Select Page

Trump Had Classified Documents? He’s Allowed, His Power in This Respect, Unique.

Trump Had Classified Documents? He’s Allowed, His Power in This Respect, Unique.

I know that I have said this before. But arguments to the contrary seem to fly through the liberal media as if they were important. Maybe they are important in the respect that a lie that is repeated over and over is sometimes believed.

So here is the plain truth.

Between the two article links below, the first one, the Newsmax article is correct. The second one, the CNN article is complete BS.

As a former member of the intelligence community, I can tell you this in complete certainty, something that everyone is briefed on before they are granted access to classified information.

The President of the United States is the ultimate classifying authority. Labels do not matter, security officers do not matter, no agency matters. If POTUS utters a word, or insinuates through his action that something is not classified, then it is not classified. Any method he uses to handle classified information is correct, by definition.

POTUS is the ONLY official in the U.S. Government who has this leeway. When he handed his children security clearances (a common practice, by the way) it was in effect immediately, paperwork, investigations, etc. notwithstanding. If he hands someone a classified document, they are thereby cleared to see it. If he takes something home with him, it is approved and appropriate just because he authorized it. It does not have to be in writing. Labels on documents notwithstanding.

POTUS makes the rules. If he does something outside of the rules, then the rules adjust, not the President.

When Hillary’s actions with her private email server compromised the office of the Secretary of State, she was in danger of going to jail. But when Barack Obama casually said on a talk show that he did not think she compromised national security, it took her off the hook. She could not be prosecuted after that because POTUS had said it was fine.

If POTUS wants to give the nuclear launch codes to the President of Mongolia, he has that authority. Congress may not like that, but any remedies would be political not legal.

By the way, other elected officials have a certain leeway in this regard. A Senator who leaks classified information to the press in a “whistleblower” mode with the good of America in mind, cannot be prosecuted. In fact, it is his/her responsibility to do so under certain circumstances. However, his fellow Senators may impeach him and throw him out – a political move, not a legal one.

Just thought you should know.

Trump: Power to Classify, Declassify ‘Lies Solely With the President’

FBI took 11 sets of classified material from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home while investigating possible Espionage Act violations

About The Author


  1. Joseph S. Bruder

    First of all, you’re wrong. There are limitations to the declassifying power of the President. First is the identity of spies, which Trump actually violated while he was in office. The second is anything to do with nuclear secrets. The Atomic Energy Acts of 1946 and 1954 created a categorty related to the production or use of nuclear weapons and nuclear power that is inherently classified, and even Trump as President would still be handling classified material. Certainly, after his security clearance ran out, he would be in violation of the law.

    Thirdly, Trump’s ability to classify or declassify anything ended the minute Biden took office. And Biden could have (and probably did) reclassify any papers that Trump stole, say, before the Uhaul reached the Potomac river. As soon as Trump lost his security clearance, he wasn’t allowed to have those documents.

    Your statement about Clinton is another lie. She was exonerated by the Republican-controlled committee that grilled her for 11 hours, not by anything Obama did. And besides that, your “what about Hillary” trope is old and tired.

    Whatever Trump took, it was serious enough for for the DOJ to investigate, a judge to sign off on the warrant, and the FBI (head of which was appointed by Trump) to raid Mar-a-Lago. And think about it – Trump can barely read, much less understand anything about nuclear secrets. What he DOES understand, however, is the value of those secrets to hostile foreign powers. Already, the Russians are “concerned” about Trump’s security and have publicly offered to place him under the “protection” of their own guards. I wonder why?

    In the coming days, we’ll find out who’s right. If Trump had nuclear secrets in his possession, he will be arrested in short order, and I’m right. If nothing happens, then either you’re right or the DOJ exercised their discretion in not prosecuting Trump. But I don’t think Garland is that kind of guy – if Trump broke espionage laws, I think Garland will nail him posthaste.

    • Joe Gilbertson

      No. I am not wrong. The President is THE CLASSIFYING AUTHORITY.

      Think about it. If the President doesn’t have the authority to declassify something, who does? Who? Some bureaucratic entity somewhere? They all work for the President.

      “Reclassify” something? How stupid is that? Maybe Biden should classify the lunch menus at Mar a Lago, and send Trump to jail for that? Are you suggesting that Trump took classified data after he left the White House?

