- McCaul noted presidents may declassify documents but said he didn’t have all the facts in this case.
- McCaul: Presidents have ‘a different set of rules that apply ‘ with classified material.
WASHINGTON – The top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Sunday he didn’t personally agree with former President Donald Trump’s decision to store classified documents at Mar-a-Lago but said presidents live by a “different set of rules.”
“I have lived in the classified world most of my professional career, I personally wouldn’t do that,” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said on ABC’s This Week. “But I’m not the president of the United States. But he has a different set of rules that apply to him.”
McCaul was referring to the broad power presidents have to declassify documents. Trump, whose Florida club was searched by the FBI last month, has asserted that he declassified the documents that agents found there. But others, including Trump’s former attorney general, Bill Barr, say they find that explanation “unlikely.”
“I know they were taken out of the White House while he was president and whether or not he declassified those documents remains to be seen,” McCaul said on Sunday. “He says he did. I don’t have all the facts there.”
Barr, once one of Trump’s most valued defenders, continued to distance himself from the former president last week, telling USA TODAY that his former boss had “no justification” to retain the trove of classified documents seized from his home.
Barr, who famously broke with Trump in the final weeks of the administration when he declared that federal authorities had found no substantial evidence of fraud in the 2020 election, also said the ongoing Justice Department investigation into the handling of classified documents poses potentially “serious” jeopardy for the former president.
“I think it’s a serious matter,” Barr told USA TODAY.
Contributing: Kevin Johnson, Ella Lee