Donald Trump returned to a familiar refrain on Thursday, insisting once again that he had done nothing wrong even as new challenges pop up seemingly every day for the ex-president who faces a bevy of criminal and civil investigations.
Mr Trump returned to his favoured cable network, Fox News, for a town hall-style event moderated by primetime opinion host Sean Hannity, who is now the Fox star probably closest to the former president given the firing of Tucker Carlson, the network’s star pundit.
And confronted with a new leaked recording indicating that Mr Trump knew that he was retaining classified materials after his presidential term ended, he once again insisted that he had done nothing wrong.
“News broke yesterday there might be a tape recording where you acknowledged that you understood that these were classified documents [at Mar-a-Lago],” the Fox News host began.
While asking also if the ex-president knew who had leaked the recording of the phone call, he questioned: “Do you know anything about this?”
“No, I don’t know anything about it,” Mr Trump responded. “All I know is this: Everything I did was right. We have the Presidential Records Act, which I abided by 100 per cent.”
He then moved on to attack President Joe Biden, before claiming: “I have the right to declassify as president.”
The explanation was nothing new. Mr Trump has long claimed that any classified materials seized by investigators at Mar-a-Lago were in fact previously declassified by him during his presidency — though he has shown no evidence of an order to do so.
And notably, the nod to the Presidential Records Act was another mistruth. The law does not allow for ex-presidents to retain original copies of presidential records after their terms end without the express consent of the National Archives, an agency that the former president has roundly denounced.
Nonetheless, it was a familiar claim for the one-term president who escaped two impeachment proceedings despite bipartisan support for his removal; Mr Trump has long asserted that any investigation or civil suit filed against him is merely the work of his political foes in an attempt to block him from power.
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