DOJ Says Trump's Tweets Declassifying All Russia Investigation Docs Doesn't Mean Anything; Judge Says They Better Go Ask Him

from the how's-that-work-again? dept

Investigative reporter/FOIA terrorist Jason Leopold has been suing the US government for a while now, trying to get access to the full Robert Mueller special counsel report investigating President Trump's alleged ties to Russia. While a version of the report has been released, it was heavily redacted, sometimes in important areas. Leopold and Buzzfeed are seeking the report along with additional interview details, emails, memos, letters, and charts used by Mueller's office in preparing it. Not surprisingly, the DOJ has been fighting this.

Then, on October 6th, Trump announced on Twitter (naturally) that he had "fully authorized the total declassification of any & all documents" regarding the investigation:

About 40 minutes later, he tweeted that "all Russia Hoax Scandal information was Declassified by me long ago. Unfortunately for our Country, people have acted very slowly":

That put the DOJ in a bit of a bind, because it had been saying in the lawsuit that it couldn't reveal this classified information. Leopold and his lawyers quickly filed an emergency motion, pointing out that the President had now declassified this information, and thus the DOJ no longer had any excuse to withhold it:

On October 6, 2020, the President of the United States directed that all documents pertaining to investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which includes the Mueller investigation, be released to the public, and stated that he had, in fact, previously ordered this be done. Twitter, @realDonaldTrump, Oct. 6, 2020 at 8:41pm (“I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!”); Twitter, @realDonaldTrump, Oct. 6, 2020 at 9:21pm (“All Russia Hoax Scandal information was Declassified by me long ago. Unfortunately for our Country, people have acted very slowly, especially since it is perhaps the biggest political crime in the history of our Country. Act!!!”) (attached as Group Exhibit A). As a result, (1) Exemption 1 no longer applies because the records are no longer classified, and (2) any FOIA exemptions have been waived with the exception of disclosures prohibited by the Privacy Act, Rule 6(e), or other statutes that prohibit release.

As a result, Plaintiffs ask the Court to order the government to reprocess the 302s to remove all redactions or withholdings based on Exemption 1 or any discretionary exemptions like Exemption 5, by October 28, 2020. This should be a simple process that requires no independent analysis or consultation beyond simply reviewing which exemptions were asserted and removing the applicable redactions based solely on which exemption claimed.

It should be noted here (and this is kind of important) that the President of the United States has total freedom to declassify anything on his own whims at any time. And these tweets sure looked like him doing exactly that.

The DOJ has now decided to pretend that the statements from the President are not actually official statements from the President. In its opposition to Leopold's filing as well as the declaration in support, they argue that the President's tweets insisting that he is declassifying everything don't mean jack squat.

There is no basis to require the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) to reprocess over 4,000 pages of FD-302s from the Special Counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election by October 28. The President’s recent statements on Twitter referencing the “declassification” of information were not an order to the Department of Justice (the “Department” or “DOJ”) to declassify the materials in this case.... The Twitter statements do not constitute a self-executing declassification order. ...

Oh really? The declaration from the Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer basically says that White House lawyers told them to ignore the tweets.

As concerns the above-referenced tweets from the President, the Department has not received a declassification order from the President related to the materials at issue in this or any other FOIA case. After the President issued his statements on Twitter, I and other Department officials consulted with the White House Counsel's Office about the matters discussed in those statements, including potential declassification of documents related to the Russia Investigation and Hillary Clinton's emails, and whether the Twitter statements were meant as an order to alter any redactions that have already been taken on any materials in this case and other FOIA cases. The purpose of this consultation was to obtain the official position of the White House regarding the meaning and effect of the President's statements.

In other words, the DOJ is saying that it can't actually follow the plain language of the President's own tweets, and must check with the White House's lawyers to ask "did he really mean that?"

The White House Counsel's Office informed the Department that there is no order requiring wholesale declassification or disclosure of documents at issue in this matter. The Department was further informed that the President's statements on Twitter were not self-executing declassification orders and do not required the declassification of any particular documents. Instead, the President has authorized the Attorney General to declassify documents as part of his ongoing review of intelligence activities relating to the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters. The Attorney General has not ordered the declassification and release of any of the redacted material in this case based on the President's tweets. The Department was further informed that the President's statements on Twitter do not require altering any redactions on any record at issue in this case, including, but not limited to, any redactions taken pursuant to any discretionary FOIA exemptions. Nor do the President's statements on Twitter prevent the Department from taking appropriate exemptions and redacting documents consistent with law and the positions the Department takes in FOIA matters.

