How the Trump administration is putting public records under threat, so history may never know the awful things they did

Many abuses of the Trump administration are sadly nothing out of the ordinary — rather, they're just continuations of the snowballing precedent of presidential power abuses set forth by their predecessors. But there are still some ways in which Trump's real estate legal bullying tactics have made for a uniquely terrible and dangerous situation. Consider his liberal use of non-disclosure agreements that trap public servants — people whose should be part of the public record to which they should be held accountable — in a catch-22 between legal transparency and legal retaliation.

But it goes further than that, too.

The National Archives have already been struggling to keep up with the paper records that the President has destroyed — a clear violation of the Presidential Records Act. Archivists have allegedly been fired when trying to piece together those little scraps of paperwork. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the administration has now made it an official policy that records of ICE abuses be treated as temporary documents, immune from the eye of history. From the New York Times:

In 2017, a normally routine document released by the archives, a records retention schedule, revealed that archivists had agreed that officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement could delete or destroy documents detailing the sexual abuse and death of undocumented immigrants. Tens of thousands of people posted critical comments, and dozens of senators and representatives objected. The National Archives made some changes to the plan, but last month it announced that ICE could go ahead and start destroying records from Mr.

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Saudi officials were "supporting" 9/11 hijackers, commission member says

The Guardian reports that a Republican member of the 9/11 commission is "breaking dramatically" with leaders of the commission by claiming that there is Saudi government employees supported the 9/11 hijackers. John F Lehman, who served as Navy secretary under Reagan, is calling for the declassification of a secret congressional report about the Saudis' role in the 2001 terrorist attack.

“There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government,” Lehman said in an interview, suggesting that the commission may have made a mistake by not stating that explicitly in its final report. “Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.”

He was critical of a statement released late last month by the former chairman and vice-chairman of the commission, who urged the Obama administration to be cautious about releasing the full congressional report on the Saudis and 9/11 – “the 28 pages”, as they are widely known in Washington – because they contained “raw, unvetted” material that might smear innocent people.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens. Read the rest