Former President Donald Trump just officially designated seven of his former officials to serve as the “gatekeepers” for his presidential archives, the Washington Examiner reports.
Trump’s records have been in the possession of the National Archives and Records Administration since Joe Biden’s inauguration last Wednesday, according to the Examiner, but the outlet reports that “[o]utgoing presidents typically choose representatives to handle [records] requests for them.”
With another impeachment trial for Trump just weeks away, those records will indeed be vital.
The presidential records
According to the Examiner, Trump’s last White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, will be joined by a handful of his former impeachment lawyers and other administration officials in handling any requests for the presidential records.
Other names picked by Trump include former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, former legal adviser to the National Security Council (NSC) John Eisenberg, and former chief of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice (DOJ) Steven Engel.
Patrick Philbin, Scott Gast, and Michael Purpura, who worked for Engel as counsels for the White House, were also chosen, the Examiner said.
Notably, President Biden, the court system, and Congress will also all have access to those records, according to the Examiner.
A brutal fight ahead
With the matter of his archives attended to, Trump’s focus will now turn to his upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate. The trial comes after the Democrat-held House passed a single article of impeachment against him earlier this month over “incitement of insurrection,” as The New York Times reported.
The issue now goes to the split Senate, where Democrats hold a technical majority with 50 seats and Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote.
Of course, while it is possible that Democrats could succeed in convicting Trump, the path forward is murky, and the impeachment trial could be a weeks-long affair — and one that won’t even start until next month. The proceedings will undoubtedly put a damper on Biden’s hopes to speedily push through his legislative agenda.
They’re also sure to hurt the message of unity and healing that Biden has been advocating since before he took office last week. And for little gain; Trump’s presidency is over, and many pundits believe he’s unlikely to run for the White House again in 2024.
All in all, the Senate impeachment trial is shaping up to be a lot more consequential for Trump’s foes than for the former president himself. Let the games begin.