So: we're just ignoring what the President tweeted because we want to.

Leopold and Buzzfeed have since responded by pointing out that the President regularly makes decrees by Twitter, and that those are him "conducting official business." The DOJ can't just ignore that:

or the last three years and nine months, the President has governed this country by tweet. The President has stipulated that he uses Twitter “to announce, describe, and defend his policies; to promote his Administration's legislative agenda; to announce official decisions; to engage with foreign political leaders; [and] to publicize state visits.” Knight First Amendment Inst. at Columbia Univ. v. Trump, 928 F.3d 226, 231-32 (2d Cir. 2019) (emphasis added). His administration describes the President’s Twitter account as “one of the White House’s main vehicles for conducting official business” and his tweets are “official statements of the President.” Id. at 232. He has even used his tweets to make “official” “legal notice” to Congress. Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump), Twitter (Jan. 5, 2020, 2:25 PM), available at https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1213919480574812160 (notifying Congress the United States “will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner,” should Iran attack any U.S. target).

It is not at all surprising, therefore, that the President would use Twitter as the means by which he would declassify records and waive FOIA exemptions on behalf of the Executive Branch over which is holds Constitutional authority. Indeed, it would be surprising if he did so by any other means. The Court should reject the Government’s back-pedaling and order DOJ to comply with the President’s clear directive to declassify and remove redactions from the narrative FD-302 forms responsive to Plaintiffs’ FOIA requests. And if the Court requires any clarity beyond the President’s unequivocal tweets, it should direct the Office of White House Counsel to appear at the hearing scheduled for Friday.

The filing further notes that there is no rule that declassification can't come by tweet or has to take a special form. If the President says something is declassified it is declassified.

There is nothing in the Constitution, Executive Order 13,526, or otherwise that prohibits a president from declassifying records in whatever way and through whatever form of communication the president sees fit. Thus, an official presidential tweet stating “I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax. . . . No redactions!” is more than sufficient to exercise that Constitutional authority. The government offers nothing indicating that the President did not mean exactly what he said or that he lacked the Constitutional authority to do what he has done. Instead, it claims that Plaintiffs “have pointed to no order declassifying the documents at issue in this case,” ECF No. 107 at 4, which is plainly wrong: the tweet is the order, and it came in an official statement directly from the President himself.

The filing also notes that what the White House counsel thinks doesn't matter. The only one who matters here is the President himself:

The Weinsheimer declaration does not support the government’s position, and in fact supports Plaintiffs’. As the declaration makes clear, the question is whether the tweets were “meant as an order to alter any redactions that have already been taken on any materials in this case and other cases.” .... But the declaration makes clear that neither the DOJ nor the White House Counsel’s Office actually attempted to get an answer to that question from the only person who can definitively answer it: the President. Instead, they sought, apparently without actually asking the President, to determine whether the President issued some further “self-executing declassification order” beyond the tweets and somehow concluded that the President merely “authorized the Attorney General to declassify documents as part of his ongoing review of intelligence activities relating to the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters.”.... But the President himself has already made clear that this interpretation of his intent is wrong: he clearly stated in an official presidential communication that this same material “was Declassified by me long ago,” but “people have acted very slowly.”

This morning, in a hearing before Judge Reggie Walton (who is not known for being happy when the government plays games in front of him), it appears that Leopold's argument is absolutely winning the day. Walton told the DOJ that Trump's tweets seem pretty clear and he doesn't see how they can argue he didn't declassify stuff. He also seemed perturbed that no one actually asked the President what he meant, and postponed the rest of the hearing to tell the DOJ to go ask the President if he actually meant what he tweeted:

Of course, it now seems likely that the White House lawyers and the DOJ will very carefully explain to the President why they want him to say he didn't mean what he clearly said, potentially allowing him to walk back his fairly unequivocal statements. At the very least, though, that should enable reporters to question the President further on why he falsely claimed to have declassified stuff. At the end of the day, either all of the documents have been declassified or the President will need to admit that he lied about declassifying them.

