So if you or I had worked for the government and, upon leaving, squirreled away a few top secret nuclear documents in a Six Million Dollar Man lunchbox that we kept under a basement foosball table, we’d be sitting in brightly lit rooms asking if we could please get some unscented udder cream for our serially brutalized nipples. It’s unlikely we’d be able to trot out numerous contradictory excuses for our crimes and have roughly a third of the nation believe them. But Donald Trump is special.
And since his followers are 100% convinced he’s the bestest prezident since George Jefferson, anything he does must be holy, pure, and in the interest of all Americans. And when you have a stable of reliable sycophants like Tickle Me Nosferatu (the bullshit artist formerly known as Rudy Giuliani) at your beck and call, “creative” (read: terrible) rationalizations will flow like black-tar brain effluent down the withering cheeks of a weary nation.
So, yeah—this is the kind of excuse you come up with when you’re completely out of excuses:
GIULIANI: “And now they want to make him responsible for having taken classified documents and preserved them. Really, if you look at the Espionage Act, it’s not really about taking the documents, it’s about destroying them, or hiding them, or giving them to the enemy. It’s not about taking them and putting them in a place that’s roughly as safe as they were in in the first place.”
Yup, securing top secret nuclear documents in restricted, heavily guarded government facilities is exactly the same as leaving them in the hands of a guy well known for blurting out highly classified secrets in front of the Russian foreign minister, making calls on an unsecured cell phone, and tweeting sensitive satellite photos against the advice of every member of the intelligence community. Just like most of us prefer to store our life savings in a Folgers can instead of depositing it in a bank. Makes total sense.
Okay, so clearly, we’re not on the same page as Rudy. For one thing, we don’t hang out with pages. They’re minors, Rudy, and the musky melange of English Leather and Sanka breath is not the aphrodisiac you think it is. But—surprise!—what Rudy is blabbering here is simply not what the Espionage Act says.
As Vox explained in the wake of this kerfuffle, “The Espionage Act is actually a series of statutes under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 37 related to the collection, retention, or dissemination of national defense or classified information. The Mar-a-Lago search warrant referred to Section 793—‘Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information,’ which doesn’t just cover ‘spying’ in the sense that many think of when they hear the term. Section 793 specifically states that people legally granted access to national defense documents—people like the former president—are subject to punishment should they improperly retain that information.”
Trump “retained” this information and refused to give it back, and in June, his lawyers told the government that he no longer held any classified documents at Mar-a-Lago—even though he clearly did.
So how many excuses does this make now? At first, Trump wanted us to believe the FBI planted these documents. Then he claimed he’d declassified them—which only makes sense if he knew which documents the FBI had decided to plant. For a hot minute, Trump also tried to claim some of the documents fell under attorney-client privilege, and like the feckless fucknut he is, he demanded their return.
Then there was the “standing order” excuse, wherein Trump tried to claim that anything he took home with him automatically alchemized from a closely held government secret into a public domain document every American has a right to see—unlike, say, the former pr*sident’s tax returns.
CNN made short work of that one:
And now—according to Rudy—it’s all good since Trump didn’t destroy the documents or, as far as we know, give them to Russia or Saudi Arabia. Though I assume if we find out he did give them to Saudi Arabia, they’ll move the goalposts again—most likely next to a Krispy Kreme for our ex-POTUS’ convenience.
Of course, if all of this weren’t so horrifying, it would be endlessly amusing. But this is the safety and security of our planet we’re talking about now.
We are not amused.
Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.
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