White House chief of staff Mark Meadows tells judge that when Trump tweeted demand to declassify Russia investigation documents he did NOT mean it
- Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told a judge that President Donald Trump didn’t mean it when he said he wanted everything unredacted from the ‘Russia Hoax’
- Meadows explained that two October Trump tweets were not an order the court needed to follow, nor do they pertain to documents news organizations want
- Trump’s tweets are not ‘self-executing declassification orders and do not require the declassification or release of any particular documents,’ Meadows wrote
- A federal judge asked the White House to respond after the DOJ’s position on Mueller-related documents seemed to run counter of Trump’s tweets
- BuzzFeed and other news organizations have sued the government using the Freedom of Information Act to get witness interviews and other documents
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told a judge that President Donald Trump didn’t mean it when he tweeted a demand to have everything from the ‘Russia Hoax’ unredacted.
In a sworn statement to the court, Meadows explained that two October Trump tweets were not an order the court needed to follow through on, nor did they pertain to particular documents that news organizations have been suing the government to get their hands on.
‘The president indicated to me that his statements on Twitter were not self-executing declassification orders and do not require the declassification or release of any particular documents, including the FD-302 reports of witness interviews prepared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with the investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller III,’ Meadows wrote in a document signed Tuesday.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (left) told a judge Tuesday that President Donald Trump (right) wasn’t serious when he said that there should be ‘no redactions’ related to ‘Russia Hoax,’ as news organizations fight to see portions of the Mueller investigation
Two tweets from the president have perplexed a federal judge who has questioned whether President Donald Trump’s order of ‘no redactions!’ is just that. This runs counter to the government’s stance in Freedom of Information Act lawsuits
U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton pointed to this October 6 tweet and questioned whether the president was worried about some rogue element holding the release of documents up. The judge asked the White House to clarify
Politico first reported on Meadows’ response.
Last week a federal judge ordered the White House to clarify whether Trump’s tweets undermined the government’s decision to redact and withhold portions of the Mueller investigation.
The Mueller report itself contains a number of redactions.
Additionally, BuzzFeed, among others, sued using the Freedom of Information Act to see Mueller’s ‘302 reports’ – summaries of interviews conducted with officials, which include a number of people in the president’s orbit.
That content could be politically damaging to Trump with just two weeks to go until the election.
And yet in Trump’s tweets, he demands that everything is unredacted.
‘I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax,’ the president wrote. ‘Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!’
The president’s comment was in response to the Hoover Institution’s Paul Sperry who said, ‘When all the documents are finally declassified, and all the redactions removed from reports, the nation will see that the FBI and CIA not only knew the Russia “collusion” allegations against Trump were a political dirty trick, but that they were in on the trick.’
Another October 6 tweet also caught U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton’s eye because it suggested that some rogue element was at play, slowing the declassification process, Politico reported.
‘All Russia Hoax Scandal information was Declassified by me long ago. Unfortunately for our Country, people have acted very slowly, especially since it is perhaps the biggest political crime in the history of our Country. Act!!!’ Trump said.
Walton said he wanted clarity after the Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer had said he checked with a White House official to find out the president’s intent.
‘It seems to me that when a president makes an unambiguous statement of what his intent is, I can’t rely upon White House counsel saying, “Well, that was not his intent,”‘ Walton said at a hearing Friday, according to Politico. ‘Maybe White House counsel talked to the president. Maybe they didn’t, I can’t tell.’
Meadows explained in his response that Trump’s directive was really about what the president refers to as ‘spy-gate.’
‘Instead, the President’s statements related to the authorization he had provided the Attorney General to declassify documents as part of his ongoing review of intelligence activities relating to the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters,’ Meadows wrote.
A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday that will determine whether Meadows’ response was sufficient.