Just when you thought former Republican President Donald Trump's documents scandal--or Donald Trump himself, really--couldn't possibly get any more absurd, here he comes with his latest defense of his hoarding state secrets at Mar-a-Lago.
There has, of course, been a lot of back-and-forth between Trump and the Department of Justice about whether or not the documents were classified or just documents that Trump arbitrarily decided were declassified as he walked them out of the White House.
The argument boils down to this: Trump says he declassified the documents, even though his lawyers refuse to state as much in court. Merrick Garland's Justice Department, on the other hand, says "LOL no it's not," on account of that's not how any of this works.
But Trump has solved this little conundrum! According to him, a President can declassify documents in his mind. That is what he told Fox News' Sean Hannity yesterday anyway, and it has everyone on the internet's heads exploding.
See Trump's comments below.
Speaking about the process of declassifying documents, Trump told Hannity:
“There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it."
“If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified. Even by thinking about it!..."
“...You’re the president — you make that decision.”
Oh okay then, case closed! Phew, glad that's cleared up and we don't have to waste any more time and taxpayer money on this.
That's sarcasm, obviously, because while that may be the way the former President "understands it," that is not at all how declassification works, even remotely, so much so that The New York Timesdescribed the concept as "borderline incoherent" in the context of the law.
But when you're Donald Trump and an appeals court just ruled the FBI can use the documents you stole in a criminal investigation against you--on the same day the Attorney General of New York announced she was suing your entire family for fraud--well, any port in a storm, right? Even the notion that you can declassify documents with your brain waves or whatever.
Of course on Twitter, nobody but the usual suspects was buying any of this.
Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta ruled against Trump and put a stay on Judge Cannon's bonkers decision to prevent the FBI from using the documents they retrieved from Mar-A-Lago in its ongoing criminal investigation, disagreeing both with the rationale Trump provided for why the documents should be considered his property, and the decision to appoint a "special master" to review them.
Two of the three judges involved in the ruling are Trump appointees.