To take it from Joseph Malouf, Telemundo's in-house “Constitutional Law Expert”, Christmas came a month late for Donald Trump on January 23 when classified documents were found at former Vice President Mike Pence's Indiana home.
“Now that you have three people -- three people recently serving the country -- with classified documents; it's the best news Trump could have asked for; it's Christmas for him,” Malouf told D.C. correspondent Cristina Londoño the day after the story of Pence's documents broke.
CRISTINA LONDOÑO: Unlike Pence and Biden, Trump refused to voluntarily hand over the documents he had. According to Joseph Malouf, that could now work in [Trump’s] favor.
JOSEPH MALOUF: ...Well, now that you have three people, three people recently serving the country, with classified documents; it's the best news Trump could have asked for; it's Christmas for him.
Malouf’s inference (for what it's worth, his namesake law firm specializes in personal injury) aired over a report that had the appearance of creating a permission structure for the normalization of removing classified documents. To wit:
- That the former VP and Biden were unaware of having the documents and were cooperating with the DOJ. The Bad Orange Man, however, refused to hand over the documents he had. In the words of anchor Julio Vaqueiro: “His [Pence's] team discovered them and turned them over to the Justice Department.”
- That now, after the Biden bust, it's perfectly possible -- and acceptable -- for presidents (except for Trump) and vice presidents to take classified documents with them during government transitions, as normalized by former WH press secretary, Jen Psaki.
- That it's perfectly ok to keep classified documents strewn all around the place, in the case of Biden and Pence. Not so for Trump, who is now somehow benefiting from the infamous FBI raid at Mar-A-Lago after the Pence doc find. Heck, it's Christmas for him!!
Does “Christmas for Trump” lead to Springtime for Biden? Telemundo sure seems to think so!
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To view the complete transcript of the segment mentioned above as aired over Telemundo's evening news on Tuesday, January 22, 2023, please press on "expand."
JULIO VAQUEIRO: On to other news. Former Vice President Mike Pence had classified documents at his Indiana home. His team discovered them and turned them over to the Justice Department. That adds to the secret documents in the homes of Biden and Trump and raises new questions about how the most sensitive government documents are protected. Cristina Londoño has the details.
CRISTINA LONDOÑO: After criticizing his former boss and predecessor, and repeatedly denying that he took classified documents, former Vice President Mike Pence hired lawyers to review files in his home. "We found a small number of classified documents that the former vice president did not know he had," his lawyer informed the National Archives; he was waiting for directives on how to handle them. Three days later, he confirmed that while away in Washington, D.C., FBI agents came to his home and removed the sensitive material.
MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I'm unable to comment on your question
LONDOÑO: Attorney General Merrick Garland did not reveal whether he will appoint a special counsel to investigate Pence as he did in the Trump and Biden cases. But there is already talk in Washington of a bigger problem.
JOSEPH MALOUF: You're going to see from the side of the Republicans, how the Democrats will take action and not allow documents that keep this country safe, to fall into the hands of someone who can put us at risk.
LONDOÑO: Jen Psaki was a White House adviser under Obama and Biden, and said it's not impossible to take classified documents during a (presidential transition).
JEN PSAKI: There is so much activity, you're still governing, you're still being president or being vice president. And your staff is typically packing up your belongings so that you're ready to go or somebody to come in. There is not a process of checking those boxes…
LONDOÑO: In Pence's corner, a surprise ally: "He's an innocent man. He never did anything knowingly dishonest in this life. Leave him alone!!!", former President Donald Trump said. Unlike Pence and Biden, Trump voluntarily refused to hand over the documents he had. According to Joseph Malouf, that now favors him.
MALOUF: ... Well, now that you have three people, three people recently serving the country, with classified documents; it's the best news Trump could have asked for; it's Christmas for him.
VAQUEIRO: Cristina Londoño, in Washington DC. Good afternoon. So there are three. Can we expect more officials, more former officials with secret documents?
LONDOÑO: Well, Julio, apparently, not many. The National Archives Administration says it already has in its possession all documents from Ronald Reagan's administration to Barack Obama's, including the two Bush administrations and also Bill Clinton. So, those documents are already secured and there is no danger... for now.
VAQUEIRO: For now. Thank you Cristina Londoño.