It never ends. Fresh off the news that Donald Trump took at least 15 boxes of government documents to Mar-a-Lago after being turned out of office—in violation of federal records law—came news that some of those documents were believed to include "classified" information. That particular detail, however, has just exploded into a very big deal of its own.
The Washington Post is now reporting that some of the documents Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago after he left office included ones "clearly marked as classified, including documents at the 'top secret' level."
The Post also reports that "some bore markings that the information was extremely sensitive—sometimes colloquially referred to as 'being 'above top secret.'" That puts them among the most closely guarded secrets the federal government has, and Trump and his team just ... walked off with them. As, apparently, keepsakes of his time in office?
If you're naive enough to believe Trump might actually get in a spot of trouble for this one, prepare to be disappointed. One of Trump's possible defenses is that as president, he got to declassify whatever he wanted whenever he wanted, and he could attempt to argue that the things marked above-top-secret were all things he secretly declassified without telling anybody, inside his own head, before shoving them in a drawer or cabinet where they would later be shoveled from, put into boxes and taken to his Florida home so he could ... well, we don't know.
So he could sell them?
So he could auction them off on the international market like one of Melania's more famous hats?
So he could frame them and display them in Mar-a-Lago guest rooms?
This isn’t a man known for his fondness for paperwork. The idea that he told his staff to pack these things up because they hold too much sentimental value for him to part with isn’t going to fly. It’s also not completely clear, from reports, whether all of these top secret documents are ones Trump took with him after leaving office as opposed to, say, the sort of above-top-secret documents the Mar-a-Lago staff might have just found lying around the private club during his time in office and shoveled into a closet because nobody dared to admit finding them.
There are a whole lot of questions remaining here, and most revolve around what else might have gone missing that federal officials might not have gotten back. Officials originally discovered documents were missing because Trump took some of the most iconic documents of his presidency with him; when federal officials couldn't find Trump's letters to the North Korean dictator or his infamous Sharpie-altered hurricane map, it set off some alarms.
That led to Trump's aides returning the aforementioned minor mountain of documents, but the question as to whether they missed any others isn't answerable.
All we know is that Trump's staff did take top secret documents with them, and they were handled with such little care that when the federal archives got them back, the archivists appear to have been caught off guard by what they found. That's not possible unless large parts of the Trump White House were just as contemptuous of records laws and security concerns as he was … but of course they were, and we already knew that.