National Security

Karl Rove: ‘Beyond me’ why Trump held on to docs ‘when he had no legal authority’

Karl Rove, who served as a senior adviser to former President George W. Bush, said on Friday that former President Trump did not have the authority to take presidential documents with him to his Mar-a-Lago residence when he ended his term.

“Why he was holding on to these materials when he had no legal authority to do so under the Presidential Records Act is beyond me,” Rove, a Fox News contributor, said during an appearance on the network.

Rove’s appearance came shortly after a federal magistrate judge approved the release of a redacted affidavit used to convince him to approve a search warrant for Trump’s Florida residence.

The document revealed that authorities found 184 classified documents in boxes recovered by the National Archives in January, and prosecutors argued there was probable cause to believe they would find additional illegally possessed items, including classified national defense information, at Mar-a-Lago.

The previously unsealed search warrant noted that the search came as part of a federal investigation into potential violations of the Espionage Act and two other statutes, which do not rely on documents being classified.

“The Presidential Records Act is clear,” Rove said on Fox News. 

“A president does not have the right to leave the White House and pick and choose what documents he wants to take with him,” he continued. “He can ask for copies, but those are the property of the American people, and since 1978 no president has left with sort of picking and choosing their own documents.”

The affidavit revealed that the National Archives first reached out about retrieving records from Mar-a-Lago in May 2021. Trump’s aides alerted the Archives that they had 12 boxes for pick up later that year, and the agency ultimately left with 15, according to the document.

Trump and many Republicans have denounced the search of Mar-a-Lago as being politically motivated, and the former president has described it as an unnecessary escalation.

“President Trump has said several times all they had to do was ask,” Rove said on Friday. “Well, my sense is they were asking for a year and a half.”

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump FBI George W. Bush Karl Rove Karl Rove Karl Rove mar-a-lago search Mar-a-Lago search Presidential Records Act Presidential Records Act Trump
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