White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Tuesday that President Donald Trump's Twitter posts about declassifying “any & all documents” related to the Russia probe and Hillary Clinton emails did not amount to an order to declassify or release additional documents.
In a sworn declaration to a federal court, Meadows said the president's tweets from earlier this month were "not self-executing declassification orders and do not require the declassification or release of any particular documents."
He added that Trump's statements also do not require "altering any redactions on any record at issue in these or any other cases, including, but not limited to, any redactions taken pursuant to any discretionary [Freedom of Information Act] exemptions.”
“All Russia Hoax Scandal information was Declassified by me long ago. Unfortunately for our Country, people have acted very slowly, especially since it is perhaps the biggest political crime in the history of our Country. Act,” he also wrote.
Meadow's filing was made in connection to a lawsuit that is seeking an unredacted version of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Oct. 16 ordered the Justice Department (DOJ) to file a declaration from Trump or his aide regarding whether the social media posts were intended to provide for further declassification and release of documents from Mueller's investigation.
Following Trump's Twitter posts, the plaintiffs in the case—BuzzFeed, its investigative journalist Jason Leopold, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a nonprofit research center—argued that the Twitter post amounts to a waiver of the exemptions. They asked the judge to order the DOJ to reprocess the report in light of “this waiver.”
The judge has scheduled another hearing on the matter for Wednesday to address the White House response.