In Trump’s stolen document case, the two sides have submitted disputes to Special Master Raymond Dearie. Because some earlier documents remain sealed (because of the hurricane, DOJ says), the most descriptive document included is this one, laying out disputes.
The two sides are fighting over whether Trump’s notes on clippings and briefing books are presidential documents (both are squarely within the Presidential Records Act definition).
The most interesting description in the document pertains to one particular item over which the two sides are fighting: a “compilation” of two classified documents, with three communications that post-date when he left the White House.
This document is a compilation that includes three documents that post-date Plaintiff’s term in office and two classified cover sheets, one SECRET and the other CONFIDENTIAL. Because Plaintiff can only have received the documents bearing classification markings in his capacity as President, the entire mixed document is a Presidential record.
Besides the classified cover sheets, which were inserted by the FBI in lieu of the actual documents, none of the remaining communications in the document are confidential presidential communications that might be subject to a claim of executive privilege. Three communications are from a book author, a religious leader, and a pollster. The first two cannot be characterized as presidential advisers and all three are either dated or by content occurred after Plaintiff’s administration ended.
This passage explains something I was wondering from the inventory: how DOJ accounted for the classified documents in the Bates numbers. The answer is that FBI included cover sheets to mark where the classified documents were, so they count in the running Bates count.
This particular document (or “compilation”) was in a desk drawer in Trump’s office. (We know that because the Bates number appears in Item 4, the box of stuff from the desk drawer, in the main inventory. Aside from the Roger Stone clemency, this was the only document outside of the leatherbound box with classified documents in Trump’s office.
The compilation, as found in the desk drawer, includes:
- A Secret document
- A Confidential document
- A communication that post-dates Trump’s administration, from a book author
- A communication that post-dates Trump’s administration, from a religious leader
- A communication that post-dates Trump’s administration, from a pollster
The secrets involved here are nowhere near as sensitive as the stuff in Trump’s leatherbound box, which stored the most sensitive documents. Confidential documents like the one in this compilation are often State Department cables.
But in some ways this document is more damning: because it shows he was commingling stolen classified documents with his ongoing affairs after leaving the White House. It gets far closer to showing that Trump was using government secrets for his own personal affairs even after he left the White House.