Former President Donald Trump reportedly told advisers he needed to preserve documents he believed would “exonerate” him from claims of Russia collusion, fearing the incoming Biden administration would “shred” them.
The revelation comes via a Rolling Stone article and indicates a President departing while fearful that documents relating to the Russia collusion investigation would be destroyed.
Trump allegedly told those in his inner circle that he needed to preserve some of the Russia-related documents in order to prevent his political enemies from destroying them. As has become commonplace, the report does not name any sources.
“Trump told several people working in and outside the White House that he was concerned Joe Biden’s incoming administration … would supposedly ‘shred,’ bury, or destroy ‘the evidence’ that Trump was somehow wrong,” the outlet reports.
If true, the unsourced claim would be particularly relevant with the backdrop that Biden’s Justice Department okayed an FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home which had targeted the retrieval of classified documents.
EXCLUSIVE: Trump and his team pushed to declassify these so-called “Russiagate” documents, believing they would expose a “Deep State” plot against him. https://t.co/NLegbVLsZl
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) September 8, 2022
RELATED: Report: FBI Was Seeking Trump’s ‘Private Stash’ of Documents He Believed Would ‘Exonerate’ Him Over Russiagate
Trump Wanted to Preserve Russiagate Documents
The report which, like so many media stories today, only cited anonymous sources, is particularly eyebrow-raising considering the context of Trump trying feverishly to declassify Russiagate-related documents before he left the White House.
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Politico reported in January of 2021 that the then-President had authorized the declassification of certain documents connected to the investigation of his 2016 campaign’s contacts with Russia.
That report did not cite specifically which documents were ordered declassified, but Trump has insisted any material retrieved in the FBI raid was ordered so on his part.
BREAKING: Trump authorizes DOJ to declassify Russia probe documents https://t.co/48T3n3IrwI
— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) January 20, 2021
Former Defense Department appointee Kash Patel has said in multiple interviews that Trump had declassified a trove of “Russiagate documents” in his final days as President.
Patel has also supported the former President’s claims that he ‘verbally declassified’ any documents that were taken to Mar-a-Lago in the hectic transition out of the White House.
It is a claim detractors have denounced as ridiculous, but as Politico reports, not without some level of merit – if he has evidence to back it up.
NEW — Why Donald Trump’s declassification claim might not be that outlandish https://t.co/1XH7xaNDet
— Sam Stein (@samstein) August 16, 2022
RELATED: Media Running New ‘Leaked Info’ From Anonymous Sources That Trump Had Files On Foreign Nation’s Nuclear Capabilities
Early Reports Indicated The FBI Was After Russiagate Documents
Early reports following the FBI raid seem to solidify Donald Trump’s concerns that the Biden administration wanted to get their hands on the Russiagate documents.
A report by Newsweek cited two high-level intelligence officials indicating the FBI raid was specifically targeting Trump’s “private stash” of hidden documents, including files he believed would “exonerate” him from claims of Russia collusion.
“The true target was this private stash, which justice officials feared Donald Trump might weaponize… documents that Trump had been collecting since early in his administration.”
“Including material that…would exonerate him of… Russian collusion.” https://t.co/JyCtfbKnc9
— Jeff Carlson (@themarketswork) August 17, 2022
The Newsweek report indicated agents were instructed to retrieve “all government documents” so as to protect the source who had tipped them off by encompassing everything that could be found.
“But the true target was this private stash, which Justice Department officials feared Donald Trump might weaponize,” they wrote.
Those documents were said to “deal with a variety of intelligence matters of interest to the former president,” including “material that Trump apparently thought would exonerate him of any claims of Russian collusion in 2016 or any other election-related charges.”
One source described Trump as believing “that these are facts that the American people need to know.”
How did federal officials believe the former President would “weaponize” these documents?
“The official says Trump may have been planning to use them as part of a 2024 run for the presidency,” Newsweek wrote.
After five years of russiagate/bounties/etc I don’t trust any of these leaks — especially ones clearly curated for big media impact that actually tell us very little.
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) September 7, 2022
The media would have you believe this is evidence of Trump’s wrongdoing, there is another obvious takeaway.
While there are far too many unnamed sources in these reports to be sure of anything, if you follow the trail here:
Trump declassified Russiagate documents, brought them to Mar-a-Lago, the Justice Department found out, grew concerned he’d use them to ‘exonerate’ himself and strengthen his election bid, and forcefully retrieved them.
Who is the bad guy in that situation?
The Biden administration did, in that scenario, take forceful law enforcement action to keep a political opponent from presenting “facts that the American people need to know.”
Or, as Dan Bongino has said, you’re seeing “some third-world bullshit right here.”
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