Ex-Trump Official Vowed to Retrieve Classified Docs
Weeks before the FBI raided Trump’s home, an official of his administration vowed to retrieve and release classified documents.
From ABC News. In June of this year, seven weeks before the FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in search of classified materials, former Defense Department appointee and outspoken Trump loyalist Kash Patel vowed to retrieve classified documents from the National Archives and publish them on his website….
Patel, who under Trump had been the chief of staff for the acting defense secretary, claimed in a string of interviews that Trump had declassified a trove of “Russiagate documents” in the final days of his administration. But Patel claimed Trump’s White House counsel had blocked the release of those documents, and instead had them delivered to the National Archives….
The day before he left office, Trump authorized the declassification of a set of documents related to the Russia probe. The memorandum, released in January 2021, acknowledged that “portions of the documents in the binder have remained classified and have not been released to the Congress or the public.”
So according to Patel, Trump asked him to work on retrieving the classified documents from the National Archives and then release them to the public. “President Trump was like, ‘Who knows those documents better than anyone?’ And I was like, ‘If you want me to go, I’ll go,'” Patel said….
Erica Knight, a spokesperson for Patel, told ABC News that Patel was acting as “a representative on behalf of President Trump to work with the National Archives to get them to disclose information.”
“The GSA has their own policies and procedures for how presidential records must be handled, which Patel is in full cooperation with,” Knight said of the federal government’s General Services Administration.
Patel’s comments claiming that Trump had directed him to retrieve classified documents came in the middle of the former president’s growing dispute with National Archives officials. By June, the National Archives had asked the Justice Department to investigate the former president’s handling of White House records, after National Archives officials had in January retrieved 15 boxes of records that had been improperly taken to Trump’s home in violation of the Presidential Records Act.
And while Patel has said the former president said to declassify “a mountain of documents,” experts say there are protocols in place to ensure that national security is not harmed when information is declassified — even by the president….
According to Patel, the plan in June was to retrieve the documents from the National Archives and publish them on his website “for free,” then “make a big announcement every time” a new document was published….
Last September, the Jan. 6 committee issued subpoenas to four former senior Trump administration officials, including Patel, who appeared before the committee for several hours in December….
As of last month, Patel was still pursuing his plan to publish documents currently in the National Archives….
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(Excerpt from ABC News. Photo Credit: Getty Images)
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