The White House Chief of Staff told a federal judge on Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s post on Twitter from earlier this month approving a “total Declassification of any & all documents” related to the Russia investigation really did not mean that, arguing no new documents should be released to the public.
“The President indicated to me that his statements on Twitter were not self-executive declassification orders and do not require the declassification or release of any particular documents,” said White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
In his court submission, Meadows said the tweet instead referred to previous orders he has given to the Attorney General to declassify information about the Russia probe, which President Trump often refers to as the ‘Russia hoax.’
But on October 6, the President was very direct in trumpeting his order to release all sorts of documents from the Russia probe, along with materials related to the Hillary Clinton email investigation from 2016.
The court statements came in the wake of requests by reporter Jason Leopold and BuzzFeed News to use the President’s tweet to access documents withheld about the Russia investigation.
The Justice Department originally claimed the President didn’t mean what he tweeted - but a federal judge ordered the submission of something more detailed, and that led to the declaration by the White House Chief of Staff.
Despite that White House assertion, in an October 15 telephone interview with the Fox Business network, the President made clear his intentions on the Russia documents.
“Well, I’m declassifying everything, yes,” Mr. Trump told host Stuart Varney.