Jim Trusty, an attorney for former President Donald Trump in his classified documents case, brought up the Presidential Records Act in defending Trump for failing to comply with a Department of Justice subpoena issued last year when he wasn’t president. (You can watch his defense below.)
CNN’s Sara Sidner, in an interview with Trusty on Wednesday, acknowledged that “no president is above the law” and asked the attorney why his client ignored a subpoena that sought the return of classified records from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
“After the FBI asked for the boxes, they came back to find 15 more boxes and so they did not pay attention to the subpoena — so why is that OK is what I’m asking? If I did that as a citizen, there’d be hell to pay,” Sidner said.
“Well, you also don’t have the powers under the Presidential Records Act for declassification and I’m pretty sure you’re not president right now,” Trusty said.
Trusty’s remarks arrive just over a week after Trump falsely claimed at a CNN town hall that documents under the act, enacted in the years after the Watergate scandal, became “automatically declassified” and he was “allowed to” take them when he took them to his estate.
Over a dozen presidential records reportedly show that Trump, whose attorney Tim Parlatore just stepped down from the case, and his advisers knew of the “correct declassification process” during his time in office, according to a CNN report on a letter from acting Archivist Debra Steidel Wall.
Twitter users slammed Trusty for his comments and joked that Trump’s lawyers are “ripped from an SNL sketch.”