified Docs, Attorneys Say

As we all now know, former President Donald Trump has been indicted on 37 counts of willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and false statements after a special counsel investigation. However, was the president set up by the federal government?

That is a possible defense that floated into a letter to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in April by Trump's attorneys, in which they allege the National Archives and Records Administration "has become overtly political and declined to provide archival assistance to President Trump's transition team" -- the first such incidence of this to happen in 40 years.

And there's a reason why NARA usually aids presidents in the transition. As The Associated Press noted in a January piece about the Presidential Records Act, the Classified Information Procedures Act and other statutes in question here, Trump is "hardly the first president to mishandle classified information."

For instance, while the Presidential Records Act was signed by President Jimmy Carter, it didn't apply to his administration. The AP reported Carter "found classified materials at his home in Plains, Georgia, on at least one occasion and returned them to the National Archives, according to the same person who spoke of regular occurrences of mishandled documents. The person did not provide details on the timing of the discovery.

"An aide to the Carter Center provided no details when asked about that account of Carter discovering documents at his home after leaving office in 1981. It’s notable that Carter signed the Presidential Records Act in 1978 but it did not apply to records of his administration, taking effect years later when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated," the AP's account continued.

"Before Reagan, presidential records were generally considered the private property of the president individually. Nonetheless, Carter invited federal archivists to assist his White House in organizing his records in preparation for their eventual repository at his presidential library in Georgia."

In a letter to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio in April, former Trump lawyer Timothy C. Parlatore argued that NARA's cooperation with the outgoing Trump administration differed starkly with what the agency had done with every president since Carter.

"When President Trump left office, there was little time to prepare for the outgoing transition from the presidency. Unlike his three predecessors, each of whom had over four years to prepare for their departure upon completion of their second term, President Trump had a much shorter time to wind up his administration," Parlatore wrote.

"White House staffers and General Service Administration ('GSA') employees quickly packed everything into boxes and shipped them to Florida. This was a stark change from the standard preparations made by GSA and National Archives and Records Administration ('NARA') for prior administrations."

As NARA acknowledged in a news release it issued on October 11, 2022: "The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), in accordance with the Presidential Records Act, assumed physical and legal custody of the Presidential records from the administrations of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan, when those Presidents left office. NARA securely moved these records to temporary facilities that NARA leased from the General Services Administration (GSA), near the locations of the future Presidential Libraries that former Presidents built for NARA. All such temporary facilities met strict archival and security standards, and have been managed and staffed exclusively by NARA employees."

Why the change? Playing politics, according to the former president's ex-attorney:

"NARA unfortunately has become overtly political and declined to provide archival assistance to President Trump’s transition team. Interestingly, in its Press Statement NARA cites every recent President after Jimmy Carter as having received the same assistance with 'archival and security standards,'" Parlatore wrote.

"Yet, President Carter, the last President before President Trump to not receive archival assistance found documents with classification markings in his home, which he returned to NARA (though apparently without an accompanying DOJ criminal probe)."

Parlatore stepped aside in May amid differences with another one of Trump's advisers, Boris Epshteyn, according to The New York Times.

The paper said the president's ex-lawyer "described how Mr. Epshteyn had hindered him and other lawyers from getting information to Mr. Trump, leaving the former president’s legal team at a disadvantage in dealing with the Justice Department, which is scrutinizing Mr. Trump’s handling of classified documents after leaving office and his efforts to remain in office after losing the 2020 election."

The Times also reported that "Mr. Parlatore singled out Mr. Epshteyn as trying to keep the team from conducting additional searches of Mr. Trump’s properties after the F.B.I. executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s private club and residence in Florida, and discovered more than 100 additional classified documents."

“As I said at the time, it had nothing to do with the case itself or the client,” Parlatore told the Times. “There are certain individuals that made defending the president much harder than it needed to be.”

Now, whether those dots can be connected or not is anyone's guess. Parlatore himself has been silent on his Twitter account, with the last action being a retweet announcing his June 4 appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" before the indictment.

[firefly_poll] However, in an appearance on CNN after the charges were announced, Parlatore said "the indictment has a lot in it, a lot of stuff I wasn't aware of ... specific allegations about moving boxes before the search ... there are things in here that, if they have backup for, are certainly problematic."

Furthermore, what we do now know is that feuds on the former president's legal team go far beyond a spat between Epsteyn and Parlatore. Jim Trusty and John Rowley, two lawyers who represented Trump in the classified documents case, quit his team one day after the 37-count indictment was handed down.

Part of the question, then, becomes whether or not NARA deliberately withheld assistance in transitioning presidential records securely and whether his legal representation was pursuing the potential of a set-up strongly enough.

Whatever the case may be, don't believe that this is an open-and-shut case, no matter what the media tells you. The indictment may indeed be problematic, but even more problematic is the potential that government agencies set the former president -- and the de facto political opposition -- up to fail however they could.

It's the kind of evidence that, when you read it -- well, let's just put it this way: After chancing upon this letter, my editor literally said, "I hate to sound conspiratorial, but ..." However, when coincidences mount, it's not conspiracy theory. It's legitimate suspicion, and don't let anyone in the media talk you out of believing otherwise.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: C. Douglas Golden, The Western Journal



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