Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), National Security Archive and Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations filed a complaint in the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday against President Donald Trump and the Executive Office of the President for violations of the Presidential Records Act (PRA) and the Federal Records Act (FRA).
The complaint alleges that Trump and his office have failed to comply with mandatory duties to create and maintain records related to meetings with foreign leaders; wrongly classified State Department interpreter notes as presidential records to keep them beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act; and failed to consult the Archivist of the United States regarding notice and disposal of presidential records.
These failures and violations are specifically related to meetings with foreign government officials and policymakers, including Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un. During meetings between Trump and Putin, note takers were excluded, resulting in no official US record of the meetings. Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner also excluded State Department officials while meeting with Saudi representatives, effectively preventing the generation of records for these meetings as well.
The absence of these records about international diplomacy and national security obfuscates government actions and intentions in the present and damages “the capacity of history to render judgment in the future.”
The complaint seeks compliance from Trump and the Executive Office regarding PRA and FRA duties. It additionally seeks declaratory judgment for past violations of these Acts.