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Filed Under: declassification, doj, donald trump, jason leopold, reggie walton, robert mueller, russia investigation, tweets
Companies: buzzfeed, twitter


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  • icon
    DB (profile), 16 Oct 2020 @ 10:56am

    Isn't this an example of the "Deep State" at work?

    The president ordered something to happen. The apparatus of government is refusing to act as if those statement have legal force and effect.

    Deep State

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2020 @ 12:31pm

      The mandarins have lost faith with the emperor.

      But for it to be "Deep State", it has to be secret. If this is a secret, it is the worst kept secret in the history of secrets. I mean, even Baldrick could keep a secret better.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 2:03pm

      Re: Isn't this an example of the "Deep State" at work?

      No. This is the Derp State. The "Deep State" is self-perpetuating, not self-destructive.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 16 Oct 2020 @ 11:42am

    At the end of the day...the President will need to admit that he lied....

    This is a person who has been shown to be a liar over 20,000 times.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/07/13/president-trump-has-made-more-than-20000-f alse-or-misleading-claims/

    What makes anyone think that Donald "I'm lying again" Trump will [b]need[/b] to admit he lied?

    E

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ThatOtherOtherGuy, 16 Oct 2020 @ 11:51am

    Please be specific

    There are two problems:

    1.) Trump often reneges on a prior tweet with a subsequent tweet. Sometimes in very quick succession.

    2.) Trump uses non-specific language like "Russian hoax" and "greatest crime ever" that cannot be assumed if the tweet is to be treated like an official Presidential decree.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 2:32pm

      Re: Please be specific

      That's the problem. I remember when the Soviets shat their collective pants when Reagan got caught on a hot mike. To lightly plagiarize someone else "This isn't crazy uncle Donny, this is the President of the United States".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Thad (profile), 16 Oct 2020 @ 11:54am

    If Trump's tweets aren't official statements, does that mean Joe Arpaio was never pardoned?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 16 Oct 2020 @ 12:34pm

    Well that's awkward

    Ah the joy of being a DOJ lawyer during the Trump administration and constantly having to defend the idiot from himself...

    'Yes he clearly said X, but that shouldn't be taken to imply that he actually meant X, so it doesn't count.'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2020 @ 12:51pm

    who's the Boss

    vvv "It should be noted here (and this is kind of important) that the President of the United States has total freedom to declassify anything on his own whims at any time."

    Quite Correct.

    And he can communicate his declassification orders in any manner he chooses.

    A US President is the top boss for the entire Executive Branch and is also the ultimate Classification/Declasification Authority for the Federal government.

    He can also fire everyone in DOJ tomorrow, at his whim.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ehud Gavron (profile), 16 Oct 2020 @ 1:03pm

      Re: who's the Boss

      And he can communicate his declassification orders in any manner he chooses.

      Formal orders from the White House aren't sent "in any matter he chooses." So, no, that's not how it works. If it's a real order-portent it's followed by an official dispatch to the right agency.

      He can also fire everyone in DOJ tomorrow, at his whim.

      No, he can't do that either. There's a process for termination of staffers (vs appointees).

      HR is a thing, as are official memos.

      E

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2020 @ 5:47pm

        Re: Re: who's the Boss

        Trump ain't alone in the WH -- he has a huge staff to issue the official paperwork after he expresses his decisions by any means (and yes, that staff reads his Tweets and listens to him in informal meetings and exchange)
        There's a White House Chief of Staff to make sure all the details are completed correctly for the President.

        A President can summarily order all DOJ personnel to cease work and bar them from government facilities -- that's de facto firing.

        yes, the personnel bureaucracy would take substantial time to formally process the termination paperwork -- but the practical dismissal action could be done quickly.

        Point is that Presidents have enormous discretionary power and that everybody in DOJ works for the President.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2020 @ 8:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

          Leadership requires more than just officially occupying the chair. If the people under a leader don't trust or respect him then they will not always blindly follow orders. Some will actively work to undermine him. When the leader is widely regarded as an ignorant, incompetent buffoon, this probaly happens a lot.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 8:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

            and thats wrong.

            Whether he's a buffoon or not, he's still the elected President of the United States.

            You can't decide yourself "i'm just not following the law...ya boo sucks!"

