Kash Patel (former Defense Dept chief of staff) went on record Friday, clarifying President Trump’s ability to declassify documents and calling out his political opponents for the politically motivated raid on Mar-A-Lago.
Kash called the incident a modern-day Watergate, questioning, “Where is the liberal left that cares about due process & blind justice now? Where’s the ACLU?
"Where are the public defenders in America? Where is the liberal left who care about due process & blind justice now? Where's the @ACLU?"#KashPatel on the #MarALagoRaid. He tells @JanJekielek it's a “modern-day version of #Watergate.”
— Kash's Corner (@KashsCorner) August 12, 2022
According to Patel, Trump could easily declassify information -just saying a document was declassified was enough. He also responded to claims that Trump took documents he shouldn’t have. Patel said that the G.S.A. (General Services Administration) already admitted to making a mistake regarding which boxes of documents were brought to Mar-A-Lago and that Trump could not be held responsible,
“If he says something is declassified, that’s it, it is declassified. He declassified a whole set of documents that should have come out… That’s on the National Archives to sort that material out… Even if it was classified, they’ll never meet the burden of intent because the president didn’t pack it up and take it out himself, the G.S.A. has said they did it and they made a mistake.”
President Trump has said any documents in his possession since leaving the White House that still contain classified markings were previously declassified. He shared that he had a standing order in place:
“documents removed from the Oval Office and taken into the residence were deemed to be declassified,” the statement added. “The power to classify and declassify documents rests solely with the President of the United States. The idea that some paper-pushing bureaucrat, with classification authority delegated BY THE PRESIDENT, needs to approve of declassification is absurd.”
According to Just The News, documents that are declassified by a president are later retrieved and marked declassified, usually with a line crossing off the classified designation on the document. But former top aides to previous presidents acknowledged the President has absolute power to declassify documents and can do so instantly.
It’s likely that Trump’s opposition will try to build a case around him having classified information at home but will struggle to gain ground with the bipartisan acknowledgment that the President can declassify information at will.