Trump Says There’s No Formal Process to Declassify Docs

Trump says a president can declassify documents “even by thinking about it.”

QUICK FACTS:
  • As questions about documents at his residence swirl, former President Donald Trump clarified his understanding of the declassification process during an interview on Fox News.
  • Trump sat down with Fox’s Sean Hannity on Wednesday, when he said there is no formal process to declassify documents.
  • According to the former president, documents can be declassified by a president “even just by thinking about it.”
  • “There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it,” Trump told Hannity, pushing back against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raid on his Florida home.
  • “If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘It’s declassified.’ Even by thinking about it,” Trump said. “There can be a process, but there doesn’t have to be. You’re the president. You make that decision. So when you send it, it’s declassified,” he asserted. “I declassified everything.”
TRUMP THREATENS TO SHOW WHAT THE FBI DID:
  • During the same interview with Hannity, Trump threatened to release the security camera footage of agents reportedly ransacking his home, adding that he would obscure faces to protect identities.
  • The former president said that the FBI had asked him not to release the footage, asserting the need to protect the agents involved.
  • Trump says the agents “shopped” through his possessions and took personal items, such as his will, which has not yet been returned to him: “They took a lot,” Trump said. “I think they took my will – I found out yesterday. I said, where is it?”
BACKGROUND:
  • Trump’s interview came just hours after a federal appeals court ruled the Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys could continue looking at documents marked classified taken from Mar-a-Lago.
  • The emergency ruling overturned a trial judge’s order which blocked the investigator’s work temporarily, until a third party could discern whether attorney-client privilege would be broken.