Intelligence Committee Rep. rubbishes Trump's claim of a 'standing order' to declassify documents as 'utter baloney'

Intelligence Committee Rep. rubbishes Trump's claim of a 'standing order' to declassify documents as 'utter baloney'
·2 min read
Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT).
Rep. Jim Himes, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee.Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images
  • Rep. Jim Himes said Trump's claims of a "standing order" to declassify any documents he took are "utter baloney."

  • Himes said the declassification process is complex and can often take months.

  • The FBI recovered 11 sets of classified records from Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

Rep. Jim Himes, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said that Donald Trump's claims that he had a "standing order" to declassify any documents he took are "utter baloney."

Himes told MSNBC that while the president is a declassifying authority, there is a "really elaborate documented process for declassification," which can often take months.

"Of course, he's going to say that because it creates a little bit of confusion and throws a bit of mud into the water. But I can tell you as someone who also sees the most sensitive information this country has, that's utter baloney."

The FBI recovered 11 sets of classified records from Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, some of which were marked top secret and meant to be stored in special government facilities because of their sensitive nature, according to the inventory of seized items.

In a statement to Fox News, the former president defended himself by claiming that he had a "standing order" whereby documents were declassified "the moment" they left the Oval Office.

Himes,  the representative for Connecticut's 4th congressional district, dismissed Trump's claims and described the stringent security process for accessing sensitive documents in government facilities.

"If I take documents out of that facility, I have committed a felony. And if a president takes them out of a facility, he too has broken the law," he said.

Himes said he did not believe that Trump thought the documents were declassified and would have been immediately corrected even if he had expressed that belief.

"If he thought that that was, or told anybody that that would be the case, you know, there would have been about 50 people that say 'no sir, that doesn't work.'"

Himes suggested that Trump's latest claim is just an attempt to deflect the issue, such as his unrelated comparison of former President Barack Obama taking documents to Chicago after leaving office.

"We should try to keep our eyes on the main thing here, which is we're in the world of the typical Trump defense," Himes said.

Following the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, the Department of Justice is investigating whether Trump broke three laws, including the Espionage Act, when he took government records after he left office, according to the warrant unsealed on Friday.

The possible crimes being investigated do not depend on the classification of the documents, as they relate to the handling of national security information.

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