With former President Donald Trump under indictment for mishandling classified documents after leaving the White House, Fox News on Monday played a compilation of Mr Trump promising to protect classified information as president during his 2016 campaign.
“In my administration, I’m going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information,” Mr Trump says in one of the clips, taken from a speech given in August 2016. “No one will be above the law.”
That wasn’t the only time during the 2016 general election campaign that Mr Trump promised to protect classified information. His opponent at the time, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was herself being investigated for improperly using a private email server to conduct government business that included classified documents.
“We also need to fight this battle by collecting intelligence and then protecting — protecting — our classified secrets,” Mr Trump said at a September 2016 event.
“We can’t have someone in the Oval Office who doesn’t understand the meaning of the word confidential or classified,” he said later during that speech.
Instead, Mr Trump now stands accused of taking classified documents from his presidency to his private residence, showing them to acquaintances, and refusing to give them back to federal officials when asked. He is facing 37 felony counts and was arraigned last Tuesday in Miami where he plead not guilty to the charges.
Mr Trump is the first former president ever to be federally indicted, and his indictment comes as he is actively running to reclaim the White House in 2024. The former president is leading the Republican primary field by a large margin in early polls of the present race, though a recent survey suggests that Mr Trump’s legal issues may be taking a toll on his standing with the electorate.
The clips of Mr Trump’s vows to protect classified information came as part of a sit-down interview with the network’s Bret Baier in which Baier pressed the former president on a number of issues — including his personnel decisions, denial of the reality that he lost the 2020 election, and reasons for keeping boxes containing classified information at Mar-a-Lago.
Mr Trump’s legal fate may be decided by the outcome of the upcoming election. Several of Mr Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination have said they would consider pardoning the former president.
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