Donald Trump had a “standing order” that the documents at Mar-A-Lago were to be considered declassified, according to a statement the former president’s office provided to Just the News on Friday.
The presidential “standing order” appears to render the FBI’s raid on Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate for allegedly ‘classified’ documents an egregious violation of civil liberties, as well as law enforcement procedures.
“The very fact that these documents were present at Mar-a-Lago means they couldn’t have been classified,” the former president’s office stated. “As we can all relate to, everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time. American presidents are no different. President Trump, in order to prepare for work the next day, often took documents including classified documents from the Oval Office to the residence.”
“He had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken into the residence were deemed to be declassified,” the statement added. “The power to classify and declassify documents rests solely with the President of the United States. The idea that some paper-pushing bureaucrat, with classification authority delegated BY THE PRESIDENT, needs to approve of declassification is absurd.”
John Solomon, the CEO and Editor in Chief of Just the News, appeared on “Hannity” on Friday night and provided his insight on the “standing order.” Watch:
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“The President said he declassified these documents,” Solomon remarked. “I’ve seen the statement. I spent the last week trying to understand how that happened.”
“So first off, it’s important to understand that the way the classification is currently governed is by two executive orders,” Solomon continued. “One in 2003 by President Bush, one in 2009 called 13526 by President Obama. It says ‘everybody the government who wants it to classify a document must follow these the classification procedures except the president and the vice president. They made declassify anything, for any reason, at any moment, while they are the incumbent, if it assists the role of their job.”
“I am told that that is what governs the decision that President Trump did as he governed how he handled classified documents on the White House on a daily basis,” Solomon adds.
John Solomon reiterated, based on confirmation from numerous former officials, that the president indisisputably has ultimate authority to declassify any documents that he or she so chooses.
“I’ve talked to archivists, former chiefs of staff, former staff secretaries, which are the document librarians for every president — section 3.5 of the executive order I just mentioned, first by Bush, later by Obama, says ‘everybody has to follow this procedure, except the president and the vice president.’ The vice president and president may do anything. Now, each president may have their own orderly way of doing it. So they keep track of things. But the law is pretty clear on the executive order that the president and vice president have absolute authority.”
Former national security official Kash Patel attested in a Fox News interview on Friday that the ‘classified’ documents the FBI seized from Mar-A-Lago were already declassified.
“If we needed to declassify through the normal chain of command for lower level employees, we’d have to go through a rigorous process to do that procedurally,” Patel said. “But the president of the United States, is and has always been, the ultimate unilateral classification authority to classify and declassify. If he says something is declassified, that’s it. Then it’s declassified.”
“He issued a strong statement in October of 2020 to classify all Russiagate and all Hillary Clinton documents. And that’s up on, you know, publicly available,” he added. “And then at the end of his administration, in December and January, he felt so much more information needed to be classified. He declassified whole sets of documents that should have come out. Now, the GSA has since come out, the Government Services Administration, said they mistakenly packed some boxes and moved them to Mar Lago.”
Kash Patel here states unequivocally that Donald Trump has ultimate declassification authority. It appears that this statement is on firm legal footing, as the Article 3 Project’s Mike Davis points out.
Again, the classification statutes/regulations *do not apply* to the President of the United States.
He has the inherent constitutional power, as commander-in-chief, to classify and declassify anything he wants, in any manner he wants.
The Supreme Court reaffirmed this in 1987. https://t.co/bANCEhBTT1
— 🇺🇸 Mike Davis 🇺🇸 (@mrddmia) August 12, 2022
“Again, the classification statutes/regulations *do not apply* to the President of the United States,” Davis wrote. “He has the inherent constitutional power, as commander-in-chief, to classify and declassify anything he wants, in any manner he wants. The Supreme Court reaffirmed this in 1987.”
The relevant case is Department of Navy vs. Egan. It states as follows:
The President, after all, is the “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.” U.S.Const., Art. II, § 2. His authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security and to determine whether an individual is sufficiently trustworthy to occupy a position in the Executive Branch that will give that person access to such information flows primarily from this constitutional investment of power in the President, and exists quite apart from any explicit congressional grant. See Cafeteria Workers v. McElroy, 367 U. S. 886, 367 U. S. 890 (1961). This Court has recognized the Government’s “compelling interest” in withholding national security information from unauthorized persons in the course of executive business. Snepp v. United States, 444 U. S. 507, 444 U. S. 509, n. 3 (1980). See also United States v. Robel, 389 U. S. 258, 389 U. S. 267 (1967); United States v. Reynolds, 345 U. S. 1, 345 U. S. 10 (1953); Totten v. United States, 92 U. S. 105, 92 U. S. 106 (1876). The authority to protect such information falls on the President as head of the Executive Branch and as Commander in Chief.
As such, the Department of Justice’s raid on the former president’s home appears to be decidedly without legal justification. It was accompanied by an overly broad search warrant that provides further reason to believe the FBI raid was a baseless ‘fishing expedition’ to find evidence of any possible crime that Trump may have committed in the wake of the failed January 6 show trials.
The additional fact that the FBI’s raid was ‘personally approved’ by an Attorney General with a political axe to grind against a Donald Trump for being denied a Supreme Court seat is a further travesty against the U.S.’s justice system. The Biden administration has committed one outrage after another against the rule of the law in the United States. No amount of personal animus towards a former president alters that firm conclusion.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.