Last month, the National Archives and Records Administration had to retrieve multiple boxes from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property after the former president brought official correspondence and other items that were supposed to be turned over to the agency to his personal residence.
As first reported by The Washington Post, the boxes contained correspondence between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which Trump once referred to as “love letters.” The letters, sent while Trump was attempting to negotiate over North Korea’s use of nuclear weapons, were the subject of much conjectureDuring his presidency.
The boxes also contained mementos from world leaders and gifts, as well as letters from former President Barack Obama.
The following are the guidelines Presidential Records ActAfter the president has resigned, all correspondence such as letters, memos, and other official items should be turned over to the National Archives. The president is also responsible for ensuring that documents and other records can be preserved and maintained.
Anonymous sources claimed that discussions about transferring documents the National Archives began last summer. Although Trump’s advisers say that there was no ill intent in not turning over the documents, some officials say that such a late transfer is unprecedented for the agency. Sources claim that Trump is not concerned about complying to the Presidential Records Act.
Experts say that Trump’s records act violations are a threat to both presidential transparency and national security. “The only way that a president can really be held accountable long term is to preserve a record about who said what, who did what, what policies were encouraged or adopted, and that is such an important part of the long-term scope of accountability,” presidential historian Lindsay Chrevinsky told The Washington Post.
Chrevinsky stated that records that contain information that is vital for national security should be preserved so that future administrations can refer to them.
The National Archives have had their fair share of issues with Trump’s flippant view of document preservation and transparency in the past.
Trump frequently destroyed documents during his presidency. White House aides also often did this. had to laboriously tapeThe National Archives will receive the papers back in their original order. Recent reporting has found that this practice was even more widespread than reporting during Trump’s presidency had suggested.
In what experts say is a clear violation of the records act, Trump often left scraps of paper all over – including in the Oval Office, on Air Force One and in his private study in the West Wing. Aides quickly realized that they couldn’t stop Trump from ripping the documents, so they implemented protocols to streamline the process of puzzling the papers back together in attempts to lessen violations of the records act.
However, recent reports by The Washington Post has also found that Trump officials would often put documents into “burn bags” to be destroyed. Officials would sift through the papers to decide what should be saved and what should be burned; for instance, documents detailing Trump’s efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, which were recently requested by the January 6 committee, have been destroyed.
“He didn’t want a record of anything,” a former senior Trump official told The Washington Post. “He never stopped ripping things up. Do you really think Trump will care about the Records Act? Come on.”