Skip to main content

tv   Discussion on a Future Trump Presidential Library  CSPAN  April 26, 2021 6:26pm-7:22pm EDT

6:26 pm
subcommittee on antitrust and consumer rights heard complaints from match, spotify and other app store developers who accuse tech companies of anti-competitive practices and charging unjustified developer fees. representatives from apple and google denied the claims and defended their companies. watch the entire hearing tonight starting at 8:30 eastern on c-span2. >> as he approaches his 100th today in office, president biden will give his first address to a joint session of congress wednesday night. our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. eastern with the president's address at 9 p.m. eastern on c-span, online at or listen live on the c-span radio app. >> next, a look at what it would take to create a trump presidential library, the legal process for gaining the former president's records and the financial investments needed to
6:27 pm
build the venue. open the government, a nonprofit organization, hosted this event. it's 50 minutes. >> maybe just by way of kind of laying some groundwork, anthony, i could get you to explain a little bit more about presidential records. in particular, i was really interested to learn about the process whereby we, decisions are made about what is and what is not a presidential record and how the trump administration may have used some of that ambiguity or some of that freedom in ways that will hamper futcher historians, future journalists aboutou writing clearly about i. >> i'm going to defer to anne when it comes to those particular types of questions about the administration of the presidential records act. and, anne, if you want to take that now or you want to follow up? >> i'll come back to that. why don't we start with a broader question aboutut how -- who makes the decision what is a presidential record. >> well, that's what i mean. as far as i understand it, the
6:28 pm
president makes the decision, and the president can get guidance from the archivist about whether or not a record is temporary, and if a record is temporary, it can be disposed of. and under current law, the white house has to request guidance, written guidance from the archivist before dispoagz of records. i'm not sure that's always been followed, and i understand from reporting that it hasn't been followed during the trump administration. is that correct, anne? >> to my knowledge, it hasn't. but then we wouldn't know because there's no provision in the presidential records act that requires the archivist to make public any of those requests. >> that's a good point. i think the only thing we know publicly, as far as ihi know, is that under the presidential records act, the sitting president can restrict access to presidential records for an additional seven years past the five-year point. but that has to be done while the president is in office. now, once d the president leaves office, the president can relax
6:29 pm
those restrictions but must make them, must make the actual restrictions while in office. and so in february 2017, president trump signed the letter at the urging of the national archivist, as i understand the record, to restrict all six categories of his records for the entire 12 years. now, that's pretty common because if you don't have the right to do that after you leave office, the national archives, the written guidance that they make public says that the presidentgu should restrict to begin with all six categories. every president has subsequently relaxed those restrictions. i'm not optimistic that former president trump will relax those record, those restrictions in the intervening years. >> and you said every president, former president has relaxed those restrictions. how does that come to pass? have people made common specific requests aboutha access to specific records, or is there a kind of step by step process
6:30 pm
whereby it happens over a period of time? >> well, the process has been murky in terms of how it comes about, but the national archives has released documents that show when the president does relax the records -- restrictions and under what circumstances. and so there was pressure on bill clinton to relax those restrictions when hillary clinton was running for office. there was pressure against george w. bush after his presidency when people were still looking at what happened in rack, what happened in hurricane katrina -- iraq, hurricane katrina, what happened in afghanistan. so those relaxation documents have been released. .there
6:31 pm
right on the presidential act of congress and the courts have access. they just need to request it. and they have the right to determine when congress and the courtsnd can have access. in terms of the public the only way the public would have access p prior to the five year or two the 12 year is it the president does not release those records is a change in the law. congress would have to fundamentally change presidential records act. the only reason why we had the 12 year restriction is that in 1978 this was a new idea prior to the presidential records act, president only records and took them and disposed of them as they saw fit. so they were the ones that decide who gets them and when.
