DOJ: Trump Must Comply With Subpoena; His Declassifying of Docs Doesn't Matter
This image contained in a court filing by the Department of Justice on Aug. 30, 2022, and redacted by in part by the FBI, shows a photo of documents seized during the Aug. 8 search by the FBI of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. (Department of Justice via AP)
By Nick Koutsobinas | Sunday, 04 September 2022 06:17 PM EDT
Former President Donald Trump was asked to return all documents marked as classified as part of a grand jury subpoena issued in May, regardless of whether the former president believed he declassified the documents, the Department of Justice wrote in a court filing made public Friday.
According to Axios, since the raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate, Trump has put out several reasons for holding documents marked "top secret" and "confidential."
In mid-August, Just the News founder and journalist John Solomon, during an appearance on Fox News, read a statement from Trump's team indicating that the former president "had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken to the residence were deemed to be declassified the moment he removed them."
But former Attorney General Bill Barr and former national security adviser John Bolton have thrown water on the "standing order" claim.
While Trump and his team have alluded to such documents being declassified, they have been careful not to make the assertion in legal proceedings, according to The Washington Post.
On May 11, a grand jury issued a subpoena demanding all documents "bearing classification markings."
But per an "exchange of correspondence" with the DOJ, Trump's team sought a deadline extension to respond to the subpoena. They asked, according to a filing, that the Justice Department "consider a few 'principles,' including the claim that a president has absolute authority to declassify documents (although counsel did not actually assert that FPOTUS had done so)."
In return, the Justice Department stated, "The government notes that the subpoena sought documents 'bearing classification markings,' and therefore a complete response would not turn on whether or not responsive documents had been purportedly declassified."
As Bloomberg reported, even in Trump declassified the documents, they would still have to go to the National Archives.