Trump’s unprecedented disregard for norms


Washington (AP) — donald trump The United States is not the first country to face criticism for flouting rules and traditions for protecting sensitive government records, but national security experts say the recent revelations are well-established since the Watergate scandal. It shows an unprecedented neglect of post-presidency norms.

Documentary dramas have popped up from time to time over the years.

Democratic National Security Advisor to Lyndon B. Johnson It held explosive records for years before handing them over to the Johnson Presidential LibraryRecords show that the campaign of his successor, Richard Nixon, secretly worked with the South Vietnamese government on the final day of the 1968 presidential election to delay the start of peace talks to end the Vietnam War. was in contact with

Secretary to the Ronald Reagan administration phone halltestified that he helped falsify and shred documents related to the Iran-Contra scandal to protect Oliver North, the head of the White House National Security Council.

Barack Obama’s CIA director David Petraeus forced to resign plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor for sharing classified material with a biographer he had an affair with. When Hillary Clinton was Obama’s secretary of state, faced FBI scrutiny That extended to her 2016 presidential campaign against Trump for handling sensitive material on a private email account. The FBI director recommended not filing criminal charges, but criticized Clinton’s “extremely careless” actions.

as details emerge Since the FBI’s raid on Mr. Trump’s Florida home last month, the Justice Department has painted a portrait of indifference to rules on a scale unthinkable since the Justice Department was established. Presidential Records Act 1978.

“With the exception of the Nixon administration, I cannot recall any historical precedent in which a president or even a high-ranking administration official intentionally, consciously, or even accidentally deleted such a large amount of paperwork. said Richard Immerman, who served as assistant secretary of the National Intelligence Service from 2007 to 2009.

FBI agents who raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on Aug. 8 found 18 top secret, 54 classified, and 31 classified classified, according to court filings. , discovered over 100 classified documents. The FBI also identified 184 documents marked classified in 15 boxes that the National Archives recovered in January, which he added during a visit to Mar-a-Lago in June. I received a confidential document from In addition, he found 10,000 unclassified government records.

This may violate the Presidential Records Act, which states that such records are the property of the government and must be preserved.

The law was enacted after Nixon resigned during the Watergate scandal and attempted to destroy hundreds of hours of secretly recorded White House tapes. Established government ownership of presidential records beginning with Ronald Reagan.

Immediately after the president leaves office, the law National Archives and Records Administration Legally and physically keep records of the outgoing administration and work with incoming White House staff to initiate proper record keeping.

According to the National Archives, records that do not have “administrative, historical, informational or evidentiary value” can be disposed of before obtaining the archivist’s written permission.

Documents were recovered from Trump’s bedroom, closet, bathroom and storage areas at the Florida resort that doubles as his home. In June, when Justice Department officials met with Trump attorneys to obtain records in response to a subpoena, the attorneys handed them papers “redweld envelope, double wrapped in tape.”

Trump claims to have declassified all the documents in his possession and was working hard with State Department officials to return the documents when he conducted a search for Mar-a-Lago.2016 During the campaign, Trump claimed that Clinton’s use of a private email server for classified State Department materials disqualified her from running. Chants of “lock her up” from his supporters became a mainstay of his political rallies.

James Trusty, Trump’s attorney for records matters, told Fox News that Trump’s possession of classified government material was like holding onto “an expired library book.” rice field.

However, Trump’s former Attorney General Bill Barr said in a separate Fox News interview that he was “skeptical” of Trump’s claim that he declassified everything. “The raid is unprecedented. Well, it’s unprecedented for a president to take all classified information and put it in a country club,” Barr said.

Trump’s attitude toward the White House record shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to some who worked for him.

One of Trump’s national security advisers, John Bolton, said the briefing knew it immediately Trump often tried to stick to classified documents, I have taken measures to prevent the loss of documents. Sensitive information was tweeted, shared with reporters and opponents, and even found in the White House bathroom complex.

That approach is out of step with the way modern presidents do things.

While writing his memoirs at the White House after his resignation, Obama received the paper records he used in his research from the National Archives’ secure storage facility in a locked bag and returned them in a similar fashion. Did.

Dwight Eisenhower, who resigned years before the Presidential Records Act was passed, kept public records in Fort Ritchie, Maryland, but didn’t have to.

Neil Eggleston, a White House adviser in the final year of the Obama administration, recalled what Fred Fielding, who held the same post in the George W. Bush administration, advised him when he started his new job. I remembered. Requirements set by record laws.

Similarly, Trump’s White House adviser, Donald McGahn, sent a staff-wide memo during the first few weeks of his administration emphasizing that “the president’s records are the property of the United States.”

Eggleston said, “It’s not a hard concept that a document produced during the course of a presidential administration is neither your personal property nor the president’s personal property.

The president is not required to obtain security clearance to access information, nor be formally instructed in his responsibility to protect secrets upon leaving office.

However, guidelines issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees intelligence agencies, state that “sensitive compartmentalized information” (some of the most valuable information held by the United States) is classified as “SCIF.”

The FBI Court submissionin the past week some photos from the record What agents found in a search of Trump’s property. The photograph includes at least five sets of paper cover sheets marked “TOP SECRET/SCI” which are references to classified information and labeled “SECRET/SCI” and “CONTAINS CLASSIFIED INFORMATION”. A cover sheet was shown. The FBI also found dozens of empty folders classified.

The President can retain the reports presented during the briefing for later review. And a president (or election-year presidential candidate) doesn’t always get briefed at his SCIF, depending on schedule and location, Pfeiffer said.

Pfeiffer, director of the Michael V. Hayden Center for Information, Policy, and International Security, said, “There is no intelligence community mandate indicating how the president should or should not be briefed on material.” Stated. “I’ve never had to worry before.”

Those close to the president who have access to information must be trained in and follow the intelligence rules for handling classified information. But Pfeiffer said it would be difficult for intelligence agencies to impose restrictions on the president.

President Joe Biden recently told reporters that he often reads the top-secret president’s daily briefings at his home in Delaware, where he often spends weekends and vacations. said it was taking precautions to

“My home has a completely safe cabin-off space,” Biden said.

He added:

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Associated Press reporter Norman Merchant contributed to this report.