Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, on Sunday rejected former President Trump’s claim that he declassified documents seized by the FBI during its search of his Mar-a-Lago resort last week.
“We should determine, you know, whether there was any effort during the presidency to go through the process of declassification,” Schiff said in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I’ve seen no evidence of that, nor have they presented any evidence of that.”
On Friday, federal judge Bruce Reinhart unsealed and released the Mar-a-Lago search warrant as well as a list of items seized during the search, following outrage from the former president and his GOP allies after the FBI executed a search warrant at his resort. The former president’s lawyers did not object to the release of the warrant.
Court records unsealed Friday revealed that the FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were indicated to be top secret, secret and confidential, and top secret/sensitive compartmented information (TS/SCI). Shortly after court records were unsealed, Trump posted on his knockoff Twitter app TRUTH Social that “it was all declassified” while he was in office.
Schiff called Trump’s claim of having retroactively declassified the documents he brought to Mar-a-Lago “absurd” during an interview on CBS on Sunday. Schiff noted that a sitting president, not a former president, has declassification authority.
Schiff pointed out that in the warrant, the statutes the DOJ are asserting do not require information to be classified.
“If they would be damaging to national security, it’s a problem. It’s a major problem,” Schiff said.
Schiff also said it’s a “serious problem” if Trump’s lawyers falsely asserted that they turned over all classified information stored in Mar-a-Lago to the National Archives when it retrieved 15 boxes from the resort last January.
“I can tell you anyone in the intelligence community that had documents like that marked top secret SCI, in their residence after authorities went to them, you know, they would be under serious investigation,” Schiff said.
Schiff’s remarks follow a request by him and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. Schiff and Maloney request an “immediate review and damage assessment” following reports of the former president taking highly classified information to Mar-a-Lago. They note that Trump potentially violated the Presidential Records Act and the Espionage Act.
Watch Schiff’s remarks below: