Former President Donald Trump vowed this week to release all files related to the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy, coming after his nephew alleged that U.S. intelligence officials may have been involved in his 1963 death.
“I released a lot, as you know. And I will release everything else,” Trump told The Messenger on Monday, referring to the Kennedy records.
When Trump was in office, he released some documents but did not release all of the records. At the time, his administration said that it could not release all of the records because “certain information should continue to be redacted because of identifiable national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns.”
“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,” Trump’s office said in 2018.
In 1992, then-President George H.W. Bush, who had previously served as the director of the CIA, signed a measure into law that stipulated all JFK-related documents be made public. However, multiple presidential administrations, including the Biden administration, have held off on releasing the documents in their entirety.
Later, Biden still did not opt to fully disclose the assassination records but released some materials. In late December, federal officials released more than 13,000 records, including information about suspect Lee Harvey Oswald and his time spent in Mexico City.
Still, about 4,300 records remain redacted and are blacked out, according to the CIA. “We believe all CIA records substantively related to [former CIA agent George] Joannides were previously released, with only minor redactions, such as CIA employees’ names and locations,” the agency said in a news release issued the time, adding that “tremendous progress” has been made.
When interviewed by The Messenger, Trump was asked about whether there should be anything the public should be worried about in the JFK records. “Well, I don’t want to comment on that,” Trump replied. “But I will tell you that I have released a lot. I will release the remaining portion very early in my term.”
The subject of JFK’s assassination became national news again this month after 2024 Democratic candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. told media outlets in several interviews that he suspects the CIA was involved in his uncle’s November 1963 death. Oswald, a former Marine and onetime defector to the Soviet Union, was arrested and charged with the assassination before he was shot and killed by nightclub owner Jack Ruby, who was reportedly suspected to be a mob associate; Ruby died several years later in prison.
“There is overwhelming evidence that the CIA was involved in his murder. I think it’s beyond a reasonable doubt at this point,” Kennedy told radio host John Catsimatidis on WABC 770 in early May. “The evidence is overwhelming that the CIA was involved in the murder, and in the cover-up,” he also said.