Donald Trump says presidents can declassify documents ‘even by thinking about it’

Former United States President Donald Trump has claimed that “presidents can declassify documents by the power of thought alone”. During an interview with FOX News, Trump said that the decision completely lies with the president and as a result, the documents found by the FBI at the Mar-a-Lago residence during their raid on August 8 were not dependent on any process to be “declassified”. 

“Different people say different things but as I understand it, if you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified, even by thinking about it. 

“Because you’re sending it to Mar-a-Lago or wherever you’re sending it. There doesn’t have to be a process. There can be a process, but there doesn’t have to be. 

Also read | Four Ukrainian provinces all set to hold referendums on joining Russia

“You’re the president – you make that decision,” he said in the interview. 

Meanwhile the court-appointed special master – Raymond Dearie – has asked Trump’s lawyers to provide proof regarding the former president’s claims that the FBI planted the classified documents.  

Dearie, a senior federal judge, was given the responsibility by the court to examine the recovered documents to decide whether they should be kept classified. 

Also read | UN memo says Pakistan should suspend debt repayments: Reports

According to the affidavit submitted by the Department of Justice, the raid was conducted after witnesses confirmed that the Florida residence housed a number of classified documents from the time when Trump was president. They also said that the documents may contain proof of “obstruction of justice”. 

However, Trump completely denied any wrongdoing despite the FBI finding more than 100 classified documents during the raid and said that he was being framed by the authorities. 

On the other hand, the DOJ was also instructed by Dearie to provide a complete inventory of materials that were recovered during the raid. Trump’s lawyers will be reviewing the list. 

“This submission shall be plaintiff’s (Trump’s) final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed Property Inventory,” he said.