In the 'danger zone': Legal experts shed light on unique law that could block Trump from returning to the White House

In the 'danger zone': Legal experts shed light on unique law that could block Trump from returning to the White House
Donald Trump speaking at an event hosted by Students for Trump and Turning Point Action at Dream City Church in Phoenix, Arizona in June 2020, Gage Skidmore

Legal experts are shedding light on an odd law that could bar former President Donald Trump from returning to the White House. According to HuffPost, the former embattled president may have violated a law that could subsequently destroy any chance of him winning the presidency again.

During an appearance on MSNBC, former prosecutor Glenn Kirschner weighed in on Trump's alleged decision to remove crates of documents from the White House. The former president reportedly transported those documents to his Mar-a-Lago golf club in Florida where they were allegedly destroyed.

While most people would assume this violation would fall under the Presidential Records Act, Kirschner explained how it specifically aligns with 18 U.S. Code § 2071, which restricts official records from being concealed, removed, or destroyed.

“Not only is that a 3-year federal felony but importantly anybody who is convicted under that statute is prohibited from holding federal office,” he said.

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According to The Daily Beast, a number of other legal experts have also weighed in with similar opinions. Nikhel Sus, a senior attorney for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), explained the purpose of the law.

“This law was designed to rein in a corrupt president like Nixon. But it still entrusts the president alone with compliance of the law,” said Sus. “Laws really need to have consequences to have an impact, because otherwise, if it’s just based on norms, it’s not going to cut it if you’re going to have somebody like Trump come in.”

Lauren Harper, public policy director for the National Security Archive, also noted that many are currently advocating for Congress to provide revisions for the Presidential Records Act.

"It’s a gentleman’s agreement. Therein lies the problem. This underscores the inadequacy of the PRA,” she said. “This is just a clarion call that the PRA continues to need to be strengthened.”

John W. Carlin, also expressed concern about the National Archives' limited authority and why it needs to change.

“At every opportunity that I have, which is limited—I’m in my eighties—I’m going to speak out," he said. "The National Archives needs more authority… to check to see if things are being done right, and have the authority to go to Congress and report. They have nothing now. They can’t get in the White House unless they’re welcome. There needs to be some kind of access, some kind of assurance the records were created, kept, and are on their way to the National Archives.”

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