Ex-White House chief of staff said Trump stashed records at Mar-a-Lago because ‘he didn’t believe in the classification system’
- John Kelly, ex-White House chief of staff, said Trump didn’t believe in the classification system.
- “His sense was that the people who are in the intel business are incompetent,” Kelly told The Washington Post.
- Kelly’s remarks come amid an FBI probe into the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.
President Donald Trump’s former chief of staff on Saturday said he took top secret documents to his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida because he “didn’t believe” in the White House classification system.
“His sense was that the people who are in the intel business are incompetent, and he knew better,” John Kelly, told The Washington Post.
“He didn’t believe in the classification system,” he added.
Kelly’s remarks come amid an FBI probe into the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. The FBI on Monday conducted a raid on his Florida property, and unsealed court documents reveal that the probe was part of an investigation into whether Trump had violated three laws related to the handling of government documents.
Among those laws is the Espionage Act, which could come with a 10-year prison sentence if Trump is convicted.
The FBI during its search recovered 11 boxes containing classified records that Trump took with him from the White House once he left office, according to the court records made public Friday. Some of the boxes were distinctly marked as “top secret,” Insider’s Sonam Sheth reported.
Trump has so far denied all assertions of wrongdoing, saying that he had “declassified” the documents. He’s also lodged a new defense, saying, “Everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time.”
—Acyn (@Acyn) August 13, 2022
“President Trump, in order to prepare for work the next day, often took documents, including classified documents, from the Oval Office to the residence,” a Friday statement said. “He had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken into the residence were deemed to be declassified the moment he removed them.”
Former National Security Advisor John Bolton told The Post that Trump frequently asked if he could keep the materials presented to him during his daily briefs.
“People were nervous enough about his lack of concern for classification matters that the briefers typically said, ‘Well, we need to take it back,’ ” Bolton said. “He’d usually give it back — but sometimes he wouldn’t give it back.”