‘I tried not to burst out laughing’: Experts roast Donald Trump’s ‘insane’ declassification telepathy. Legal experts largely disagreed with Donald Trump’s Fox News claim on Wednesday that he could declassify documents with his mind.
“There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it. You know, there’s different people, say different things,” Trump told Sean Hannity. “If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘it’s declassified’ — even by thinking about it.”
Attorney and former FBI Agent Asha Rangappa joked, “he’s actually invoking the Secret Telepathic Unilateral Preemptive Irreversible Declassification (S.T.U.P.I.D.) defense.”
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) wrote, “that’s beyond wrong, it’s insane.”
On MSNBC, anchor Lawrence O’Donnell played a clip of the interview and questioned national security lawyer Bradley Moss for his analysis.
“Yeah, I saw that clip right before I came on and I tried not to burst out laughing,” Moss replied.
Moss noted that three times during the Trump administration, judges ruled that the declassification process must take place.
“If he is sitting there and thinking in his mind ‘hey, I decided I’m going to declassify these secrets about Iran tonight,’ the NSA needs to know if there was their signals intelligence or CIA needs to know,” Moss explained. “You can’t just willy-nilly do it and that’s his big problem.”
“That’s why there is no declaration in the civil case proving he declassified anything,” Moss said. “Because he’s got nothing, zero, zippo, zilch, nada.”
Right away, the idea that there is no real declassification process is absurd. The New York Times recently published a report debating whether a president can secretly declassify information without leaving a written record or informing anyone.