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EXPLAINER: What the law says about presidential records

EXPLAINER: What the rules and regulations says concerning presidential records

WASHINGTON (AP) — Revelations of a violently eight-hour gap inside official records of then-President Donald Trump's phone calls on the day of last year's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol are raising fresh questions concerning the diligence — or lack thereof — of the former president's record keeping.

The committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot has identified a gap inside records that stretches a little following 11 a.m. to concerning 7 p.m. that day, with every one other accompanied by involves White House calls, according to set of two people familiar accompanied by the matter.

Trump didn't straight away remark Tuesday, nevertheless observation surrounding the gap comes alongside a separate potential legal with every one other accompanied by political sore head for the ex-president — the recuperation earlier this year of 15 boxes, including records containing classified details from Trump's White House tenure, from his Mar-a-Lago vacation place of residence inside Florida.

A look at how the rules and regulations regards presidential records:

WHAT IS THE PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS ACT?

The 1978 rules and regulations requires the preservation of White House documents while possessions of the U.S. government.

The rules and regulations was passed inside the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, when a collection of secret tapes that President Richard Nixon had considered destroying played a defining role. The tapes revealed that Nixon tried to cover up the bungled burglary of Democratic National Committee headquarters. He chose to resign by preference than face impeachment with every one other accompanied by removal from office.

HOW MIGHT THAT APPLY HERE?

In theory, the rules and regulations would need the preservation of emails, text messages with every one other accompanied by phone records — no indeed matter the device used for the communication, said presidential historian Lindsay Chervinsky.

The difficulty is, there's no indeed real mechanism to enforce the law, which by meaning depends on the goodwill of presidents with every one other accompanied by their staff to police their own record keeping.

"It does need a sure element of good trust with every one other accompanied by type of an integrity system, with every one other accompanied by when that crumbles, you tin see the limitations," Chervinsky said.

Even so, the Jan. 6 committee is investigating the gap while it works to small portion with every one other Trump's communications earlier to with every one other accompanied by throughout the insurrection, when pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.

House investigators are looking at whether the president was communicating throughout that hour dated into and not here of other means, maybe into and not here of personal cellphones or some other sort of communication — such while a phone passed to him by an aide.

HAS TRUMP FACED PRIOR ATTENTION OVER HIS RECORD-KEEPING?

In a word, yes. After it was revealed that Trump had taken boxes of classified materials accompanied by him to Mar-a-Lago, House lawmakers opened an investigation with every one other accompanied by the National Archives with every one other accompanied by Records Administration reportedly asked the Justice Department to look into the matter.

Asked concerning the issue, Attorney General Merrick Garland has said only that the Justice Department will do what it always does — assess the facts with every one other accompanied by the rules and regulations "and lay clasp of it from there."

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Associated Press author Chris Megerian contributed to this report.

Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

EXPLAINER: What the rules and regulations says concerning presidential records

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