An attorney for former President Donald Trump called out what he said was a “cheap shot” from NBC‘s Chuck Todd while discussing Trump’s handling of classified documents.
During a Sunday appearance on “Meet the Press,” Todd pressed Trump attorney James Trusty over Trump’s handling of classified documents after leaving the White House, asking if the former president was attempting to get a settlement similar to that awarded to the estate of former President Richard Nixon for records over two decades ago.
“Does Donald Trump think he should get paid… because Nixon got paid $18 million,” Todd asked.
“That’s a cheap shot,” Trusty responded.
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At issue were statements Trump recently made comparing his case to that of Nixon, citing the Presidential Records Act and arguing that the Nixon estate was paid $18 million for records related to him while Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home was raided by federal authorities amid talks for Trump to turn over documents in his possession.
“This is the Presidential Records Act. I have the right to take stuff. Do you know that they ended up paying Richard Nixon, I think, $18 million for what he had? They did the Presidential Records Act. I have the right to take stuff. I have the right to look at stuff. But they have the right to talk, and we have the right to talk. This would have all been worked out. All of a sudden, they raided Mar-a-Lago, viciously raided Mar-a-Lago,” Trump said during an appearance on Fox News last week.
But Todd accused Trump’s legal team of “misrepresenting the law” during his discussion with Trusty, arguing that the Presidential Records Act was passed after Nixon left office.
“Nixon has a case because a law wasn’t in place,” Todd said.
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The Presidential Records Act, which was passed in 1978, changed how presidential records are handled, making records such as documents legally public and not the private property of former presidents.
But Trusty argued that recent former presidents have had similar cases to that of Trump, though their handling of presidential materials was not nearly as closely scrutinized.
“Let’s go more modern day, because you’re right about the timing of the Presidential Records Act,” Trusty responded. “Bill Clinton had multiple recordings he kept in a sock drawer, of his presidency, while in the Oval Office…. he basically said ‘hey that stays in my sock drawer, it’s personal’ and NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) didn’t blink.”
Trusty also pointed to the case of former President Barack Obama, arguing that Obama kept “millions of documents,” thousands of which were classified, in a furniture store in Illinois, something that NARA evidently did not take issue with.
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“This has rotten underpinning in terms of bureaucrats being politicized followed up by an all too eager DOJ to criminalize something that is not a crime,” Trusty said.