Former President Donald Trump said on Wedesnday that presidents don’t need to follow a “process” to declassify documents which they can do just by “thinking about it.”
In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Trump spoke about the Justice Department investigation into classified documents found in his Mar-a-Lago residence during a raid by the FBI.
"Is there a process? What was your process to declassify?" Hannity asked Trump.
"There doesn't have to be a process, as I understand it," Trump said. "You know, different people say different things, but as I understand it there doesn't have to be."
Trump added: "If you're the president of the United States you can declassify just by saying: ‘It’s declassified.' Even by thinking about it.”
Trump doubled down on not having to follow a process to declassify.
"There doesn't have to be a process. There can be a process, but there doesn't have to be. You're the president, you make that decision…I declassified everything,” he said.
Declassifying documents generally goes through a process where the agency connected to the information is first consulted and then a designated "original classification authority" puts in motion a declassification of the record, the New York Times reported.
Presidents have authority to declassify documents without going through this process but related agencies would still need to be informed if designations had been changed.