Former FBI special agent and attorney Asha Rangappa dismissed former President Donald Trump’s claim that documents sought by the FBI at his Florida home had been “declassified,” describing the defense on Friday as “idiotic” and “stupid.” .
Days after the FBI on Monday executed its search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago vacation home looking for top secret and other classified materials, the former president’s office told Just the News in a statement that Trump had a “standing order.” . to release confidential information so he could transport it to his Florida home.
“He had standing orders that documents removed from the Oval Office and brought to the residence were deemed declassified,” the statement said. “The authority to classify and declassify documents rests solely with the President of the United States. The idea that a bureaucratic bureaucrat whose classification authority has been delegated BY THE PRESIDENT has to approve the declassification is absurd.”
The ex-president had previously made a corresponding claim on his social media platform Truth Social. “First of all, everything was cleared. Second, they didn’t have to ‘seize’ anything. They could have had it anytime without getting into politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago,” he wrote in a Friday post.
Rangappa, who is an editor at Just Security, published a lengthy thread Friday night explaining how the declassification process works and saying Trump’s statements were neither logical nor accurate.
“Whatever POTUS’ ‘powers’ to release documents, there are good political and practical reasons for them to follow a process and for that process to be documented and reflected in the document marks themselves,” the legal analyst wrote.
The former FBI agent said it would be “dangerous and bad for security” not to have a trial. She also said it would “cause chaos, lead to confusion, inefficiency, and distortions in our intelligence collection, foreign policy, and defense efforts.”
“It’s stupid too. OK, so Trump telepathically declassifies hundreds of documents on his way out. And guess what? Biden can also instantly telepathically reclassify them. See how stupid this is getting? Markings would mean nothing. Nobody would know how to store things. It’s idiotic,” Rangappa wrote.
Presidents have wide latitude to release information, although that power ends when their term of office ends. As Rangappa said, there are also specific federal regulations outlining a process for releasing information. Despite Trump’s claims, it is not clear if such a trial was carried out.
Former US Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a Saturday appearance on MSNBC that Trump’s defense that the documents had been “declassified” would fail.
“This defense will fail because the three statutes they selected for the search warrant do not require the documents to be classified,” McQuade said. “I think that’s going to be the incredible shapeshift defense; we’ve already seen several iterations of this, from the first denying he had it to accusing the FBI of planting certain evidence, and now it’s the classification.”
The warrant for the FBI raid was unsealed Friday. It cited possible violations of federal laws 18 USC 2071 – Concealment, Removal, or Mutilation, 18 USC 793 – Collection, Transmission, or Loss of Defense Information, and 18 USC 1519 – Destruction, Alteration, or Falsification of Records in Federal Investigations. Specifically, 18 USC 793 is part of the Espionage Act, which legal experts alleged Trump may have violated in recent days.
Federal agents reportedly seized top secret (TS) and sensitive compartmentalized information (SCI) in their search. The Wall Street Journal. Four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents, and additional materials were collected.
Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, calling the FBI action part of a “scam” and a “witch hunt.”
“Like all the other hoaxes and scams they have used to attempt to silence the voice of a vast majority of the American people, I have the TRUTH on my side, and when you have the TRUTH, you will ultimately be victorious!” he wrote on Truth Social on Saturday.
news week has reached out to Trump’s press office for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/trump-declassification-rationale-idiotic-chaos-inducing-ex-fbi-agent-1733453 Rationale for Trump Declassification ‘Idiot’, ‘Causing Chaos’: Ex-FBI Agent