            If you can't follow a Presidential Order, then you should immediately resign all government positions you hold.

            And run for office yourself if you think you can do a better job.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Oct 2020 @ 9:07am

              Government employees have no obligation to follow orders — especially illegal ones — without question, even if they’re handed down by the president himself. Or do you believe Bill Barr should be fired if he refuses to carry out an illegal order handed to him by Trump?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Rocky, 17 Oct 2020 @ 9:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

              Ah, the old "just follow the orders". History remembers that as Befehl ist Befehl, guess who used that defense in an attempt to avoid punishment after WWII.

              It's amazing that Trump-supporters don't understand that if they get what they are asking for it will result in a severe circumscription of their rights by a fascist state.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Oct 2020 @ 10:44am

                “I don’t care if I get hurt so long as the libs and the brown people get hurt worse!” — the average Trump supporter, probably

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Annonymouse, 17 Oct 2020 @ 11:18am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

                Except that defense has worked spectacularly well in the states when state actors from the bullies in blue up through all the three letter agencies to the elected clowns.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 1:51pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

                  Arguably, they could be brought up on war crime charges. But the DA is chicken and Law 'n Order is a lie.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2020 @ 7:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

              "You can't decide yourself "i'm just not following the law...ya boo sucks!""

              Funny ... Many within the GOP do not share your opinion.
              They know the DOJ will not charge them and they get away with it so often that they actually think they are allowed to do those things. Weird huh.

              One does not have to follow orders, especially illegal ones. Do you like living in a police state?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          TKnarr (profile), 16 Oct 2020 @ 8:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

          Unfortunately for you, no. The President only has the power to arbitrarily hire and fire appointed officials. Other than a few people at the top, the DOJ is staffed by hired staff who are not appointed (thus not subject to the President's authority to replace) but are subject to USC Title 5 per Congress's authority under Article 2 Section 2 of the Constitution.

          This was done expressly to prevent the President from arbitrarily firing all employees of a department and replacing them with his own people, after severe abuses of the spoils system.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 6:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

            ... so you agree there is indeed a Deep State beyond the control of any President.

            That directly nullifies the Federal government framework established by the Constitution.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Oct 2020 @ 9:16am

              there is indeed a Deep State beyond the control of any President

              If by “deep state” you mean “a selection of government employees whose jobs are protected from the whims of a given presidential administration so said employees can do important work without ostensibly having politics get in the way”? Yeah, sure, there is a “deep state”.

              You really don’t get it, do you? Trump shouldn’t be able to fire everyone in the DOJ and replace them all with people who will carry out his explicit wishes without question. Neither should Joe Biden, should he win in November. Neither should the president elected in 2024, 2028, and so on. That would lead to not only a likely understaffed DOJ, but a DOJ full of sycophants who would allow corruption to run rampant because they want to curry favor with the boss. For what reason should we ignore that outcome only because the Constitution doesn’t set up the right “framework” for preventing it?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 17 Oct 2020 @ 10:58am

                Re:

                That would lead to not only a likely understaffed DOJ, but a DOJ full of sycophants who would allow corruption to run rampant because they want to curry favor with the boss.

                Arguably we already have that, which makes the idea that it could be even worse all the more horrifying.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 1:58pm

                Re:

                <sigh>

                the point is not that Trump should or would fire everybody in DOJ -- it's merely to illustrate that everyone in the Federal Executive Branch is absolutely subordinate administratively to the sitting President.

                This ain't rocket science -- this is standard hierarchic management throughout America public & private.

                However, government organizations are particularly vulnerable to entrenched-bureaucracies, where quasi-permanent lower-echelon personnel establish de facto oligarchic control ... due to constant turnover in top management & low quality of top management.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Oct 2020 @ 2:33pm

                  government organizations are particularly vulnerable to entrenched-bureaucracies

                  At this point, I’d rather have one of those running the CDC and the FDA instead of having the current president ordering them to fuck with, respectively, the COVID numbers and the vaccine approval process.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 1:55pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

              " ... so you agree there is indeed a Deep State beyond the control of any President. That directly nullifies the Federal government framework established by the Constitution."

              I saw no agreement by OP.

              Deep State? - LOL. Must be one of those Q-nutjobs.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 2:40pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

              But the bureaucracy exists to execute the processes put forth by the Constitution and all legislation judged to be enforced by the government through agencies. Without the government, the Constitution is just paper.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2020 @ 8:01am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

                Those asshats have not been following the rules for some time now, in the past they covered it up.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              David, 17 Oct 2020 @ 3:04pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

              ... so you agree there is indeed a Deep State beyond the control of any President.

              That directly nullifies the Federal government framework established by the Constitution.

              Uh, the Constitution does not establish a Dictatorship last time I looked. There has been some executive power creep due to Congress relinquishing some of its control in the wake of 09/11. But that's rather against the division of powers established by the Constitution.

              It would seem that you did not get the memo of how Benjamin Franklin replied to the question "what did you get us? A monarchy or a republic?" when exiting the constitutional assembly. Do try catching up.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 4:55am

          Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

          Point is, we have rules that we are supposedly following.
          Trump is not king even tho he thinks so.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            dtg, 18 Oct 2020 @ 8:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

            who is "we" ?

            who made the "rules" ?

            who can change the "rules" ?

            who enforces the "rules" ?

            who ensures the rule-enforcers obey the "rules" ?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 9:40am

        Re: Re: who's the Boss

        Formal orders from the White House aren't sent "in any matter he chooses." So, no, that's not how it works. If it's a real order-portent it's followed by an official dispatch to the right agency.

        Is there a constitutional provision or statute that requires that? Or is it just the way it's always been done?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Ehud Gavron (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 11:12am

          Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

          Is there a constitutional provision or statute that requires that?

          The COTUS is a guiding document, but it's not the end-all be-all of codified law. There is USC, CFR, CFE, and those are just a few at the federal level.

          It doesn't say in COTUS anything about the right to life or the right not be killed if you're a murderer yourself. You have to look at other avenues.

          In this case, there are processes by which the POTUS communicates. For example, EOs are signed by him (with his signature, even if the page is blank) and promulgated further.

          I gurantee you "Twitter" and "Social Media" are not listed anywhere in USC/CFR, etc. as methods of communication. If you would like to argue they SHOULD BE we'd get into the whole "Nagh, if anyone's social media account can be easily hacked by you in your momma's basement then it SHOULD NOT BE ever authorized for communication of orders."

          I'm not sure why this is hard to understand... but he could SHOULD THROUGH A MEGAPHONE at his adoring stupid crowds, and everything he says is absolutely 100% NOT an order of any kind... even if we see him doing it.

          We live in idiot times.

          E

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 12:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

            I gurantee you "Twitter" and "Social Media" are not listed anywhere in USC/CFR, etc. as methods of communication.

            Do they list methods of communication that are or are not permitted for official declarations or communications from the president? If so, where are they listed? If not, why do you think Twitter is not permitted?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Ehud Gavron (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 12:35pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

              Communication protocols specify how things DO WORK not which thousands or millions of ways they won't.

              Why do you think Twitter is not permitted?

              What I think isn't the operative question. Twitter isn't a listed protocol for the CIC to communicate.

              If you can't get around that, try this: "What in the law prevents him from scribbling on a paper airplane and throwing it in your eye?" Nothing. It's still not protocol.

              E

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                nasch (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 12:54pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

                Twitter isn't a listed protocol for the CIC to communicate.

                Listed where?

                "What in the law prevents him from scribbling on a paper airplane and throwing it in your eye?" Nothing. It's still not protocol.

                By protocol do you mean the normal way things have been done before? Nobody would argue nearly everything Trump does violates that. But I got the impression you were saying issuing orders via Twitter is not only irregular, but not permitted to the President. And if it's the latter, I would expect there to be a specific law that either prohibits Twitter, or explicitly lists which methods are legally permissible.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Ehud Gavron (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 2:54pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

                  Nobody would argue...

                  Ok, then stop arguing. Protocol is not a comprehensive list of what's NOT permitted. Protocol is about proper communication. In times of emergencies we find other ways if necessary, but twitter during peace and calm ain't it.

                  E

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    nasch (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 3:09pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: who's the Boss

                    Come on, you're better than just taking a fragment of a sentence out of context and pretending that's what I said. I will assume, since you refuse to give an unambiguous answer, that you're talking about propriety and not legality.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ysth (profile), 16 Oct 2020 @ 1:36pm

    the President of the United States has total freedom to declassify anything on his own whims at any time. And these tweets sure looked like him doing exactly that.

