search
Sections List
American Journal News

Historians are suing Donald Trump to stop him from destroying White House documents

Trump and his White House have provided ample grounds for concern that they will destroy important records.

By Amy Lieu - December 02, 2020
Share
Donald Trump

Donald Trump and agencies and individuals in his administration have been named as defendants in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to ensure that they comply with the Presidential Records Act and do not destroy documents related to the Trump administration.

The plaintiffs that filed the suit are the National Security Archive, a nonprofit research institution associated with the George Washington University; the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the American Historical Association, both professional organizations serving historians; and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, a nonprofit ethics watchdog organization.

The named defendants are Trump; the Executive Office of the President; presidential adviser Jared Kushner; David S. Ferriero, the archivist of the United States; and the National Archives and Records Administration. The individual plaintiffs have been sued in their official capacities.

CREW said in a statement: “As President Trump’s term draws to a close, we face an increasing risk that historically valuable records of his presidency will be permanently lost in violation of records laws … By adopting a policy that allows White House personnel to capture and preserve only portions of electronic messages they send or receive on unofficial messaging accounts, the White House is permitting the loss and destruction of Presidential record material.”

Under the White House policy, screenshots of incomplete portions of material communicated via unofficial messaging services would count as preserving official presidential records. CREW notes: “But as guidance from the National Archives and Records Administration makes clear, screenshots that do not capture a message’s metadata are not ‘complete copies’ as the Presidential Records Act requires.” It specifies that Jared Kushner has used unofficial platforms in conducting official government business.

Noah Bookbinder, CREW’s executive director, said: “The Presidential Records Act exists for a simple reason: to prevent presidents and their staff from destroying historically valuable records. By deleting or preserving only parts of these records, the White House is destroying essential historical records.”

“With the president facing potential legal and financial exposure once he leaves office, there is a growing risk that he will destroy records of his presidency before leaving,” CREW warned.

Trump and his White House have provided ample grounds for concern that they will destroy important records.

Two years ago, Politico reported on Trump’s habit of ripping up official papers that staff later had to tape back together in order to comply with the Presidential Records Act.

Richard Immerman, chair of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations’ historical documentation committee, said: “For the purpose of creating a ‘usable past’ for generations of future citizens, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations is gravely concerned with preserving the integrity of the Trump administration’s records. In light of the administration’s previous violations of the Presidential Records Act, it consequently judges it essential to take legal action to prevent any efforts to destroy records or otherwise fail to retain them in their entirety.”

In addition to destroying documents, Trump has also exhibited a pattern of withholding records. He refused to submit records subpoenaed by Congress during his impeachment earlier this year. He has also never releases his tax returns, despite having claimed he would comply with the norms kept to by past presidents and do so.

Last month, the Democratic chairs of almost two dozen House committees sent letters directing the White House and more than 50 other federal agencies to comply with federal laws on record-keeping.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


AJ News
Get the latest news here first.

Tai News

Newsletter
Read More
Biden rallies Democrats in Las Vegas: ‘Imagine the nightmare’ if Trump reelected

Biden rallies Democrats in Las Vegas: ‘Imagine the nightmare’ if Trump reelected

By April Corbin Girnus, Nevada Current - February 05, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
White House calls for focus on tutoring, summer school, absenteeism as pandemic aid winds down

White House calls for focus on tutoring, summer school, absenteeism as pandemic aid winds down

By Kalyn Belsha, Chalkbeat and Erica Meltzer, Chalkbeat Colorado - January 22, 2024
Trump legal problems abound as first test of 2024 presidential campaign nears in Iowa

Trump legal problems abound as first test of 2024 presidential campaign nears in Iowa

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom and Jacob Fischler, Georgia Recorder - January 08, 2024
December jobs report: Wages up, hiring steady as job market ends year strong

December jobs report: Wages up, hiring steady as job market ends year strong

By Casey Quinlan - January 05, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
AJ News
Latest
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Exposed: Wisconsin Senate candidate Eric Hovde’s opulent California lifestyle

Exposed: Wisconsin Senate candidate Eric Hovde’s opulent California lifestyle

By Jesse Valentine - March 01, 2024
Follow the money: Tim Sheehy takes thousands from drug company lobbyists

Follow the money: Tim Sheehy takes thousands from drug company lobbyists

By Jesse Valentine - February 29, 2024
Judge behind Alabama embryo ruling has ties to Ted Cruz

Judge behind Alabama embryo ruling has ties to Ted Cruz

By Jesse Valentine - February 29, 2024
Telehealth abortions on the rise since Dobbs, new report shows

Telehealth abortions on the rise since Dobbs, new report shows

By Sofia Resnick, States Newsroom - February 28, 2024
Utah lawmakers want to repeal abortion clinic ban hoping it will speed up trigger law case

Utah lawmakers want to repeal abortion clinic ban hoping it will speed up trigger law case

By Katie McKellar, Utah News Dispatch - February 27, 2024