Former President Donald Trump had to be determined to grab top secret files to hide them away in his Florida home, said a Washington Post columnist and associate editor who has covered the White House for decades.
Presidents don’t accidentally end up with such sensitive files among boxes and boxes of documents hauled out of the White House at the end of their term, Eugene Robinson told MSNBC’s Ari Melber on Friday. (They’re not supposed to take any documents, which belong to the National Archives.)
The fact that agents carried out 11 sets of classified documents after their search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home Monday, according to the warrant and property receipt used by the FBI to conduct the search, is “unprecedented, unthought of,” Robinson said.
“Every president I’ve ever known or watched or observed or reported on, every administration has been very extremely, meticulously careful with top secret information, with classified information,” Robinson added.
“When you get to top secret, you get to top secret/SCI, that most sensitive information, that stuff doesn’t lie around in the White House. It doesn’t lie around in the Oval Office. It doesn’t lie around anywhere, much less in the basement of Mar-a-Lago. It just doesn’t,” he said, using the acronym for “sensitive compartmented information.”
“It’s handled very carefully,” he explained. “It’s looked at and examined and talked about, and then it’s tucked away into secure carriers and taken back to whatever vault it’s kept in.”
Some of the seized classified information was top secret, which is supposed to remain only in a secure government facility. Sources told The Washington Post in a report Thursday that some of the classified documents were believed to be related to nuclear weapons, which reportedly was a key reason for the urgent search.
The warrant indicated that Trump is under investigation for a possible violation of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice, and removing and destroying official documents. No specifics were provided in the documents.
The Espionage Act prohibits anyone from obtaining defense information with the possible intent of using it against the U.S. or to further the interests of a foreign country.
Robinson noted: “This is another way in which, again … the Donald Trump administration was like literally no other administration in the history of this country. No other administration would have, and certainly no other administration did, treat classified information like this.”
Watch the interview here:
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.