Trump claims he had a ‘standing order’ that allowed him to obtain classified documents

Former President Donald Trump’s reaction to this week’s federal raid on his Mar-a-Lago home has bounced from conspiracy theory to doctrine about what: First, he was suggested The FBI may have planted top-secret materials they found at their South Florida residence. He then shifted his focus to his predecessor Barack Obama, who said he did the same. even worse —National Archives claims Moved to Debunking On Friday.

Trump now seems to have landed on his old standby, claiming to be the victim, as he seems to have done nothing wrong to begin with. declassified everything that was claimed On Truth Social, the platform he founded after being kicked out of Twitter.

On Friday night, the Trump campaign sent a statement to Fox News detailing its defense.

“As we all can relate, everyone gets to have to bring work home from time to time. The president of the United States is no exception,” the statement said.

He continued, “President Trump often brought documents, including classified documents, into his residence to prepare for the next day’s work. We had a standing order that the moment we removed them they were considered declassified.”

Trump has not held the office of President of the United States, but in more than 18 months, this statement does not seem to address that point.

Even though I’m the president Can declassify certain informationthere is a formal process for doing so, and it is not clear whether Trump followed it.

Moreover, it seems unlikely that he had the authority to declassify some of what the documents might have contained, such as information on espionage and nuclear weapons. The Washington Post reported earlier this week that there was information about US nuclear weapons in Mar-a-Lago documents. (Trump called the report “hoax”)

The President must file documents with the National Archives under the Presidential Records Act of 1978. But the National Archives has reportedly known for months that Trump was circumventing those rules. Earlier this year he had more than a dozen boxes of documents recovered.

Prosecutor General Merrick Garland proposed this week Authorities raided Trump’s home and office after they exhausted other options for recovering what they believed to be highly sensitive information.According to Monday unsealed search and seizure warrant, FBI agents received over 20 boxes of materials, along with other items labeled top secret. Some were even described as “various taxonomies/TS/SCI documents” using the abbreviation for “sensitive compartmentalized information”. Such information is to be viewed in a special secure facility called SCIF.

If Trump really had a “standing order” to declassify what he brought back, it has not been made public.

playing cards allies He argued that the classified status of these materials was probably just a clerical error.So Trump declared the documents declassified, but they were never officially marked as such

Conservative Lawyer Jonathan Turley told Fox News On Friday, the end of Trump’s term was a “very chaotic time” with the Capitol attack and “all the controversy”. He said.

Kash Patel, a top Pentagon staffer and Trump adviser, did as well. told Breitbart News The marking has not been updated. Patel claimed he was “with Trump when he said, ‘We are declassifying this information,'” Breitbart reported.

But the rules are there for a reason.Former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa explained how the declassification process was supposed to work series of tweets He stressed the implications for national security. The process, she argued, would allow federal agencies to make the right preparations.

“If someone is declassifying information that affects their sources and methods, it gives them time to protect them or prepare to counterattack,” said Rangappa.

But a declassification order from Trump would be “insane to try to enforce,” said Bradley Moss, a national security attorney and frequent Trump critic.

“That is, every time he brings those documents, the officer takes him to the residence, crosses out the markings and stamps them ‘declassified’ so that when other officers see them, to, declassified it’ Moss said on MSNBC on Friday night.

“You can’t declassify something just for yourself,” added Neil Katiel, acting U.S. Attorney General during the Obama era, in the same segment.

Nuclear historian Alex Wellerstein said in an interview with Vox Classification ranks are believed to correspond to the damage that would be done to a country if the information were made public. As an example, Wellerstein said that if Trump had a document that the US admitted that Israel had nuclear weapons, it could be very damaging. (The US does not officially recognize Israel’s nuclear weapons.)

But it doesn’t matter if the Mar-a-Lago materials were technically classified or declassified.

An unsealed warrant revealed that the Justice Department was investigating Trump under several laws. Barb McQuade, a former US attorney and legal commentator, appeared early Saturday on MSNBC, noting that nothing called for confidentiality of the information.

“Classification is irrelevant. Government documents related to national defense cannot be withheld from the government upon request for return,” McQuade said. Tweet“The warrant obstruction charge suggests Trump tried to hide what he had.”

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This article originally appeared on huff post and updated.