Marc Short, a former top aide to Mike Pence, calls Trump’s claim that presidents can declassify documents by thinking “absurd”

Marc Short, a top aide to former Vice President Mike Pence, called “absurd” former President Trump’s claim that presidents can declassify documents just by thinking about it.

Short made the comments in an interview with CBS News senior correspondent Catherine Herridge. after Trump said on Fox News host Sean Hannity this week that presidents can declassify documents “even if they think about it.” Herridge asked Short if he shared this understanding of how declassification works.

“That’s absurd, obviously,” Short replied. “And I think it would be very difficult for the intelligence community to have a classification system if that were the case.”

Asked if he and Pence operated under that standard, Short replied, “Of course not.”

Federal investigators are examining reams of classified documents seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Florida, home last month.

“There doesn’t need to be a process, as I understand it,” Trump said of the declassification to Hannity. “You know, there’s different people saying different things, but as I understand it, there doesn’t have to be — if you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified — even thinking about it — because you’re sending it to Mar-a- Lago or wherever else you send it. And there doesn’t need to be a process. There may be process, but there need not be. the president — you make that decision. So when you send it, it gets declassified. I unclassified everything.”

Presidents have sweeping authority to declassify records, but there is a process that is usually followed. In general, the president’s instructions for declassifying documents they are first recorded in a memo, usually drafted by White House lawyers, which the president will then sign. The relevant agencies are then usually consulted, and when a final decision is made, the document is marked, with its old classification level deleted, and stamped “Declassified on X date” by that agency.

Short also hinted at the possibility of a Pence 2024 presidential bid. For now, he said the former vice president’s focus is to criss-cross the country to ensure conservatives win the House, Senate and governorships from coast to coast. Pence has a leadership PAC focused on electing conservative candidates and a 501(c)(4) nonprofit focused on promoting conservative values. Deciding whether to run for office is a decision Pence will make next year, Short said.

“The last six weeks he seems to be traveling all over the country these last 45 days, and I think he’s been in the last few weeks,” Short said, adding that he’ll “do a lot of House matches, in And I think that’s where his focus will be ».

“And I think again, sometime next year, he’s going to figure out where he thinks he’s going to be called to serve next,” Short said. “And if that’s the case where he feels that’s where he’s being called, then I think he’ll make an announcement at that time. But right now, his focus is on the midterms.”

Asked if that’s an environment Republicans can penetrate in November, Short said, “Absolutely.” He praised House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans for announcing their agenda Friday. It’s telling voters, “If you elect us, here’s what we’re going to do to change the situation at the border. Here’s what we’re going to do to change the trajectory of our economy right now,” Short said.

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