Trump World has not really known how to handle the classified documents case, especially because Trump keeps basically confessing to the crime. When tape surfaced of him outright bragging about hoarding said papers — and admitting that he knows he can no longer declassify them — pals like Sean Hannity twisted themselves into pretzels trying to spin it. Eventually they settled on a not very flattering defense: Trump’s a liar, not a thief. Now, after trying a few other tactics (like all-caps social media posts), he’s adopting that line, too.
In an interview with Semafor aboard his private plane, Trump claimed that the so-called classified documents he kept directly referring to weren’t actually classified documents. They were just papers and he wanted to impress people…about something that’s very, very illegal.
“I would say it was bravado, if you want to know the truth, it was bravado,” Trump claimed. “I was talking and just holding up papers and talking about them, but I had no documents. I didn’t have any documents.”
Instead, he claims, he was trying to show off in front of staffers and the biographers working on a book about his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
“I just held up a whole pile of — my desk is loaded up with papers,” he asserted. “I have papers from 25 different things.”
But does Trump have any regrets about how he handled the boxes of classified documents, which he refused to return, thus possibly committing the very same crime that he claimed Hillary Clinton did, leading to the beloved chant “Lock her up!”? (That chant, incidentally, may come back to bite him in the butt.) Of course not.
“No, I have no regrets,” Trump replied. “I didn’t have a classified document. There was no classified document on my desk.”
Trump ended the Semafore interview quickly after they asked if the audio now made public would affect him accepting a possible plea deal — but not before saying the government would fail to prosecute him and making “unverified accusations” about Joe Biden.
“Frankly, that you even ask a question like that’s a disgrace,” he told Semafore. “So let’s end it.”
To recap: The current frontrunner for the Republican presidential ticket is now claiming that he’s a liar — which may itself be a lie. Good job, the Republican Party and its voters, you’re all doing swell.