Trump took letters from Kim Jong-un and Obama and hundreds of documents from the White House to his Florida mansion without permission | International


Donald Trump shows a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a cabinet meeting at the White House on January 2, 2019.
Donald Trump shows a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a cabinet meeting at the White House on January 2, 2019.NICHOLAS KAMM (AFP)

When Donald Trump moved from the White House, he took with him several boxes of documents that he was required by law to deliver to the US National Archives, the institution in charge of guarding presidential records. Among those boxes, as reported this Monday Washington Post, letters from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the note left by his predecessor Barack Obama on his last day in the Oval Office have appeared. The congressional commission investigating the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, asked Trump to hand over those writings, and he tried to legally challenge that order. The Supreme Court rejected his request.

Following the High Court’s decision, the National Archives and Records Administration seized the boxes that Trump kept in his mansion in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, in January. During his years in the White House, the media published, citing anonymous sources, that the tycoon used to tear up memos after reading them, to the astonishment of government employees, who had to go after him recovering the loose pieces to stick them together with adhesive. The National Archives confirmed this Monday in a statement the veracity of the accusations, since the records they managed to recover “included papers that had been destroyed by former President Trump.” Hundreds were glued together and many others were just pieces.

The Presidential Records Law requires the delivery to the National Archives of all the documentary production of the presidents at the end of their mandates. And that includes letters, memos, emails, faxes, and other written communications related to the official duties of the president. Trump aides have denied that there was malicious intent on his part in keeping the documents. They claimed that the boxes contained souvenirs, gifts, letters from world leaders and other materials.

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It is not uncommon for Administrations to experience violations of the Presidential Records Act. A common bad practice among high-profile members of governments is to use their mobile phones and personal emails to discuss labor issues, which should be officially registered. It’s also not the first time the National Archives has retrieved White House documents after a president has left office. But what is “unprecedented”, as anonymous sources cited by the post, is the number of records that Trump had kept during this time.

The Republican’s lawyers tried to hide the information requested by the investigation committee on January 6 by invoking executive privilege, a legal provision that protects the US president’s communications with his team. The Supreme rejected the request and that allowed the boxes to be recovered.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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