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Groups Sue to Preserve Trump Presidential Records

Historical groups are suing the Trump administration to prevent the destruction of records before the end of Donald Trump’s term.

The National Security Archive, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the American Historical Association, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington have joined in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“With the president facing potential legal and financial exposure once he leaves office, there is a growing risk that he will destroy records of his presidency before leaving,” the groups said in a press release.

The groups are also challenging a policy authorizing White House employees to preserve presidential records from unofficial messaging accounts by taking screenshots of the records and forwarding them to an official account. “A screenshot does not capture an electronic message’s associated metadata, attachments, functionality, or other digital artifacts needed to authenticate the message,” the complaint states, arguing that the practice “contravenes” the Presidential Records Act requirement that a “complete copy” be preserved.

The lawsuit filed in federal court also challenges what the historical groups allege to be the “knowing and routine failure of Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner to preserve ‘complete copies’ of all Presidential records created or sent from his non-official electronic messaging accounts, including his WhatsApp account … Given the central role Mr. Kushner has played in implementing the domestic and foreign policies of the Trump administration, the missing information is likely to yield historically important details about what the Trump administration did and why.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment Sunday.

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