Trump argues presidents have the power to declassify documents 'even by thinking about it'

Trump argues presidents have the power to declassify documents 'even by thinking about it'
Former President Donald Trump speaking at the 2022 Student Action Summit at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida (Gage Skidmore)

Former President Donald Trump recently suggested that presidents don't necessarily have to conduct a formal process when it comes to declassifying documents.

In fact, the former president claimed documents can be declassified “even by thinking about it.”

During a recent interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Trump offered his take on the top-secret documents taken from the White House and transported to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla.

READ MORE: Team Trump refuses special master's order to list which Mar-a-Lago documents Trump 'declassified'

“There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it,” Trump told Hannity. “If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘It’s declassified.’ Even by thinking about it.”

The former president went on to offer more context to his unfounded claim. According to Trump, a president has the power to make any decision he desires even without a formal process.

“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,” Trump added. “I declassified everything.”

However, according to The Hill, the process is a bit different than Trump explained. "Though presidents have broad power to declassify records, doing so sets off a chain of events, as the intelligence agencies that manage such records must take additional steps,"

READ MORE: 'Not the case': Reporters dismantle Trump World's spurious declassification arguments

The former president went on to say that the General Services Administration (GSA) and other members of his White House staff were also involved in the document packing process.

However, GSA has pushed back against Trump's claim about its role. “The GSA also works with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), as necessary, to provide support to the former Presidents in the establishment and maintenance of their libraries,” the organization stated on its website. “These services are only provided in the event of a change of Administration.”

READ MORE: 'Ultimately irrelevant': DOJ smacks down Donald Trump's excuses for hoarding classified documents

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