      Clinton was guilty as hell, you can try to rewrite history if you like, but she compromised the office of the Secretary of State for her entire time there.

      And now you have come full circle. The DOJ is investigating because the Democrats desperately want to nail Trump so that he can’t run for President again. This is the political weaponizing of the DOJ. And you are cheering for them, because you don’t realize what is really happening.


  2. Joseph S. Bruder

    The Shovel’s view on the Donald Trump FBI raid:

    We are certainly no fans of Donald Trump – let’s make that clear from the outset. But yesterday’s raid by the FBI on the home of a former president sets a dangerous precedent.

    A precedent which now means that anyone who evades taxes, attempts to undermine an election, sexually assaults women, manipulates the value of their assets, uses state resources to enrich themselves or aids and abets the overthrow of a democratically elected government will be subject to investigation.

    • Joe Gilbertson

      So I guess Biden, Obama, both Clintons, Pelosi are in trouble? Or does this only apply to Republicans?

    • frank stetson

      That’s just fucking funny: “As Trump supporters put it so clearly yesterday, if this can happen to a President, it could happen to anyone who has committed insurrection, assault or fraud. That’s a chilling thought.” Yeah, tell that to all those incarcerated under the Patriot Act.

  3. Mike

    Joe, you say you worked in the intel community, but your understanding of how classification works is total BS. Yes, the President does have the power to declassify classified information, but there are processes even he has to go through before it is truly declassified, and when that process is completed, the document will be so marked. This is clearly a situation where an individual (trump) believes he can do anything he wants as president and boldly took boxes of documents with him-documents that belong to the national archives-not the president. And btw, Obama’s casual comment did not let Hillary off the hook, she broke no laws: A) use of a private email server was allowed at the time B) There was no information marked classified in those emails (if you believe otherwise then you really have no idea how the classified and unclassified government email system works). Stop misleading your readers, there were multiple crimes committed which is why the FBI was involved….

    • Joe Gilbertson

      Mike, a “process”? Who do you think is in charge of the “process”? These are “processes” of the executive branch of the government. And who, again, is the executive?

      Your gratuitous assertions are incorrect, you have no idea what you are talking about.

      And yes, there was a boatload of classified information compromised by Hillary (do you not have access to the news where you live?). She was not the executive would be subject to laws against mishandling classified information.

      And yes, Obama’s statement let her off the hook. That is not just my word, several legal scholars said the same.

      • Mike

        Joe, You are totally ignorant as to the process of document removal from the WH.. First they go to the National Archives, then if the President has a need for them, he makes a request for said documents. (Please review what Obama did for documents that he wanted for his Presidential Library.) Trump does not “own” the documents, we the citizens of the US own the documents. And, as far as whether they are classified or not, he can determine that some documents are unclassified (not all however), but that determination needs to be documented and the markings on the documents removed. That was not done, nor did the documents go through the national archives. I know that you are bound and determined to stick up for that idiot, but you are wasting your time. The National Archives requested the documents, the documents were subpoenaed, his lawyers said all documents marked as classified had been returned, and two months later the FBI got involved to retrieve said documents marked classified. Of course, the question that thinking people are asking, “why would he need any documents from the government?” It’s not like he is going to be using them as a reference to provide information to the government in the future…

  4. frank stetson

    The President has unique and broad declassification abilities. But the normal process has written documentation and a number of other steps. Sure, when the president fucks up and shows the Russians classified info that outs our mole in the Russian network causing us to pull them before they get killed, we say, “ooops,” boy, that cost some bucks for nothing, and back-date the process and documentation. It happens. But after that, one would think even a brick would understand the process, and why we have one. And 35 boxes, a wall 7 boxes wide and 5 boxes high of information should have sparked the memory of the process.

    Hillary whataboutism is just a deflection from the dereliction of duty by Trump. Anyone guilty of these crimes should be prosecuted. Get her, feel free to try. Joe is a Trumplicant, a member of the mob and a sycophant.

    A president can’t declassify documents with simple verbal instructions much less the standing order of “whatever I steal is declassified. Homework is expected to be returned; we don’t expect 35 boxes of paper to languish for years after he leaves office, much less to disappear from the archives without a trace. Normally, there would be memo’s, reviewed by counsel, and signed. Most often, the agency in question who classified the document w0uld be informed, consulted, and would provide input as to their views. Of course, the president could override, but there would be a record.

