Just when you thought former Republican President Donald Trump’s documents scandal–or Donald Trump himself, really–couldn’t possibly get any more absurd, here he comes with his latest defense of his hoarding state secrets at Mar-a-Lago.
There has, of course, been a lot of back-and-forth between Trump and the Department of Justice about whether or not the documents were classified or just documents that Trump arbitrarily decided were declassified as he walked them out of the White House.
The argument boils down to this: Trump says he declassified the documents, even though his lawyers refuse to state as much in court. Merrick Garland’s Justice Department, on the other hand, says “LOL no it’s not,” on account of that’s not how any of this works.
But Trump has solved this little conundrum! According to him, a President can declassify documents in his mind. That is what he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity yesterday anyway, and it has everyone on the internet’s heads exploding.
See Trump’s comments below.
u201cTrump says you can declassify documents by just thinking about itu201d
— Acyn (@Acyn) 1663811160
Speaking about the process of declassifying documents, Trump told Hannity:
“There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it.”
“If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified. Even by thinking about it!…”
“…You’re the president — you make that decision.”
Oh okay then, case closed! Phew, glad that’s cleared up and we don’t have to waste any more time and taxpayer money on this.
That’s sarcasm, obviously, because while that may be the way the former President “understands it,” that is not at all how declassification works, even remotely, so much so that The New York Timesdescribed the concept as “borderline incoherent” in the context of the law.
But when you’re Donald Trump and an appeals court just ruled the FBI can use the documents you stole in a criminal investigation against you–on the same day the Attorney General of New York announced she was suing your entire family for fraud–well, any port in a storm, right? Even the notion that you can declassify documents with your brain waves or whatever.
Of course on Twitter, nobody but the usual suspects was buying any of this.
u201cHi ud83dudc4b. House Intelligence Committee Chair here.nnTrump just claimed he could declassify things by saying u201cu2018itu2019s declassified,u2019 even by thinking about it.u201dnnI know he says heu2019s a big u201cthinkeru201d and all, but thatu2019s not how any of this works. Not by any stretch of the imagination.u201d
— Adam Schiff (@Adam Schiff) 1663814587
u201cIf Trump could declassify just by thinking about it, I wonder if he also achieved world peace, ended unemployment and cured Covid by the same method. And why didnu2019t he tell anyone?u201d
— Steven Beschloss (@Steven Beschloss) 1663853703
u201cTonight on Fox u201cNewsu201d Trump actually said that, as president, he could declassify documents simply u201cby thinking about it.u201d #CarnacTheMagnificentu201d
— Frank Figliuzzi (@Frank Figliuzzi) 1663813582
u201cTrump is playing the u201cI was so stupid I thought I could just declassify documents by thinking it was sou201dnWhat worries me is this defense may just work.u201d
— Treat Williams (@Treat Williams) 1663862757
u201cThis is a direct quote from Trump: u201cIf youu2019re the president of the United States, you can declassify … even by thinking about it.u201du201d
— Jim Sciutto (@Jim Sciutto) 1663812831
u201c#MorningJoe And, then, Trump actually said “FBI searched Mar-a-Lago cuz they thought I might have had Hillary emails!” And, there’s MORE! He also said that he could declassify anything by just thinking about it!u201d
— Wiseronenow ~~ Life is a birdsong. (@Wiseronenow ~~ Life is a birdsong.) 1663848988
u201cTrump says that when youu2019re the president of the United States, you can declassify a document just by thinking about it. nnTheyu2019re scrambling. Big time. nnAnd Iu2019m loving every minute of it.u201d
— Pam Resistsud83cuddfaud83cuddf8ud83cuddfaud83cudde6ud83dudc94ud83dudc94ud83dudc94 (@Pam Resistsud83cuddfaud83cuddf8ud83cuddfaud83cudde6ud83dudc94ud83dudc94ud83dudc94) 1663854240
u201cTrump saying you can declassify documents just by saying they are declassified reminds me of Michael Scott thinking you declare bankruptcy by yelling it.u201d
— Brandon u201cFootsu201d (@Brandon u201cFootsu201d) 1663811955
u201cIf Trump can declassify documents just by u201cthinking about it,u201d Biden can re-classify them just by thinking about it. Checkmate.u201d
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen) 1663814708
Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta ruled against Trump and put a stay on Judge Cannon’s bonkers decision to prevent the FBI from using the documents they retrieved from Mar-A-Lago in its ongoing criminal investigation, disagreeing both with the rationale Trump provided for why the documents should be considered his property, and the decision to appoint a “special master” to review them.
Two of the three judges involved in the ruling are Trump appointees.