Secret Obama Memo Could Impact Jack Smith’s Classified Documents Case Against Trump

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America First Legal, a conservative watchdog group, has discovered a confidential memo from the Obama administration that could potentially undermine Jack Smith’s assertions about President Trump lacking the power to possess or preserve classified documents.

In June, Smith formally accused Trump of 37 federal charges for housing classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence.

Trump faced 31 counts of deliberately holding onto national defense information and 6 other process crimes in a federal court in Florida. These charges were a result of his discussions with his lawyer.

In July, Jack Smith added 3 more charges against Trump in an updated indictment related to the probe into classified documents stored at Mar-a-Lago.

Recently, AFL filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain additional details from the Defense Department about a covert committee initiated by Barack Obama.

In 2014, following a cyber attack by Russian hackers on the Executive Office of the President’s network, Obama established the secretive Presidential Information Technology Committee (PITC).

Via America First Legal:

In October 2014, Russian hackers breached the Executive Office of the President (EOP)’s network. In response, President Obama created, via executive action, PITC. PITC includes representatives of the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, among others.

Why is the committee relevant today? 

First, PITC creates a presumption that the President controls all information he receives. The PITC memo established the President’s exclusive control over information resources and systems provided to the President. (§ 1, ¶ 2.). The memo created the presumption that information contained on information systems and resources was “EOP information.” ( § 4(f)). Because the memo relied upon the Federal Records Act’s definition of “information system” as resources organized for the “use” and “disposition” of “information”, the memo gives the President exclusive control over information he receives. This is relevant to what a President may reasonably believe about information given to him while in office.

Second, and related, if information stored on the PITC network formed the basis for Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of former President Trump, that evidence should have been disclosed to the former President and may be relevant to his liability.   

Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment against former President Trump, claims “Trump was not authorized to possess or retain…classified documents.” But Obama’s PITC memo may have created a reasonable belief in President Trump that he, in fact, had such authority. Additionally, if the records Trump allegedly destroyed are still preserved within the EOP or the U.S. Department of Defense as part of PITC-created information systems, then other claims in the indictment may be baseless.  

These explosive findings are consistent with America First Legal’s whitepaper contending that the President of the United States has absolute authority over presidential papers. Neither Congress nor the federal courts may lawfully abrogate or limit this authority.

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Erica Carlin is an independent journalist, opinion writer and contributor to several news and opinion sources. She is based in Georgia.

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