Adam Schiff Wrecks Trump’s Declassified Documents Excuse

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) took apart Trump’s claim that he declassified stolen classified documents.

Video of Schiff:

Transcript via CBS’s Face The Nation:

MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, the President has broad declassification authority when he is in office, but typically a declassification is memorialized in some way. Can you seek out the answer to the question of whether there actually is record of whether Donald Trump declassified that? That’s his defense here, that anything he had, he had already declassified.

REP. SCHIFF: Yes, we should determine, you know, whether there was any effort during the presidency to go through the process of declassification. I’ve seen no evidence of that, nor have they presented any evidence of that. The idea, first of all, a former president has no declassification authority. And the idea that 18 months after the fact Donald Trump- Trump could simply announce, well, I’m you know, retroactively declassifying or whatever I took home had the effect of declassifying them is absurd. But nonetheless, the statutes the Justice Department are asserting in the search warrant, don’t even require that they still be classified. If they would be damaging to national security, it’s a problem. It’s a major problem. And finally, I’d like to add the reaction of many of my Republican colleagues and those around the former president to attack the FBI over this and endanger FBI agents is just another damaging level of irresponsibility.

Trump’s claim that the documents were declassified but also planted is total nonsense. If the documents were declassified, there would be written evidence of declassification. No president can simply declare documents declassified. That’s not how it works.

It doesn’t matter if the docs were declassified. Mishandling them is still a crime.

Republicans don’t want to answer why Trump had the documents and what he was planning on doing with them, but the idea that he had a legal justification for keeping them on his property is absurd.