Inquiring Minds Want to Know
"Ever since the FBI came out of Mar-a-Lago last month with box after box of documents, some of them highly sensitive and classified, questions have wafted over the criminal investigation," Andrea Bernstein writes at ProPublica: "Why did former President Donald Trump sneak off with the stash to begin with? Why did he keep it when he was asked to return it? And what, if anything, did he plan to do with it?"
Chief among the people interested in those answers is French President Emanuel Macron. One of the documents found in Trump's hoard, according to a terse inventory from the FBI, was listed as "1A — Info re: President of France."
CNN's Jake Tapper asked Macron on Thursday if he knows what's in those documents, and he shook his head. "I would not say it's too pleasant to, I mean, this type of information," Macron said. "I try to be less paranoiac each day, so, I mean, I'm cool, I'm here — and I would be delighted to have more information."
When he was president, "Trump devoured intelligence briefings about his foreign counterparts," The New York Times reports. He was eager "to get leverage over allies he took a personal dislike to," like Macron, and "fascinated by what the CIA had learned about his international counterparts' supposed extramarital affairs — not because he was going to confront them with the information, former officials said, but rather because he found it titillating."
"Specifically, Trump has bragged to some of his closest associates — both during and after his time in the White House — that he knew illicit details about [Macron's] love life," Rolling Stone reports, citing two people with knowledge of the matter. "And the former president even claimed that he learned about some of this dirt through 'intelligence' he had seen or been briefed on," though he was "light on details and specifics." The "mere revelation" of the document found at Mar-a-Lago, Rolling Stone adds, "triggered a trans-Atlantic freakout."
"I've covered Trump and his business for decades," ProPublica's Bernstein writes, and "people around him have told me over and over again: Trump knows the value of hoarding sensitive, secret information and wielding it regularly and precisely for his own ends." And "if people's gambling and hotel habits can be valuable," she notes, with examples, "top secret intelligence has the potential to be even more so."