The White House says President Joe Biden was not notified before the FBI searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
Agents searched the former president’s house Monday as part of a federal investigation into documents taken from the White House.
Norm Eisen, a former White House ethics czar, explains how presidential documents must be handled.
“A former president should not have classified and top-secret documents, unless the current president and the current administration have authorized it,”
The historic FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago was related to Trump’s possible mishandling of presidential documents, potentially even some that were classified that he might have taken to his Florida home -- a move that experts say would be way out-of-bounds.
Even unclassified White House documents, experts say, are supposed to be handled through a certain process and are not supposed to leave the government’s possession -- even when the president who generated those documents leaves the White House.
But taking even personal correspondence when a president leaves the White House, without clearing it first, is not usually allowed, experts say.
“It was addressed to an American president. Those originals have to be preserved by law. Now that is the kind of thing where a president could say, ‘Gosh, I would love to make sure you have a copy and borrow the original. I’d like to frame it for my post-presidential office or for an exhibit in my presidential library,’ and you can have that conversation as long as the law is complied with,” Eisen said.
But that also has to be cleared by the White House and the national archives, something Trump may not have done.