Speed Reads

what's in those files?

Trump has just weeks to decide if he wants to release super-secret files about the JFK assassination

President Trump once accused the father of campaign rival Ted Cruz of having a hand in the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy. Ironically, in just weeks it could fall on Trump to decide whether or not to release 3,600 top-secret government files about the 1963 assassination, Politico Magazine reports.

A 1992 law set a deadline of Oct. 26, 2017 for the president to decide whether or not to unseal the files; that means the decision will now be Trump's to make. A White House official confirmed to Politico that the Trump administration is "familiar with the requirements," and that they are working "to enable a smooth process in anticipation of the October deadline."

Trump is a big fan of conspiracy theories; in addition to the accusation about Cruz's father, Trump has propagated the idea that former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States and claimed that climate change is a Chinese hoax. Trump can keep the JFK documents secret if he believes it "necessary by an identifiable harm to military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations," or if he decides that "the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure."

Martha W. Murphy, who oversees the archives, said last month she hopes to begin unsealing the files as soon as this summer, before the October deadline, meaning Trump might need to make a decision much sooner.

Don't get your hopes up too high, though: Judge John R. Tunheim, the former chairman of the Assassination Records Review Board, said he knew of "no bombshells" in the papers. Murphy added: "As you can imagine, we're not reading them for [revelations], so we're probably not the best people to tell you … I will say this: This collection is really interesting as a snapshot of the Cold War."

Read more about the files at Politico Magazine.