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Judges Push Back Against Trump Declassification Claims

Judges Push Back Against Trump Declassification Claims

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Trump’s lawyers have failed to provide evidence of the former President’s claims.

Since the raid of his Mar-a-Lago estate back in August, former US President Donald Trump has taken multiple measures to hinder the investigation efforts into the classified documents that were recovered. Trump’s current strategy is claiming that the documents were actually declassified, and therefor fine for him to possess. In a recent interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity, Trump went as far as to claim that an acting President can declassify any documents on a whim, even saying that a President could declassify documents “by thinking about it.”

These claims have not held water in courts. Several judges, including Judge Raymond Dearie, who Trump’s team appointed the special master of the recovered documents, have repeatedly requested evidence from Trump’s lawyers that the documents were declassified. No evidence has been provided at the time of writing.

“Plaintiff suggests that he may have declassified these documents when he was President. But the record contains no evidence that any of these records were declassified. And before the special master, Plaintiff resisted providing any evidence that he had declassified any of these documents,” a three-judge panel that included two Trump appointees ruled for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The judges added that, even if the documents were declassified, they couldn’t be treated as Trump’s personal property and had no reason to be in his estate. “In any event, at least for these purposes, the declassification argument is a red herring because declassifying an official document would not change its content or render it personal. So even if we assumed that plaintiff did declassify some or all of the documents, that would not explain why he has a personal interest in them,” the judges wrote.

“For our part, we cannot discern why plaintiff would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings.”

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