Since writing The Mysterious Case of the Narcissist and the Horde of Secret US Documents new reporting has surfaced — I KNOW, it’s been ONE day! — suggesting that Trump may not have known about the plethora of secret documents hidden away in his pool-side storage closet. Hunh. How is that possible?
If this reporting is to be believed, Trump’s horde of state secrets is all a product of his executive dysfunction, the inability to organize your life and regulate your emotions and other bodily functions. The opposite is executive functioning. We’ll summarize the reporting and then discuss.
Executive functions consist of several mental skills that help the brain organize and act on information. These skills enable people to plan, organize, remember things, prioritize, pay attention and get started on tasks. They also help people use information and experiences from the past to solve current problems.Can Trump Pass the Marshmallow Test?
Trump’s Behavior with Paper
According to John Kelly, Trump’s longest serving and most competent chief-of-staff — Really, Reince Priebus and Mark Meadows? Really? Only the bE bEsT aNd BrIgHtEsT — John Bolton, his former National Security Advisor and belligerent warhawk, and other aides Trump never had much respect for protocol, rules, or regulations, especially concerning records and documents:
- He would famously rip up paper and throw it to the floor to signal that he was done with it. Mind you, it would be torn in half, but still sounds a bit arrogant to me. Anyway, staffers would dutifully collect the pieces, tape them back together, and squirrel them away for posterity.
- He had a habit of disappearing intelligence documents. Quoting John Bolton, “He had a habit of taking stuff,” and “God knows what he did with them.” Passed them onto Putin? MBS?
- He was a “pack rat,” an innocuous and even cute descriptor for someone mishandling state secrets, and aides would pack the droppings and leavings from his desk into a box at the end of the day. These included newspaper clippings, printed email, golf resort stuff, notes, doodles. They might also include “briefing papers he’d ripped from binders, random papers that someone might have handed him, press clippings, defense memoranda, daily intelligence briefings or other classified material.” It didn’t matter, they all went into a box that was left on the floor, presumably of the Oval Office or the workroom right off of it.
- The boxes of impo’tent papers went with him when he travelled, and valets would tote the boxes as they trundled along in his wake.
- He would get documents that didn’t go through the national security process.
- He saved things that he liked to show off, you know, like classified surveillance photos or correspondance with world leaders.
- By the end, he believed he could instantly declassify material by utterance, wave of hand, or intestinal gas, one presumes. He was apocalyptic when he found records still classified, like all the material on the Russia investigation.
It is well known that Trump made the transition as difficult as possible even going so far as sponsoring a violent insurrection on 6 January, so it should come as no surprise that he hadn’t started packing up the White House until AFTER 6 January. Accordingly, like everything else Trump does, it was a hot mess.
Apparently, there was a mad scramble to box everything up, get it onto the moving vans, and transport it to Merde-a-Lago (Thanks, Tengrain!). The article has a mysterious line, as they so often do (emphasis added):
West Wing aides and government movers frantically tossed documents and other items into banker boxes that were shipped to a storage room at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida along with other, previously packed records set aside by Trump, sometimes erratically so, according to two sources with knowledge of Trump’s move and records issues.‘It worried people all the time’: How Trump’s handling of secret documents led to the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search
What exactly do they mean, previously packed records set aside by Trump? How long ago did he start packing records? Is it possible that some of the secrets that he had spirited away from under the nose of Bolton, Kelly, and other aides ended up in these previously packed boxes of records?
Whatever the story of those papers was, aides, the movers, Boris and Natasha, everyone was just throwing whatever wasn’t tacked down into boxes, piling them by the door, and eventually loading them into the moving vans. It was a chaotic mess.
Once at the his Florida residence, it all got dumped into storage closets… and forgotten. According to aides, Trump didn’t bother to unpack any of his WH things. Staff unpacked him. Can you imagine? I don’t even want to think about the gross pee-hooker accessories that the staff had to go through… Duh! Now, we all are thinking about it. I’m such an asshole.
Other reporting reveals that the FBI found boxes in two areas: one in his office — the ex-bridal suite over a ballroom — and in a storage closet off of the pool that was open to anyone and everyone on the staff. The FBI found boxes strewn everywhere. Almost as if there were no organizing principle to how they were packed, stored, or unpacked. Hunh. Go figure.
Executive Dysfunction Like a Fox?
This NBC News report suggests that the top secret SCI papers ended up there by accident. That Trump wasn’t even aware that they were there. When they sat down with the DoJ and FBI officials in June, they, and by they I mean his aides and lawyers, THOUGHT they had given them EVERYTHING! They signed a legal affidavit stating that there were no more records pertaining to the subpoena.
Aside from the narcissistic belief that he’s always right, can do no wrong, and the rules will be bent for him, this is part and parcel for someone with such extreme executive dysfunction. Once learning that they may have — however, innocently — mistakenly taken some top secret SCI documents, they didn’t immediately instigate an inventory of what they had. At that point, don’t you think you’d want to know exactly what you had with you? Wouldn’t you get the intern that you would pinky swear not to reveal any of the country’s secrets to go through each and every box and make a list and accurate count of and assign an individual locating number to each and every document so that it would all be neatly and tidily organized and locatable if for no other reason than for your library?
Now the feds are coming knocking saying can we please have our documents back, and you don’t know what you have or where it is? That is peak executive dysfunction.
Unless it isn’t. SCI documents don’t get removed from their SCIFs and in the rare event they are removed because the president MUST see them, they come in a lacked box, chained to an armed guard, get taken out, read, and returned to the box, and returned to the SCIF. Those documents and records should not be able to squirrel away into a box on the floor.
Someone had to get those documents and records out of secure storage. That person is locatable. There should be a record of that person somewhere.
Even if he weren’t selling them to Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia — You KNOW he is, and by he I mean Jared. Remember, Jared wanted the supersecret untapped hotline to Moscow in 2017 — every secret service in the world has been crawling all over Mar-a-Lago for the past six years. God only knows whose been in that pool-side closet going through those boxes. Seriously, we’re going to let him grab us by the pussy again?
Could it be that this entire affair is due solely to his executive dysfunction? Is that possible? Don’t you believe it. It isn’t possible. His executive dysfunction has contributed to the debacle, but many parts of this could not be down to a failure to manage his emotions or impulses or his inability to plan.
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Categories: Executive Functioning