After Attorney General Merrick Garland stressed there was “probable cause” for the FBI’s raid and search on former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence and said he had asked a court to make the case’s documents public, Trump shot back with some classic whataboutism that was in turn quickly shot down by fact checkers and the National Archives themselves.
Garland said “I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter. The department does not take such a decision lightly.”
Which prompted Trump to respond to the press briefing not by attacking former President Barrack Obama instead of Garland, or even trying to proclaim his innocence.
Trump asked on his Truth Social platform:
What happened to the 30 million pages of documents taken from the White House to Chicago by Barack Hussein Obama? He refused to give them back!”
He later doubled down on that line of thinking:
“I continue to ask, what happened to the 33 Million pages of documents taken to Chicago by President Obama? The Fake News Media refuses to talk about that. They want it CANCELED!”
Trump appears to be referring to records shipped to a facility in Chicago that are planned for Obama’s presidential library.
Daniel Dale, a CNN fact checker, blasted Trump for his many false claims about the documents at Mar-a-Lago, including his Obama whataboutism, during an interview with anchor John Berman.
“Let’s just start with one of the things Trump himself said. He said essentially Barack Obama did the same thing. He said, quote, ‘President Barack Obama kept 33 million pages of documents. How many of them classified? How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!’ What’s the truth here, Daniel?”
“There’s no truth to that. You don’t have to take my word for it because the National Archives and Records Administration issued a statement totally debunking this. They said the National Archives and Records Administration maintains exclusive legal and physical custody of the Obama-era documents. They were the ones who took 31 million documents to the Chicago area, to their own facility. Not Obama’s house. And they made clear that the classified documents were sent to another facility. So, basically, nothing Trump said in that Truth Social post was actually accurate.”
The National Archives was also quick to counter Trump’s claims, issuing a statement saying they “assumed exclusive legal and physical custody” of Obama’s presidential records after he left office, and that Trump “has no control over where and how” such records are kept. They added that they had moved about 30 million pages of unclassified records from the Obama administration to a Chicago facility, while Classified documents remain in Washington, D.C.