Tuesday, prior to his arraignment in Miami, former President Donald Trump argued on Truth Social that crucial information was not presented to the federal grand jury in his case prior to the Justice Department’s decision to indict him.
“THE GRAND JURY WAS NEVER TOLD ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS ACT OR THE CLINTON SOCKS CASE, BOTH EXONERATING!” Trump wrote.
Saturday in Columbus, Georgia, the Republican presidential candidate also made reference to the “socks case” involving Hillary Clinton.
“They also don’t mention the defining lawsuit that was brought against Bill Clinton,” he said, “and it was lost by the government — the famous socks case that says he can keep his documents. They don’t mention that.”
The “socks case” is Judicial Watch, Inc. v. National Archives and Records Administration, which was filed in 2012.
According to Reuters, the case centered on 79 audio recordings Clinton possessed, including interviews he gave to historian Taylor Branch during his tenure in office.
Branch published a book in 2009 based on the interviews titled, “The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President.”
Branch stated in an interview with GQ magazine in that same year that Clinton “squirreled away the cassettes in his sock drawer.”
Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the National Archives in 2010 to obtain access to the recordings, which Clinton had designated as personal records and therefore did not turn over to the Archives in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.
In her opinion, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Amy Berman Jackson noted that the Judicial Watch complaint claimed that the recordings concerned a variety of presidential issues.
These included the potential dismissal of then-CIA Director James Woolsey, foreign policy decisions such as military involvement in Haiti and the potential easing of the U.S. embargo on Cuba, telephone conversations with foreign leaders, and a conversation Clinton had with Secretary of State Warren Christopher regarding the volatile situation in Bosnia.
Jackson ruled against Judicial Watch in the case, stating that even if she were inclined to concur with the conservative group that Clinton should have turned over the recordings to the National Archives, the court had no recourse to offer.
“The [Presidential Records Act] does not confer any mandatory or even discretionary authority on the Archivist to classify records,” Jackson wrote. “Under the statute, this responsibility is left solely to the President.”
Friday, Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told Reuters that Jackson’s opinion demonstrated that Trump has the authority to designate documents as personal records.
“The strong opinion from the court says the president has prerogatives that cannot be second-guessed,” he explained.
“These are not presidential records,” Fitton added. “These are personal records.”
Nevertheless, Fitton contradicted Trump’s assertion that the grand jury was unaware of the “socks case” and its application to the Presidential Records Act. He stated that he was summoned to testify before the grand jury in Washington, D.C. last winter.
“Fitton said prosecutors seemed to use his four-hour grand jury session to sus out Trump’s potential defense,” Reuters reported.
In the DOJ’s indictment against Trump, 31 counts allege violations of the Espionage Act, 18 U.S. Code Section 793, relating to the mismanagement of national security-related documents.
The indictment references an interview Trump had with a book author in July 2021 in which he discussed a potential military operation that was evidently not carried out.
Trump informed the writer that their conversation was off the record and classified. However, Trump may have had another reason for not wanting the information included in the book, as he has also stated that he declassified all the documents in his possession.
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, stated on CNN on Sunday that the 1988 Supreme Court case Department of the Navy v. Egan is the controlling precedent for handling classified information.
Trump “said he declassified this material. He can put it wherever he wants. He can handle it however he wants,” Jordan said.
“That’s the law. That’s the standard. And [special counsel] Jack Smith can do all this, 37 different counts, whatever he wants to do, but that doesn’t change the standard,” the congressman contended.