Schiff says he has seen “no evidence” that Trump has declassified documents found at Mar-a-Lago

Washington — Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that he has seen no evidence that former President Donald Trump declassified documents that were found by the FBI during a search of his South Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago. , last week.

“We would have to determine, you know, if there was any effort during the presidency to go through the declassification process,” Schiff said in an interview on “Face the Nation.” “I haven’t seen any evidence of that, and they haven’t presented any evidence of that.”

After the FBI executed a search warrant at Trump’s residence, sparking outrage from the former president and his Republican allies, a federal judge in Florida unsealed Friday the order and the list of the objects confiscated in the search.

According to the records made public, the FBI took 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were designated Top Secret, Secret and Confidential, as well as TS/SCI, or Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmentalized Information.

Lawyers for the former president did not object to the release of the search warrant and related documents, and claimed that all records seized during the search had been declassified while he was still in office.

While a sitting president has broad declassification authority, Schiff noted that it does not extend to a former president and called it “absurd” that Trump claims he retroactively declassified the documents he brought to Mar-a- lake

He also noted that statutes that the Justice Department said in the order it is investigating Trump for possibly violating do not require the information to be classified.

“If they’re harmful to national security, it’s a problem. It’s a major problem,” the California Democrat said.

Schiff also said it is a “serious problem” if Trump’s lawyers certified to the Justice Department that all classified information was recovered when the National Archives and Records Administration. got 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago in mid-January, but did not release all classified or national security information. Some of the boxes that the National Archives recovered contained classified material and the agency requested the Justice Department is investigating Trump’s handling of White House records.

“I can tell you that anyone in the intelligence community who had documents like those marked Top Secret/SCI, in their residence after the authorities took them, you know, would be under serious investigation.” , he said.

Schiff and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, head of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, requested Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines conducts a briefing and damage assessment, which she said is common when there has been a release of classified information.

“What is, to me, most troubling here is the degree to which, at least from public information, it appears to be deliberate on the part of the president to keep these documents after the government asked for them back.” , he said. “And that adds another layer of concern.”

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