Investigators have long speculated that the so-called "Deep State" is withholding critical information regarding the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy — and on Oct. 26 they may get one step closer to finding out the truth, thanks to President Donald Trump.
Trump has been battling the Deep State since taking office — and now he has a chance to go on the offensive and release thousands of never-before-seen government documents related to Kennedy's assassination.
The potential release has scholars and armchair detectives buzzing — and it's up to Trump whether to block the release of secret files that could shed light on a tragedy that has stirred conspiracy theories for decades.
The National Archives has until Oct. 26 to disclose the remaining files related to Kennedy's 1963 assassination, unless Trump intervenes. The CIA and FBI, whose records make up the bulk of the batch, have refused to respond to rumors they've appealed to the Republican president to keep them under wraps.
"The American public deserves to know the facts, or at least they deserve to know what the government has kept hidden from them for all these years," Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and author of a book about Kennedy, said in an email to The Associated Press. "It's long past the time to be forthcoming with this information," he said.
Sabato and other JFK scholars believe the trove of files may provide insight into assassin Lee Harvey Oswald's trip to Mexico City weeks before the killing, during which he visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies. Oswald's stated reason for going was to get visas that would allow him to enter Cuba and the Soviet Union, according to the Warren Commission, the investigative body established by President Lyndon B. Johnson, but much about the trip remains unknown.
Among the protected information up for release is details about the arrangements the U.S. entered into with the Mexican government that allowed it to have close surveillance of those and other embassies, said Tunheim, a federal judge in Minnesota.
Kennedy experts also hope to see the full report on Oswald's trip to Mexico City from staffers of the House committee that investigated the assassination, said Rex Bradford, president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, which publishes assassination records.
The FBI has refused to comment on whether it has asked Trump to keep the files hidden. A CIA spokeswoman would say only that it "continues to engage in the process to determine the appropriate next steps with respect to any previously-unreleased CIA information."
Congress mandated in 1992 that all assassination documents be released within 25 years, unless the president asserts that doing so would harm intelligence, law enforcement, military operations or foreign relations. The still-secret documents include more than 3,000 that have never been seen by the public and more than 30,000 that have been released previously, but with redactions.