(CBrief) – Former President Donald Trump has made an announcement regarding some of the declassified documents he had at Mar-a-Lago.
The former president said he was concerned that some of the documents that exonerated him in the Russia probe would be destroyed by the new administration so he rushed to declassify them in his final days as president, Newsmax reported:
Trump, believing the documents would expose a “Deep State” plot against him, told several people that he was concerned that incoming President Joe Biden’s administration would “shred,” bury, or destroy “the evidence,” Rolling Stone reported Wednesday.
The documents were related to the federal investigation into the since discredited story about Russian collusion with Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Trump and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows worked to declassify information right up to when Biden took the oath of office, Rolling Stone said.
The Rolling Stone story came a month after FBI agents raided Trump’s Florida home with a warrant saying the former president had 11 sets of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, and that the DOJ had probable cause to conduct the search based on possible Espionage Act violations.
The former president and those close to him have insisted that the documents were declassified.
“I think they thought it was something to do with the Russia, Russia, Russia hoax,” the former president said to Newsmax in a Sept. 1 interview.
“They were afraid that things were in there — part of their scam material,” he said.
The former top U.S. spy chief believes that the FBI came up short during its raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate early last month.
John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. congressman from Texas whom Trump tapped to serve as director of national intelligence, told Fox News last week that the bureau “didn’t find what they were looking” for, based on his observations.
“I was a former federal prosecutor, United States attorney. Let me tell you what this is about. Good prosecutors with good cases play it straight. They don’t need to play games,” Ratcliffe said, in reference to Justice Department officials. “They don’t need to shop for judges, they don’t need to leak intelligence that may or may not exist.”
The Justice Department’s arguments against having a federal court appoint a special master to review allegedly classified documents “tells you that the government didn’t find what they were looking for,” Ratcliffe continued.
“There weren’t nuclear secrets” at Trump’s estate, he noted further, “and they’re trying to justify what they’ve done. They’re not playing it straight before the American people. I think that that’s going to play out.”
The Epoch Times noted further that Ratcliffe did not go into specific evidence regarding his claims, however.
The outlet noted further:
Since the Aug. 8 raid on Mar-a-Lago, neither the DOJ nor the FBI has revealed what materials agents were trying to find. A heavily redacted affidavit used to obtain the search warrant last week provided few details, but it said prosecutors believed there were allegedly classified documents being kept in Trump’s Florida residence.
The former president and some former White House aides say that Trump had a standing order to declassify any materials that left the Oval Office and were taken to Mar-a-Lago.
Ratcliffe’s comments came ahead of a federal judge’s ruling this week, granting Trump’s request for a special master.
U.S. District Judge from the Southern District of Florida Judge Aileen M. Cannon on Monday ordered that an independent third-party be appointed to “review the seized property, manage assertions of privilege and make recommendations thereon, and evaluate claims for return of property.”
“The Court hereby authorizes the appointment of a special master to review the seized property for personal items and documents and potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney- client and/or executive privilege,” the order states.
“Furthermore, in natural conjunction with that appointment, and consistent with the value and sequence of special master procedures, the Court also temporarily enjoins the Government from reviewing and using the seized materials for investigative purposes pending completion of the special master’s review or further Court order,” it adds.
The order, though, “shall not impede the classification review and/or intelligence assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (“ODNI”) as described in the Government’s Notice of Receipt of Preliminary Order.”