The Trump Administration is hardly known for its transparency, but what is being reported now goes truly beyond the pale.
From the beginning of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and then throughout his presidency, he has been dogged by accusations of colluding with the Russians to swing elections in his favor, and for improper conversations and relations with foreign leaders.
He was even impeached over the latter.
His administration’s treatment of the American immigration crisis has rightly drawn scrutiny as well. According to reporting from National Public Radio, the Trump Administration is deliberately hiding documents related to both immigration actions and his meetings with foreign leaders until those documents can be destroyed. An NPR report states the following:
“Historians and activists charge that the White House has failed to keep notes of the president’s meetings with foreign leaders, including with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that other papers, including records of alleged abuses of undocumented immigrants, could be destroyed. Immigration activists fear that records relating to the treatment of undocumented immigrants — including detainee deaths, complaints about medical conditions and alleged sexual assault and abuse of detainees — could be destroyed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).”
Emily Creighton is an attorney with the American Immigration Council. Her organization has been busily filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding the treatment of migrants in the Trump Administration’s custody, but the requests have yielded few results, despite the fact that these are public documents. Creighton says it is “mind-boggling” that the Trump Administration could hide these documents, and then have them destroyed in a few decades. She added:
“It’s almost as though we are, you know, erasing our nation’s conscience.”
The Trump Administration’s ICE squad, of course, denies any wrongdoing. The NPR report says:
“In a statement to NPR, ICE says it is following ‘standard government practice’ for determining which documents to retain, and that the ultimate arbiter of how records are preserved is the National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA.”
Also, Trump is literally breaking the law in meeting with foreign leaders, according to historians interviewed for the NPR report:
“Historians are fighting on another front with the Trump administration: over the preservation or, in some cases, the creation of presidential records. President Trump is reportedly averse to having note-takers present at his meetings with foreign leaders and is said to have torn up some notes, in violation of the Presidential Records Act.”
Thomas Blanton is the Director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University. He says, quite bluntly, of the Trump Administration writ large:
“This is an administration that doesn’t want to keep a … record [that] might contradict the president.”
Of course, they don’t want to keep records that contradict Trump. They are afraid of getting in his crosshairs, because they understand that there would be holy hell to pay from not just Trump, but from the Republican Party and his cult-like base of supporters. Their lives would be ruined.
But, in the process of saving themselves from Trump’s ire, it appears they are literally erasing history and endangering and costing lives.