Fact check: Trump responds to special counsel news with debunked claim about Obama and the Bushes


Former President Donald Trump’s first extended response to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s announcement Friday that he has appointed a special counsel to oversee a criminal investigation into Trump’s retention of government documents after he leaves office, Trump he defended himself by being dishonest – repeating his lie in full. complaints about how former presidents handled legal reports.

Trump, speaking Friday night at his Mar-a-Lago resort and residence, asked why there were no investigations into “all the other presidents who came before Me,” including but not limited to Republicans George HW Bush and George W. Bush. He said that these first presidents had “saved documents,” and continued: “In one case, they had it in a Chinese restaurant with broken windows. And in one case they had a Chinese restaurant attached to the bowling alley. This is where the documents were kept. They took documents. President Obama took the documents. ”

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 2: US Attorney Merrick Garland attends a press conference at the US Department of Justice on August 2, 2022 in Washington, DC.  Garland announced that the United States Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit seeking to block Idaho's new abortion law.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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First Notes: Trump’s claims, too, are false — and have been debunked by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) itself. As NARA explained in August statement, Barack Obama did not take the documents of the president Trump said Obama took them. Instead, NARA itself moved the documents from the Obama administration to a facility controlled by NARA in the Chicago area, near where the Obama presidential library is being built. NARA similarly explained to statement in October, after Trump implicated other past presidents in the baseless report, that none of the Bushes took the documents Trump claimed he took. Also, it was NARA that moved the Bushes’ presidential documents to NARA-controlled facilities near the future locations of their presidential libraries.

In other words, there is no balance between Trump’s position — where he is said to have taken hundreds of classified documents, and many other presidential records, to his Mar-a-Lago resort and residence — and conditions, or false conditions, of his predecessors.

Trump used Friday’s speech to offer various criticisms of Garland’s decision to appoint a special counsel, former prosecutor Jack Smith. Smith will also oversee a second criminal investigation involving Trump, into whether someone “illegally interfered” in the transfer of power after the 2020 presidential election or through the convention’s certificate of victory for Joe Biden in the Electoral College “on or about” January. 6, 2021. (Smith will not preside over investigations or prosecutions of people who trespassed on the Capitol that day.)

Trump’s suggestion that documents on past presidents are kept insecure is also false.

The place where George HW Bush’s presidential documents were temporarily stored in College Station, Texas, was actually the first bowling alley connected to an old Chinese restaurant. But by the time Bush’s records arrived, the building had been converted by NARA into a high-security archive and no longer contained bowling alleys or equipment.

Although Trump has repeatedly said or suggested that the College Station facility is unsafe — this time he said it had “broken windows” — this story is also baseless. In its October statement, NARA said that all temporary facilities where it has stored documents of past presidents “meet strict storage and security standards.” NARA said that “reports that show or suggest that those Presidential records were in the hands of former Presidents or their representatives, after they left office, or that the records were placed in an unstable state , are false and misleading.”

You don’t have to take NARA’s latest word for it. The Associated Press reported in 1994: “Uniformed guards patrol the grounds. There are closed circuit television monitors and advanced electronics on the walls and doors. Some articles are edited and will remain so for years; it is open only to those with a secret clearance.”

Finally, it is not a revelation that this center had past colors as a restaurant and road; NARA officials joked about it publicly at the time. It is common for NARA to lease large buildings that previously had another purpose. The Washington Post reported in 1993: “There are no sidewalks. No gutters, no pins, no beer. Due to the hasty renovation work carried out after last November’s elections, there are only a few offices, a large fireproof room and rows of metal shelves filled with wooden boxes and wooden boxes.”

Trump continues to make these false allegations about his predecessors not only in spite of NARA’s statements condemning them but in spite of many facts from the mainstream media. He also made a claim about Obama allegedly taking documents from Tuesday’s speech where he announced his 2024 presidential candidacy; CNN also reviewed it at the time.

PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 08: Former US President Donald Trump speaks to the media during an election night event at Mar-a-Lago on November 8, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.  Trump spoke as the nation awaited election results in the midterm elections.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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