6:32 pm
if negotiations over how to craft the presidential records act,ea the 12 year restriction. was given is kind of a buffer so there'd be widespread agreement in congress this to be a good idea. because former president and many future presidents are people who thought they would be presidents and consort of people getting access right away. the five-year period, just to give you an idea of how different records had changed in 1978 the first five-year period was from the national archives. they requested five years so they would haveti time to review, process and open the records. that was the assumption would take about five years to arrange, describe and start processing them. it's taking at least 100t years now to open the record in the presidential library. that five-year period was way off in the seven year additional period was really a
6:33 pm
negotiating tactic decades ago that really does not apply today. >> let me turn to you and i begin asking anthony about how the trump administration had polities policies as we ascertainn it. i know there have been stories of the president tearing up documents in the white house. and they're having to peace them back together. there been controversies about the use of social media, takingoc pictures of what's of files, deleting a metadata what do you know at this point about how well the trump administration actually complied with the existingti law? we know some things but not a whole lot frankly. i do want to make one point out front, we starteded out by asking what is a presidential record. if you look at the statute defines it very, very broadly. i would argue there is almost nothing the president does that does not qualify as a
6:34 pm
presidential record with few exceptions we know about her certain political activities the president may engage in. and correspondence with a family member that is strictly personal. anthony is absently right there is a provision that allows a president with the understanding to dispose of records. but my understanding is that has been viewed very, very narrowly in the past. basically the letters from the public the president gets. her presidential records it's important to understand, just about everything the president commits to writing or some form of a record, is worthy of preservation under the express
6:35 pm
terms of the statute. that is why the presidents practices and the practices of his white house were so troubling. as you mentioned the early reports that the president was ripping up his notes. i actually talked to one of the people had been n assigned the job of following him and taking them together. when that came out of think they were. fired. there were only stories that conquer trump and eric kushner reusing an e-mail server that was tied to theer trump businesses. which is remarkable given of courseof all of the fuss they made about hillary clinton. there were early reports that senior white house officials were using what we call disappearing message apps. two of them basically you get a message on your phone, and as you are reading literally as your scrolling vanishes. so that no record is preserved.
6:36 pm
along with some historians and other government actually challenge that practice in court and was nott successful. we know that people like jared kushner were frequent users of another application called whatsapp. it is far from clear again that was on his personal device, whether or not he transfer those messages with all the metadata and attachments to an official e-mail account. and we know, again this was the >> of w a lawsuit that crew and others are brought, we know the president really resisted creating records in the first place. for example, the multiple times he met with putin he took steps to make sure no records weree created. he did not have notetakers present. there is a story that was published that he sees the notes at one point of the translator.
6:37 pm
he did not have notes taken of hisim meetings with kim jong-un. i think what that means is we are going to have a huge hole in historical records. and this is just what we know about. because while the president's office, there is no accountability to anyone for what the president is doing on the record-keeping fronts. not to the archivist, not to thee public. so i very much fear when the archivist eventually go through trump's records they are going to find out that it is actually worse than we know. >> there's a bill there believe i don't have the still active, you can tells more, to change of offering up-to-date that presidential records are mainly electronicma records. in these records proliferate under all sorts of different systems, social media systems, e-mail systems, on apps.
6:38 pm
what is the status of that murphy quickly bill and what would it do to bring the current lot up-to-date with current forms of record-keeping? >> anthony made ofno the status more than i think he follows the deflation more. i think it's a really good first start. it makes it clear that presidential staff should not be using personal e-mail accounts and other personal devices to conduct presidential business. one of the provisions in it that i think is the first time this is evenha been floated is the idea of tying access, once a president leaves office tying access to their records and other artifacts. in the assistance the government officers to compliance with the presidential records while in office.
6:39 pm
so it has some really good provisions. and it was an effort to grapple with the changing technology and all of the challenges that it imposes on everyone, not just the whiteip house. specs you know the status are given a comment further on that particular act? becca do not know the status but she makes a good conversation about time to office. the new obama bottle which does not give the national archives to play at the obama center, they just going to run a private museum. most like the nixon ran a private museum but had an agreement with the national archives to feature documents and artifacts and memorabilia. i think tying that two
6:40 pm
performances in port and. because if it present besides i do not need the national archives and going toe go on my own, i will do what i want, the istill the idea of not quite the national archive logo on the door but these are records these are materials of the launch of r the people but they are here in this private museum. there is still that kind of idea of support, which we would not want to give to a former president who acted atrociously in office when it comes to record-keeping. think annis absolutely right. xo giveste some teeth. but in general once been the enforcement mechanism for the current law? does the current law have any teeth? we have this image of somebody running around behind trump and piecing together his torn upcu documents, how would that person actually had the ability to do that given what we know about the state of the oval office and the degree to whichcl that had been, kind of closed in for a very narrow group of supporters of the
6:41 pm
president? >> i will tackle this. the answer to the enforcement there is actually absently none of the president is in office. the archivist has as a no authority over they president. they can offer guidance if guidance is sought. historically, in typical administration there has been a good working relationship between nara and the white house starting almost from the beginning. it's an enormous undertaking to accession all the records of the president. even if it is just four years noty eight. it really begins after the beginning of administration research and plan for that. archives needs to get some sense of volume et cetera. i do not know what the relationship was like with the trump white house. but i do know that while trump was refusing to conceive the election he did not allow, one
6:42 pm
of the consequences of that is the transition, including the transition from having his help with the transition of the records did not take place. it was very late. and the enforcement thing, when congress enacted this long, one of the things they assumed was that presidents would want to keep the records of their presidency. it is a tribute to them, it is a legacy. every president will want a full legacy. they never envision someone like donald trump, i think his legacy is what he says it is, not what the actual documents of hisy presidency say. the courts have been very, very wary to weigh into this area. brought a number of losses
6:43 pm
going way back and have not been successful because the courts view any effort for a judge to rein in the president is possibly unconstitutional. sort of treading on the presidents article three powers to do what he wants while he's in office. and as long as that concern is lurking there, it means the courts aren't really available. i do not know what would happen in the most extreme case if a president just that i'm not going to keep records are going to have a bonfire. and foren all we know president trump did that. so it is a real problem. i think it is a particularly acute problem with respect to trump's documents because there was a period of time, after the election, i mean he has never yet conceded.
6:44 pm
but while it wasth still unclear when the transition what happened and how, he had to realize that he faces potential liability on a lot of fronts. there is a lot of litigation out there on the criminal and civil. and to the extent he may have taken steps to destroy records they never fall into the hands of the public or anyone in government, we do not know. we simply don't know. but certainly a lot ofjo articles have been written by noted journalists and historians, raising the significant fears that didt happen. >> going to jump in, little bookkeeping or just a welcome people to the panel if you're joining as i see a few more participants. but also to invite people to send questions. i might just ask lisa briefly
6:45 pm
for anyone has doneod so and should we pause for a moment to respond to folks were listening? >> we do not have any questions yet. i would encourage people to ask questions we have a wealth of knowledge on this been also take advantage. also note we expected to be reintroduced this congressat i don't know if i was quite clear on that. we do expect that act to be introduced. we'll just go from there. again if there's any questions please you chime in on the chat. i just want to add and is absolute right has been a long history cooperation between the whitest house. the major change really happened in the george w. bush administration. seniord bush officials use republican national committee e-mail system to conduct white house business. and then we lost millions of records based on that.
6:46 pm
and second, during the bush administration the national archives office at coordinates that looks at classified records have ant enforcement authority to go around and conduct audits of how federal agencies are handling classified records when they try to look at how the vice president's office was handling records, vice president cheney refused when the information security oversight office insists vice president cheney recognize that office be abolished. so even before trump we are seeing the white house resisting the idea of national archives having any information about what they were doing prejudice under the administration. mickey said the vice president recommend abolishing the office. was it in fact abolished? no one. >> may be moving on a little bit to the other half of this
6:47 pm
question which was the presidential library itself, i know you wrote at the time a lot of people were thinking about the possibility of the trump library, you wrote a very measured assessment saying you did not think it was likely to happen. and to make that claim you sort of had to lay out some of the particularities of the trump administration and donald trump himself. just give us a brief sense of why you think it's unlikely we will see a trump library. >> in a nutshell it's expensive, it's complex, there are a lot of responsibilities and regulations involved. that does not describe anything that donald trump is done in his life following the law, following the rules, raising money in a a consistent and legitimate manner and using it for the purposes for which she claimed to raise it. i think that in addition to that there is the idea of location. every president has had to one
6:48 pm
extent or another difficulty in finding a site to places library. i am not sure trump would have as much finding any site. for example when richard nixon was in the wilderness years could not find a place the campus offered a plot of land at tax breaks for them. the downside was it was leavenworth. not a growing concern. so i think the question isn't whether or not president trump can find a place, i'm sure he could find someplace. but whether that place a bit like his recent predecessors atli universities or places with the public could easily access it. i think if he does have a location it might be more along the lines of west branch, iowa where hoover is not connected to majoratot institution not connected to a major city or somen. sort of organization. buthu again, sinking hundreds of
6:49 pm
millions of dollars right now to build these facilities. if you want the national archives have a role to play then you have to give 60% of the costui of the part of the building you give to them to the national archives in addition as an endowment. that's an additional problem. i also think there are questions as to what he is going to be doing as a former president in 2022 in the midterms in 2024. if you build a presidential library, that is theis capstone you're no longer going to be running for president. there is no precedent for president to build a presidential library well out of office and come back andhi runor again. which is one of the main reasons we've not seen any announcement from the white house prior to january or now the office of former president trump student we follow up on that is a fascinating question to a long time since it had a president who potentially
6:50 pm
could run again and maybe even be president again. i would like to ask both aunt and anthony what are the issues there? if trump came back as president what kind of control would he have over the records of his previous administration? ared do things he could do or nt do that would essentially terminatete the idea of access to presidential records? siu medical i will start. as you probably know there's absently no precedents for this. because the statute says nothing, i think technically, legally his records would still beat the record of a former president. and would be >> to the processing's and timeline that the presidential records act spellsct out. that said, if he were reelected, now is an incumbent president, i am sure he would
6:51 pm
try to find a way to use the power o of the presidency to restrict further acts that would be his first term. but the statute as far as i know, never seen anything in the presidential act that even contemplated this possibility. i think technically, the records remain -- there would essentially be two sets of records. but again, i think there is the possibility. in my mind the risk if he were reelected one of the things then president trump would do, for the restrict access. >> there is one word in the presidential records act that would give us maybe something to hang our hats on which is
6:52 pm
consecutive. the definition of the presidential records is consecutive terms. that might have been maybe crossing of the t's and dotting all the eyes not really anticipating this. the second part is when carter signed it, and did not apply to his first term records. so he had announced that should he get reelected he would apply the law to his first term. but they actually didn't. if he had been reelected, he would've had half of his records as the personal property of the president. he said he would have needed that under the circumstances. those are two clues as to how they might be litigated. but his and pointed out, just because we have healthy and clear and often unclear statute does not mean going to have success. suspect this raises an interesting larger question that goes beyond trump and
6:53 pm
applies to all the past presidents that are working within the system. that is, how well are these libraries distinguished from the national archives? where does the real power reside within them when it comes to getting scholars, journalists access to these records. how well do they work independently from the federal government? >> let me just a quick anecdote where the power lies. they are separate thees not distinguished from it. but they raise the money and build it they still have a pretty significant presence there. they cooperate the labors in terms of programs. as in the house oversight committee tried to hold hearings into the relationship between the national archives and the foundation sprayed the foundations put pressure to get us to cancel the hearings.
6:54 pm
until we scheduled the hearing when witnesses set up, and might've been on the witness list for that when i know she was on other ones, then they came to us and say the presidential foundations -- they don't want you to have this open discussion about our relationship please cancel. my boss was a committee chairman and he agreed. a few months later try to schedule nothing. same results happen. that gives you little window into where the power lies when it comes to national archives in the foundations. for that library the do not follow the presidential records at quarter hoover through carter, the foundations and the presidential family to make the determinations often on who gets to seeee what records. theyey set up the circumstances. so for example the kennedy family can see president kennedy's health records that
6:55 pm
is just one example. >> aiken chime in with joe one question from the audience. i goes what we were just talking about needing more teeth and how can we make sure the archives have more teeth. the specific question is what the menu to reduce the required 60% endowment back to 20 or 25% for example what be the impact back? suspect the reason why the endowment exist in the first place was costing taxpayers a ton of money to operate and maintain the libraries. when the presidential library's act was amended in 1986 the amount was 20%. but the foundation the national archives workk together to figure out a way around them and limit how much space is technically considered part of the national archives space, what systems are involved. it worked out to be maybe five haor 10% rather than 20.
6:56 pm
turn the george w. bush they opted to 40 and then 60 and the anticipation of the endowment funds generating enough income to cover the cost of the libraries. out might be that 60% is part of what scared off the obama foundation from entering into a partnership with the national archives. it's negative we do not have a building to store the records. i think it's a positive we don't have a building wherees the national archives of giving seal of approval to any presidential television or former president weatherby trump, obama, or biden. it echoed like to make the point it could be wrong but it is my understanding that the archives was not unhappy with obama's decision to not have a library that was in the family of archives manager libraries.
6:57 pm
in fact they couldn't encourage this as a model for the future. i don't think it's really the case the archives is pushing for a greater role in presidentialen libraries. my senses that would happen to have been relegated to a private entity in which i guess artifacts, papers and letters to be alone. sue vicki both mentioned obama. this brings us to again another story about presidential record the public does not understand very well. that is the change in the entire sense of how we preserve records now that the majority are not physical records their electronic records. my understanding was the obama foundation will give axis to elect tronic records in some form but not in a place shifted go to a particular
6:58 pm
site at the obama foundation. can you explain a little bit to us about what is changed in particular with the obama records? >> in terms of access is still the same thing. you cannot have records of first five years. i don't know of any relaxation of the restrictions yet that might've happened. as far as we know it will be 12 years from the time he leaves office. when it comes to the processing and the digitization it's quite new. some of the details i find alarming. which is that the obama foundation is paying for the digitization of the paper records. according to the memorandum of understanding archives release the obama foundation chooses the vendor sets up the circumstances in coordination with the national archives. but in the past, if a foundation wants to do something say in exhibit or sell something in a gift shop
6:59 pm
or have a public event, if they are paying for it to get to call the tune. it's my understanding the national archives is giving over the process of digitization to the obamati foundation. the thing that is more alarming to me is the memorandum signed between the obama administration in nara, the national archives cannot publicly discuss the memorandum understands without the expressed agreement of the obama foundation. i just urge you to note they say this is now the new model they wish to pursue, means they'll like to have the same model in the sameer memorandum of understanding with whatever organization the trump family decides to create. announcement starts to become even more alarming to me. spit mecca packages at a probably obvious point but it bears emphasis, we are tongue but records that belong to us. the fact that they may be
7:00 pm
housed in a physical library or a virtual library, or are being discussed about how a private library is going to deal with these records in some way, does notot change the fact that they belong to the people. they are not personal records. that is where the biggest impacts of the presidential records act. because president nixon took his papers when he left in congress realize, there's this assumption they were federal records. there is nothing codified in law made them records of the united states. and so one of but not the only key focuses of the presidential records act was declared these are records of the united states. so when were talking, i think anthony is right to bring out these private agreements and the extent to which they are done in secret or have limitations we don't know
7:01 pm
about them that should trouble us. these are our rackets are not present obama's personal records. they belong to the government, they belong to the people. mecca went to follow-up on that i want to ask anthony in terms of the memorandum of understanding. and it not being public or the national archives not being able to comment on it. what kind of things would you be worried about are in that document that would be troubling? >> the documents been released. my questions are what is the process? the presidential records acts of the present leaves office the national archive gets physical and legal custody of the records break during the digitization process for the esphysical records, who has physical custody? does the foundation have it? is the foundation paying for private vendors to be doing this on government property? i know there has been a lot of concern over the years with me in other commenters the
7:02 pm
presidential library there intermingled with the national archives. out of it's still the case but until several years ago that the library foundation of national archive e-mail addresses. and phone numbers. and so were they generating federal records? were they private records? who is paying for that? when you apply those problems the obama's decision, trump and anyone you get back to ann's point which of these are our records. not the personal property of the president. not them during that 12 year periodre are the personal property. they are ours as soon as you present leaves office. sue mecca want to follow with and as well. essentially the public's notion ofer ownership. back when nixon could have potentially clean his archives of things, there is outrage at
7:03 pm
that idea. as we have moved towards electronic records, heavily fun to had an innate level change what it record is in a way that we are not outraged if it disappears? we always want to use in some cases that makes us disappear. is there a broader understanding of records used to happen at this point? >> i think it's funny because one of the early concerns in the federal records act which is the counterpart they gave agencies the authority to dispose of records because they understood that otherwise they would bebe overwhelmed with paper. we sort of have the reverse now. the amount of paper records is
7:04 pm
diminishing i expect pretty dramatically. the amount of electronic records has increased exponentially. however it is a lot easier to store and accessle electronic records then it is paper records. that is not really answer your question, but, members of the public, we send e-mail, we intermingle if you're doing work it's not unusual you might throw in especially during the pandemic hi, how are you got your vaccine yet? by the way, and presumably the white house says the same thing. they send a lot of electronic records that on their face may not seem veryth significant. i think the differences with the white house, with the president you can't always
