Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) came to the defense of former President Donald Trump, suggesting that the news that Trump had absconded with White House records is “not a crime.”
Asked why Republicans are not as outraged about the news as they were about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, Rubio claimed he doesn’t “know what’s true and what’s not.”
“Well, first of all, I don’t know what’s true and what’s not because they’ve made up so many stories about Donald Trump over the years that, I mean, things that I just knew were flat out untrue,” Rubio said.
Rubio suggested that mainstream media outlets were trying to smear Trump.
“Nowadays, in the mainstream media, you just need one source to smear Donald Trump, and maybe you don’t even need that. So it’s hard to tell anymore what really happened and what didn’t. The documents that were in Mar-a-Lago by all accounts were turned over,” Rubio said.
He added: “Look, if the process wasn’t followed there, then that there needs to be something that happens about that. It’s not a crime, I don’t believe, but the stuff about flushing paper down the toilet — who knows if that’s even true?”
Last week, news outlets reported that The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) had to retrieve White House record boxes, containing important communication records, gifts, and letters from world leaders, from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
A source who spoke to The Washington Post said that the transfer to Mar-a-Lago was “out of the ordinary … NARA has never had that kind of volume transfer after the fact like this.”
The Washington Post noted that the recovery of materials have “raised new concerns” about adherence to the Presidential Records Act,” legislation governing the official records of Presidents and Vice Presidents created or received after January 20, 1981, and mandating the preservation of all presidential records.
Trump’s advisers have denied that there was any “nefarious intent.” The National Archives declined to comment.
This is far from the first time Trump has been criticized for his adherence to the Presidential Records Act.
In 2018, news outlets reported that Trump would frequently and routinely would tear up papers he received, actions that forced government officials to tape them together for archiving purposes. Additionally, Trump came under fire amid reports that he gave his personal mobile phone number to world leaders and had unrecorded conversations with them completely without U.S. officials’ knowledge.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration alleging that Trump and his senior advisers were failing to meet their obligations under the Presidential Records Act to create and preserve records of top-level meetings with foreign leaders.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.