Last week, ABC host George Stephanopoulos scolded Trump-defending Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming (R., obviously) after Barrasso pretended he did not know whether presidents could declassify documents with their minds, as former President Donald Trump suggested, also last week.
“Even his lawyers have provided no evidence that he declassified the documents,” Stephanopoulos reminded Barrasso in reference to many of the government documents recovered by the FBI from Trump’s Palm Beach Florida resort residence, Mar-a-Lago.
“Trump said this week that as president, he could declassify documents by thinking about it. Do you agree with that?”
To which Barrasso replied:
“I’ve not heard that one before. I tell ya, in terms of national security documents, we have to always use extreme caution. I’m on the Foreign Relations Committee, we deal with classified information all the time and are always very careful. I don’t know anything about the rules for when a president declassifies documents and information. What I do know is what I’d like to see from a Senate standpoint. I’d like to see the Department of Justice come to us and show us in a classified setting what the information is, what they’ve done. I thought the raid of the former president’s home — never seen anything like that before — clearly it has become political.”
“Senator!” Stephanopoulos interrupted, before Barrasso complained that it’s “become political…So I want to get a briefing so that we can then be informed to see what actually happened here.”
Stephanopoulos continued, dryly, “That was a rhetorical question. You know that a president can’t declassify documents by thinking about it. Why can’t you say so?”
Barrasso paused for a moment and finally admitted “I don’t think a president can declassify documents by saying so — by thinking about it.”