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Why Did Trump Keep the Top Secret Documents?

Peter Spiegel: “After more than a half decade of Trump scandals, those of us who follow the vicissitudes of the ex-president for a living have, I think, come to a general theory of what compels the man to transgress so spectacularly.”

“There are no grand, well-planned conspiracies, despite what many once feared. The Russia scandal that dogged the early months of Trump’s presidency, for instance, did not turn up evidence that he was some kind of Manchurian Candidate, in the direct employ of the Kremlin, doing its bidding.”

“Instead, there is mere industrial-scale venality. The man will seemingly do anything for sex (Stormy Daniels, Billy Bush); money (Deutsche Bank, Trump Foundation); or power (the Zelensky call, January 6). The Russia scandal, the Mueller report suggested, fell under the heading of ‘power’: Trump was willing to rely on the assistance of his own country’s foreign adversary if it helped him get elected. And then he tried to hide that eagerness from federal investigators.”

“If his official and political sins are tied to his outsized human vices, though, how to explain the zealousness with which he clung on to hundreds of pages of the US’s most highly-classified secrets — including, it appears, the identities of clandestine foreign sources that were feeding intelligence to the CIA? Keeping hold of those documents doesn’t immediately suggest a way to make money, or regain power, or attract women.”

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