(TStarnes) – UPDATE: Former President Trump said “it was all declassified” in a statement on Truth Social Friday.
The following is from Trump:
Number one, it was all declassified. Number two, they didn’t need to “seize” anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request…
…They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK. The bigger problem is, what are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?
Kash Patel: Documents were already declassified pic.twitter.com/g6MnjJiFZ6
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) August 12, 2022
White House documents that former President Donald Trump brought with him to Mar-a-Lago had been declassified, Trump allies said.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that he had “personally approved” the search of Trump’s Florida home, which was raided by FBI agents on Monday. Multiple reports said the raid was related to the handling of presidential records, including classified documents, after leaving office.
The Justice Department has prosecuted cases involving the mishandling of classified information, but no such case has been brought against a former president — the one government official who can declassify information at will.
Ric Grenell, who was Trump’s acting director of national intelligence, told NBC News that documents can be declassified if the president simply says they are.
“There is no approval process for the president of the United States to declassify intelligence,” Grenell told NBC News. “There is this phony idea that he must provide notification for declassification, but that’s just silly. Who is he supposed to notify? I think it’s the height of swampism to think the president should seek bureaucrats’ approval.”
Kash Patel, a Pentagon chief of staff during the Trump administration, in May said that documents previously recovered from Mar-a-Lago had been declassified by Trump, but their markings were not updated.
“Trump declassified whole sets of materials in anticipation of leaving government that he thought the American public should have the right to read themselves,” Patel told Breitbart News.
“The White House counsel failed to generate the paperwork to change the classification markings, but that doesn’t mean the information wasn’t declassified. I was there with President Trump when he said, ‘We are declassifying this information.’”