Trump Used ‘Classified’ Folder as a Lamp Shade, Lawyer Says
Donald Trump’s creativity knows no bounds when it comes to documents. He’s torn them up and scattered them. He’s tried to flush them down the toilet. He’s absconded from the White House with hundreds of classified ones, setting off a Justice Department investigation that is still ongoing months after the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago last August. Trump attorney Timothy Parlatore told CNN on Sunday that the former president had been using one particular item of interest to the DOJ as a lamp shade.
“He has one of those landline telephones next to his bed, and it has a blue light on it, and it keeps him up at night. So he took the manilla folder and put it over so it would keep the light down so he could sleep at night,” Parlatore said. “It’s just this folder. It says ‘Classified Evening Summary’ on it. It’s not a classification marking. It’s not anything that is controlled in any way. There is nothing illegal about it.”
Parlatore told CNN that he and the rest of Trump’s legal team have completed their search of the former president’s properties and returned what they found to the DOJ, which had issued a subpoena for the “Classified Evening Summary” folder. Regardless of whether the folder the bore an official classification marking, the fact that Trump was using it as a lamp shade speaks to the haphazard nature of his document handling after leaving the White House.
The FBI found classified material intermixed with other media during its raid of Mar-a-Lago in August, and Trump’s lawyers later found additional classified material in a West Palm Beach storage room that was also filled with “suits and swords and wrestling belts and all sorts of things,” a source told The Washington Post. Trump claimed on Truth Social last month that he kept “hundreds” of empty classified folders because he thought they were “cool keepsakes,” while suggesting the recovered classified documents had been planted at his residence by the FBI.
CNN reported on Friday that Trump’s team had turned over additional classified material to the DOJ that they recovered in December and January, and that an aide had even copied some of the material to a laptop. The aide reportedly did not realize the material was classified and the laptop was also turned over to authorities. The team’s search is complete, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t additional classified material lurking somewhere in Trump’s properties.
Classified material has also been discovered recently at the homes of President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence, although both have reportedly been fully cooperating with authorities. The FBI conducted a planned search of Biden’s Delaware beach house earlier this month, but recovered no additional material. They searched Pence’s Indiana home last Friday, recovering one additional document.
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Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel, Jack Smith, to investigate Trump’s handling of classified material, as well as the former president’s role in fomenting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Garland appointed a separate special counsel, Robert Hur, to look into the classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president.