A judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by historians and watchdog groups to ensure the White House does not destroy, misfile, or omit records of President Trump’s calls and meetings with foreign leaders. U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson said that Congress would have to change the Presidential Records Act in order to compel the White House to preserve the records. “The Court is bound by Circuit precedent to find that it lacks authority to oversee the President’s day-to-day compliance with the statutory provisions involved in this case,” Jackson wrote, referencing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. “This opinion will not address, and should not be interpreted to endorse, the challenged practices; nor does it include any finding that the Executive Office is in compliance with its obligations,” she added. Congress ultimately has the power to “revisit its decision to accord the executive such unfettered control or to clarify its intentions,” she said.
The lawsuit was filed in May by government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the National Security Archive at George Washington University, and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. The groups suing alleged that Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky at the center of Congress’ impeachment inquiry revealed record-keeping practices “specifically designed to conceal the president’s abuse of his power.”