Donald Trump claimed Wednesday that he had declassified the documents brought to his Mar-a-Lago resort, which is now under investigation by the Justice Department.
During an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News’s “Hannity,” Trump declined to provide specific evidence of the declassification.
“There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it,” Trump said. “You’re the president of the United States. You can declassify just by saying it’s declassified, even by thinking about it.”
“In other words, when I left the White House, they were declassified,” Trump said.
Additionally, Trump’s legal team has refused to support the claim that the documents in question were declassified.
Earlier this week, a federal judge was tasked with determining if any documents were privileged or relevant to national security.
Judge Raymond Dearie disputed Trump lawyers’ claims that they could not present evidence of a declassification because doing so might hinder them in future court proceedings.
He said, “My view of it is: You can’t have your cake and eat it.”
On Wednesday, Trump’s legal team failed to win acceptance from a separate panel of judges to stop the criminal investigation into the classified documents seized.
In its decision, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel wrote that Trump “has not even attempted to show that he needs to know the information contained in the classified documents. … Nor has he established that the current administration has waived that requirement for these documents.”
The panel also called the classification debate a “red herring” because it did not address “why [Trump] has a personal interest in” those documents.
According to Hannity, Trump’s first sit-down comments since the search were pre-recorded before the court setback was announced on Wednesday evening.
As Trump stated during the interview, he left the task of packing boxes to the General Services Administration.
“There was nothing that was hiding,” Trump said.
Although conservative circles urged him to do so, Trump said he had not released possible security camera footage of the search on his Florida property because it could put FBI agents at risk.
“Most of the people in the FBI, they probably voted for Trump,” the former president said. “I don’t want to have anybody hurt. But they came onto the site.”