And it is fair to note that the current President does have nearly unlimited power to classify or declassify documents. The tricky bit is whether it’s sufficient for the President to simply wave his hands or have a blanket rule…or if there’s a formal process that has to be followed (including marking up the documents to reflect the change in classification).
I understand the latter is true, but I don’t think it’s necessary to be a cult member to believe the former is the case if they haven’t been exposed to the official rules.
Trump has been sloppy with classified documents before. Most typically Trumpian, there was the time he tweeted this image, revealing to the world the power of our satellites.
It opened the same can of worms then. And I think people more or less vaguely agreed that the president can implicitly declassify a top-secret document by tweet.
But of course here he didn’t tweet anything. He just stole them. And they are still classified, since we certainly aren’t allowed to see them. And he doesn’t have the power, anymore, to declassify them. And the whole classification process is largely unrelated to the actual law anyway.
It’s generally held that the President cannot declassify documents related to nuclear weapons. However there’s no precedent for it so this isn’t settled procedure. If those foreign nuclear capability documents were in fact declassified, a TON of people would be FOIA’ing them.
Same could be said for our foreign secret intelligence operatives (that is, they’d be FOIA’d immediately and people would die), but to my understanding he could declassify those. However it seems mostly agreed-upon he can’t say “anything I thought in my head should be declassified is after the fact.” The Special Master seems to have reaffirmed that.
Agree that the president has broad powers to declassify, and that things classified by statute may be excluded from that power (like the nuclear secrets and foreign operatives). None of this has ever been tested in court though, nor has not following proper declassification procedures.
Here’s an interesting article on that topic:
If Trump truly declassified everything that ever left the oval office automatically just by thinking about it, it should all be available for any of us to access via a FOIA request. That could get interesting.
Even if he magically declassified everything, it wouldn’t mean he couldn’t be prosecuted under the Espionage act if the DOJ goes down that road. It also wouldn’t mean he could abscond with whatever he wanted to, or sell the stuff for personal gain if it ever gets that far. None of this stuff has ever been tested because no president has ever behaved in this fashion before.
The joke is that these people are “independent”
They likely are bunch of free thinkers.
Or those “independents” that voted for Trump twice because “both parties are the same”
Or those Q that think Republicans are too liberal.
Yep. Same with the magical declassification by just thinking about it. Lawyers aren’t willing to risk their livelihood making these arguments in court. Let’s see if they try to tapdance around this one too.