WASHINGTON (AP) – that was the setup for “National treasure”, movie in Nicolas Cage’s character tries to steal the Declaration of Independence. It has long been among the most visited tourist destinations. in the capital of country.
But what does the National Archives and Records Administration never was – until now – this is the locus of a criminal the study of a former the president.
But this is exactly where the agency found itself, sending an appeal to the FBI. stating that 15 boxes were recovered from former Florida President Donald Trump home in January contained dozens of the documents with secret markings.
“I don’t think Donald Trump has politicized the National Archives,” said Tim Naftali, first director of Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. “I think what Donald Trump did was crossing red lines that public servants should have responded to.”
Those government workers work out of in public eye, behind marble facade of Archives building in downtown Washington. It is there, behind Hollywood storylines, that a key ingredient of home to the federal bureaucracy, with dozens of employees acting as custodians of American history, keeping the records that range from mundane to monumental.
Looking at the National Archives, history as well as how it’s over up in middle of political whirlpool:
mission of National Archives, which was founded by Congress in 1934 sounds straight: to be national record-keeper. It’s a challenge that’s only grown more difficult over time.
While the Archive guards the precious national documents such as the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and bill of Rightsthis is just public face of their extensive collection that spans 13 billion pages of text and 10 million maps, diagrams and drawings, as well as dozens of of millions of photographs, films and other records.
In addition to your work in The Washington Archives oversees 13 presidential libraries and 14 regional archives across the country.
ARCHIVIST FOR THE NATION
Archivist of United States responsible for agency management. lastThe Senate confirms leader David Ferriero., who stepped down in April after 12 years of service under three presidents.
Ferriero recalled in April interview with Washington Post how he watched from windows of Archives building on January 6, 2021 as a crowd of Trump supporters march past on them way break through the capitol. He called it the worst day of his life.
More than year he later decided to retire, in part because of concerns about the country’s political trajectory.
“It’s important to me that this administration replace me,” he told the Post. “I concerned about what will happen in 2024. I don’t want it left to… unknown of presidential elections”.
His Deputy Debra Steidel Wallacting archivist, while President Joe Biden’s nominee Collin Joy Shoganwaiting for the Senate confirmation process this fall. Archivist serves in in role until he decided to retire.
“There are NO THINGS LIKE SUMIM”
Archives serve final resting-place for in work of every White House.
After the Watergate scandal and Nixon’s resignation, Congress passed legislation in from 1978 to ensure that all the affairs of the president are written, electronic material created by the president, vice president or any other member of executive branch in en official containers – canned and inverted over archived at the end of administration. The law states that the president’s records do not belong to him or her, but property of federal government and should be treated as such.
When new administration begins White House staff receive pamphlet on law and step-on-step instructions on how to save records. Preservation requirements cover a wide range of items, including gifts and letters from foreign leaders. “There are no such things as souvenirs,” said Lee White, chief executive director of National Coalition for Story.
In addition, the law requires that even if in officePresident or any member of this administration should first ask for advice of archivist before destroying the record practice Trump and his aides reportedly ignored him for four years in office.
Everything he writes down essentially presidential record. it’s not his property”White said. “It’s so basic to the whole concept of why the Presidential Records Act was created.”
“On midday on Inauguration day, guardianship transfers to the archivist. Period. Probably no. It’s the law, he said. added.
rules of The Presidential Records Act is central to the FBI’s investigation. of Trump.
After Trump left officeThe archives found that the records from his White House were missing. What followed lasted a year back-and forward between legal counsel and Trump’s lawyers, which led to in voluntary return of 15 boxes of presidential records. Upon opening the boxes, the agency found that 14 of they contained secret documents and information.
Crime potential recognition agency made unprecedented decision refer the case to the Department of Justice. What move ended in Search of Trump Mar-a-Lago Resort in August. FBI agents recovered more over 100 secret records, including those that were hidden in in former presidential office among personal items.
After a search on August 8, the Archive and its staff were bombed. with threats and accusations. acting archivist in an email to agency staff noted their work is non-partisan and urged them to stick firmly to their mission.
“The National Archives was in the spotlight of close attention for months, especially this week, with a lot of people attributing political overtones to our actions,” Wall wrote. in letter dated 24 August. “NARA has received messages from public accusation us of corruption and collusion against in former President, or congratulations to NARA for ‘bringing it down.’”
“Neither is accurate or desirable,” she said. added.
The wall worked for more more than three decades in the archives, starting as a trainee archivist and working his way up to second in line. She said in her letter that, despite the political storm around the agency, employees must continue their work. work “Without mercy and fear, in service of our democracy.”
BATTLE TO CONFIRM ARCHIVISTS?
Five days before the raid on Mar-a-Lago Biden announced he nominated Shogan, head of the White House Historical Association. who previously spent a decade working at the library of Congress like next archivist.
Nominees for in post usually confirmed without controversy or fanfare. But not likely this time.
Shogan charged confirmation process as Republicans demand DOJ investigation responses and role in alleviating it. BUT confirmation hearings this fall have not yet been scheduled, but may end up be extremely controversial.
Republicans in The House of Representatives and the Senate pushed for more information about how Archives made in decision refer the Trump case to federal investigators.
Rep. James Comer of Kentucky Chief Republican on House Oversight and Reform Committee sent a letter Thursday requires the Archives review body to provide documents and reports on the case.
“Transparency is especially important in in post- the era of the pandemic, when Americans lack confidence in our institutions,” Comer wrote.
So far, the National Archives has turned down requests from both Democrats and Republicans. on committees that control the agency, instead sending them to the Ministry of Justice, where an investigation is now under way.
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