Historians Sue to Force Trump Administration to Preserve Records

December 2, 2020by Robert Burnson, Bloomberg News (TNS)
Marine One, carrying President Donald Trump, to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Oct. 5, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Trump spent three days hospitalized for coronavirus. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

Historians and watchdog groups sued the Trump administration again over its alleged failure to preserve White House records.

“With President Trump’s term in office soon coming to an end,” the White House’s flouting of record-keeping requirements could deprive historians and the public “of records documenting a critical part of our nation’s history,” the groups said in a complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Washington, D.C.

The Presidential Records Act, passed in the wake of the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, designates all White House records as public and requires that they be preserved.

“The actions of the president since losing the election — unrestrained by truth and facts — have heightened concerns that he will destroy records of his ‘potential malfeasance and crimes,'” the historians said in their complaint.

Three of the groups that filed the complaint — the National Security Archive, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations — filed a similar suit in 2019 that was thrown out this year. One group that wasn’t part of the first case is the American Historical Association.

“The Trump administration acts in accordance with statutory requirements,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said.

The new complaint takes particular aim at the use of WhatsApp and private email accounts by the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. WhatsApp sends encrypted text messages that can only be viewed by the sender or receiver.

Kushner claims he takes screenshots of his WhatsApp messages, whose recipients have reportedly included Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and sends them to his White House messaging account, where they are preserved.

But the historians say that isn’t enough. A screenshot doesn’t preserve “a complete copy of the original message” because it does not include metadata, attachments and other digital artifacts “needed to authenticate the message,” according to the suit.

In rejecting the previous suit, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Congress would have to make changes to the Presidential Records Act before the federal courts would be able to compel compliance.

The new case is National Security Archive v. Trump, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia.

___

(c)2020 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

White House

October 15, 2021
by Dan McCue
Supreme Court Commission Finds Crisis In Senate Confirmation Process

WASHINGTON -- A presidential panel charged with considering the pros and cons of altering the size and function of the... Read More

WASHINGTON -- A presidential panel charged with considering the pros and cons of altering the size and function of the U.S. Supreme Court is instead calling out the Senate confirmation process for justices. In draft documents released ahead of a public meeting on Friday, the Presidential... Read More

October 14, 2021
by Dan McCue
White House Action on Supply Chain Bottleneck Seen As First Step To Ending Crisis

WASHINGTON -- They’ve almost become as ubiquitous as scenes of weathermen and women leaning into the fierce winds of a... Read More

WASHINGTON -- They’ve almost become as ubiquitous as scenes of weathermen and women leaning into the fierce winds of a tropical storm during hurricane season. We refer, of course, to the daily television news footage of a reporter bobbing up and down in a decidedly modest... Read More

Border Residents Rejoice as US Says it Will Lift Travel Ban

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Beleaguered business owners and families separated by COVID-19 restrictions rejoiced Wednesday after the U.S. said it... Read More

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Beleaguered business owners and families separated by COVID-19 restrictions rejoiced Wednesday after the U.S. said it will reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze. Travel across land borders from Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted... Read More

October 13, 2021
by Dan McCue
Haaland Reveals Administration Plan for Massive Expansion of Offshore Wind

BOSTON, Mass. -- Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told attendees at a wind energy conference on Wednesday that the Biden administration... Read More

BOSTON, Mass. -- Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told attendees at a wind energy conference on Wednesday that the Biden administration wants to dramatically expand the nation’s use of wind power, opening large swaths coastal waters to wind farm development. In a speech before American Clean Power’s... Read More

October 13, 2021
by Dan McCue
White House Steps Up Fight Against Supply Chain Woes

WASHINGTON --  In an ideal economy, the nation’s supply chains work something like this: raw materials, finished products and ready-to-assemble... Read More

WASHINGTON --  In an ideal economy, the nation’s supply chains work something like this: raw materials, finished products and ready-to-assemble merchandise like cars and trucks flow into the nation’s ports. The largest of these ports, those blessed to sit on deep-water harbors, typically have rail tracks... Read More

October 13, 2021
by Reece Nations
Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team Announced as White House Mulls Oversight

WASHINGTON -- The Biden administration is taking steps to address the growing threat of cybercrime while considering whether to issue... Read More

WASHINGTON -- The Biden administration is taking steps to address the growing threat of cybercrime while considering whether to issue an executive order on issues surrounding the illicit use of cryptocurrency. A White House National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters that the... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version