Trump claims FBI agents were looking for Hillary's deleted emails when they raided Mar-a-Lago and recovered a trove of classified documents
- Trump made the comment in sit-down with Fox host Sean Hannity
- Came after he said a president can declassify material 'even by thinking about it'
- 'I declassified everything,' Trump said of materials at Mar-a-Lago
- He again railed against the FBI search of his Florida club
- He asked: 'Were they looking for the Hillary Clinton e-mails that were deleted but they are around someplace?' he asked
- Hannity to stepped in to make sure Trump wasn't saying he had the emails
- Trump clarified that agents 'may have thought that it was in there'
- Trump has long attacked FBI as corrupt and complained about 30,000 emails that were deleted and not recovered from her home email server
- Trump also attacked the National Archives and Records Administration
Donald Trump told Sean Hannity in a new interview that perhaps FBI agents who searched his home at Mar-a-Lago were looking for Hillary Clinton's deleted emails – only to have his interviewer clarify that Trump wasn't claiming he possessed them.
Trump made the startling comment in an interview where he defended the propriety of storing government information at his Florida club, even if documents are marked 'classified.'
'You can declassify just by saying, it’s declassified. Even by thinking about it,' Trump said, speaking to the executive's broad declassification authority.
After repeating his claim that he declassified the material, trump tore into the National Archives and Records Administration, which exchanged letters with his lawyers while the agency pursued the return of government material.
'Now, I declassified things, and we were having a lot of problems with NARA. You know, NARA is a radical left group of people running that thing, and when you send documents over there, I would say there’s a very good chance that a lot of those documents will never be seen again,' he said.
'Were they looking for the Hillary Clinton e-mails that were deleted but they are around someplace?' former President Donald Trump speculated about the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago
Under the Presidential Records Act, former presidents are allowed access to materials from when they were in the White House.
'There’s also a lot of speculation because of what they did, the severity of the FBI coming and raiding Mar-a-Lago. Were they looking for the Hillary Clinton e-mails that were deleted but they are around someplace? Or were they looking for the spying on Trump’s ...' the former president continued.
He has long railed against the agency for 'spying' on his campaign, and called the Russia probe that began during the 2020 campaign a 'witch hunt.'
'Wait, wait, you’re not saying you had it,' Hannity interjected – clearing up that Trump wasn't suggesting that he possessed the emails he was long said were part of a conspiracy or coverup.
'No, no, they may be saying – they may have thought that it was in there,' Trump corrected.
'That you did. Okay,' Hannity replied.
Trump said FBI agents who raided Mar-a-Lago may have been seeking Hillary Clinton's deleted emails, in reference to a controversy dating to 2016. Trump has long demanded the return of emails Clinton deleted after determining they were 'personal.' He asked Russia to help locate the emails that summer
Trump has fumed about the FBI raid on his Florida club
Trump clarified when pressed that he didn't possess his former rival's emails
Documents seized during the search of Trump's estate on August 8 are pictured on August 30. DOJ did not report recovering Hillary Clinton's emails at Mar-a-Lago. But DOJ says about 100 documents marked 'classified' were found there
Trump was referencing the 30,000 emails that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's team deemed personal while conducting a search of her home email server that she used during her tenure.
The agents that searched his home did so under a warrant that authorized them search for 'documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation' of three statutes related to possession and handling of government documents.
Trump didn't provide evidence for his suggestion that the FBI agents were looking for his campaign rivals emails at his home.
The FBI under former Director James Comey reviewed about 30,000 emails that Clinton returned to the State Department in 2016.
Trump famously in July 2016 asked Russia for its help locating the deleted emails.
'Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing, I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,' he said.
Trump told Hannity of his classification authority: 'If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, it’s declassified. Even by thinking about it, because you’re sending it to Mar-a-Lago or to wherever you’re sending it.'
'And there doesn’t have to be a process. There can be a process, but there doesn’t have to be. You’re the president, you make that decision. So when you send it, it’s declassified. We – I declassified everything,' he said.
Judge Raymond Dearie, the special master sorting through documents under another judge's order, asked Trump's lawyers to provide evidence that he had declassified the material marked classified. A three- judge panel from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals cited that exchange when ruling Wednesday to lift a stay that prevented investigators from using the classified documents as part of their investigation.
Trump also brought up Clinton while attacking the federal judge who signed off on the warrant.
'He's a Clinton person and an Obama person, and I understand that. But he hated Trump,' said Trump.
In another comment, Trump connected National Archives officials with what he calls the 'Russia hoax,' while complaining that his lawyers were left outside during the search of his property.
'They wouldn’t let anyone inside. And, you know, if you look at NARA and if you look at the FBI over the last 10, 15 years, and if you look at all of the things that the Justice Department what’s taken place. When you look at what took place with the Russia, Russia, Russia hoax – Sean, they spied on my campaign, what could be worse?' he said.