In a turn of events, Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered the White House to preserve all records of President Donald Trump‘s dealings with foreign leaders.
Jackson is an Obama-era appointee and issued the order on Thursday demanding that the White House not destroy records of “meetings, phone calls, and other communications with foreign leaders.” Jackson’s ruling stems from a lawsuit brought by watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics In Washington.
The lawsuit was filed in May before the Trump-Ukraine scandal and originally accused the Trump White House of not upholding the Presidential Records Act.
The federal judge ordered “all records of efforts by White House or other executive branch officials to return, “claw back, lockdown or recall White House records” on the President’s communications with foreign leaders.
Lawyers from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics In Washington asked Judge Jackson for a restraining order. They based their arguments whistleblower reports of evidence Trump is trying to hide phone calls with foreign leaders from the normal records-keeping database.
The Justice Department fired back Wedneday saying that the White House is already preserving the records mentioned in the lawsuit.
Jackson agreed with a Justice Department response saying that a restraining order was denied in light of the Government’s assurances. The following day, Jackson then issued an order saying that all six categories of records surrounding the lawsuit must be preserved.
The order means that anyone that destroys White House records could be subject to a criminal charge for contempt of court.