'Admissible evidence': Legal experts warn Trump’s rally admission may be 'self-incriminating'

'Admissible evidence': Legal experts warn Trump’s rally admission may be 'self-incriminating'
President Donald Trump pauses during the 9/11 Observance Ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Sept. 11, 2017. During the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, 184 people were killed at the Pentagon. To the left is first lady Melania Trump, and to the right are Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford. (DOD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro)

Former President Donald Trump's comments during a weekend rally about the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago may be "admissible evidence" in court, legal experts say.

Trump lashed out at the FBI during a rally in Miami on Sunday over the "very famous raid on Mar-a-Lago," which he described as "the document-hoax case."

Trump claimed the court-approved search "violated my Fourth Amendment rights" and is "something that's never been done to another president."

"No other president's ever done this," he said. "Presidents leave, they take things, they take documents, they read them. Nobody else has ever gone through this."

Trump has repeatedly falsely claimed that past presidents have "taken" documents with them after leaving office. The National Archives and Records Administration issued a statement debunking his claim last month, explaining that the National Archives took custody of all presidential records and "securely moved those records to temporary facilities" before moving them to presidential libraries. Claims that "indicate or imply that those Presidential records were in the possession of the former Presidents or their representatives, after they left office… are false and misleading," the statement said.

Legal experts said that Trump's comments may amount to an admission of illegality.

"Here's Trump apparently admitting to illegally taking top secret documents when he left the White House," the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said on Twitter.

Conservative attorney George Conway said the comments could be "admissible evidence," suggesting a drinking game for every time "he says something self-incriminating" at a rally.

"Keep talking. Keep confessing," wrote national security attorney Bradley Moss, a frequent Trump critic.

Legal experts also called out another comment from Trump during a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday.

"Every other president takes their documents. I'm the only one. I can't have a document," Trump complained during a rally in Latrobe before falsely suggesting that other presidents took and kept their documents in unsecure facilities.

"Did Trump just admit to taking top secret documents he was not supposed to have?" CREW said on Twitter.

Conway responded to the video of Trump's comments by posting a photo of Miranda rights, which note that "you have the right to remain silent."

Trump has claimed that former President George H.W. Bush "took millions of documents to a… bowling alley/Chinese restaurant" with "no security and a broken front door" and claimed that Bill Clinton "took millions of documents from the White House to a former car dealership in Arkansas."

"All of these Trump claims are false," CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale wrote last month, citing a National Archives statement confirming that the agency "securely moved these records to temporary facilities that NARA leased from the General Services Administration near the locations of the future Presidential Libraries that former Presidents built for NARA."

"All such temporary facilities met strict archival and security standards, and have been managed and staffed exclusively by NARA employees," the agency said.

Dale added that there is "no equivalence between Trump's handling of presidential documents and those of his predecessors."

"In the others' cases, the presidential documents were in NARA's possession and stored securely and professionally," he wrote. "In Trump's case, the presidential documents found in haphazard amateur storage at Mar-a-Lago were in Trump's own possession, despite numerous attempts by both NARA and the Justice Department to get them back."

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