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ACLU sues over the classified records the former president stashed at his resort

The ACLU's Massachusetts chapter today sued various three-letter federal agencies to try to prove the former president is, in fact, a lying liar who lies about his alleged "declassification" of those documents.

Technically, the ACLU of Massachusetts filed a suit in US District Court in Boston under the federal Freedom of Information Act, seeking access to the "standing declassification order" the twice-impeached ex-president claims he waved around before he decamped for his presumably cleaned up Florida resort - as well as copies of any documents that were declassified as a result of that order.

Named in the suit: the director of national intelligence, the CIA, the NSA and the Department of Defense, which the ACLU says replied that they're still looking but gave no estimate for when they might have an answer. Not named: The Department of Homeland Security and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which said they had combed their records and found no such order.

While the guy himself keeps claiming he declassified everything, his lawyers have yet to make that claim, either in the original court that allowed the FBI to raid the resort or in the other court where a judge he appointed has since given him everything he's wanted to block the use of the seized documents for now. The ACLU complaint quotes several former members of the administration on the lunacy of such an alleged order.

Free tagging: 
PDF icon Complete complaint354.4 KB

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Good glad to see someone is doing something about this.

This whole thing about him saying the documents were 'unclassified' per him or whatever nonesensical orange goo is he spewing these days.... is just stupid. Sorry Nuclear secrets isn't exactly something you should declassify because you want it to.

He clearly is up to way more than I think we know right now. And he knows his goose is cooked the minute the keystone falls into place for Garland. This is just a stall tactic. And to get it in front of his SCOTUS.

And a sad one at that.. what lamer judge would even consider his request. Oh right, someone whose very incompetent and was placed there by the same person who 'declassified' those records. (mean if this isn't a conflict of interest, I don't know what is)

Every day I shake my head in sorrow. Its nice to know what nothing is sacred anymore in our gov't. Not even top secrets... when a brainless judge who clearly cares more about protecting oh orange one than her job that she swore under oath to protect. There are ZERO reasons why this should have even been considered.. our gov't is as risk.

It doesn't matter anyways, we live in a digital age. Every one has a smart phone with a camera, or a flat bed scanner (oh orange one has one.. its behind many photos of him at MAL). Nothing saying that these documents were not already photographed then sold to whoever wants them.

Again.. its a stall tactic for him because he knows his goose is cooked.

(sorry to ramble.. just in awe that we're even at this point.. discussing whether gov't secrets that would bring down our gov't should be declassified or not because some fool wants to avoid rotting in jail)


Must not be any civil liberties being abridged by any Massachusetts police, state agencies, municipalities, or universities if this is what the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts spends an enormous amount of time on.

As if the Department of Justice isn't engaged in the case against Trump, let's have them throw this in the mix

Of course they've moved on from the mere protection of civil liberties in the old days and the likes of Nadine Strossen, Wendy Kaminer, and Harvey Silverglate, who tended to focus on individual constitutional rights.

Probably good fundraising action, but for what?


The ACLU has more than one lawyer, so they can work on more than one thing at a time.


We all know you don't actually give a fuck about civil liberties.


Neither does the ACLU nowadays.


How so?

Or did the putinbots tell you to say that automatically whenever "ACLU" appears?


I suggest finding a way to read it.

To summarize, the ACLU, who was once well known for defending the first amendment rights of groups whose beliefs many would consider to be repugnant (one of the ACLU lawyers mentioned early on was a Jew who, in the 1970s, defended the rights of Nazis to march in a community with a large Jewish community) is now moving away from that in favor of championing only progressive causes.

If the metric now is only supporting popular causes, just remember that at one point those causes might not have been so popular.


I'll give my money to the ACLU and SPLC any day over the HRC.

What a scam that group is. Yet people flood them with money.


i was under the impression that a core argument against progressive causes is that they are deeply unpopular amongst the general electorate?

If the metric now is only supporting popular causes, just remember that at one point those causes might not have been so popular.

with that in mind, i think you make a great point here.

What if he classified the declassification order?

More power to the ACLU -- I hope something comes of it but I'm pretty skeptical. There should be national outrage over this but the GOP is instead attacking the FBI, previously the most GOP centric of all government agencies. They might have not won yet but anti-democracy candidates are sweeping GOP primaries. Many of these people will be in power by early next year.

Basically, if people keep voting for anti-American and anti-democracy candidates, the judicial process won't be able to save the country.


This is a frustrating thing to try to explain to my friends who think "the law" will save them--they haven't noticed yet that the law is what police and judges say it is, no more and no less.


You're saying Joe Biden, the current President, is protecting Trump from looking stupid by not declassifying the automatic declassification memo that Trump claims exists (and that he classified so we can't see it)?

I'm saying that Trump's team will keep making up bullshit which is repeated as truth and defended by the GOP. Just as has happened over and over, the lies will be enough to delay trials and judgements such that nothing ever comes of the initial, factual charges.

Two years ago he made up some BS about fraudulent voters and instead of his party telling him to STFU and move on, they decided to use the opportunity embed election deniers in very offices that oversee elections.

It's really depressing. I was taught in school this sort of thing couldn't happen but yet, it keeps happening.


