In response to recent reporting that former President Donald Trump was illegally in possession of classified material – including nuclear secrets – at his Mar-a-Lago resort, Fox News hosts and Trump himself lied that his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, had also kept millions of government documents in his possession. After Trump and his right-wing media allies promoted these lies, the National Archives and Records Administration released a statement refuting them.
Friday morning, Trump first issued a rant declaring the “nuclear weapon issue is a hoax” and slamming the FBI’s warranted search of his home, which reportedly recovered classified materials illegally held by Trump’s estate. Later, Trump posted a three-sentence statement: “President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!”
It seems clear Trump ripped off this false claim from Fox, which pushed the lie on at least four separate programs. Fox host Jesse Watters claimed on August 10 that “Obama took 30 million documents back to Chicago.” The next evening, Fox guest Harmeet Dhillon also referenced “Obama’s 30 million pages of documents.” Fox host Sean Hannity took the lie even further, saying, “Obama took 30 million pages of sensitive, potentially classified presidential material to Chicago. Not one page has ever been returned. Where is the raid on Obama’s house?” And, on Friday morning, hours before Trump repeated the lie, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade asked: “Where’s the 30 million documents with Obama admin – Obama has 30 million documents.” Co-host Ainsley Earhardt added, “Imagine if they raided Michelle’s closet, and gone through her personal items. What the media would do then.”
But Friday afternoon, the National Archives issued a statement completely debunking these lies from Fox and Trump, explaining that all such documents from the Obama administration are in the possession of the National Archives, not the former president: