The report claims the White House is accused of failing to properly keep records of the president’s meetings with foreign leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to the accusers, Trump’s meetings with such leaders often do not include note-takers. In cases where notes were taken, they were reportedly torn up, which NPR notes is a violation of the Presidential Records Act.
Thomas Blanton, director of George Washington University’s National Security Archive, believes that the Trump administration’s approach is intended to remove information that contradicts the president.
“This is an administration that doesn’t want to keep a… record [that] might contradict the president. That would be bad for your professional future at the White House.”
In addition, the administration is being scrutinized by immigration activists, who claim that records documenting the treatment of undocumented immigrants — including many forms of abuse — could be destroyed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
ICE released a statement to NPR in which it claimed to be following “standard government practice” for the handling of its documents and the procedure for determining which are to be destroyed. In response, Columbia University history professor Matthew Connelly criticized the statement.
“They feel like that’s long enough for people to file FOIAs [Freedom of Information Act], for litigation to play out. But what that means is that, you know, 30 years from now, none of those records will any longer exist. They’ll all be gone.”
Forgive me for stating the obvious, but this basic legal principle shows why Trump objects to his lawyers taking notes: “in assessing the credibility of conflicting accounts . . . contemporaneous written notes can provide strong corroborating evidence” of who’s telling the truth. pic.twitter.com/wLZaKYEZEI
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) April 23, 2019
Vanity Fair previously reported that Trump was angry with former White House counsel Don McGahn for his decision to take notes of the pair’s dealings.
“What about these notes? Why do you take notes? Lawyers don’t take notes, I never had a lawyer who took notes,” Trump reportedly asked him.
McGahn, who revealed that Trump tried to have Robert Mueller fired during his Russia investigation, allegedly responded by telling Trump that a “real lawyer” takes notes in the interest of keeping a record.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Trump isn’t wholly adverse to note-taking. He is reportedly prone to sending Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau odd notes written with a Sharpie. Such records allegedly move through the usual channels — including the National Security Council — on their way to the White House.
Trump has also raised eyebrows with the notes he took of the impeachment testimony of former U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Much like the notes to Trudeau, they were scrawled in permanent marker.