Former President Trump has said in a new interview that the process of declassifying sensitive documents is not a formal process and that he could declassify documents just “by thinking about it.”
These comments came after the reports about him holding a declassified secret and top-secret documents in his Florida home which he took after leaving the White House in 2021 came out. Currently, the Justice Department is investigating Trump’s handling of sensitive material.
Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity, that as he understands it, there isn’t a formal process for declassification, and has said that the President of the United States can just declassify documents by saying “‘It’s declassified.’ Even by thinking about it.”
He also added that a process can take everything but that process doesn’t need to be followed if you are the president. You can just say that everything is declassified and it will be.
Presidents have many powers regarding the declassification of records, but once documents are declassified there is a chain of events that starts. This also includes actions that need to be taken by intelligence agencies for the records to be properly managed after declassification.
Trump and many of his allies have maintained that the documents he took with him from the White House had been declassified. However, during the Mar-a-Lago raid by the FBI, several classified, secret, and top-secret documents were found.
Trump’s attorney also noted that Trump had the power to declassify documents but he did not talk about any of the specifics of this process.
Trump also told Hannity that the General Services Administration (GSA) and other White House staff had helped in the packing up of boxes filled with documents, articles, photos, and other materials after his term in the office were over.