December 8, 2022

  • Trump claimed he could immediately declassify the documents during his time in office.
  • Trump said that, as president, he could sort the documents just by thinking about it.
  • Lifting the secrecy requires submitting papers – even if ordered by the current president.

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday claimed, without foundation, to Fox News host Sean Hannity that he could have declassified top-class documents just by considering doing so during his time in office.

During an extended sit-down interview that aired Wednesday night, Hannity asked Trump if there was a “operation” he undertook to obtain declassified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago home.

Trump is currently under an FBI investigation into whether he violated any of the three federal laws – including the Espionage Act – by keeping the documents at his Florida residence. During the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago on August 8, the agency confiscated 11 sets of classified documents, including some documents marked “top secret.”

“There doesn’t have to be a process as I understand it, and you know, there are different people saying different things,” Trump told Hannity.

“But as I understand it, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘I’ve declassified.’ Even by thinking about it. Because you’re sending it to Mar-a-Lago, or wherever. You send it to him,” Trump said.

He went on to claim that he understood there “could be a process” to declassify the documents but that that didn’t necessarily apply to him because he was president at the time.

“You’re the president, you make that decision. So when you send it, it’s declassified. I’ve declassified everything,” Trump claimed, adding that he believed the National Archives and Records Administration was run by a “radical left group.”

Trump’s claim of Hannity is wrong. While sitting chiefs can declassify documents, there proces To obtain this documentation that includes the appropriate documentation.

Leon Panetta, Obama’s Secretary of Defense said CNN Jake Taber In August, there is a procedure that involves papers from multiple agencies to get classified information — such as files at Trump’s Florida residence — declassified.

“If presidents want to lift the secrecy, they have to go through this process which basically requires it to be passed on to the agencies responsible for grading that material,” Panetta told CNN. “They have something to say about whether or not that material should be declassified.”

“So there’s nothing I’m aware of that indicates that this president has taken a formal step to declassify anything. Right now, that’s pretty much BS,” he added.

Trump’s lawyers are trying to extricate themselves from having to turn over information about whether the documents have been officially declassified.

In a letter to Judge Raymond Deere — who, at Trump’s request, was appointed as an impartial outside investigator — the former president’s lawyers requested that he not have to turn over evidence about declassification in the event that information becomes part of his defense in the subsequent indictment. This refusal to provide evidence led to a strong reprimand from Derry, who told Trump’s lawyers they couldn’t “get your cake and eat it.”

Meanwhile, a federal court has given investigators the green light to resume their review of confidential records seized from Mar-a-Lago, after a successful application by the Department of Justice against District Judge Eileen Cannon’s decision to halt the investigation of the documents. .

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