    After a declassification decision, the relevant agency receives the president’s signed memo, the physical document in question would be RE-MARKED — the old classification level would be crossed out — and the document would then be stamped, “Declassified on X date” by the agency in question. Think about it: if this does not happen you might have the same document declassified, but marked classified —– as in the case with these stolen documents. Agencies could even take classified infringement actions for declassified documents — that would be very messy. Of course it’s normal to tell the document owner that the president has declassified the document. Just common sense too.

    No markings on the stolen documents have been updated. They are still marked as classified, some with the SCI marking. Might not be a crime, but it is HIGHLY UNUSUAL and against normal recording processes. No matter what Trump believes, documents that are marked classified are classified until the marking is changed and the recording process is completed. One has to imagine that Trump knew the process after he fucked up so bad with showing classified materials to the Russians in the Oval Office that caused us the pull top secret human assets we had planted with the Russians for fear of death.

    But this is all a red herring thrown up by Trump and his army. The warrant covers the Espionage Act for defense information. The second deals with court records. And the third covers concealment, destruction, mutilation, to obstruct or influence an investigation. Nothing in the warrant pertains to classification or declassification or the top-secret nature of the stolen documents. This isn’t about a classified document, this is about 35 boxes of all sorts of documents that are the people’s papers, it’s about defense documentation, concealment, destruction, mutilation in furtherance of obstruction or to influence an investigation’s outcome.

    The man had returned 15 boxes of the people’s papers that he stole. He kept 20, even after saying he returned it all. Hard to fathom how you can not see the possible damage and danger in that, classified or not, but SCI —- come on man.

    • Joe Gilbertson

      Frank, the President can declassify anything he wants, however he wants. If he is talking to another world leader and that leaders asks about something classified, do you think he needs to check with some bureaucrat to hand him a classified document?

      If you are with the President and he hands you a classified document to read, you are cleared for it. If he chooses to say something classified in a speech, guess what? It becomes unclassified.

      If you had ever had a clearance you would have been briefed on this. The President is the classifying authority. Anyone who works with classified material derives their permissions and authorities from the President.

      The bureaucrats work for the President, not the other way around.

      “Stolen documents”? Are you assuming that these the only copies of something? Would you like for Trump to pay for the $3.00 worth of paper they are printed on?

      • Frank stetson

        As I said, there is a process, There are legal reviews, stakeholder consults, memorandums to be written, and most importantly, one probably should inform the originating party that controls the document that it’s been declassified. Otherwise you just have a cluster fuck.

        Of course, things that happen on the fly, spur of the moment for good reason would be allowed, it is a process, it is not law. And they would backtrack and backfill the process steps immediately there after.

        But if you think he can be declassify 11 different sets of classified documentation with a wink and a nod, that is not a process. That is a cluster fuck. And if he has 11 sets of documents that have been declassified, shouldn’t he have told the stake holders and owners of the documents so they could declassify them too?

        What happens when he declassifies all these documents and never tells anyone and then someone comes up in a criminal case for taking the document. While everyone else thinks it’s classified and sends them to jail. It’s been a couple years, when was Trump going to tell the rest of the government that he declassified all this crap. Another cluster fuck.

        But it doesn’t matter ajoe, that is not what this is all about. Did you not read the warrant? There is no mention of classified documents in the warrant specifying three potential illegal acts. Declassifying documents wrongly was not in the warrant.

        It is a red herring are you Republicans are just having fun with so that Dan can get more donations.

      • Mike

        Joe, Wrong!

      • frank stetson

        It doesn’t matter Joe, that is not what this is all about. Did you not read the warrant? There is no mention of classified documents in the warrant specifying three potential illegal acts. Declassifying documents wrongly was not in the warrant.

        His lawyer signed an affidavit attesting to the fact there was no classified info at Mara Loser, this might be legal too given the fact Trump threw his declassification fairy dust, clicked his heels three times and said it was not classified. But if you declassify a document in the woods, and no one knows it, and you not only never tell anyone, you even go out of your way to tell everyone it isn’t even here, is it really declassified? Maybe you say this shit smells good and is hunky dory, but you are in love. Not me, not many others, and hopefully not with the National Archives.

