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Fmr. CIA chief implies Trump should be executed over FBI investigation

Michael Hayden speaking at CPAC 2015 in Washington, DC. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
August 12, 2022

Retired U.S. Air Force general and former CIA director Michael Hayden shared a photo of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on Thursday evening after the Washington Post reported FBI agents searched former President Donald Trump’s home for documents pertaining to nuclear weapons. The Rosenbergs were convicted and executed in 1953 for giving nuclear weapon information to the Soviet Union.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday evening, citing unnamed sources, that FBI agents had raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in search of classified documents, including materials pertaining to nuclear weapons. The Washington Post sources did not specify whether the documents were related to nuclear weapons belonging to the U.S. or another nation, and did not say if agents found such documents during the raid.

Following the Washington Post report, presidential historian and Trump critic Michael Beschloss tweeted a photo of the Rosenbergs taken after they were convicted in 1951 of spying for Russia.

“Rosenbergs were convicted for giving U.S. nuclear secrets to Moscow, and were executed June 1953,” Beschloss tweeted.

The former CIA director retweeted Beschloss, adding the caption “Sounds about right.”

Hayden served as the CIA director from 2006 to 2009.

Hayden has been a regular critic of Trump. Hayden released a campaign ad in October of 2020, advocating against Trump being reelected to a second term.

In a statement on his Truth social media platform on Friday morning, Trump denied the Washington Post’s claims that the materials FBI agents sought at Mar-a-Lago included nuclear weapons information.

“Nuclear weapons issue is a Hoax, just like Russia, Russia, Russia was a Hoax, two Impeachments were a Hoax, the Mueller investigation was a Hoax, and much more. Same sleazy people involved,” Trump’s post reads. “Why wouldn’t the FBI allow the inspection of areas at Mar-a-Lago with our lawyer’s, or others, present. Made them wait outside in the heat, wouldn’t let them get even close – said ‘ABSOLUTELY NOT.’ Planting information anyone? Reminds me of a Christofer Steele Dossier!”

In an emailed statement later on Friday, Trump also denied the materials FBI agents took from Mar-a-Lago were classified.

“Number one, it was all declassified. Number two, they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything,” Trump said. “They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request. They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK. The bigger problem is, what are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?”

Trump had in fact turned over 15 boxes of materials to the National Archive in January. Trump also said his team had given the FBI and Department of Justice access to his file storage at Mar-a-Lago in June.

Trump said after being shown the file storage in June, the FBI and DOJ only asked that he install an additional lock on the room. Trump said his team complied with the request only for FBI agents to break open the lock they had requested two months prior.

Despite Trump turning over documents in January and showing his file room in June, sources told the Washington Post that some investigators felt Trump’s team was not being truthful during months of back and forth discussions.

On Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the DOJ would seek to unseal the search warrant related to the raid at Mar-a-Lago. Trump said on Thursday that he not only does not oppose such action but actively encourages it.

Hayden was also among a group of 50 former U.S. intelligence and national security officials who signed an October 2020 letter saying the information reportedly found on a laptop belonging to President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” Five former CIA directors signed the letter, casting doubt on the laptop materials.

Information found on the laptop has since been authenticated by the New York Times and Washington Post.