'Not the case': Reporters dismantle Trump World's spurious declassification arguments
A new analysis is dismantling arguments from former President Donald Trump's legal team about declassifying documents by explaining the actual process for doing so.
As reports began circulating about the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) search, Trump took to Truth Social arguing that the confiscated material "was all declassified."
During a recent Newsmax appearance, his lawyer, Alina Habba, also attempted to push a similar argument. “I think they wanted to show the public that there were Top Secret documents to justify the raid. What that doesn’t tell you is that things are declassified that are marked classified - they don’t change the markings when they do that.”
However, the analysis highlights important points that appear to debunk the former president's claims.
"First, a U.S. president does have uniquely sweeping declassification abilities, though there is a process that involves written documentation and several other steps," wrote CBS News' Olivia Gazis and Ellen Uchimiya.
"It's not the case that a president can declassify documents with just verbal instructions," they added. "His instruction to declassify a given document would first be memorialized in a written memo, usually drafted by White House counsel, which he would then sign."
The writers also clarified one critical step in the declassification process. "Typically, the leadership of the agency or agencies with equities in the document would be consulted and given an opportunity to provide their views on the declassification decision. As the ultimate declassification authority, however, the president can decide to override any objections they raise."
They further noted how intelligence officials arrive at the final decision in determining which documents to declassify.
“Once a final decision is made, and the relevant agency receives the president’s signed memo, the physical document in question would be marked — the old classification level would be crossed out — and the document would then be stamped, “Declassified on X date” by the agency in question.”
In wake of the latest controversy, former officials of the Trump administration have argued that the documents Trump took to Mar-a-Lago had been declassified but "that the classification markings had not been updated." Speaking to Breitbart, Kash Pate, a former defense official for Trump, also weighed in.
"The White House counsel failed to generate the paperwork to change the classification markings, but that doesn't mean the information wasn't declassified," said Patel back in May in reference to other documents removed from the White House. "I was there with President Trump when he said 'We are declassifying this information.'"
Watch the full clip of Habba's remarks below or at this link:
\u201cTrump\u2019s lawyer on the photo: \u201cI think they wanted to show the public that there were Top Secret documents to justify the raid. What that doesn\u2019t tell you is that things are declassified that are marked classified - they don\u2019t change the markings when they do that.\u201d\u201d— Ron Filipkowski \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Ron Filipkowski \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1662039053
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