Trump’s excuses over classified papers seized from Mar-a-Lago show ‘desperation’, former aide John Bolton says
Many Republicans appear to be buying Donald Trump’s baseless accusations about the FBI raid at his home at Mar-a-Lago, but his former national security adviser is not one of them.
John Bolton spoke with The New York Times for an interview published on Sunday and said plainly that Mr Trump’s claims that FBI agents were planting evidence and taking only declassified documents were untrue.
“When somebody begins to concoct lies like this, it shows a real level of desperation,” said Mr Bolton.
Mr Trump has spiraled through various conspiracies in the wake of the FBI’s execution of a search warrant for classified documents, reportedly including some that dealt with nuclear topics, from his home. He has falsely accused former President Barack Obama of doing the same but worse, and also complained about the Justice Department’s decision not to seek an indictment for Hillary Clinton over the use of a private email server while she was at the State Department. Notably, Ms Clinton complied with orders from the DoJ for her documents when requested.
He has also suggested that FBI agents will plant incriminating evidence in the boxes of documents seized from his home, all the while working to gin up anger among his supporters targeting the FBI.
The agency has condemned what it calls “reprehensible” threats to its personnel and warned in a memo over the weekend (alongside the Department of Homeland Security) that the threat of attacks targeting the bureau has risen dramatically since the Mar-a-Lago raid.
One FBI office in Ohio was attacked by a lone gunman who fled the scene and was killed by law enforcement. Trump supporters have also protested outside the FBI’s headquarters building in Phoenix, Arizona, with weapons over the weekend.
Mr Bolton has been a critic of Donald Trump and his competence as a leader since leaving the Trump administration. He also threw cold water on the idea that the ex-president had a “standing order” to declassify all documents being sent to Mar-a-Lago during the presidential transition period.
“I was never briefed on any such order, procedure, policy when I came in,” he told the Times, noting he never heard about such an action from persons in the White House after he left either. “If he were to say something like that, you would have to memorialise that, so that people would know it existed.”