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Trump claims presidents can declassify documents ‘even by thinking about it


Platinum Member
Mar 2, 2021
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If there are no paper documents today (as opposed to the 70's) then what were the classified documents collected as a function of the search warrant in the MAL store room and in the FPOTUS's desk draw on August 8th with highly classified cover sheets and documents (evidence photo submitted to the court)?

Of course there are still paper copies of documents and multiple controlled copies in multiple locations.

I didn’t say hard copies didn’t exist. I said there arent a limited number of hard copies that someone catalogs and tracks. Im not sure where everyone got the idea that that’s the way things work in that world. Movies I suspect, but having worked in the IC my entire adult life I can assure you it doesn’t.

Seymour Flops

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2021
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I provided a long post and you took the time to go through it and address different points, that is appreciated even though I definitely disagree with some of them. That is the nature of a discussion board.

However I will take exception to this one statement as it references me personally, no where does my posting indicate that I disagree with the concept that the President has ultimate classification and declassification if legally permissible. For example a President can't classify documents for strictly political gain
I'm guessing that presidents of both parties classify things for political gain pretty frequently. If you could prove it, it could be an impeachable offense, if congress thought so, but I'm not sure there is a criminal statute that says that.
or to hide evidence of a crime.
Hiding evidence of a crime is a crime in itself, outside of classification. So that doesn't affect any debate about presidential powers to classify. I have the sole power to spend my paycheck. If I hire a contract killer with my paycheck, that is a crime, but that doesn't change the fact that I have sole power to spend it.

However when it comes to national security information as a function of government, I have no problem with the President having ultimate authority.

However for something to actually be classified or declassified the President cannot secretly and mentally do it. (S)he must tell someone so they can execute a legal order or document such classification or declassification actions again so that the procedures as it impacts derivative (yes, better word then subordinate - thank you.) classified information.
The president would best be served to tell someone about a declassification decision if they need to know about the declassification decision. In the case at point, it is a president deciding in his mind that documents that he wishes to take with him to the white house residence, and in the end to the future office of the former president, he only need make the decision and order them taken.

Or just put them in his briefcase and take them himself.

He doesn't have to explain himself to anyone - when it comes to classification and declassification - because he is the president.

If he decided in his mind to declassify documents, and ordered a subordinate to take the documents to an unsecure location without telling him they are declassified, the subordinate would have a solid defense if the FBI arrested him on the way to his car. He doesn't need a signed paper, or a recording of the president saying "I declassify these." The fact that the president ordered him to take them to an unsecure locations makes it reasonable for him to presume the president declassified them.

Just like Biden does when he takes documents to his beach house. There is no ceremony where Biden announces the temporary declassification of each document.

All this was decided by the USSC. The debate on here is between people who accept that truth and people who do not.


(Note I use "ultimate" and you use "sole". There are others with legislative authority under the law and via the EO who have classification and declassification authority, so I use ultimate meaning the highest level.)
You're not wrong to use ultimate, but it is just as correct to say "sole." In particular because as my upstream article stated about the Obama administration, far to many subordinates take it upon themselves to put classification stamps on material that the president has not ordered classified.

It reminds me very much of people in the administration going to congress and claiming executive privilege. Perfectly fine and correct, if the president has invoked it. But with many of those witnesses, they presume the answer to every question is executive privileged. That is not right. The president has the privilege and should invoke it or not invoke it and be able to be held accountable for it.

That is a problem under administrations from both parties for at least the last thirty years.

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