7:05 pm
assess the significance of the presidents records in a contemporary timeframe. a lot of what becomes interesting is time. that is why the fact the provision that allows the president currently to dispose of records that are considered not permanent, is really misplacing needs to go. there has to be a default that everything that comes out of the white house everything that's presidential records needs to be preserved. we leave to the archivist after the president has left office to sift through and t decide whether or not in fact, maybe they don't need to keep every letter and e-mail that was sent from someone outside the whiteth house. but the real risk, i would rather air on the side of preserving too much then
7:06 pm
preserving too little. these fears are even heightened with president trump. as i have been saying, i believe in my core, there is just a huge hole in his historical record. we are not going to be able to fill it. i don't know if it is a missed mass to answer? directly between the public's perception and reality, i think when you're talking about the president and the white house you are talking about a particularly valuable set of records. you're overinclusive in what you preserve, that is a far better outcome to be underinclusive. >> forgive the naïve question, you have me thinking here off-the-cuff. if only to look at my records you'd find i may have initiated conversation on e-mail followed up on facebook messenger and finish the job
7:07 pm
on whatsapp. three different systems, three different change of dialogue. is there anything in the way administrations are required to keep records that bring coherence to how they preserve them or present them? suspect the law requires if it's a record has to be preserved regardless ofed media. while i think nora's guidance is sometimes lagged in terms of the specific technologies, i think it is very clear that pra and fra made it very clear that regardless of the format digital or paper, it is a record. its character as a record does not change depending upon the media. problem is that certain technologies just create real challenges from eight records preservation perspective. disappearing apps obviously create a problem.
7:08 pm
but so do things like whatsapp and other applications that you use in your personal phone people may not know this but installed in the white house, and it has been there through several presidents now, is a system thaten automatically captures every e-mail that is sent on an eop e-mail system. the individual user does not get to make a decision or a choice about whether it is presidential record or not. that decision is just automatically made and everything is preserved. so the real problem comes in if you obviously use a private e-mail account, if you use your phone and a whatsapp on your phone, it's not going to be captured. you have to actually take steps to ensure that it is captured. i think the problem is too often, employees either don't know they have to takeem thisor extra steps, don't do it don't
7:09 pm
capture enough. it is not just enough to capture -- to screenshot the particular message. you also have to capture what's called the metadata. you have to capture attachments. in fact, this was a lawsuit that i was part of that we filed right at the end of the trump administration. they had an official white house policy that allowed them for whatsapp to only screenshots that that was good enough it was said no it's not fair if you do a screenshot you're still not collecting a lot that day that that under nara guidance is record data. >> we're getting awfully close to the end pretty want to ask lisa there any more questions from the folks were listening in. and if not, i have one really quick question i went to ask anthony to may begin a closing, from both of our
7:10 pm
panelists. mention at one point you are working for memberki of congress who is looking at the relationship between the presidential foundation and nara. i do think the pressure to not have those? what particular things what lines of questions would been presidential foundation? >> amply that was in 2010. the d democrats lost the house in 2010 and flip to the republicans. 2011 they enthusiastically bought all of the presidential allibrary directors to washington to hold a republican held conference on america's treasures, the presidentialme libraries. the foundations were there, that a very long hearing the same day. so the concern was not the public not learn about the concern i believe was the public not learn what actually happens. what the relationships are now much political pressure not
7:11 pm
just on the content of exhibits but the speakers series participantss but also the conduct, the main focus of presidential libraries. i never had a historian. lasted eight months. the lbj foundation did not like the fact is operating the library according to the law. he's operating in a nonpartisan way there is a lot more than theth older library still records that need to be processed and opened decisions have to be made by federal employees. i got a federal employee fired for no cause other than good
7:12 pm
faith of the law. i think that is the short answer to what kind of lines of questioning should been at the top of the hour. comment, final thoughts. anything that we have talked about, advise, how things have changed, anthony? we met i think the two things if you're interested party fear stakeholder member of advocate two things you should be concerned about effort and preservation legislative reform is been about how they preserve thosee records.
