Former President Donald Trump on Friday said that the allegedly classified materials the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sought in the agency's raid of his Mar-a-Lago resort were "all declassified."
"Number one, it was all declassified," Trump wrote on Truth Social on Friday, shortly before the court unsealed the search warrant the FBI used for its Aug. 8 raid of his Florida resort.
The Search WarrantTrump's comments came shortly before Bruce Reinhard, the magistrate judge who approved the search warrant, unsealed the search warrant following requests from both the Department of Justice and Trump.
- 18 USC 2071: Concealment, removal, or mutilation (of public records)
- 18 USC 793: Gathering, transmitting, or losing defense information
- 18 USC 1519: Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations and bankruptcy
Presidential Declassification PowersAccording to Mike Davis, President of the Article III Project and a former law clerk under Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, the president of the United States can declassify records by simply leaving the White House with them.
"The President of the United States has both the constitutional (and statutory) power to declassify anything he wants," Davis wrote on Twitter on Aug. 11. "If President Trump left the White House with classified records, they are declassified by his actions."
"As discussed, the Office of Former President Trump—like every other former president’s federal office—is equipped and secure enough to handle these declassified records," Davis added. "This is a routine dispute with bureaucrats at the National Archives whether these are presidential records."
"The President, after all, is the 'Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States,'" The Supreme Court ruled at the time. "His authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security and to determine whether an individual is sufficiently trustworthy to occupy a position in the Executive Branch that will give that person access to such information flows primarily from this constitutional investment of power in the President and exists quite apart from any explicit congressional grant."
Trump: It's a Political 'Witch Hunt'Trump and his allies have characterized the raid as a "witch hunt" driven by political motives, especially considering no former presidents had been prosecuted for the reason that the FBI allegedly told sources close to Trump that motivated the raid; namely, Trump was nominally required by the Presidential Records Act to return the materials to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) upon the conclusion of his term, but allegedly didn't.
“The seeming weaponization of the federal government against President [Joe] Biden’s political rivals cannot go unchecked, and if NARA is working to further these efforts, it will be only the latest agency to lose its credibility in the eyes of the American people under the Biden Administration,” the Republican lawmakers wrote.
Meanwhile, Trump revealed earlier this week that the FBI had recently been given a tour of where the records were stored, with the FBI only suggesting that Trump further secure the storage space.
“In early June, the DOJ and FBI asked my legal representatives to put an extra lock on the door leading to the place where boxes were stored in Mar-a-Lago – We agreed,” Trump said in a post on Truth Social on Aug. 10.
“They were shown the secured area, and the boxes themselves," Trump added. "Then on Monday, without notification or warning, an army of agents broke into Mar-a-Lago, went to the same storage area, and ripped open the lock that they had asked to be installed. A surprise attack, POLITICS, and all the while our Country is going to HELL!”