Former American President Donald Trump is likely to face a slew of criminal charges in the wake of the FBI’s raid on his Florida residence at Mar-a-Lago. Legal experts are suggesting that Trump can be disqualified from running for the White House again if the FBI finds classified documents in his possession.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is leading a criminal investigation against Donald Trump for not submitting important documents to the archives while leaving the White House back in January last year. So, the FBI raided Trump’s residence to recover these documents.
In the wake of this raid, Democratic Party elections lawyer Marc Elias, who has worked for the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, took to Twitter to cite a US law that can be used to stop Trump from holding any office for the rest of his life.
Elias mentioned the US Code Title 18, Section 2071, according to which “whoever, having the custody of any such (classified) record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.”
So, the FBI’s raid against Trump, which was supposed to recover classified documents from his Florida residence, can push him into legal trouble, which can disqualify him from running for the White House again.
This is the first time in United States history that the residence of a former president is raided in criminal investigations.
Trump Violated the Presidential Records Act
Former Presidents are bound to comply with the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which was enacted after the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of former US president Richard Nixon. This act suggests that all the presidential records are the property of the US federal government and do not belong to the President himself.
According to this act, every record of former presidents should be preserved by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and no president can destroy the records until allowed by the NARA archivist.
But after Trump’s departure from the White House, the NARA claimed that the former President did not submit all the documents to the archives. This led NARA to start an investigation against Donald Trump last year when it asked the DOJ to facilitate the prosecution.
Even though the NARA asked Trump’s lawyers to return the missing documents, Trump’s team hesitated to comply with the legal requirement. However, earlier this year, Trump returned 15 boxes of his White House records to the NARA, which included some classified information as well.
As NARA kept on asking Trump to return more documents, the former President did not comply, which led the FBI to raid his residence to recover the documents by force.
NARA has even indicated that Trump tore down some important documents without the approval of the archivists, which is a violation of federal law.
This raid comes at a time when Donald Trump was eyeing to make a formal announcement of his 2024 elections ambitions. He has previously called himself the “45th and 47th president” of the United States. Recently, he told reporters that he will soon make his 2024 presidential election announcement, adding that he needs to restore the glory of the United States.