Bret Baier dismisses Trump declassification angle, goes to bat for Obama

Prudence would suggest that when all the facts remain unknown, the best path forward would be to err on the side of caution. However, on matters pertaining to former President Donald Trump, Fox News anchor Bret Baier has routinely shown his preference to err on the side of the narrative.

(Video: Fox News)

Such was the case Friday when he joined “America Reports” to discuss the developing reports surrounding Monday’s FBI raid of Trumps residence at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, FL.

An inventory of the documents seized by the FBI detailed varied levels of sensitivity with some labeled “top secret” or “classified” and allegations were made that the former president had improperly handled those reported documents by taking them into his possession and storing them at his home.

Trump had pointed to the roughly 30 million pages of records that former President Barack Obama had sent to Chicago, IL when leaving the White House, but Baier was quick to defend the 44th president.

“There is a process,” he contended on Fox News Friday. “President Obama, according to NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) and that statement and everything we know, followed all of those, the processes to get those documents to Chicago. There was a lot of grumbling that they hadn’t been posted online as promised. But how they were handled was done by that process.”

“The President Obama documents were handled properly and the question is, whether there’s a paper trail and a process for these documents if that’s what the Trump lawyers and the former president are arguing,” he went on.

Trump had lambasted the disparate treatment by asking earlier in the week, “What happened to the 30 million pages of documents taken from the White House to Chicago by Barack Hussein Obama? He refused to give them back! What is going on? This act was strongly at odds with NARA. Will they be breaking into Obama’s ‘mansion’ in Martha’s Vineyard?”

However, NARA released a statement of their own in defense of Obama writing, “The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama Presidential records when President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act (PRA). NARA moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area where they are maintained exclusively by NARA. Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama Presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, DC, area. As required by the PRA, former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his administration.”

Baier went on to add, “The president’s lawyers are arguing that he declassified these documents before leaving the White House. Now that is a big power that the president has–a sweeping power–to declassify, but there are also regulations that have to–a process has to take place. It’s not like you wave a wand and say all these boxes are declassified.”

However, the former president was unrelenting on this matter and released another statement to defend his actions that Just The News founder John Solomon read on “Hannity” Friday night. Trump, “had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken to the residence were deemed to be declassified the moment he removed them. The power to classify and declassify documents rests solely with the president of the United States. The idea that some paper-pushing bureaucrat with classification authority delegated by the president needs to approve the declassification is absurd.”

That said, Baier has appeared to embrace the absurd in recent weeks as he came to defense of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s hearsay testimony to the Jan. 6 committee before collecting all of the facts and took the side of the committee again calling their partisan narrative of Trump’s actions while the Capitol was breached “horrific.”

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Kevin Haggerty

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