Former President Donald Trump in a Wednesday night interview again insisted he had declassified the records seized by the feds at Mar-a-Lago — and said there’s no definitive document declassification process for US heads of state.
Trump made the comments in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity that aired shortly after an appeals court ruled the Justice Department can have access to the documents seized from the former president’s Florida estate as part of their criminal investigation into the matter.
The 45th president told Hannity the documents were declassified when he left the White House, but didn’t say how.
“There doesn’t have to be a process, there can be a process, but there doesn’t have to be,” Trump said to the conservative news host. “You’re the president, you make that decision.”
“If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘It’s declassified.’ Even by thinking about it,” Trump told Sean Hannity.
The ex-president has been under investigation by the Justice Department for taking classified records from the White House to Mar-a-Lago.
The trove of roughly 11,000 documents, dozens of which contained classified markings, were seized by the FBI in a raid at the Florida estate on Aug. 8.
“I declassified everything,” Trump told Hannity Wednesday night.
Trump’s lawyers, at a Tuesday hearing for the DOJ case, refused to confirm if the records were in fact declassified by the former president.
In a court filing ahead of Tuesday’s hearing, Trump’s lawyers signaled they didn’t want to answer questions about the declassification status — because it could be part of the former’s president’s defense if he is ever indicted.
The FBI also said Trump failed to mention he had supposedly declassified the files and handled the documents “as if they were still classified,” according to court papers revealed earlier in the month.
It was only after the raid that the former president said he had declassified them.