Former President Trump has reportedly chosen Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff, and the defense lawyers from his first impeachment case to handle requests for his White House records, according to reports.
The documents are now the property of the National Archives and Records Administration.
While all outgoing presidents select representatives to handle administration records, the choices are notable as Trump heads into a second impeachment trial, Business Insider first reported.
Besides Meadows, the representatives include Pat Cipollone, former White House counsel; John Eisenberg, former National Security Council legal adviser; Steven Engel, who headed the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel; and Patrick Philbin, Scott Gast, and Michael Purpura, who all served as deputy White House counsels and defended Trump during his impeachment trial, the outlet reported, citing the National Archives press office.
“The people on this list were the same lawyers from the White House counsel’s office who took extreme positions against Congress and refused to produce docs in the first impeachment,” Neil Eggleston, former White House counsel in the Obama White House, told the outlet. “We can only hope that they’ll recognize the duty of the administration to cooperate in the second.”
Business Insider reported the current White House, Congress and the judiciary have access to the records but Trump’s representatives can try to withhold it by claiming executive privilege as his lawyers did to the House during the first impeachment.
The records could also be integral to any other legal issues Trump faces post-impeachment.
The documents won’t be available for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests until 2026 and some documents could be restricted for another seven years after that, according to Business Insider.
Trump was first impeached by the House in December 2019 on “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” charges over a phone call with the president of Ukraine in which he allegedly asked the country to investigate his soon-to-be rival, Joe Biden. Trump was acquitted by the Senate last February.
He was impeached by the House a second time on Jan. 13 for alleged “incitement of insurrection” after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol following a Trump rally on Jan. 6, the day Congress was certifying the Dec. 14 Electoral College vote that favored then-President-elect Biden.
Since Trump’s term ended Wednesday, for the first time in history, the Senate impeachment trial of a U.S. president won’t start until after he’s already left office.
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