Trump Accused Of Hiding Russia Documents Until They Can Be Destroyed
The White House is being accused of failing to keep notes of President Trump’s meetings with foreign leaders, including Russian President Vladmir Putin, as historians and activists fear that records could be destroyed, according to NPR
Four groups, including the advocacy organization the American Immigration Council, last week filed Freedom of Information Act requests as a way to keep documents intact.
The National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) is the ultimate arbiter of how records are preserved. It said in a press release that it plans to preserve some documents for up to 25 years.
Columbia University history professor Matthew Connelly admitted the agency is most likely overwhelmed: “In fairness, the National Archives has always had a difficult job. You know, in effect, they’re trying to predict history. They’re trying to predict what historian are going to be interested in many years from now.”
That job has gotten a lot harder, according to Connelly, because the National Archives has been “starved of resources.”
The Trump administration requested $358 million for the agency in fiscal year 2020. The agency received $411 in 2008.
Additionally, President Trump has reportedly been adverse to having note-takers present at his meetings with foreign leaders and has allegedly torn up some notes, in violation of the Presidential Records Act.
“This is an administration that doesn’t want to keep a...record [that] might contradict the president,” Thomas Blanton, director of George Washington University’s National Security Archive, said. “That would be bad for your professional future at the White House.”
GW’s National Security Archive and other groups have filed a suit to try to force the White House to do a better job of keeping and preserving records, but it was dismissed by federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who ruled it wasn’t up to the court to enforce the act.