Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming, on Sunday doubted former President Donald Trump’s claim that he could declassify the documents, thinking about it.
FBI agents raided Trump Mar-a-Lago’s Florida mansion on August 8, seizing 20 boxes containing allegedly classified documents. The former president is now facing an investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) into whether or not those documents, which could contain national security information and be vulnerable to foreign espionage, were improperly stored.
During the investigation, Trump retained his innocence. He and his supporters denounced the search as a witch hunt that would prevent him from running for office again. He also said that although the documents had not undergone a prior declassification process, he was able to declassify them without this process – and during a Fox News interview on Wednesday, he claimed all he had to do was think about declassifying them in order to do so. .
“You can declassify just saying it is declassified even though you think about it. Because you send it to Mar-a-Lago or wherever you ship it, ”said the former president. “And it doesn’t have to be a trial. There may be a process, but it doesn’t have to be. You are the president. You make that decision. So when you send it in, it’s declassified. all.”
During his appearance on ABC News This weekhost George Stephanopoulos asked Barrasso if he agreed with Trump’s logic.
The senator initially said he “knows nothing about the president’s declassification rules for documents and information,” although he added that “we must always exercise extreme caution” with regard to national security documents.
“What I know and would like to see from the Senate’s point of view is that I would like the Justice Department to come to us and show us in a secret environment what the information is,” added the senator.
Stephanopoulos told Barrasso his question was rhetorical: “You know the president can’t declassify documents just thinking about it – why can’t you say that?”
“I don’t think the president could declassify the documents by saying it – thinking about it,” replied Barrasso.
Other Republicans also doubted that Trump could declassify the documents just thinking about it. Marc Short, adviser to former vice president Mike Pence, called Trump’s claim “absurd” in a CBS interview on Saturday.
“I think it would be very difficult for the intelligence community to have a classification system if that were the case,” said Short.
Trump lost in the Mar-a-Lago case
Trump suffered a loss in a Justice Department investigation this week after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request by the Justice Department to stop an order from a district judge preventing him from examining classified documents.
Trump attorneys also this week admitted that the former president could be charged in the case, saying they cannot provide details on the classification as it would hurt their defense in the case.
Newsweek contacted the Trump office for comment.
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