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Tipsheet

Trump Makes Pledge About JFK Files the Intelligence Community Won't Be Happy About

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Former President Trump vowed to release the remaining classified files on the assassination of John F. Kennedy if elected to a second term. 

Speaking to the Messenger, Trump said he had “no choice” but to hold back some of the documents when he released about 2,800 records in 2017, citing concerns from the intelligence community. 

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“I agree with the Archivist’s recommendation that the continued withholdings are necessary to protect against identifiable harm to national security, law enforcement, or foreign affairs that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure. I am also ordering agencies to re-review each of those redactions over the next 3 years. At any time during that review period, and no later than the end of that period, agencies shall disclose information that no longer warrants continued withholding,” the former president said in 2018.

The 1992 Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act set 2017 as a deadline to release all the classified material about the assassination, though delays were permitted if the government had concerns that harm to the intelligence or military communities "outweighs the public interest in disclosure.” 

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“I released a lot, as you know. And I will release everything else,” Trump said in the interview. “I will release the remaining portion very early in my term.”

Former CIA Director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has defended the Trump administration's decision to hold some material back, noting that “not everything was 60 years ago.” 

“I don't want to spend a lot of time walking through this," Pompeo told John Stossel in an interview earlier this year. "It's a little bit wonky, but suffice it to say, if Congress holds a hearing tomorrow on the Kennedy assassinations, the documents generated tomorrow will be part of those files."

President Biden released over 12,000 documents in 2021 and 2022, but some estimate thousands more remain. 

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