Former President Donald Trump and his team are reportedly mulling releasing the surveillance footage that was captured by his security cameras during the FBI’s Aug. 8th raid of his Mar-a-Lago property, according to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.
“What we are hearing from sources is that there is basically this internal debate happening over whether or not they should release it, with some people saying that it is not a case of if they release that surveillance footage, but when they release it,” Collins said late Wednesday on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”
The debate, she continued, boils down to two positions, both centered on whether or not it would be politically beneficial for Trump to release the footage.
“Some have argued that it could [be beneficial] to show these FBI agents inside the home of a former president taking these boxes. Of course, we know they went inside a storage room where a lot of this material was being held, but Trump has also said they went into his office and into his private quarters at Mar-a-Lago as well,” Collins explained.
This position is likely based on both the unprecedented nature of the raid and the fact that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was never subjected to the same treatment despite having been accused of committing the same crimes.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 14, 2022
“But the other side of the coin, Anderson, is that some people in Trump’s orbit don’t think it would actually be all that beneficial to show FBI agents in the home of the former president, of course, picking up these boxes that they say had classified information in it that he should have never taken to Mar-a-Lago in the first place,” Collins continued.
This position is likely based on the fact that wrong is wrong, no matter what, and apparently, it was wrong for the former president to be in possession of classified documents.
Though to be clear, the former president has for his part claimed that the documents had already been declassified prior to being transported to his Mar-a-Lago property.
“He had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken to the residence were deemed to be declassified the moment he removed them,” according to a statement from the former president’s office released last week.
“The power to classify and declassify documents rests solely with the president of the United States. The idea that some paper-pushing bureaucrat with classification authority delegated by the president needs to approve the declassification is absurd.”
Trump issues late-night statement that he gave a standing order to declassify all docs before removing from Oval https://t.co/aN7HIIPSOE
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) August 13, 2022
Responding to Collins’ reporting, host Anderson Cooper expressed fear that Trump’s team might selectively “edit” the surveillance footage before releasing it — kind of like how CNN itself seems to do all the time.
“The people at Mar-a-Lago, they could edit it however they want it. They could cut out as much footage as they wanted, if they were going to — I mean, they have control of it, they can release whatever they want, and keep whatever they want,” he bemoaned.
“Yes, that’s true,” Collins conceded, adding that releasing the surveillance footage could also pose a threat to the FBI agents who participated in the raid.
“Also, one concern would be that it would potentially put these FBI agents at risk because it would show and reveal the identities of the agents who were there. That was one concern that we saw officials had after you saw the search warrant that was put out that was released. It had the names of FBI agents on there, and so that’s been a concern as well,” she said.
Specifically, the “Receipt for Property” part of the search warrant contained the names of two lead FBI agents, as well as the name of Trump’s attorney.
“The inventory list of what was seized—or the receipt part of the document—is three pages long and constitutes two separate receipts, one that is two pages long and another that is one page long. Both receipts were signed by Trump’s attorney Christina Bobb and dated on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, at 6:19 p.m.,” Breitbart confirmed last week.
“The longer receipt was signed by FBI Special Agent Jeremy Linton and the shorter receipt was signed by the name: ‘I. Grady Gary’ and includes the title SSA. SSA means Supervisory Special Agent.”
The discussion on “Anderson Cooper 360” concluded with Collins noting that the FBI agents who participated in the raid had likely known which rooms were being recorded.
“One other thing that I will note is that, you know, when these FBI agents went in to conduct this search, they likely already knew where these cameras were placed, because, as you correctly noted at the top of the show, The New York Times and CNN has confirmed that they did subpoena surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago before this search actually happened,” she said.
“And we were told, obviously, one of those cameras was placed outside the room where these materials were being held. So it’s not like they don’t know exactly where these cameras were. They had a pretty good idea of it, but whether or not it ultimately comes out remains to be seen. But it does show this debate that’s playing out over between the Justice Department and Trump and his attorneys over what should come out, what information should become public.”
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