45th President Donald Trump issued a statement on Truth Social Tuesday, urging the public to “read” the “Socks Case” amid his legal battle with the Department of Justice, involving a dispute between the National Archives and Records Administration and the former president’s legal team over alleged possession of documents.
“So much FAKE talk about the Government’s Document Hoax Case against me, and the Unwarranted, Unnecessary, and possibly Illegal Raid on Mar-a-Lago, a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment. There were no leaks until the documents were given, and now the FBI seems unable, according to reports, to count what they have, a mess,” the 45th president wrote on Truth Social.
“This is not a criminal case, and wasn’t for Obama, Bill Clinton, Bush I, Bush II, or even for Crooked’s deleting 33,000 Emails AFTER getting a Subpoena. Read ‘Socks Case”, Trump urged.
The case Trump was referring to is Judicial Watch v. National Archives and Records Administration, and it involved an effort by the conservative watchdog group in 2012 to compel the Archives to forcibly seize hours of audio recordings that Bill Clinton made during his presidency with historian Taylor Branch.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington D.C. rejected Judicial Watch’s suit by concluding there was no provision in the Presidential Records Act to force the National Archives to seize records from a former president.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote in her March 2012 ruling, “Under the statutory scheme established by the PRA, the decision to segregate personal materials from Presidential records is made by the President, during the President’s term and in his sole discretion”.
“Since the President is completely entrusted with the management and even the disposal of Presidential records during his time in office, it would be difficult for this Court to conclude that Congress intended that he would have less authority to do what he pleases with what he considers to be his personal records,” she added.
The judge also noted a president could destroy any record he wanted during his tenure and his only responsibility was to inform the Archives. As to whether records a president concluded were personal can be forcibly seized after he leaves office, the court concluded it was unreasonable to force NARA to go get the tapes, John Solomon at Just the News pointed out over Judge Jackson’s decision.
Judge Jackson concluded that a decision to challenge a president’s decision lies solely with the National Archives and cannot be reviewed by a court. If the Archives wants to challenge a decision, that agency and the attorney general can initiate an enforcement mechanism under the law, but it is a civil procedure and has no criminal penalty, Solomon noted.
Meanwhile, both former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Hussein Obama signed executive orders — which remain in force to this day — declaring that presidents have sweeping authority to declassify secrets and do not have to follow the mandatory declassification procedures all other government officials do.
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