1. President Donald Trump asserted on Tuesday night
In condemning the August FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago property, former President Donald Trump asserted on Tuesday night that the Presidential Records Act necessitates protracted talks over the release of papers. He made this assertion in the context of his criticism of the search.
He stated, “Just so everyone knows, I fall under what is known as the Presidential Records Act, which was developed and passed by Congress a very long time ago just for this purpose.” The Presidential Records Act was designed and approved by Congress a very long time ago just for this reason. According to the legislation, I am obligated to engage with NARA, which is short for the National Archives and Records Administration.
After that, he made disparaging remarks against NARA.
First off, the assertion made by Trump is not true. According to the Presidential Records Act, the National Archives and Records Administration is the entity that is given possession of and authority over all presidential documents from an outgoing president’s administration the minute that president leaves office. There is nothing in the law that states there should be a negotiation between a former president and NARA over a former president’s return of presidential documents. Even more egregious is the fact that there should have been a months-long battle after NARA first contacted Trump’s team in 2021 to try to get some of the records that had not been handed over at the end of his presidency.
In an email to CNN sent the week before, Jason R. Baron, who served as the former head of litigation at NARA, stated that “The former President is simply wrong as a matter of law.” This was in response to CNN fact-checking a similar erroneous claim made by Trump. As President Biden took office at noon on January 20, 2021, the legal custody of all presidential documents from the Trump Administration was transferred to the Archivist of the United States. This occurred when President Trump left office. Full stop. It indicates that no presidential documents should have ever been transferred to Mar-a-Lago, and there should have been no more discussing or bargaining.
2. Trump’s claim “nonsense”
Timothy Naftali, a CNN presidential historian, New York University professor, and former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, called Trump’s claim “nonsense” and said that the former president’s description of the Presidential Records Act is “a matter of fantasy,” concocted to allow Trump to “pretend that he’s a victim.” Naftali was the former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library. Naftali is currently a professor at New York University.
In an interview that took place the week before last, Naftali stated that the law makes it quite obvious that the documents that Trump possessed at Mar-a-Lago are presidential records that legally belong to the public and are required by law to be in the possession of NARA. According to what Naftali had to say, the legislation leaves “no place for arguments and conversations between presidential advisers and the National Archives at the conclusion of an administration” over these kinds of materials.
According to the charging documents, Trump “repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal criminal conduct that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election.” He is being accused of doing this in order to “hide damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election.”
Following the conclusion of the arraignment, he boarded a plane and headed back to Florida. He staged the gathering with his supporters on Tuesday evening at his Mar-a-Lago property. During the event, Trump made his public argument against the indictment and gave his followers a taste of how he expects to battle against the accusations politically when he campaigns for the White House again in 2024.
On Tuesday, Trump turned himself in and was placed under custody before being arraigned in a historic and unusual court appearance. At the arraignment, the former president heard the charges that have been brought against him for the first time. Even though the arraignment was nothing out of the ordinary, the case is likely going to continue to cast a shadow over his potential presidential run in 2024 as he battles the allegations both in court and in public.