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Summary of Laws Governing Presidential Records

Mar-a-Lago Historian on FBI Search

Washington — Revelation by former On Monday, President Donald Trump announced that the FBI would raid his South Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, reigniting scrutiny over the handling of presidential records and the legal said he had returned his focus to It manages the storage of those documents.

According to sources confirmed to CBS News, a search by federal law enforcement agenciesof which contained classified materialfrom Mar-a-Lago in mid-January . Part of the search warrant operation and sources close to Trump. Some, if not all, of the documents could be classified records, he said, two sources said.

The former president has long been criticized for his handling of records from his presidency, with the National Archives It says it recovered the documents that should have been transferred from Mar-a-Lago to the agency in January 2021, before the end of the Trump administration.

Under the Presidential Records Act, David Ferriero, an archivist in the United States of America at the time, was responsible for all presidential records to ensure that the "complete set" of presidential records was forwarded to the president. He reiterated that the regime must save. National Archives.

Mr Trump, however, maintains that his records were turned over to the National Archives "in accordance with the Presidential Records Act, in the normal and regular process to ensure the preservation of my legacy." .

Here are the federal laws that set requirements for maintaining and preserving White House records:

What is the Presidential Records Act?

The Presidential Records Act of 1978, enacted in the wake of President Richard Nixon's resignation, states that the president's records must be kept, not the president's private property. has been established as the property of

The law governs, maintains, accesses, and controls the records of the President, the Vice President, and certain parts of the Office of the President, such as the National Security Council and the Economic Advisory Board, during and after the President's term of office. information storage.

Records that must be preserved include documents relating to certain political activities and information relating to the president's constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial obligations. This includes emails, text his messages and phone records. However, the president's personal records, or documents "of a purely private or non-public nature," are exempt from the law's retention requirements. 

Who keeps the president's records?

According to the Congressional Research Service 2019 report, during the president's term, the incumbent president has limited control over the "keeping, management, and access of the president's records." Responsible. 

After the presidency, however, the responsibility shifts to US archivists. Archivists are required by law to make the former president's documents available to the public "as quickly and completely as possible." At the end of administration, the document must be handed over to the National Archives.

Since presidential records are the property of the U.S. government, the report states that former presidents have no right to display presidential records in places such as the Presidential Library, which is operated and maintained by the National Archives. , requires permission from the archivist.

How is the law enforced?

The Presidential Records Act has no enforcement mechanism and no former president has ever been punished for violating the law. 

However, there are penalties under various laws for destroying White House records.Under the First Act, anyone found to have "knowingly and unlawfully" concealed, deleted, mutilated, erased or destroyed a record may be fined. and face up to three years in prison. 

Persons convicted of this crime may be disqualified from future federal government office. But when he came under fire in 2015 for using Hillary Clinton's private email server while she was Secretary of State, thejurist said the Claimed to set eligibility criteria. Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and opponent of Trump, was not indicted for crimes related to her handling of federal records.

It stipulates that anyone who "damages or loots property" is liable to a fine or imprisonment of up to one year if convicted.

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