- A former Mike Pence aide said it’s “absurd” that Donald Trump claimed he can declassify documents with his mind.
- “If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘It’s declassified,'” Trump said earlier this week.
- Marc Short, former chief of staff to Pence, said it would be “very difficult for the intelligence community to have a classification system if that was the case.”
LoadingSomething is loading.
Thanks for signing up!
Access your favorite topics in a personalized feed while you’re on the go.
An ex-top aide to former Vice President Mike Pence on Friday threw cold water on Donald Trump’s claim that the former president declassified White House records using his mind.
Marc Short, who served as Pence’s chief of staff in the White House, said his claim is “absurd” in an interview with CBS News.
“I think it would make it very difficult for the intelligence community to have a classification system if that was the case,” he said.
Trump has so far denied all assertions of wrongdoing, saying initially that he had “declassified” the documents. He also said that “everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time.”
And on Wednesday, Trump said in a Fox News interview that presidents are able to declassify materials using just by thinking about doing so.
“There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it,” Trump said. “If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘It’s declassified.’ Even by thinking about it.”
Last month, the FBI executed a search warrant at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida and recovered several boxes containing classified records that Trump took with him from the White House once he left office, according to the court records made public.
The search unearthed more than two dozen boxes containing some “11,000 documents and 1,800 other items from the office and storage room,” according to court filings. Some of the boxes were distinctly marked as “top secret,” Insider’s Sonam Sheth reported.
Some of those materials include private and potentially sensitive documents like medical, tax and accounting records, the court said.
In legal proceedings over the recovered documents, an appeals court earlier this week said that there is “no evidence that any of these records were declassified.”
Under the Presidential Records Act, presidential records must be turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration upon leaving office.