Donald Trump, whose trademark 2016 motif was demanding Hillary Clinton be locked up for deleting emails, apparently admires that the emails were deleted, and wishes his legal team was up to snuff to do that kind of thing.
The former president has been impeached twice, criminally indicted, and found liable for sexual abuse and defamation. And now, as he faces 37 criminal counts for mishandling classified government documents, absurd details of his behavior reveal both how tough a case this will be for him to crack and how almost too hypocritical he is.
“He said, he said that it—that it was him. That he was the one who deleted all of her emails, the 30,000 emails, because they basically dealt with her scheduling and her going to the gym and her having beauty appointments,” Trump said to his lawyers, an unnamed lawyer (widely assumed to be Evan Corcoran) told the special counsel. “And he was great. And he, so she didn’t get in any trouble because he said that he was the one who deleted them.”
Trump shared the story on May 23, in the immediate aftermath of being issued a subpoena for the trove of classified documents he had taken from the White House. He apparently reiterated the story more than once, perhaps insinuating to the lawyers that they ought to be prepared to participate in some covering up themselves.
The difference between what Trump says in public versus what he says in private echoes the broader contradiction of him, for years, repeatedly calling for the lengthy imprisonment of those who mishandle classified information. Meanwhile, he had conceded he could not declassify things after leaving office (while sharing classified documents with people without security clearances).
The absurdity is embodied just as well by him sharing the classified documents with someone from his super PAC and hiding the documents in his shower, a Mar-a-Lago ballroom, and a bathroom with a signature Trump-style chandelier.