Documents related to the unmasking of Trump advisors by former National Security Advisor Susan Rice have been shipped off to Barack Obama’s presidential library, where they will no doubt gather dust and possibly flammable liquids.
According to a Judicial Watch statement issued Monday:
Judicial Watch today announced that the National Security Council (NSC) on May 23, 2017, informed it by letter that the materials regarding the unmasking by Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice of “the identities of any U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team” have been removed to the Obama Library.
Specifically, the NSC told Judicial Watch:
Documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library. You may send your request to the Obama Library. However, you should be aware that under the Presidential Records Act, Presidential records remain closed to the public for five years after an administration has left office.
So it looks like the Trump NSC is saying that they couldn’t hand over the documents anyway. And I don’t know that there is anything nefarious about putting them in the library, it may be standard operating procedure. But Judicial Watch is considering a suit.
“Prosecutors, Congress, and the public will want to know when the National Security Council shipped off the records about potential intelligence abuses by the Susan Rice and others in the Obama White House to the memory hole of the Obama Presidential Library,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We are considering our legal options but we hope that the Special Counsel and Congress also consider their options and get these records.”
It appears, though, that copies of the records should also be in the National Archives. According to the Smithsonian:
In 1955, Congress passed the Presidential Libraries Act, which officially established a system of privately created and federally maintained libraries. But the original act had a flaw—it didn’t require that a president had to donate official papers to the Archives. That meant that there was nothing stopping a former president from deciding not to give up certain papers. That issue came to a head in 1974, when Richard Nixon resisted handing over some 3,700 hours of tape recordings that he had made in the White House—tapes that included the dirt on Watergate.
To prevent a similar situation playing out in the future, President Jimmy Carter signed the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which mandated that a president’s official papers must be turned over to the National Archives.
Either way, looks like the Obama folks did what they wanted to do and knew they could cover their tracks.