Former President Donald Trump claimed that “If you’re the President of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified, even by thinking about it,” during an appearance on Fox News’ Hannity last week.

Trump was of course referencing the documents he took to his Mar-a-Lago residence, which were uncovered by the FBI last month as a part of a Justice Department probe into Trump’s possible mishandling of White House records.

The search turned up around 100 documents with classification markings, and some are rumored to hold government nuclear secrets. The former President has claimed that he declassified the documents.

“When I left the White House, they were declassified,” Trump told host Sean Hannity. “There doesn’t have to be a process. There can be a process, but there doesn’t have to be.”


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There have been calls for Trump to provide evidence of declassification, specifically by the special master Raymond Dearie in meetings with Trump’s legal team last week. Dearie was named as a third party to review the documents and determine which ones fall under executive or attorney-client privilege, at the request of Trump.

Trump’s legal team told Dearie that the declassification claim and evidence will be central to their argument should Trump be indicted, so they shouldn’t be forced to reveal their plan or turn over evidence prematurely.

Dearie responded that without evidence of declassification, he would assume that the documents were still classified, “My view of it is: You can’t have your cake and eat it.”

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