Judge: Courts can’t police Trump administration recordkeeping

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, during a summit on July 16, 2018. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI

Feb. 11 (UPI) — Federal courts do not have authority to enforce a legal requirement that the president of the United States and their advisers keep adequate records of meetings with foreign leaders, a judge has ruled.

Washington, D.C., judge Amy Berman Jackson made the decision Monday in dismissing a suit brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the National Security Archive and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. The groups complained that President Donald Trump and his aides aren’t meeting legally required minimums for record-keeping at such meetings.

The groups filed suit last May, arguing the White House has failed to comply with the Presidential Records Act and the Federal Records Act by sidelining certain State Department officials from high-level White House meetings with foreign officials.

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In a 22-page ruling, Jackson said she lacks authority to “oversee the president’s day-to-day compliance.”

The court’s powers in the dispute, she ruled, are limited to examining underlying White House policies rather than policing its actions. She added, though, her decision doesn’t mean the court endorses White House actions or confirms compliance.

The plaintiffs said the suit was motivated by past meetings with foreign leaders that excluded State Department interpreters, including a 2018 summit in Finland between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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