(PatriotWise.com) — Following his arraignment in Miami last Tuesday, Donald Trump flew to Bedminster, New Jersey for a campaign fundraiser at his golf club where he delivered remarks about the Justice Department’s indictment, The Epoch Times reported.
After railing at the Biden administration and special counsel Jack Smith, accusing them of attempting to “rig” and “steal” the 2024 election, Trump blasted the use of the Espionage Act in his indictment, arguing that the only relevant law is the Presidential Records Act, which he claimed gave him the right to retain the classified documents.
The former president cited the 2012 ruling related to audio tapes former President Bill Clinton hid in his sock drawer. In the case, Judicial Watch argued that the audio tapes of interviews Clinton did with historian Taylor Branch, were presidential records and should be turned over to the National Archives.
But in her decision, Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that while the tapes should have been deemed presidential records and given to the National Archives, the archivist did not have the authority to deem them presidential records, only the president can.
In his remarks, Trump claimed that as president he had the “absolute right” to decide what he can take with him when he leaves office.
But Trump’s claim isn’t entirely accurate.
According to Jason Baron, a former director of litigation for the National Archives and Records Administration, the Presidential Records Act distinguishes between personal records and any documents that were created or received by the president during the course of his official duties.
Baron told CBS News that while presidents are free to take any personal records with them when they leave office, they are required by law to turn over all documents created or received in their official duties.
Personal records include diaries, personal notes, or journals, Baron explained. However, personal records do not include documents that are “prepared for, utilized for,” “circulated,” or “communicated in the course of transacting government business,” Baron said.
Baron told CBS News that Trump was “simply wrong” to say that he had an “absolute right” to retain “official documents” when he left office.
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