“I’m allowed to take these documents, classified or not classified,” he told Kelly. “And frankly, when I have them, they become unclassified. People think you have to go through a ritual. You don’t — at least in my opinion, you don’t.”
Trump justified his stance by pointing to the 1978 Presidential Records Act, a law enacted after the Watergate scandal to clarify that White House documents are the property of the federal government.
You can see Trump explain things away in the video clip below.
Trump on taking classified documents: “I’m allowed to have these documents. I’m allowed to take these documents…When I have them, they become unclassified. People think you have to go through a ritual. You don’t, at least in my opinion.” pic.twitter.com/IAkdGsGnWo— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) September 14, 2023
While Trump may have thought he was just speaking his truth, many legal experts suggested his statements sounded more like a confession, one that could even be played to a jury.
But it wasn’t just legal professionals that had thoughts about Trump’s statements.
Back in June, Trump was charged with dozens of federal crimes over his handling of sensitive materials after leaving the White House.
Special counsel Jack Smith’s office leveled even more felony counts against the former president in July, accusing Trump of ordering the deletion of a computer server that held incriminating footage. He has pleaded not guilty in the case.
You can see Trump and Kelly’s entire exchange about classified documents in the video below.