“I’m allowed to take these documents, classified or not classified,” he told Kelly. “And frankly, when I have them, they become unclassified. People think you have to go through a ritual. You don’t — at least in my opinion, you don’t.”
Trump justified his stance by pointing to the 1978 Presidential Records Act, a law enacted after the Watergate scandal to clarify that White House documents are the property of the federal government.
You can see Trump explain things away in the video clip below.
Trump on taking classified documents: “I’m allowed to have these documents. I’m allowed to take these documents…When I have them, they become unclassified. People think you have to go through a ritual. You don’t, at least in my opinion.” pic.twitter.com/IAkdGsGnWo
— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) September 14, 2023
While Trump may have thought he was just speaking his truth, many legal experts suggested his statements sounded more like a confession, one that could even be played to a jury.
“I’m allowed to take these documents, classified or unclassified.”
Credit to @megynkelly for letting him confess to the crimes in the indictment. She’ll see this played at the trial by the government. https://t.co/jiuxmD0ihT
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) September 14, 2023
So nice when Trump does prosecutors' work for them. Good confession. https://t.co/TaVc6ZEiJk
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) September 14, 2023
— Xeorge Xonway (@gtconway3d) September 14, 2023
Congrats to Megyn Kelly on joining Bret Baier in the Conservative Journalists Who Extracted Trump Confessions Club. https://t.co/DKaqv8JgyN
— Eric Columbus (@EricColumbus) September 14, 2023
When people asked me why the Manhattan DA wanted to defer filling details of the prosecution's theory, THIS IS WHY. My man is going to go on tv and get his confession on. https://t.co/2MPJFy1Nux
— Lee Kovarsky (@lee_kovarsky) September 14, 2023
But it wasn’t just legal professionals that had thoughts about Trump’s statements.
“I’m allowed to take a bubble bath with Iranian Battle plans, it’s my usual ritual” https://t.co/Ss8lDZMKpc
— Jared Moskowitz 🟧 (@JaredEMoskowitz) September 14, 2023
Trump has again confessed to possessing classified documents https://t.co/1Kmoe6wN6A
— Mike Walker (@New_Narrative) September 14, 2023
At some point you almost begin to feel for his lawyers. (Almost being the key word there.) https://t.co/CGVosfH6ei
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) September 14, 2023
Trump basically admitted to waving around the classified Iran attack plan.
His lawyers must be losing their shit right now. pic.twitter.com/EoSAhjYpWv
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) September 14, 2023
Cracking confession. "Not according to my opinion" doesn't change the law, whoever you are. https://t.co/qVPELCnwRE
— Paul Niland (@PaulNiland) September 14, 2023
another public confession. like taking candy from a baby pic.twitter.com/5Q6ts1CXkD
— Jennifer Now at Threads Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) September 14, 2023
Back in June, Trump was charged with dozens of federal crimes over his handling of sensitive materials after leaving the White House.
Special counsel Jack Smith’s office leveled even more felony counts against the former president in July, accusing Trump of ordering the deletion of a computer server that held incriminating footage. He has pleaded not guilty in the case.
You can see Trump and Kelly’s entire exchange about classified documents in the video below.