We might not like it, and our allies might and should get nervous about it, but under our system the President has absolute authority to declassify material AND to take it home as personal records. Beaten into us at the State Department was the knowledge that our ability to classify material, and I shamefully admit that I classified a lot, comes FROM and ONLY from the President. He can override any classification. The President can grab a binder of the most “sensitive” material, and read it out at a press conference; politically not wise, but legal. The famous Bill Clinton “sock drawer” case emphasized that: an Obama-appointed judge ruled that Clinton had the authority to declassify AND take home as his personal records ANY material produced by the Executive branch. No exceptions. Full stop. The President, in our structure, DOES NOT COME UNDER the authority of some faceless bureaucrat in a government archives office.
I find tiring to hear that the Trump case differs from those of Pence and Biden because they “immediately” returned to the archives the classified material once that material was found in their possession. First, we don’t know if that’s true in the Pence case, and it’s certainly not true in the Biden case; second, most important, neither man had the authority to take classified (documents) to his home or his office. The cases, in other words, are different because neither Biden nor Pence was President at the time they took the classified material! Biden had been taking material for decades. Neither had the authority to declassify and remove classified documents. In Biden’s case, it seems about 100 percent certain that he shared still-classified material with his crack-addled son who used it to “write” papers about Ukraine and European politics for clients.
Has Trump handled this in the best way possible? You decide. I think, maybe, he could have handled the request from the archives office to return documents in a better, less confrontational way, while still saying, “No. Those are my papers.” Maybe. Maybe.
Now, you will rightly note, that what I just wrote naively assumes that the request was well-intentioned. It, of course, was not. It was a trap to persecute Biden’s main political rival, and along with the bogus charges filed by local Democrat DAs, to tie up Trump in an endless legal siege, cripple him politically and financially, and–very important–distract from the growing evidence of the criminality of the Biden family.
The attack on Trump also has sucked the air out of the Republican primary process. How can, say, DeSantis get a word in when all we talk about is Trump, Trump, Trump? How can we get anybody to focus on the blatant criminality of the Bidens, when we all focus on the irrelevant debate over what is or is not classified?
We have become a banana republic with nuclear weapons. My apology to banana republics; they, at least, provide us bananas.
Heh. True, dat. Great to see you back after your extended hiatus from blogging, Lewis. You were definitely missed, buddy.