George Stephanopoulos put the screws to Sen. Roy Blunt on Sunday, attempting to get the Republican from Missouri to give a definitive yes-or-no comment as to whether or not former President Donald Trump had the right to take confidential and secret documents from the White House and keep them at his Florida estate (and members-only club), Mar-a-Lago.
“Former President Trump … saying he did nothing wrong, do you agree with that? Was he right to take these documents to Mar-a-Lago?” Stephanopoulos asked on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday.
Blunt sidestepped the question, instead saying that the Senate Intelligence Committee, of which he is a member, was not informed of any national security problems because of the documents’ location. He pointed a finger at the Justice Department and the Director of National Intelligence for not notifying them if there was a problem.
Stephanopoulos thought that was a fair argument, but speculated that the intelligence committee may have kept that info quiet as to “protect the criminal investigation.”
“But,” Stephanopoulos added, “whether or not these documents were classified, was it right for the president to take these government documents, which he’s supposed to turn over to the National Archives, down to Mar-a-Lago?”
Blunt again redirected the conversation, this time to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “I was wondering … if the same things were said when Secretary Clinton had documents, when [former FBI] Director Comey had documents. They had them on the internet, which is much more dangerous than having them in a box somewhere. But everybody needs to be more careful about how these documents are dealt with.”
Raising his voice, Stephanopoulos said, “You’re still not answering the question! You were critical of Senator Clinton, who actually turned over what she had, turned over all her devices. What we have here is a situation where the President did not turn over these documents. Can you say whether that was right or wrong? Do you believe it is right for the president to take those documents to Mar-a-Lago?”
Although Blunt acknowledged that Trump should have turned over all the documents when asked, he added, “George, what I wonder about is why this could go on for almost two years and less than 100 days before the election, suddenly we’re talking about this — rather than the economy or inflation or even the student loan program you and I were going to talk about today.”
Stephanopoulos snapped back, “Well, it went on because the president didn’t turn over the documents, correct? He was asked several times; he didn’t turn them over. He was subpoenaed. He didn’t respond to the subpoena.”
“I understand he turned over a lot of documents. He should have turned over all of them,” Blunt finally conceded. “I imagine he knows that very well now, as well.”
This year, a total of over 300 documents with classified information have been retrieved from Mar-a-Lago, according to the New York Times, including some that agents believed to involve nuclear weapons, The Washington Post reported.
You can watch the interaction in the clip at the top.