Kennedy Assassination: Kennedy in Car

Prior to the assassination, President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and Texas Governor John Connally ride through the streets of Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.

© CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

In between plugging his friends' books and mocking congresspeople this morning, Donald Trump tweeted about something actually interesting: long-classified documents pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy will be released to the public. Maybe. Kinda. "Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened." he tweeted the morning of Saturday, October 21.

However, it's not quite that simple. The files (or "FILES") Trump is referring to are at the JFK library at the National Archives. In 1992, in response to Oliver Stone's conspiracy-laden film JFK, the first Bush administration made many pages of materials related to the assassination public in an attempt to disprove the conspiracy theorists, and Congress passed a law giving the National Archives 25 years to release the rest of the files. That deadline is on October 26, and Trump is the only person who can prevent that from happening, either by asking Congress to extend the deadline or allowing some of the files to stay classified. The files likely have to do not so much with what literally happened but with how much the CIA knew, and when, and what they did with that information. This past July, the Archives released a few hundred pages of documents, and their servers were incapacitated for days because so many people were trying to access the files.

There is concern that some of the more recent JFK files, compiled in the 90s, might compromise national security. Lindsay Walters, White House spokesperson, spoke to Politico yesterday and said that the files are being reviewed to guarantee there will be no risk.

What Trump meant by "subject to the receipt of further information" is not clear, but it may be that he is giving himself an out in case some or many of the files aren't released. Perhaps he is waiting for the information from the review Walters mentioned. Then again, when it comes to Trump and JFK, the president is not beyond outlandish conjecture. Roger Stone, who helped Trump launch his presidential campaign, wrote a book in which he claimed that Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was involved in the plot to assassinate Kennedy. Trump himself made the claim during the campaign that senator Ted Cruz's father was an associate of JFK's killer, Lee Harvey Oswald.