Fact check: Trump responds to special counsel news with debunked claim about Obama and the Bushes


In President Donald Trump’s first response to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s announcement on Friday that he had appointed a special counsel to lead a criminal investigation into Trump’s retention of government documents after he left office, Trump defended himself in a disingenuous manner – repeating lies and lies. statements about the performance of other former presidents are documented.

Trump, speaking Friday night at his Mar-a-Lago residence, asked why there was no investigation of “all the other presidents who preceded me,” including but not limited to Republicans George HW Bush and George W. . He said that the former presidents “kept documents,” and continued: “One time, they had them in a Chinese restaurant with broken windows. And one time they had a Chinese restaurant attached to a bowling alley. That’s where the documents were kept. They took documents. President Obama took the documents.”

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 2: US Attorney Merrick Garland attends a press conference at the US Department of Justice on August 2, 2022 in Washington, DC.  Garland announced that the US Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit seeking to block Idaho's new abortion law.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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First Facts: Trump’s claims are false again – and have been refuted by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) itself. As NARA explained in notice of August, Barack Obama did not take the documents President Trump said Obama took. Instead, NARA itself moved documents from the Obama administration to a NARA-run facility in Chicago, near where the Obama presidential library is being built. NARA made a similar statement in word in October, after Trump added other former presidents to the nonsense story, that none of the Bushes took the documents that Trump said he took. Again, it was NARA that moved the Bushes’ presidential documents to a NARA-controlled facility near the future site of their presidential libraries.

In other words, there is no parallel between Trump’s experience — where he allegedly took hundreds of classified documents, including many other presidential documents, to his Mar-a-Lago resort and residence — and the reality, or what wasn’t. about. his leaders.

Trump used the speech Friday to offer several other criticisms of Garland’s decision to appoint special counsel, former attorney general Jack Smith. Smith will also oversee the second criminal investigation against Trump, seeking to determine whether anyone “interfered” with the transfer of power after the 2020 election or with the congressional approval of Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College “as soon as” January. 6, 2021. (Smith will not oversee the investigation or prosecution of the people who broke into the Capitol that day.)

Trump’s idea that the records of previous presidents were kept insecure is also false.

The place where President George HW Bush’s documents were temporarily stored, in College Station, Texas, was actually an old connection to an old Chinese restaurant. But by the time Bush’s documents arrived, the building had been converted by NARA into a fully-secured museum with no tunnels or equipment.

Although Trump has repeatedly said that the College Station area was not safe – this time he said that the “windows were broken” – the story has no evidence. In its October statement, NARA said all temporary facilities that store the documents of former presidents “achieve archival and security standards.” NARA said that “reports indicating or implying that the President’s records were in the hands of the former President or his representative, after he left office, or that the records were stored in unauthorized locations, are false and misleading.”

You don’t need to take the latest NARA statement. The Associated Press reported in 1994: “Uniformed security guards are patrolling homes. The walls and doors are equipped with CCTV lighting and high-quality electronic lighting. Some stories are classified and will remain so for years; it is only open to those with top secret clearances.

Finally, it is not a revelation that this place had a beautiful past as a restaurant and an alley; NARA officials laughed publicly about it at the time. It is unusual for NARA to lease large buildings that previously served a different purpose. The Washington Post reported in 1993: “There are no more roads. No tubes, no pins, no alcohol. Due to the rapid renovation work after last November’s election, there are only a few offices, a large, fireproof room with rows of metal shelves filled with cardboard and wooden boxes.

Trump continues to tell falsehoods about his predecessors not only despite NARA’s statement against them but despite extensive research from the mainstream media. He also said that Mr. Obama allegedly took the documents during the speech on Tuesday where he announced that he would be elected president in 2024; CNN also looked into it.

PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 08: Former US President Donald Trump speaks to the media during an election night event at Mar-a-Lago on November 08, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.  Trump spoke as the nation awaited the results of the midterm elections.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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