- Trump claimed he could immediately declassify documents while in office.
- Trump said that as president, he can sort documents with just a thought.
- Declassification requires filing documents — even if it was ordered by the current president.
On Wednesday, former President Donald Trump baselessly claimed to Fox News host Sean Hannity that he could have considered declassifying top-secret documents while in office.
In a lengthy sit-in interview that aired Wednesday night, Hanney asked whether Trump had a “procedure” and whether he went through a “process” to declassify documents found at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Trump is currently the subject of an FBI investigation into whether he violated any of three federal laws — including the Espionage Act — by keeping documents at his Florida residence. During the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8, the agency seized 11 sets of classified documents, including some marked “top secret.”
“As I understand it, there doesn’t have to be a process, and, you know, different people say different things,” Trump told Hannity.
“But as far as I know, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify it by saying: ‘It’s declassified’. Even think about it. Because you’re going to send it to Mar-a-Lago, or you’re going to send it to Mar-a-Lago. anywhere,” Trump said.
He went on to claim that he understood “there could be a process” to declassify the documents, but that didn’t necessarily apply to him since he was president at the time.
“You’re the president, you make the decisions. So when you send it, it’s declassified. I declassify everything,” Trump claimed, adding that he believed the National Archives and Records Administration was run by a “radical” of left-wing groups”.
-Acyn (@Acyn) September 22, 2022
What Trump said about Hannity was wrong.While the current president can declassify the documents, there are a process Decrypt these files involving the appropriate files.
Obama-era defense secretary Leon Panetta tells CNN’s Jack Tapper In August, there was a process involving paperwork at multiple agencies to obtain classified information — such as documents found at Trump’s Florida residence — declassified.
“If the president wants to declassify, they have to follow this process, basically requiring it to be submitted to the agency responsible for classifying that material,” Panetta told CNN. “They have something to say about whether the material should be declassified.”
“So, as far as I know, there’s no indication that this president has taken any formal steps to, in fact, declassify anything. Right now, that’s pretty much nonsense,” he added.
Trump’s lawyers are trying to keep themselves from having to hand over information about whether the documents have been officially declassified.
In a letter to Judge Raymond Dearie — who was named a third-party neutral investigator at Trump’s request — the former president’s lawyer asked him not to hand over the Declassified evidence in case such information becomes part of his defense. Subsequent prosecution. The refusal to provide evidence was strongly condemned by Derie, who told Trump’s lawyers they couldn’t “eat your cake.”
Meanwhile, a federal court has granted investigators the go-ahead to continue reviewing classified records seized from Mar-a-Lago after the Justice Department successfully petitioned against Magistrate Judge Erin Cannon’s decision to halt the investigation into the documents. .