        But this is not about that, this is about the warrant to seize, and that warrant has NOTHING to do with classified documents and everything to do with his stealing 35 boxes of papers, 20 that he said he didn’t have, including classified documents that his lawyer said did not exist. The warrant’s charges are threefold, and not one of them is for the fact the documents are classified, some SCI. That’s just sauce for the goose.

        But let me go real slow Joe: do you think it’s OK for Trump to steal the people’s papers, secret them at Mara Loser, and not give them back? I can agree that it’s doubtful anything terrible will happen due to his “declassification” powers, but do you think it’s right and proper for him to have 11, count em, 11 sets of top secret classified documents including SCI labelled ones two years after his presidency? That’s just fuckin a skippy with you, because it’s “legal?” And you also think it’s OK that he never told anyone that he declassified them? That he had them? Or that if they were “copies,” that’s only a $3 problem? Weren’t you in the CIA, yet you have no issues with this type of security breach because it’s the “king’s right?”

        It’s the Presidential Documentation Act and it don’t care if classified or not, however, a willy-nilly declassification process where he absconds with 11 SETS of classified documents including the super secret SCI document(s), where Trump informs no one of his actions and then tries to hide behind his “I just do it” process after the fact, a process that is not documented either, the PDA does not care. It cares about documents, and Trump had 35 boxes of them. The unknown, undocumented, Trumpian auto-declassification process does not matter to that. Even if you are fuckin a skippy with that kind of handling of classified information by a man that was so loose with his mouth that even his own top advisors would shield him from classified info because of his security risks, as seen on TV…….

        Wow, you must really love this guy, you must really trust this liar, you must really believe it was homework and not some nest egg for the world’s cheapest grifter. Amongst the 11 stolen sets top secret stuff, there must be some value on the open market or with his best friends: vlad, kim, and recep. And you have no suspicions of foul play in this? Just the twice-impeached, ex-president who owns The Big Lie and thinks he’s the rightful president in a landslide victory that we stole from him doing his “I’m still the president thing? Homework?

        I am from NJ: but we do have bridges I can sell you. Cheap. Hell, I probably can sell you the Pulaski Skiway if I told you it was from Donald J. Trump.

        But again, the warrant never mentions classified documents — that is not the crime in question — except as fanned by the media which, apparently, you selective believe when it fans your fantasies. And if the archives decides to pursue his violation of the PDA, classified does not even enter into that except as icing on the cake of his terrible behaviors.

        I guess the next president might just openly monetarize the Trump documentation. After all, it’s open and free information, now declassified, might as well get a few bucks in the process. Isn’t that what a 35 box library of information is good for anyways?

    • Joe Gilbertson

      Oh yes, and Hillary was NOT a classifying authority, she is subject to penalties under the law, unless of course the President says she isn’t.

      • Frank stetson

        What about whatsboutism Joe?

      • Mike

        Joe, Hillary was not given a “get out of jail free card” by Obama or anyone else. There were never any charges filed for what was termed “careless handling of emails” because none of those emails were marked classified. You may recall that your guy was in office for four years after that, told all his followers that he was going to “lock her up”, but that never happened, because there was nothing to lock her up for, not because she was pardoned….

        • Ben

          Nothing to lock her up for? Destroying emails that were under subpoena would be a start. And prosecutable. Obstructing Justice is huge. But since our legal system is a fucking joke and a double standard there’s no surprise there. Mobsters and crooked politicians destroy emails that are being subpoenaed. So where does that leave Hillary. I’ll tell you. It leaves the goddamned cunt free to live out her corrupt life. That been said, I don’t give a fuck what Trump did. I’ll proudly support him in 2024. And if he doesn’t run or fails to get nominated I’ll damned sure not vote for a democrat piece of shit.

  5. Pat

    Most likely what Trump had were documents he declassified prior to leaving the Whitehouse that proves that the DOJ/FBI Russia collusion hoax was nothing but a political witch hunt. Probably other documents that prove the deep corruption of the swamp. This will disappeared like dust in the wind when all the real facts come out just like every other witch hunt the democrats have attempted over the past 6 years. Any one (democrats) who declares they will impeach someone before the even step foot in the office of the Presidency has already shown their true colors from the get go. The deep state swamp creatures hated Trump because he was a true outsider who actually was able to get elected despite everything they did to try to stop it. That’s just not allowed in their world. Everything that has happened since is their attempt at retribution. If you can’t see that then your eyes don’t work and possibly your brain either.