Headline RoundupJune 14th, 2023

Could the ‘Clinton Sock Drawer’ Case Exonerate Trump?

Summary from AllSides News Team

Former President Donald Trump is citing a legal case involving former President Bill Clinton, a handful of audiotapes, and a sock drawer in his defense against his federal indictment. What is the “Clinton sock drawer” case, and is the precedent it set relevant to Trump’s charges?

The Clinton Sock Case: Clinton was interviewed 79 times during his presidency by historian Taylor Branch. These interviews were recorded by the White House, and Clinton reportedly kept the tapes in a sock drawer and took them when he left office. In 2010, the conservative non-profit organization Judicial Watch sued the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in an effort to get the tapes classified as presidential records. A judge threw out the case, siding against Judicial Watch and ruling that “NARA does not have the authority to designate materials as ‘Presidential records,’ NARA does not have the tapes in question, and NARA lacks any right, duty, or means to seize control of them.”

Not Relevant: Legal experts quoted in analyses from Reuters (Center bias) and Politifact (Lean Left bias) drew distinctions between the sock drawer tapes and top-secret classified documents, determining the case is not relevant.

Relevant: The attorney for Judicial Watch wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal Opinion (Lean Right bias), arguing the precedent set in the sock case meant a president “may take with him whatever records he chooses at the end of his term.”

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