KEEP TALKING: Trump grants prosecution’s dearest wish in new interview

KEEP TALKING: Trump grants prosecution's dearest wish in new interview

When former president Donald Trump started talking about his boxes, prosecutors may have been exchanging high fives (or totally appropriate sedate expressions of appreciation, whichever).

Donald Trump has a reputation as his own worst enemy in any investigation, and it’s hard-earned, as can be seen in his new interview with Bret Baier.

The Fox News host pushed back on him a little, refusing to let Trump get away with the “But Biden” tactic with regard to his indictment over (allegedly) illegally-kept documents.

As he’s so prone to do, Trump went into free association mode and spewed everything on his mind, much of which sounds like a confession.

Some moments — such as when misquoting the New York Times, he said that the only way NARA could get the documents back from him is to beg, “please, please, please” — are likely to be played in a courtroom before all is said and done.

At another point, Baier brought up the recording in which Trump describes a military document drawn up by General Mark Milley, and can be heard admitting that he didn’t declassify it before he left office and can’t now.

Trump spent almost two minutes alternating between affirming to Baier that he was honestly admitting he couldn’t declassify the document after leaving office, and insisting there was no document, just “a massive amount of papers.”

In fact, at this point, Trump denies having ever seen a document from General Milley at all.

Yet, at another point in the interview, he tacitly admits to having an attorney falsely claim that all documents had been returned, while in fact having an aide move the boxes to other locations!

Clip time — let’s dig into exactly what Trump admitted.

First, he claims he had the right to keep boxes of documents, citing a New York Times article he claims supports his view.

“The New York Times had a story just the other day, that the only way NARA could ever get this back would be please, please, please, can we have it back,” Trump claims.

In fact, the article he’s trying to reference, from January, actually refers to the ability of NARA to force former presidents to check for documents in their possession — not the ability of the government to retrieve such documents. The New York Times actually reported:

“Enforcement of the laws governing presidential records and classified documents is up to the Justice Department.”

Watch Trump misrepresent the article below, then scroll for more.

Naturally, Baier gives Trump the opportunity to explain himself or deny having boxes hidden. Instead, Trump defends this.

Baier: “According to the indictment, you then tell your aide to move to other locations after telling your lawyers to say you’d fully complied…”

Trump: “But before I send boxes over, I have to take all of my things out.”

Not an explicit admission, but Trump sure didn’t deny it and instead defended keeping boxes of documents and lying to the government while hiding them.

Watch below, and then scroll on — it gets worse.

Part of the indictment addresses a recording in which Trump describes a document allegedly in his possession, seeming to show it to others in the room as he admits that he didn’t declassify it while in office, and can’t now.

When Baier brings this up, Trump tries out multiple conflicting defenses:

  • that there was no document;
  • that there were a lot of papers, but they were newspaper and magazine articles; and
  • that he was only explaining the declassification process, which doesn’t allow him to declassify anything after leaving office.

It’s largely obfuscation, dodging the actual point: on the recording, he claims to be in possession of said document, and admits it is not classified.

This is perhaps the least coherent argument of the entire interview, and that’s a pretty high bar.

Watch below then scroll for one more exceptionally insane attempt to defend himself.

Near the end, Trump seems to perhaps remember that he should not be confessing to quite so many things and pivots.

Now, instead of defending his actions, he’s on the denial track, repeating his suggestion that the investigators are planting the evidence he’s already admitted to possessing.

“What I’m concerned about,” he argues, “They took everything. I don’t know what they took. They could be stuffing it. I don’t know what they put in there.”

Have Trump’s attorney’s not yet advised him that the right to remain silent is one of his best defenses?

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.

Stephanie Bazzle

Steph Bazzle is a news writer who covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph. Sign up for all of her stories to be delivered to your inbox here: