Yes, because it is ultimately their constitutional authority.

Normally, presidents who want something declassified direct subordinates overseeing the department or agency with primary responsibility for the information to review the matter with an eye to making more of it public. But on rare occasions, presidents declassify something directly.

For example, in 2004, President George W. Bush himself declassified a portion of his presidential daily intelligence briefing from August 2001 — a month before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — in which he had been warned: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”

There is no Supreme Court precedent definitively answering that question.

Even if it is true that Mr. Trump had pronounced the documents declassified while he was in office, he clearly did not follow the regular procedures.

In the unlikely event that the Justice Department were to charge him under the law that makes the unauthorized retention or removal of classified material a crime — despite not listing it as a focus of the investigation in the search warrant — a novel question would arise if Mr. Trump were then to repeat the claim as a defense.

Proponents of a strong view of presidential power have argued in other contexts that presidents are not personally bound by the rules and procedures that regulate the conduct of their subordinates in the executive branch — and that presidents can even disregard executive orders without first rescinding them. Others disagree with that vision of executive power.

The statement from Mr. Trump’s office that was read aloud by the right-wing writer, John Solomon, included what appeared to be a gesture at them claim: “The idea that some paper-pushing bureaucrat, with classification authority delegated by the president, needs to approve the declassification is absurd.”

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