Telepathy is the ability to communicate using only thoughts. Telekinesis is the ability to move objects with the mind. But Donald Trump believes he has an ability even more rare and unbelievable—teledeclassification, the ability to declassify Top Secret documents without saying a word to anyone.
In a Wednesday appearance with Sean Hannity, Trump denied that there had to be a process for declassification. No forms, no verification, not even any words. And, unlike anything he’s been willing to say in a legal document, Trump maintained that he used this astounding ability on all the documents that he carted off to Mar-a-Lago.
Trump: “I did declassify.”
Hannity: “Is there a process? What was your process to declassify?”
Trump: “There doesn’t have to be a process as I understand it. You know, there’s different people say different things. But as I understand it, you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified, even by thinking about it.”
Jeanie had to blink. Samantha had to wiggle her nose. Trump merely has to think. He’s that magical. But if this sounds bad, what Trump said next was worse.
That Trump declared he could declassify “by thinking about it” is certainly headline-worthy, not just because it’s so ludicrously wrong, but because it’s a tacit admission by Trump that he never actually said a word about declassifying these vital documents before shoving them into boxes and hauling them off to his swamp-side office.
But here’s what Trump says immediately after declaring his declassification by thinking about it.
“Because you’re sending it, to Mar-a-Lago or wherever you’re sending it. And there can be a process, but there doesn’t have to be. You’re the president. You make that decision. So when you send it, it’s declassified. I declassified everything.”
To Mar-a-Lago … or wherever you’re sending it. Trump follows this with another, somehow worse, statement: “when you send it, it’s declassified.” Even using the term “send” is an odd expression for something that was boxed up and hauled to his own office. All of this certainly raises the question: Where else did Trump send classified documents?
The boxes at Mar-a-Lago contained a number of folders for classified documents that were found empty, and which may not align with any documents so far located. In addition, Trump had access to an almost infinite array of documents that might have gone somewhere other than Mar-a-Lago.
What did Trump take, and where did he send it? As bad as the documents already located may be, they may capture only a fraction of the damage.
Trump seems to sense that he’s wandered into an area where just maybe it would be better not to say anything more and makes a sudden diversion into just how the National Archives are a “radical, left-wing” organization. But if Trump is really looking to say something so ridiculous that it acts as an attention-grabbing cover for his “wherever you’re sending it,” it would be hard to do better than what comes next.
Trump: “There’s also a lot of speculation, because what they did, the severity of the FBI coming and raiding Mar-a-Lago, where they looking for the Hillary Clinton emails that were deleted?”
This statement is out there enough that even Hannity seems thrown. Trump then goes on to claim that the FBI was at his house looking for something related to “the Russia, Russia, Russia thing” or “the spying on my campaign.” Which then sends him bouncing down another track as he goes into the awfulness of people doing in 2016 what they’re doing in 2022—conducting warranted searches.
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