Sean Hannity told Trump he couldn't imagine Trump taking documents from the White House.
"I know you," Hannity said. "I don't think you would do it."
Trump corrected Hannity, saying, "I would do that" and adding that he has the right to "take stuff."
The Fox News host Sean Hannity said Monday he could not imagine Donald Trump taking sensitive documents with him upon leaving the White House. But in a telling interview, Trump quickly corrected him and said that he had the right to "take stuff" as he saw fit.
"I can't imagine you ever saying, um, 'Bring me some of the boxes that we brought back from the White House, I'd like to look at them,'" Hannity told Trump during the interview that aired Monday night. "Did you ever do that?"
"I would have the right to do that, there's nothing wrong with it," Trump claimed.
"I know you," Hannity cut in. "I don't think you would do it."
Trump replied that he doesn't "have a lot of time," but "I would have the right to do that."
"I would do that," the former president added.
According to the Justice Department, Trump did exactly that, and refused to return the records for months after leaving the White House.
In the end, the FBI was forced to execute a search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago golf club in Florida to recover the documents, some of which bore the highest classified markings. Trump's retention of the records is now at the center of a federal criminal investigation into his handling of national security information.
After Trump said during his Monday interview that he would take documents from the White House, Hannity, who has long been one of the former president's closest confidants, attempted to cut him off.
"Let me move on," Hannity said. But Trump had a few other points he wanted to make.
He falsely claimed that the Presidential Records Act gives him "the right to take stuff" and "the right to look at stuff."
"But they have the right to talk, and we have the right to talk," Trump added. "This would have all been worked out. All of a sudden, they raided Mar-a-Lago — viciously raided Mar-a-Lago."
The former president went on to claim that he has some "tapes" in his possession that the feds don't want him to show the public, including one of the FBI executing its warrant.
"I'll take that tape, and I'll air that tape," Hannity said.
"I know you would," Trump replied. "Everybody would take that tape."
—nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) March 28, 2023
Trump's lawyers have repeatedly invoked the Presidential Records Act when arguing that he was justified in moving records from the White House after leaving office.
They've said, among other things, that he could have reasonably viewed the roughly 100 documents marked classified that were recovered from Mar-a-Lago as his personal property, and that the courts have "very limited judicial oversight over such categorization." But legal experts say they appear to have taken an expansive view of the PRA that gives the government control of all but a small portion of records, which were created or received by the president or his staff.
Federal prosecutors have largely dismissed that argument, as well as Trump's public claim that he had declassified all the government records that were retrieved from Mar-a-Lago.
Trump "principally seeks to raise questions about the classification status of the records and their categorization under the Presidential Records Act ('PRA')," the DOJ said in one filing last year. "But Plaintiff does not actually assert—much less provide any evidence—that any of the seized records bearing classification markings have been declassified."
Moreover, although the former president has frequently claimed he had a "standing order" to declassify all the records that were moved to Mar-a-Lago, more than a dozen of his former aides told CNN in September that they had no knowledge of such an order.
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