7:13 pm
once they get preserve the guard the national archives and spent far more money on celebrating presidents than hiring archivist for the records for the next step really for all organizations interested in having access to presidential records is taking the victories from preservation fights and bring it more towards axis. the second part is, don't consider because the national archives have a unique and historic mission that everyone who leaves the organization over time is dedicated so to that mission. i think nara gets a pass. for example the department of energy had a private foundation run by exxon mobil inside its facilities and organizations working for upsetble energy will be aboutt that. the problem i think is mostly stakeholders in the national archives subsystem are folks who need the national
7:14 pm
archives. they are researchers, government advocates their litigators they need to have it maintain a good relationship. so it is a struggle between criticizing too much and letting things slide. don't think it's just about preservation. i don't think the national archives isin part of the problem getting access to presidential records. >> and? >> living with the legal niceties of the presidential record act and how it works. i wonder if you can step back and really pick up a theme you founded in your articles that lisa mentioned at the onset when she introduced you. it's easy to forget now that we are in homer times, but we just went through, but i think is a historically unprecedented attack on our democracy. think the verdict is still out how much our democracy has held, we will see that.
7:15 pm
i think to have a president who refused to participate, not only refused to participate in the peaceful transfer of power but challenge that very institution. i think it raises enormousha questions. over talk about presidential libraries and think the first question is how much does president trump deserve to have a library? i would answer no. it's not just a question of if he deserves it, i think the risk that he will use that kind of an institution to perpetuate lies and untruths that really are soo incredibly harmful to our democracy is just too great of a risk. and i think it is different in kind. yes, we've had presidents before president nixon comes to mind, he's not thes only one who has tested our democracy. but nothing like this.
7:16 pm
i think the other question picking up what anthony said is a question of access. and he is right, a lot of our litigation and legislative reforms the groups i've been involved with have to do with ensuringng preservation. that axis is a real key. i think really when it comes to president trump's records, lead to fundamentally rethink the idea that there should be some kind of a hole on when the public can getet access. i think for us to move past and u make sure what happens under president trump never happens again, we need to know what happens and we need to know why itto happened. and the only way we find that out is to get access to his records. i am not naïve enough to think that a statute aimed at his records could pass. there was a statute aimed
7:17 pm
specifically at president nixon's records. and it had bipartisan support and it passed. i don't think we would getet that today, and that troubles me. we are going to have to look at other ways to counter what i think will continue to be a disinformation campaign. and they thought that the archives and the records of this administration could be used to further that disinformation campaign, troubles me greatly. thank you. you've brought up a word at the very end of our conversation, disinformation which i think the is the key one we need to be thinking about right now. it certainly was for me realizing trump is not just a president who wanted to burnish hiso record. maybe fudge a few facts here or there, put a spin on things but has initiated a new era in how americans respond and
7:18 pm
that's disinformation.ub that's for another panel so they not only can get into today but i'm going to turn it back to lisa for a few closing remarks. specs thanks i want to thank the panelists, this is been a quick moving conversation. i would just point out we do have a clarification from nara about the difference between a presidential library and a building. nara views the library as the documents regardless of where those documents reside. i do think we are in a new era. as a public we need to demand more actual information, more factual information recognize these facts the splint to all of us. we need to also demand more of congress. this is a balance of power
7:19 pm
issue. i think congress needs to figure out a way to enforce the laws we currently have in addition to reforming the laws so they are stronger so that we capture all of the information for future we can analyze it and other standards. because it's going to take a long time i think to analyze and understand all this. waiting access to all of them. when each demand that. again i want to thank all of you. really appreciate your time and enjoy the rest of your week. thanks. >> thank you. ♪ ♪ see spence washington journal every day we take your calls live on the air on the news of the day we discussed policy issues that impact you. coming up tuesday morning read wilson of the hill discusses the new census bureau numbers mean for reapportionment. and then randy capps of the
7:20 pm
migration policy institute will talk about the biden administration's approach to the number of refugees allowed into the u.s. and jim executive director of the american association of state highway and transportation officials infrastructure proposals being considered in congress. also cynthia harmsen of the wilson center on the migrant search on the northern triangle countries in the biden administration is dealing with it. watch see spence washington journal live at seven eastern tuesday morning. and be sure to wash washington journal saturday morning at eight eastern or a life study session for high school students preparing to take the advanced placement u.s. history exam with jason stacy and matthew ellington. co-authors of fabric of a nation a brief history of skills and sources for the ap u.s. history course will take your calls, facebook contacts texan tweets about the event. ♪ ♪
7:21 pm
>> ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ as he approaches is 100 than office president biden will give us first address to a joint session of congress wednesday night, live coverage begins 8:00 p.m. eastern with the president's address at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, online at, or listen live on the c-span radio app. >> energy secretary jennifer granholm doing political playbook for virtual discussion on president biden's infrastructure and


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on