Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, December 1st, 2020
Washington— As President Trump’s term draws to a close, we face an increasing risk that historically valuable records of his presidency will be permanently lost in violation of records laws, according to a new lawsuit filed by the National Security Archive, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the American Historical Association, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. By adopting a policy that allows White House personnel to capture and preserve only portions of electronic messages they send or receive on unofficial messaging accounts, the White House is permitting the loss and destruction of Presidential record material.
“Presidential records are always at risk because the law that’s supposed to protect them is so weak,” said National Security Archive Director Tom Blanton. “The Archive, historians, and CREW are suing to put some backbone in the law, and prevent any bonfire of records in the Rose Garden.”
“For the purpose of creating a ‘usable past’ for generations of future citizens, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations is gravely concerned with preserving the integrity of the Trump administration’s records. In light of the administration’s previous violations of the Presidential Records Act, it consequently judges it essential to take legal action to prevent any efforts to destroy records or otherwise fail to retain them in their entirety. It welcomes the opportunity to join with like minded organizations in pursuing this goal,” said SHAFR’s Historical Documentation Committee Chairman Richard Immerman.