Cowardly Senator Shamed into Admitting Trump Can’t Declassify Documents by Thoughts Alone

Barrasso - Credit: ABCNews Screencap
Barrasso - Credit: ABCNews Screencap

Days ago, Donald Trump said in a Sean Hannity interview that a president has special telepathic declassification abilities, and Republicans have been scrambling to justify the remarks ever since. That includes Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who on Sunday had to be cornered into admitting a president can’t declassify documents with his mind.

“I want to ask you about the investigation into Donald Trump’s handling of classified information. Even though his lawyers have provided no evidence that he declassified the documents, Trump said this week that he could declassify documents by thinking about it. Do you agree with that?” ABC’s This Week host George Stephanopoulos asked Barrasso.

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It’s a softball question. Of course a senator who has been in office for more than 15 years knows that Trump was bullshitting. But Barrasso didn’t want to answer the question directly and chose instead to filibuster with a word salad of obfuscation, painting the Justice Department’s decision to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort as politically motivated.

“I’ve not heard that one before, George,” Barrasso responded. “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.”

But Stephanopoulos didn’t let Barrasso get off the hook that easily. “Senator, that was a rhetorical question. You know the president can’t declassify documents by thinking about it. Why can’t you say so?” the host said.

“I don’t think a president can declassify documents by saying so, by thinking about it,” Barrasso admitted.

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