Steven Stern / Flickr The Trump administration is hellbent on...
Steven Stern / Flickr

House Oversight Committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney expressed “grave concerns” Monday that the outgoing Trump administration “may be disposing” of presidential records in violation of federal law.

“Every bit of this information belongs to the American people and the White House cannot deprive the public of this information.”
—New York AG Letitia James
Maloney (D-N.Y.) voiced her concerns in a letter to Archivist of the United States David Ferriero. She referenced the Presidential Records Act and the requirements the post-Watergate statute imposes on President Donald Trump and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which Ferriero heads.

The law says that the president can’t get rid of presidential records, including memos, emails, and notes, without first getting “the views, in writing, of the Archivist concerning the proposed disposal.” The archivist must “request the advice” of several congressional committees—including the House Oversight Committee—regarding such proposals to see if the records in question “may be of special interest to the Congress” or if congressional consultation may be “in the public interest.”

And yet, wrote Maloney, her committee “has no visibility into what is happening at the White House in terms of archiving and transferring records to NARA.” What’s more, in light of Covid-19, “NARA has not detailed any employees to the White House to assist or oversee this process, as it has in past transitions.”

The Democratic congresswoman also pointed to reporting indicating that Trump has not been compliant with record-keeping obligations, citing a 2018 report from Politico indicating that White House staffers were forced—in the face of Trump’s habit of ripping papers and throwing them in garbage or on the floor—to reassemble pieces with Scotch tape.

Maloney added that “our existing laws may need review and revision to strengthen oversight and compliance.”

She demanded answers by January 5, 2021 to a number questions including whether any Trump administration official has disposed of records since Inauguration Day and “What efforts, if any, have you made to determine whether President Trump and White House officials are disposing of presidential records without” adhering to PRA requirements.

The congresswoman’s demands to Ferriero follow a letter sent last week by a coalition of state attorneys general to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone reminding the administration of its “record preservation obligations.”

Led by New York’s Letitia James and dated December 16, the 15 AGs wrote that they “have serious concerns about compliance by White House personnel with their Presidential Records Act obligations, including preservation of records and proper use of non-official electronic message accounts.”

Beyond the reported ripping of papers, fueling concerns about record-keeping are Trump son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner’s communications via WhatsApp and first daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump’s use of personal email for White House business.

“The Trump administration shouldn’t have to be told that they need to comply with the law and keep all records of official business, but the last four years have shown that the president needs to be constantly reminded what the law is and how he must comply with it,” James said in a statement Wednesday.

“Even the president’s tweets, the private conversations he had with Russian President Putin, and Ivanka’s private email server must be archived,” added James. “Every bit of this information belongs to the American people and the White House cannot deprive the public of this information.”

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7 COMMENTS

    • No, of course not. He is a traitor to this country and everyone knows this, but Republicans wWON’T STAND UP TO HIM, HE ARE ALL COWARDS OF THE WORST KIND….SHAME ON THEM, I HAVE NO RESPECT FOR ANY OF THEM

  1. “…when a party destroys evidence, it may be reasonable to infer that the party had “consciousness of guilt” or other motivation to avoid the evidence. Therefore, the factfinder may conclude that the evidence would have been unfavorable to the spoliator.
    …Spoliation of evidence is the intentional, reckless, or negligent withholding, hiding, altering, fabricating, or destroying of evidence… Spoliation has possible consequences and it may result in fines and incarceration for the parties who engaged in the spoliation…”

    All of those involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent.

  2. Did I not mention that the last month of Donald’s term in office would involve putting his entire presidential record through a woodchipper? They literally can’t shred fast enough. Because he’s a 3 year whose hand will be caught in the cookie jar.

    Everyone will discover everything he did and didn’t do, both are equally egregious. He will be indicted for monumental and simply breathtaking crimes. He will turn states evidence and plow everyone else under to cut a deal.

    It will take all of the Biden’s first term for the government to process the ball of Trump its choking on, but when done, all sewage will end up going where sewage belongs. I think the “Orange Julius” is about to experience flushing in ways he never even imagined.

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