Trump responds: "Election interference at the highest level"

Side note: Donald Trump is back on Twitter … sort of. Last night, after revealing that the Department of Justice had indicted him on several as-yet unnamed charges, Trump published a four-minute video response through his campaign’s fast-response Twitter account. Trump accused the DoJ and Joe Biden of “election interference at the highest level,” and declared in both the tweet he obviously authored and the video, “I am an innocent man”:


This comes down to two main arguments. Is Trump an “innocent man” in the moral sense that he’s claiming here (as opposed to the legal sense, in which everyone is innocent until proven guilty)? And is this “election interference at the highest level”?

Count me as a no on the first claim and a damned straight on the second. And in this case, the latter outweighs the former, especially in regard to the rule of law and damage to the institutions of our republic.

Let’s start with the first, and bear with me, because the first is definitely not the last. According to 18 USC 793 (Espionage Act) and other related statutes, anyone found in unauthorized possession of classified material in any form is guilty of a federal crime. Intent is explicitly excluded in the statute itself; classified material can only be stored in approved facilities and retained by authorized personnel in such facilities, period. Anyone and everyone who gets cleared to access such materials at any level are repeatedly warned about those statutes and the consequences for violating them, as I can personally attest from my time at a defense contractor (Hughes Aircraft). Those statutes get routinely enforced on lower-level people and occasionally at higher levels, such as Sandy Berger shortly after Bill Clinton left office, but clearly not of late on the latter until now.


We’ll come back to that point in a moment on Trump’s second claim, but first let’s deal with the defense to that claim. Trump has claimed, and likely will continue to claim, that he declassified all of the material he took to Mar-a-Lago. That requires at least some notification of specific declassification, as such material is almost always held in multiple locations. Trump has not shown any such effort, even though he did have plenary declassification authority while he was president.

On top of that, CNN reports that a tape has leaked — presumably from investigators — in which Trump acknowledged that he hadn’t gotten around to declassifying at least some of the material before he left office:

Former President Donald Trump acknowledged on tape in a 2021 meeting that he had retained “secret” military information that he had not declassified, according to a transcript of the audio recording obtained by CNN.

“As president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t,” Trump says, according to the transcript. …

“Well, with Milley – uh, let me see that, I’ll show you an example. He said that I wanted to attack Iran. Isn’t that amazing? I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him,” Trump says, according to the transcript. “They presented me this – this is off the record, but – they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him. We looked at some. This was him. This wasn’t done by me, this was him.”

Trump continues: “All sorts of stuff – pages long, look. Wait a minute, let’s see here. I just found, isn’t that amazing? This totally wins my case, you know. Except it is like, highly confidential. Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this.”

“Secret” and “confidential” are two levels of classification for sensitive government documents.


If Trump had classified material in his possession in Mar-a-Lago after his presidency, that’s a crime under the applicable statutes. When he found it, Trump had a duty to notify the classifying agency and return the material, but that would only mitigate the fact that a crime had occurred, not negate it. That is how Congress crafted 18 USC 793 and how it is read in any other context. Trump further had a duty to produce that document and other classified material when demanded of him along with all of the other still-classified material in his possession. Instead, Trump balked, and apparently still hasn’t produced the document mentioned in this tape. He then misled the DoJ and the National Archives through his attorney about the number of classified documents in his possession, which is why the DoJ is going to tack on a bunch of obstruction and conspiracy counts.

So no, Trump didn’t end up in this position just because of political malice. He made himself a target and stepped into a trap of his own making. On count one, don’t expect any sympathy.

However, on count two, Trump is not just correct, but obviously so. And all it takes is three words to show it: Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Ironically or not, it fell to the man that Trump has desperately been attempting to smear for months to make the truly effective counterpunch to the news of the indictment:


The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society.

We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation.

Why so zealous in pursuing Trump yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter?

The DeSantis administration will bring accountability to the DOJ, excise political bias and end weaponization once and for all.

Let’s leave the Bidens out of this for the moment. Hunter is being accused of a completely different set of allegations, and at least for the moment a special counsel is investigating Joe for 18 USC 793 violations that apparently stretch back to his Senate days, when Biden had no custodial authority at all. Instead, let’s focus on Hillary Clinton, who committed the exact same kinds of criminal violations and got off scot-free for them.

For those who only remember the “but her emails!” scoffery from the media seven years ago, allow a bullet-point refresher:

  • As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton operated a private e-mail server at her residence in Chappaqua, New York rather than use the official State Department e-mail system, passing thousands of instances of classified material through and stored on an unauthorized private storage device.
  • No one bothered to apply even a semblance of security to the device or its storage in the Clinton residence that would befit even a low-level classified-material storage system. The email server was almost certainly penetrated by foreign intelligence at some point, and had no real safeguards to prevent it or the exposure of the classified information stored on and passing through it.
  • The purpose of this system was clearly to evade legitimate congressional and judicial oversight into her official actions as Secretary of State. In fact, her evasion caused the State Dept to falsely claim in a number of court cases involving FOIA demands that Clinton didn’t use e-mail at all.
  • When the House Select Committee on Benghazi revealed the use of her private e-mail for transmission of classified material, Clinton at first denied it had ever taken place. She then attempted to delete the records from her server before allowing anyone else to access it, as well as destroyed several other electronic devices that might have had evidence of those crimes.
  • Even so, investigators found thousands of pieces of classified material on her server from her time as SecState, including a few at the highest possible levels of classification.

On every single issue in both cases, Hillary Clinton comes out looking worse than Donald Trump. Her mishandling of classified material was of a much larger scope and scale and with far greater risk of exposure. Her motives for operating the system were corrupt to the core — attempting to defeat the constitutional congressional oversight of her office. Clinton’s obstruction was on a larger scale too, attempting to destroy all of the evidence of her crimes and lying about it when caught (at least publicly).

So why didn’t the DoJ indict Hillary? Then-FBI director James Comey decided that intent mattered despite the clearly contradictory language in the statute, and announced that he wouldn’t charge her because Hillary had no intent to commit espionage. Furthermore, her status as a presidential candidate would put the DoJ at risk of influencing a national election.

So what’s the difference in this case? No one seriously thinks Trump was attempting to commit espionage. And now the DoJ has indicted a candidate for a major-party nomination, a step they refused to take even before Hillary Clinton officially won the Democrat nomination in 2016.

This is what I mean about the damage to our small-R republican institutions. People cry No one is above the law when it comes to Trump, but Hillary Clinton clearly got above-the-law treatment in almost the same set of circumstances. You can bet that the Bidens will get above-the-law treatment as well unless absolutely unavoidable; we see evidence of that already in the frozen Hunter investigations. The DoJ in these two decisions involving Clinton and Trump are clearly applying differing standards, which not only undermines the rule of law but also seems clearly aimed at interfering in some manner with the upcoming 2024 election. The DoJ has become weaponized by the Democrat Party, and Ron DeSantis has this exactly correct.


Trump’s responsible for putting himself in this position, but Hillary, the Bidens, and the DoJ past and present are responsible for corrupting the very institutions that unite us. It’s the latter that’s the real danger to the security of the United States.

Addendum: Normally, I’d put something this lengthy behind the paywall, but (a) this is too important to not have fully accessible, and (b) we’re going to have some great VIP content today already. Adam and I will have a new Amiable Skeptics this morning on patriotism and the rule of law (!), Duane and I will do our Week in Review, plus we’ll have new content from Tom Jackson, Matt Vespa, and more. This will be a good time to join our membership plan, in fact — so use this link and the code SAVEAMERICA to get 50% off!

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