This is too funny. Nobody is going to accuse Trump of being a genius, nor even particularly canny or savvy. Trump is so used to telling and getting away with lies in his personal and business life, when it’s personal and unscripted, apparently it never occurred to him that when you’re the President, this shit tends to end up on tape.
Lawrence O’Donnell just detailed the original genesis of the National Archives search for missing documents on The Last Word on MSNBC tonight, and it’s so Trumpian you just have to roll your eyes. Think of how much paper is turned over to the Archives when a President leaves office. It’s basically every sheet he produced, signed, or read for 4 long years. It could take a year of more to unpack and catalog it all. How did the National Archives know so early on that Trump was holding out on them?
As usual, it was Trump’s big mouth. And because Trump is a transactional blowhard, he probably forgot he ever said it within 5 minutes of uttering it. But he said two things that, in those very moment he said them, started every archivist working for the National Archives drooling like a dog smelling steak.
His first oral fart was shortly after his inauguration. In a press conference, Trump made reference to a Beautiful letter that President Obama had left in a drawer of the Resolute Desk for me. No, really, it was a beautiful letter! The second faux pas was when Traitor tot was deep in the throes of his bromance with Kim Jong-Un. In another presser Trump declared, Kim wrote me a beautiful letter. It was 3 pages long, and it was almost like a love letter. It was beautiful. Trump liked that one so much he even used it at rallies, We fell in love. What can I say, he wrote me beautiful letters, and we fell in love!
And so, when the Trump presidential record boxes started coming in, every archivist working the files ripped the lids of of the boxes like a kid with wrapping paper on Christmas morning, and rather than remove, sort and collate, and archive the papers, went on a speed search through each box, desperately looking for the Obama and Kim letters, so they could be the first one to read it. And wouldn’t you know it? They weren’t there.
That was what actually tipped the National archives off in the first place that documents were missing. They knew that they should be there, since Trump made such a public stink about them, but they weren’t. And that’s what started the endless daisy chain of letters and e-mails back and forth between the Archives and the Trump lgal team, requesting the return of the documents.
In late January of 2022, Trump sent back 12 boxes of documents to the Archives. The New York Times has reported that Trump personally sifted through the boxes, deciding what to send back, and what to keep. When the boxes were received at the Archives, once again the speed sorting feeding frenzy ensued, looking for the Holy Grails of the Trump presidential papers. And once again, the letters weren’t there. Trump was still holding out on them.
That’s when the Archives decided to get the FBI involved in a criminal investigation. If Trump was holding back 4 stupid personal letters, what else was he holding back? Especially since in the trove that Trump did send back, there were more than 100 documents, totalling some 700 pages, that were marked as Classified, with various classification levels attached to them. It was now a national security issue.
That’s how it all started, Trump’s big mouth. And here’s a late breaking update for you. The Washington Post is reporting that in the last year of the Trump presidency, as many as 22 boxes of documents were stored in Trump’s personal residence at the White House. So much for Trump’s bullshit We was in a last minute bum’s rush to pack excuse. Don’t touch that dial, this is only going to get worse. Lawrence O’Donnell was right months ago, when he said Donald Trump has already had the best days of his life. Every day will only get worse from here.