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Biden mocks Trump's claims that he declassified documents found at Mar-a-Lago: 'C'mon'

Business Insider logo Business Insider 8/27/2022 insider@insider.com (John L. Dorman)
President Joe Biden speaks with members of the press before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on August 26, 2022. AP Photo/Evan Vucci © AP Photo/Evan Vucci President Joe Biden speaks with members of the press before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on August 26, 2022. AP Photo/Evan Vucci
  • Biden on Friday scoffed at Trump's suggestion that he declassified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.
  • "I just want you to know I've declassified everything in the world," Biden said in a mocking tone.
  • Biden's remarks represented his most expansive views on the issue to date since the Mar-a-Lago raid.

President Joe Biden on Friday poked at former President Donald Trump over the ex-commander-in-chief's claims that he previously declassified the documents that were retrieved by the FBI during the Mar-a-Lago raid earlier this month.

When asked by a reporter about Trump's claims that he had "just declassified them all," referencing to the litany of sensitive documents found at the ex-president's South Florida residence, Biden dismissed the assertion.

"I just want you to know I've declassified everything in the world. I'm President, I can do it —  C'mon," Biden said shortly before departing the White House.

"I'm not going to comment. I mean, because I don't know the details. I don't even want to know. I'll let the Justice Department take care of that," he added.

When Biden was asked if it was ever acceptable for a president to take home classified documents, he suggested that it might be fine in particular situations.

"Depending on the circumstance," he told reporters.

He continued: "For example, I have, in my home, a cabined-off space that is completely secure. I'm taking home with me today's PDB [President's Daily Brief]. It's locked. I have a person with me — military with me. I read it, I lock it back up, and give it to the military."

When Biden was asked about the appropriateness of handling such documents without a specialized area, he said it was dependent on the level of security.

"It depends on the documents and it depends on how secure everything is," he said.

The remarks represented Biden's most detailed reaction to the Mar-a-Lago raid to date, as he has previously stated that he was not told in advance of the search.

His comments also came shortly after a heavily redacted affidavit was released by the Department of Justice, which stated why the FBI requested a search warrant for Trump's residence.

"There is probable cause to believe that additional documents that contain classified [national defense information] or that are Presidential records subject to record retention requirements currently remain at the premises," an FBI agent wrote. "There is also probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found at the premises." 

Biden staffers have emphatically reaffirmed that the Justice Department probe is independent of the White House.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday once again made that particular point during her briefing.

"We feel that it is not appropriate for us to comment on this," she said when asked about the allegations that Trump mishandled sensitive documents.

"This is an independent investigation that the Department of Justice is leading. That's something that the president finds is an important thing to do — for the Department of Justice to have that independence. We're just not going to comment," she added.

The release of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant and property list revealed that FBI agents were looking for documents connected to potential violations of the Espionage Act, which bars the unauthorized removal of defense-related information that could aid a foreign government. Trump is also being investigated for potential obstruction of justice violations.

While the former president has said that the documents taken by agents were "declassified," over a dozen ex-Trump White House officials have disputed his claims, per a CNN report.

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