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Justice Department blocks FOIA filing on Trump’s “standing order”

The Justice Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence won’t answer a Freedom of Information Act request from Bloomberg reporters to confirm or deny disgraced former Trump’s claim of a “standing order” to declassify all the documents he stole from the White House while leaving office following his humiliating defeat to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

“The existence or non-existence of the alleged ‘Standing Order’ would bear on whether records with apparent classification markings were in fact classified – a key fact in the investigation,” wrote FBI FOIA chief Joseph Bender in a filing submitted to the DC federal court that on Wednesday ruled in favor of the government. Bender warned that “persons of interest” to the investigation could “alter their testimony… destroy, adulterate, or fabricate evidence, or refuse to cooperate with the government altogether,” adding that they consulted with Jack Smith on whether to confirm or deny the existence of the “standing order” Trump would have made in January 2021.

Of course Trump never actually made such a “standing order” and the claim was a panic move that – as far as we know – was never actually argued in court by his lawyers when they pulled that “special master” scam with his appointee Aileen Cannon. That this isn’t coming out is a sign of how much things have changed since Jack Smith took over the investigation: Before he was appointed the DOJ lawyers were pretty cavalier (not in a bad way) with all the damning details they laid out in court filings. This isn’t to say that Smith hasn’t been fairly generous with keeping the public updated but it’s pretty much all been through leaks to CNN and ABC News about subpoenas and testimony.

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