Lifetime Ban On Trump From Holding Presidency Again Raised By Former Prosecutor

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As the scandal surrounding the handling of records from Donald Trump’s presidential administration continues to grow, former Watergate special prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks outlined on MSNBC over the weekend how penalties for what’s been done here could include Trump never being able to hold public office again. A full 15 boxes of government records were revealed to have been transported to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida before later being recovered by the National Archives, and that agency has confirmed that classified material was among what went to Florida. Asked “how much trouble could [Trump] be in here for removing classified files from the White House,” Wine-Banks replied as follows:

‘There are laws that prohibit that, and in the past we have had examples of officials who have taken top-secret documents or classified documents, and have been charged with crimes… This is illegal to take away — it’s government property. Right after Watergate, the Presidential Records Act was passed, and [it] was passed because of Nixon’s attempts to conceal documents and to destroy documents… These 15 cartons of documents that were taken that are public property — they do not belong to Donald Trump, they belong to the American people, and should have been given to the Archives when he left the White House. So that could be a big problem, and the penalty for that includes never being able to hold public office — forfeiture of office and barring from future office.’

Mishandling classified information is a serious offense. Watch below:

In a recent letter to leaders of the House Oversight Committee, David S. Ferriero — the head of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) — wrote that his agency had already been in touch with the Justice Department over the presence of classified material in what was taken to Mar-a-Lago. As Ferriero explained it, “NARA has identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes… Because NARA identified classified information in the boxes, NARA staff has been in communication with the Department of Justice.” For what could be assumed to be the obvious reasons, the exact nature of the classified material that was included in the troves of documents taken to Mar-a-Lago and then taken back by federal authorities is not clear. Ferriero wrote to oversight panel leaders that “NARA staff are in the process of inventorying the contents of the boxes, which we expect to complete by February 25,” adding that “[because] the records in the boxes are subject to the Presidential Records Act (PRA), any request for information regarding the content of the records will need to be made in accordance with” a certain section of that law.