Megyn Kelly in an interview published Thursday pressed former President Donald Trump over his handling of classified documents after leaving the White House and questioned why Trump would not comply with a subpoena for the sensitive materials.
Kelly interviewed Trump on her SiriusXM show, where she zeroed in on the criminal case over Trump’s handling and retention of classified materials. Trump faces two obstruction charges after the Department of Justice (DOJ) accused him and his co-conspirators of attempting to delete surveillance footage at his Mar-a-Lago property.
Trump insisted he had done nothing wrong, and he repeated his misleading assertion that his actions were “covered” by the Presidential Records Act, which states that the National Archives gets custody of all presidential records once a president leaves office.
Kelly repeatedly asked Trump why, even if he had the right to take the documents, he would not comply with a subpoena from the Justice Department to turn over materials with classified markings.
Trump equated it to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether his 2016 campaign coordinated with Russia. The probe did not establish that there was any collusion, and it punted on the question of whether Trump obstructed the investigation, even as it listed several instances of potential obstruction.
“Well, that was my question, that you know, even if I think they’re accusing me of a fake crime, if I get a subpoena, I have to comply,” Kelly said. “I used to practice law for 10 years. You’ve got to comply. You’ve got to fork over the documents and then fight.”
Trump insisted that he had complied “with everything” before federal agents searched his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and found additional classified materials that the former president had not initially turned over.
“I would have given it to them,” Trump claimed. “You know what, we had a meeting. I said, ‘What do you want?’ And instead of doing that, because they’re doing this for political reasons. The reason they’re doing this is for election interference.”
Kelly said she did not dispute Trump’s assertion about the charges against him being politically motivated, but she reiterated that lawyers for the former president had signed off saying they turned over everything asked for in the subpoena only for federal agents to find more classified materials.
“I don’t know what the timing is. Again, I’d have to check,” Trump said. “I just don’t know the timing. All I know is, I’m allowed to have those documents.”
“But once you get a subpoena you have to turn them over,” Kelly responded.
“I don’t even know that because I have the right to have those documents. So I don’t really know that,” Trump said.
The former Fox News host also asked Trump about an incident cited by prosecutors in which he waves around a document in front of guests at his Bedminster, N.J., property and describes how it is secret and that he could no longer declassify it.
Trump claimed in an interview with Fox News in June that he was holding up a newspaper article, but Kelly asked him why he would describe a news clipping in such a way.
“What were you waving around in that meeting? Because it certainly sounds like it was an attack plan,” Kelly said.
“I’m not going to talk to you about that because that’s already been, I think, very substantiated, and there’s no problem with it,” Trump responded.
Prosecutors in July filed a superseding indictment in Florida in the documents case, bringing the total number of counts facing the former president to 40. The superseding indictment added a charge based on the military documents Trump boasted of having in the Bedminster meeting.
Trump is currently scheduled to go on trial in May of next year, roughly 5 months after the initial December date suggested by the DOJ.