Former President Donald Trump posted one of his characteristic lengthy Truth Social rants on Wednesday as he continues to insist that his dispute with the National Archives over the apparent illegal retention of presidential records was less serious than what President Joe Biden now finds himself dealing with.
The ex-president saw his estate at Mar-a-Lago raided by FBI agents last year after presidential records were discovered on the premises and his staff began a months-long battle with the Archives for control over them. Mr Trump eventually was found to have, through his attorneys, told federal authorities that he had turned over all documents when in fact he was still in possession of many.
His treatment by the agency has contrasted sharply with that experienced by Mr Biden, thanks to the current president’s apparent willingness to turn over all documents immediately upon their discovery.
Regardless, Mr Trump insisted on Wednesday that many of the documents marked “classified” taken from Mar-a-Lago — of more than 300 in total — were in fact empty folders marked “classified” that he had taken as keepsakes.
“When I was in the Oval Office, or elsewhere, & ’papers’ were distributed to groups of people & me, they would often be in a striped paper folder with ’Classified’ or ’Confidential’ or another word on them. When the session was over, they would collect the paper(s), but not the folders, & I saved hundreds of them,” the ex-president said.
“Remember, these were just ordinary, inexpensive folders with various words printed on them, but they were a ‘cool’ keepsake. Perhaps the Gestapo took some of these empty folders when they Raided Mar-a-Lago, & counted them as a document, which they are not,” he continued.
Mr Trump went on to reiterate his baseless accusation claiming that federal law enforcement agents would plant more classified documents among the seized materials in order to further incriminate him.
Those claims have sparked a wave of right-wing anger against the FBI and last year were cited in a joint memo from the bureau and the Department of Homeland Security warning about the rising risk of violence against agents in the field.
Mr Trump has never produced a shred of evidence to back up his claim that any of the documents cited by law enforcement in his case were planted or otherwise not among the trove originally seized from his home.