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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

CADY: Trump must answer for classified documents

President Donald Trump gives speech in front of crowd at a Prescott Valley, Arizona rally Oct. 4, 2016. Photo via Flickr

Aug 8., the FBI executes an extensive search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Palm Beach, Florida. This is where it all began in the public eye, but in reality, this investigation was a long time coming.

A common theme of Trump’s presidency was dishonesty. His campaign was built on it, his supporters demanded it and his identity ensured it.

One fact checker for the Washington Post kept track of Trump’s false or misleading claims made over the course of his presidency – which totaled out to be over 30,000.

Even long after he has been out of office, his deceit and dishonesty outlive his reign as chief of state. 

Before there was the raid on Mar-a-Lago, there was a lot of leg work put in by the FBI and Justice Department to recover the classified documents in Trump’s possession. Together, they put in a lot of effort to make it a peaceable and dignified process — as much as it could be. 

Dating all the way back to May 2021, there were requests for transparency from the former president. The National Archives and Records Administration discovered that there appeared to be documents missing from the materials they were given as Trump exited office. May 6, 2021, the agency requested the records from Trump and continued to make requests all the way through Dec. 2021. 

Jan. 2021, the NARA receives 15 boxes of presidential records which had been kept at the Mar-a-Lago property. Investigators know now that 14 of those 15 boxes contained classified documents. Of the 184 classified documents found within the confines of those boxes, 67 were marked confidential, 92 marked secret and 25 marked top secret. 

One of the most concerning aspects of this discovery is that the documents were found intermixed with a variety of other items such as magazines, photos and personal correspondence – which speaks to a lack of respect for the sensitive documents’ significance.  

Agents noted that some of the documents had markings that could suggest they contained information from highly sensitive human sources — which, if discovered by some, could have detrimental consequences. Consequences including the leak of important classified information, endangerment to people involved in government affairs and more. 

Investigators continued to work and communicate with the Justice Department expressing their concerns regarding the classified documents and in February a criminal investigation was launched

June 3, three FBI agents and a DOJ attorney collect material from a Trump attorney as a result of a subpoena. The material being a single Redweld envelope containing only several documents. 

Where that leaves us now is in a world of political chaos. The thought that a President and his team could be so reckless — or calculated — to make an extensive effort to hide classified documents that were not intended to be in the confines of the former president’s home is harrowing. 

Following last month’s search of Mar–a–Lago, the Justice Department released this statement: “That the FBI, in a matter of hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification markings as the ‘diligent search’ that the former President’s council and other representatives had weeks to perform calls into serious question the representations made in the June 3 certification and casts doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter.” 

What may even be considered the most appalling aspect of this entire situation is the former president’s response – not shocking, but appalling. “Terrible the way the FBI, during the Raid of Mar–a–Lago, threw documents haphazardly all over the floor (perhaps pretending it was me that did it!), and then started taking pictures of them for the public to see,” Trump responded

The former president struggled with accountability throughout the duration of and following his time in office. Whether it be for the Jan. 6 insurrection or now for the slew of classified documents found in his possession long after he was meant to return them. 

The danger in this is the power that he holds over his supporters and members of Congress. 

Donald Trump once said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” This was to reflect on his immense and insatiable support system throughout his 2016 campaign trail, but the frightening part is that he may just be right. Maybe not in a literal sense, but in the overall reflection of his die-hard support system. 

Trump’s power is in his “people.” His staff and supporters are willing to follow him to the ends of the earth and the brinks of insanity. There is no denying what Trump did, what he had in his possession and that he is responsible for — at best — the reckless handling of classified documents. 

My fear, and what should frighten other American citizens, is how he will spin this. This will become another conspiracy thrown into the political battleground and potentially cause more outbursts similar to the Jan. 6 insurrection we saw after Trump lost the presidency and insisted it was due to voter fraud. 

Former president Donald Trump must answer for his crimes. He must stop playing the blame game in order to avoid any sense of responsibility. We as American citizens must hold him accountable for his actions and quit this game of hide and seek out of fear of the repercussions. 

This story was written by Grace Cady. She can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Grace Cady
Grace Cady, Managing Editor of the Marquette Journal
Grace Cady is a senior at Marquette University from Delafield, Wisconsin. She is majoring in journalism and political science. This year she will be the managing editor of the Journal. Outside of the Wire, Grace likes to read, write creatively, watch movies and spend time with friends & family. Prior to this year, she served as the executive opinions editor at the Wire and has held intern positions at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee Magazine and the National Federation of Federal Employees in Washington, D.C. Additionally, Grace is part of the O'Brien Investigative Fellowship program this year alongside Julia Abuzzahab.

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