The claim: Biden did not have the authority to declassify documents as vice president
A Jan. 12 Instagram reel (direct link, archived link at USA Today link below) shows a clip of President Joe Biden answering a question from Fox News' Peter Doocy about a batch of classified documents that were found at Biden's home.
The claim that Biden did not have the authority to declassify documents as vice president is “complete nonsense,” Kel McClanahan, executive director of National Security Counselors, a public-interest law firm, told USA TODAY in an email.
McClanahan, who also teaches at the George Washington University Law School, said that under a 2009 executive order signed by Obama, the vice president is included in a list of "original classification authorities," meaning Biden had the power declassify anything he classified.
The Washington Post also reported vice presidents have the authority to declassify anything they classified. The New York Times similarly reported that the vice president has the power to declassify, while noting the scope of that authority "has never been definitively tested."
"It is longstanding practice in the executive branch to treat the vice president as having the same amount of authority in that respect as the president unless the president explicitly says otherwise," McClanahan said.
Bradley Moss, a national security attorney at the law office of Mark S. Zaid, PC, agreed that Biden held declassification authority as vice president.
Our rating: False
Legal experts told USA TODAY that Biden had the authority to declassify documents as vice president as the result of a 2009 executive order signed by President Barack Obama.