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‘Fiction’: Top Trump Officials Tell CNN His ‘Standing Order’ Claim Is Rubbish


Greater than a dozen former top Trump administration officials have refuted former President Donald Trump’s claim that he had a “standing order” stipulating that classified documents routinely became declassified when he took them from the Oval Office to his White House residence, CNN reported Thursday.

Because the FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort for top-secret materials which will have been improperly taken there, Trump and his allies have claimed, amongst other excuses, that the previous president had a “standing order” in place that declassified them.

But, in line with 18 officials from his administration who spoke to CNN, no such order was ever issued.

Several officials reportedly laughed or scoffed on the notion. One called it “bullshit.”

A lot of them even went on the record.

John Kelly, who was Trump’s chief of staff from 2017 to 2019, told CNN that “nothing approaching an order that silly was ever given” during his tenure.

“And I can’t imagine anyone that worked on the White House after me that may have simply shrugged their shoulders and allowed that order to go forward without dying within the ditch attempting to stop it,” he added.

Mick Mulvaney, Kelly’s successor, also said he was not aware of any such order.

Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton called Trump’s claim “an entire fiction.” Olivia Troye, who was a homeland security adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, called the thought of a blanket declassification “ludicrous.”

A president does have the authority to declassify documents, but there’s a proper process involved. It’s not clear if Trump followed that process. The documents the FBI sought from Mar-a-Lago were reportedly very sensitive in nature and included materials related to nuclear weapons.

The “standing order” excuse is amongst a rotation of other explanations that Trump and his team have offered. Trump has also claimed baselessly that any damaging materials found by the FBI will need to have been planted on his property.

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