John Bolton offered further criticism of his ex-boss on Wednesday, claiming that Donald Trump’s White House is not behaving like “normal” presidential administrations and admonishing him for allegedly inappropriately removing classified information from the West Wing.
The former national security adviser spoke to a crowd of reporters at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC, where he was attending a conference hosted by Iranian opposition figures.
“Look… normal administrations, which wasn’t one of those… are making arrangements for them to access documents they’ve used or come across,” Mr Bolton replied to a question from The Independent. “There are a number of ways to do this that would allow a former president, under security conditions, to access classified documents.”
Mr Bolton pointed out that since it was in Mr Bolton’s own home, a SCIF, or Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, would have been set up in Mar-a-Lago during the Trump presidency to view classified documents. Such safe rooms would have made the documents as safe as in any government-run building, he claimed.
But that doesn’t appear to have happened here, Mr Bolton continued, leading to his admonition to the former President.
“He didn’t have to smuggle it out of the White House,” Mr Bolton said. “From what we can tell, he never bothered to ask. And I think that’s part of the problem.”
The former White House official declined to say if he thought it was possible since The Washington Post reported that documents on issues related to nuclear materials were part of the document finds sought by the Justice Department. But he went on to condemn what he called the bipartisan environment in which the DoJ is forced to operate.
“We are living in very unusual times and I am concerned that the [DoJ] being under such pressure now, pressure from the President’s party to pursue a prosecution, pressure from Trump supporters not to pursue a prosecution, it has put the Department in a very, very difficult position.”
“I think all of us who believe in the rule of law and don’t want the procedures to be broken…need to think about ways to help the Department on the public, political part of this matter to better explain what they are doing. do again. There’s a lot of creativity out there, but we need to find better ways to do it. Because the department is now politically completely paralyzed.”
Rather, his comments betray the concern for the DoJ and its associates that many in his party, including on Capitol Hill, have expressed following the execution of a search warrant in Mar-a-Lago last week. Many congressmen, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, are threatening time-consuming and costly Justice Department investigations, while far-right party members like Marjorie Taylor Greene have called for the FBI’s sacking.
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security warned in a joint memo over the weekend of a growing threat of extremist violence against law enforcement, attributing it directly to the Mar-a-Lago raid. At least one act of violence has already erupted: a man died after attacking an FBI office in Ohio, which led to a shootout with police in a cornfield. The Biden White House has sought to respond to growing outrage at the far right by attempting to distance itself entirely from the investigation being led by Attorney General Merrick Garland, and has insisted the president not on the issue is informed and learns about new developments through news reports.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-john-bolton-maralago-classified-b2147240.html John Bolton claims Trump tried to ‘smuggle’ classified documents out of the White House.