And I grew up in an era where secrets and what not were held in the upmost security and regards.

Now some orange sh*thead has pretty much used our constitution as toilet paper and our gov't for his own benefit and wealth, it means nothing now. And instead of being renounced by his party, they are cheering it on and adding to the fire

I mean what has happened here? I'm old but not that old... it wasn't that long ago that things were very different.

But MAGA and shit I guess is more important than anything right now.

And I agree with you, so many charges, lawsuits, accusations against that orange f*ckface.. yet he still continues to enjoy BigMacs and pooping in his diaper in Mar-a-lago. I'm no longer holding my breath for action to be taken against him (tbh I think he'll die before he ever sees a courtroom or jail cell).

I figure if espionage isn't enough to jail him.. nothing is. He will just walk.

Regardless, even if he fell off the earth tomorrow his surrogates will continue this garbage because they too, are involved deeply. And the magats will cheer this on, regardless.

The problems are very deep here, and I feel like there's a no win situation. Tbh, I paid attention in history class, and history will repeat itself. Seems like we're both the United States in 1860 and Germany 1931. A really bad combination to have right now.


What happened was TFG was compromised by Russia. The Republicans refused to impeach him for that even though there was ample evidence that this is what happened in the Mueller report.

Since then the Republicans have been using him as a useful idiot. But TFG wasn't as stupid as they thought, he used his repugnant base against them and now he controls most of them. Even the ones he doesn't directly control are afraid to split with him because they might lose their power.

Hillary Clinton tried to warn them with her deplorables comment but the Republicans took it as an insult instead of a warning.

Now they ride the tiger and have no idea how to get off.

Oh, it was an insult, alright.

..and nobody ever needed her "warnings" to figure out his unsuitability.

How about the rights of the Venezuelan illegals who were deported off MV, i thought the ACLU helped people's civil liberties, not a left wing political org trying to hate on Trump.


That the best you got? You made me waste 30 seconds of my time Googling "aclu martha's vineyard" and, whoa, mind blown:

ACLU statement on states sending migrants to Martha's Vineyard.

Also, on the off chance you actually care, although the fact you ask something like this makes a strong case you don't really give a shit, Lawyers for Civil Rights, which, granted, is another group, has been organizing legal assistance for the immigrants:

Legal First Responders for Migrants in Martha’s Vineyard.


Literally not a word you can use to describe what occurred in this situation.


The Venezuelans were legally here applying for asylum. The people of MV welcomed them warmly, and provided food and shelter and cared for them until they were brought to a place that was already set up and had the organized resources to provide for their other needs.


Hope they did this in conjunction with the DoJ. Garland is playing a very careful, strategic, unstoppable game and has been dutifully collecting pieces and evidence and setting up his dominos since day 1 despite the doom and gloom of the online commentator class, and things are finally falling into place. He's the GOAT and if ACLU is just busting in willy nilly demanding this and that and this piece of evidence it's likely going to throw some of those inexorable traps into disarray.

Also since when does the ACLU get involved in political drag outs like this? I know they don't defend free speech any longer but there's seriously nothing better going on for them here?

I read the complaint. It's like ACLUM isn't following the news, or doesn't understand that the DOJ is as skeptical about the alleged "declassification order" as anyone else is.

And then, BOOM! The Special Master who is reviewing the documents for claims of privilege and personal property, Judge Raymond Dearie, tells the parties (Trump and the DOJ) that he wants Trump to disclose how, when, and which documents he claims were declassified.

Trump's lawyers responded on Monday that they didn't want to disclose that, as it might be a defense to a potential indictment.

In other words, this issue is being actively litigated. The ACLU lawsuit is a sideshow and serves no purpose other than to waste government lawyers' time in the CIA, NSA, and DOD and serve as a fundraising stunt.

It's similar to Trump's PAC lawsuits against Twitter and Facebook, used to get people to donate to Trump's PAC

It might be worse than useless, in that you never know what kind of bad precedent could be set as it makes its way to dismissal.

Sorry if FOIA requests scare you, but you should know what your government is doing with special exception, not the other way around.

If Trump has declassified things, especially things he wants to personally keep (putting aside the NARA issue) after his time in office, then they should be public knowledge...because after his time in office HE'S THE PUBLIC. If he put out an executive order declaring that anything he wants to declassify is instantly declassified, then that is also supposed to be public knowledge...the President can't classify public orders...they're public de facto or they're not orders.

Like the government is of us, by us, for us...all of us. Not of Trump, by Trump, for Trump. If he makes a statement claiming to have done something publicly while President, as a civil society, we have the liberty to audit that claim. It's an American Civil Liberty to do so...

Oh wait...that's catchy...someone should create a union that defends those or something with lawsuits like this one.


It has no evidence Trump declassified the documents, so why are they suing government agencies?

They're not suing Trump.

These documents may not be declassified.

However, Trump has claimed he had a standing request to declassify all sorts of documents at his will.

They're requesting the memo that Trump claims exists to declassify swaths of documents (maybe not these) as well as anything that was declassified as a result.

That's a legitimate question that comes from his (seemingly irrelevant) excuse for why those documents were fine for him to obtain (again, barring the fact that NARA should have them, not him).