- Mar 26, 2019
- Reaction score
- Charleston, SC
It's not surprising that Trump wouldn't see the value in compliance - he has no natural instincts for democracy and rule of law. But this isn't trivial. We have these records laws for very important reasons. In fairness, every administration has faced lawsuits over their records practices - but as this piece notes, failing to create a required record is every bit as violative as destroying records.
Washington — President Trump and White House officials appear to have violated the Presidential Records Act and the Federal Records Act by intentionally failing to create and preserve records related to meetings with Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Un and other foreign government officials, according to a lawsuit filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), National Security Archive (the Archive) and Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR).
The lawsuit details numerous instances, including five meetings between President Trump and Vladimir Putin, when no note takers were present and no official U.S. record of the meetings exists. The administration’s recordkeeping failures extend to Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner, who in a recent meeting with top Saudi officials excluded State Department officials, thereby avoiding the creation of a record of his conversations.
“It is clear that President Trump and White House officials have gone to great lengths to hold high-level meetings with foreign governments and carry out foreign policy objectives while blatantly ignoring recordkeeping laws and preventing national security officials and the American people from understanding what they are doing,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “The absence of records in these circumstances causes real, incalculable harm to our national security and poses a direct threat to transparency for the American public. We’re asking the court to compel White House officials to make and maintain these important records that let the public know what the government is up to and provide a safeguard to our history.”
“The Archive went to court to preserve presidential records when President Reagan tried to junk his email backup tapes in 1989. We have sued every president ever since, Democratic and Republican, to make sure the White House obeyed the records laws,” said National Security Archive director Tom Blanton. “Today, the problem goes beyond improperly shredding records, to the deliberate failure to create the records in the first place.”
CREW filed a lawsuit detailing five meetings between Trump and Putin when no note takers were present, in violation of the Presidential Records Act.