    Not by my reading. The tweets do not declassify, they are only statements about what Trump has done. And they are lies, but Trump lying in a tweet is legal and in fact usual. I (unfortunately) don't see how it has any bearing on the court cases at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Oct 2020 @ 3:44pm

      Re:

      No problem then, all the DOJ has to do to walk this one back is to get Trump to admit that he lied in a tweet to a judge, an admission which will be picked up and known nationwide in under a day, something I'm sure he'll have no problem at all doing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2020 @ 3:13pm

    Twitters Fault

    Shouldn't twitter have taken down the tweet if it was not true... isn't that what they do?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2020 @ 5:19pm

      Re: Twitters Fault

      We're still finding out whether it is "true", in court, which is actually how it works.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pixelation, 16 Oct 2020 @ 6:00pm

      Re: Twitters Fault

      They should simply label any Trump tweet as coming from an unreliable source.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Oct 2020 @ 9:18am

        Corollary: Any time the news must report on tweets from Trump’s account, it should label them as such — i.e., as “tweets from the Twitter account of Donald Trump”. Who outside of his inner circle knows if Trump really is posting them all himself? (I can practically guarantee that he's not.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 4:59am

      Re: Twitters Fault

      "Shouldn't twitter have taken down the tweet if it was not true... isn't that what they do?"

      If they did that, they would have to remove all of Donald's tweets .... oh wait a sec.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2020 @ 4:45pm

    You'll thank the DOJ when he tweets that he declared war on Eurasia or something.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2020 @ 4:56pm

    Somewhat in support of DOJ on this one...

    Trump's Twitter account is ultimately under control of whoever administers Twitter's servers. Yes, it is very likely that this tweet was written by, or on order from, the president. However, I wouldn't want to be the one to hand over previously classified material in reliance of a presidential tweet, and then find out that no, that tweet was not actually from the president, or didn't actually declassify the documents I thought it did. Therefore, I think it is very reasonable for DOJ to want a confirmation through official channels. On the other hand, I think the DOJ lawyers should have anticipated the judge's order and set in motion that confirmation before the judge ordered them to do so. Screwing around as they did here will just annoy the judge, and nothing good for them can come of that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Oct 2020 @ 5:02pm

      Re: Somewhat in support of DOJ on this one...

      That's not the argument they went with though, they weren't arguing that the tweet might not be from Trump because someone hijacked his account, rather they were arguing that the very clear an unambiguous tweets didn't actually count because reasons.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 9:29am

        Re: Re: Somewhat in support of DOJ on this one...

        the very clear an unambiguous tweets didn't actually count because reasons.

        The "very clear" statements don't say what Leopold thinks they do. As ysth said, they don't say Trump authorizes or orders declassification—only that he's done so in the past. But what if he didn't? Those tweets were not made under penalty of perjury.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Another Kevin (profile), 16 Oct 2020 @ 6:05pm

    He declassified only the stuff that incriminates Clinton in the But Her Emails scandal, and the Great Russian Hoax.

    Anything that fails to incriminate Clinton is still classified.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 8:55am

      Re:

      He said clearly ALL documents. 100% unredacted. so thats everything good and bad.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 12:06pm

      Re:

      The “Russian Hoax” part was not connected to the Clinton part. Nor was there any limitation given. All of that info—incriminating or not—was covered by the plain language of the tweet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 8:47am

    This is essentially the DOJ staging a coup.

    they are saying POTUS isn't the President of the United States and refusing to obey a fully legally mandated Presidential Order.

    surely thats gotta be treasonous and involve DOJ prison time?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Oct 2020 @ 9:08am

      Re:

      It's a strange 'coup' when the goal is protecting the one you're trying to 'overthrow'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 10:41am

      Re:

      thats gotta be treasonous

      You really need to learn what "treason" really means from both its logistical and legal perspectives.

      tl;dr: It is not treason to refuse to comply with an order

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 2:46pm

      Re:

      Technically, it's barratry on Trump's part with the original tweet getting him hung. At least, under Admiralty law he would be.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 8:17am

    He did declassify everything related to the Russia hoax. Problem is that it's true, thus he can declassify everything related to the "hoax" without actually declassifying anything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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