Presidential Records Act? Trump raid puts spotlight on Barack Hussein Obama and predecessors

by WorldTribune Staff, August 11, 2022

An alleged violation of the Presidential Records Act is what led the Department of Justice to deploy the FBI to raid former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence at Mar-a-Lago.

FBI agents on Monday were reportedly looking for boxes of classified material that Trump is accused of removing from the White House when he departed in January 2021.

President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. / Pete Souza / White House

The Presidential Records Act was enacted by Congress in 1978 after former President Richard Nixon claimed his secret Oval Office tapes and other records were his personal property. The law asserted, “The United States shall reserve and retain complete ownership, possession, and control of Presidential records.”

As reported on Jan. 9, 2017, President Barack Obama opted to keep his presidential records under wraps for 12 years after leaving office on Jan. 20, 2017.

Obama sent a letter to the National Archives in July of 2017 authorizing close aide Anita Decker Breckenridge to act as his representative in the release of his White House records in future decades.

During Monday’s raid in Florida, Trump said that the FBI “and others from the Federal Government would not let anyone, including my lawyers, be anywhere near the areas that were rummaged and otherwise looked at during the raid on Mar-a-Lago. Everyone was asked to leave the premises, they wanted to be left alone, without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking or, hopefully not, ‘planting.’ Why did they STRONGLY insist on having nobody watching them, everybody out? Obama and Clinton were never ‘raided,’ despite big disputes!”

Trump called on the DOJ to explain the millions of pages of documents that were shipped to Chicago when President Barack Obama left office in January 2017?

The New York Post noted in an Aug. 9 report that Obama, at the end of his presidency, had 30 million pages of his administration’s records shipped to Chicago. Obama promised to digitize the records and eventually put them online — a move that outraged historians.

More than five years after Obama’s presidency ended, the National Archives webpage confirmed that no pages have been digitized and disclosed. People can file requests via the Freedom of Information Act to access Obama records, but responses from presidential libraries can be delayed for years, even more than a decade, if the information is classified.

In 2011, Joe Biden donated 1,875 boxes of documents from his Senate days to the University of Delaware, which received federal subsidies to curate the collection while it was locked up. Biden and the university library promised to unseal the records “two years after Biden retires from public office.” Biden retired as vice president in January 2017. But the library announced just before Biden launched his presidential campaign that secrecy would continue until two years after Biden “retires from public life.”

In 2001, then-President George W. Bush issued an executive order that changed the act from guaranteeing public access to the documents to one that blocks it, though Congress overturned parts of the order in 2014.

Politico reported in 2014 that Obama administration lawyers had repeatedly invoked the Presidential Records Act to “delay the release of thousands of pages of records from President Bill Clinton’s White House.”

The Lyndon B. Johnson Library had delayed in releasing the final batch of his secret tapes until 2016. This came 47 years after LBJ left office.

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