In an exclusive interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” former Defense Secretary Mark Esper revealed that Donald Trump’s tenure as President was marred by his habit of hoarding sensitive documents. Esper condemned Trump’s unauthorized handling of classified files, labeling it as “unauthorized, illegal, and dangerous,” and emphasized that such behavior jeopardized national security. He further stated that if the allegations were proven true, Trump should never be entrusted with state secrets again.
The allegations against Trump arose following his arraignment on 37 charges linked to documents that were taken from the White House and found at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Federal prosecutors have focused their attention on Trump’s persistent efforts to retain these documents despite the government’s attempt to have them returned.
Esper expressed deep concern regarding the potential ramifications of Trump’s actions, noting that they put both service members and the nation’s security at risk. He emphasized the urgency of securing such sensitive documents, highlighting the disastrous consequences if they were to fall into the hands of foreign agents who could exploit America’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses.
When asked if Trump could be trusted with classified material again if he were to be elected to the White House in 2024, Esper responded firmly in the negative. Based on Trump’s actions and the potential validity of the charges outlined in the indictment, Esper deemed him unfit to handle classified information ever again.
Esper emphasized that no individual, including the President, should be above the law. He called for a thorough and fair legal process, ensuring that those responsible are held accountable, and stressing the importance of presidential accountability in this regard.
The former Pentagon chief drew a parallel between Trump’s actions and those of Jack Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard who faced similar charges for posting secret documents on social media. Teixeira was indicted on six counts and now faces up to 60 years in prison. Esper cited this case as evidence that unauthorized retention of sensitive documents constitutes a breach of national defense and should be treated seriously.
Esper’s comments add to a growing chorus of criticism from within the GOP. Former Attorney General William Barr predicted that Trump’s fate would be sealed if the charges outlined in the indictment proved true. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, echoed these concerns, labeling the indictment as a matter of “grave concern.”
Turner underscored the seriousness of the situation, expressing worry over the presence of both Trump’s and Teixeira’s documents outside of secure environments. He highlighted that these documents contained sensitive national security details, emphasizing the need to ensure their proper handling within a controlled environment.
The remarks by former Defense Secretary Mark Esper serve as a powerful indictment of Trump’s handling of classified documents during his presidency. As the legal process unfolds, the implications for national security and the reputation of the United States will remain under close scrutiny. Moving forward, the call for accountability and the protection of classified information will undoubtedly shape political discourse in the years to come.