As more details continue to come out about the Justice Department’s investigation into whether Donald Trump may have violated the Espionage Act and other laws, the former president’s defenses have only grown more chaotic. Trump debuted his latest alibi late Friday, issuing a statement that claimed he had a “standing order” that declassified all documents from the moment they were removed from the White House and taken to the “residence.”
Here’s pro-Trump journalist John Solomon, who in 2020 was cut off from Fox News for peddling disinformation on the Bidens and Ukraine, relaying the message on Fox News:
Statement from Trump Office: As we can all relate to, everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time… He had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office taken to the residence were deemed to be declassified.. pic.twitter.com/pnTjRnOqif
— Acyn (@Acyn) August 13, 2022
Even from a cursory glance, the statement appears to contain several problematic, if not wholly nonsensical, claims. First off, as my colleague Dan Friedman pointed out, it doesn’t outline a legal rationale for Trump keeping top secret documents once he was no longer in office—and then refusing to return the classified documents once the National Archives and eventually, the Justice Department, requested them. Second, none of the potential violations Trump is now under investigation for depend on classification, rendering the supposed “standing order” assertion moot. Third, the statement appears to blatantly contradict the conspiracy-laden suggestion, pushed by Republicans and Trump himself, that any damaging evidence may have been planted at Mar-a-Lago.
But the most absurd feature of Trump’s excuse could be its ham-fisted attempt to relate to the everyday person working from home. “Everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time,” the statement via Solomon read. “American presidents are no different.” Add that to the even more unbelievable assertion that Donald Trump works at all—and you’ll be left wondering, once again, how did things get this stupid.