Donald Trump’s apparent admission at an election rally in Florida that he removed the presidential papers after he left office was described by legal experts as detrimental to his case in the criminal trial.

Lawyer George Conway, husband of former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and a frequent critic of Trump, was one of those who commented on the former president’s remarks as he spoke at Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s election rally on Sunday in Miami.

During the event, Trump accused the Department of Justice and the FBI of “arming” against him.

Former US President Donald Trump addresses a “Save America” ​​rally for US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) ahead of the mid-term election at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exhibition in Miami, Florida, November 6, 2022.
EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI / AFP / Getty Images

“Including, of course, the very famous Mar-a-Lago raid and document hoax,” Trump said, eliciting cheers from the crowd.

“What violated my Fourth Amendment rights, and something that has never been done to another president – no other president has ever done it – presidents go away, take things, take papers, take things, read them. No one else has ever gone through it. This is a charade. Trump added.

In sharing an excerpt from Trump’s observations, Conway described them as “acceptable evidence.”

The former president has long denied any wrongdoing in the criminal investigation into allegations that he mishandled top-secret and top-secret documents removed by FBI agents from his Mar-a-Lago resort in August, and then attempted to obstruct federal attempts to recover them.

Among some of Trump’s lines of defense is the contested claim that, as president, he declassified all material taken away from his Florida home.

Trump also made an unsubstantiated claim that the FBI may have “planted” evidence against him during the raid, which neither he nor his team of lawyers repeated in official court documents.

Trump’s claim that he had the right to seize documents when he left the White House in January 2021 is also questioned.

Under the law that came into effect after the Richard Nixon Watergate scandal, every presidential document must be sent to the National Archives when the president leaves office as the materials are considered the property of the American people.

Trump and his attorneys tried to suggest that taking documents from the White House to Mar-a-Lago was the same as when Barack Obama moved materials to an abandoned Chicago furniture store after he left the office.

However, while millions of Obama’s administrative documents were transferred from the White House, with the plan to eventually place them in a library that was never built, the materials were still maintained and owned by the National Archives and Records Administration and stored at the NARA facility. It was also NARA, and not the former president, that placed the documents in temporary storage.

Most importantly, none of President Obama’s millions of documents transferred by the NARA have been classified.

Presidents have the right to inspect their documents for up to 12 years after the end of their term of office, with the consent of the national archives.

“No president has the right to retain presidential records after he leaves office,” said Jason R. Baron, who served as director of litigation at the National Archives, to NPR earlier.

“So it is an extraordinary circumstance if presidential files are found in a former president’s residence or elsewhere under his control.”

Other legal experts also commented on Trump’s remarks at the Florida rally on Twitter.

Katie S. Phang, lawyer and associate of MSNBC, wrote that the comments are “more and more parties …”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Twitter account says: “Here Trump apparently admits to illegally taking top secret documents when he left the White House.”

Trump was contacted for comment.

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