Democrats demand Trump officials preserve records amid transition

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Nearly two dozen House committee chairs sent letters to Trump administration officials Tuesday demanding they adhere to records preservation rules ahead of the transfer of power next year.

The Democrats’ push targeted over 50 federal agencies and departments, including the Executive Office of the President at the White House, and directed recipients to comply with the applicable federal law and regulations, as well as preserve records that may be subject to congressional subpoenas or investigations.

“Over the last four years, the Administration obstructed numerous congressional investigations by refusing to provide responsive information,” lawmakers wrote. “You are obligated to ensure that any information previously requested by Congress—and any other information that is required by law to be preserved—is saved and appropriately archived in a manner that is easily retrievable.”

The federal government has stretched the limits of recordkeeping rules under President Donald Trump — whose personal habit of tearing up documents that cross his desk led to staffers taping them back up to comply with the Presidential Records Act.

In other instances, top officials have used personal email accounts or encrypted messaging apps to conduct government business, complicating the archival effort and potentially impeding the incoming administration’s ability to take the helm of the vast federal apparatus.

The Trump administration has also stymied Democrats on a number of oversight fronts since they took the House in 2018, particularly during the impeachment process when the White House rebuffed a series of congressional requests for testimony and documents.

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