The Presidential Records Act of 1978 legislated that beginning January 1981, all records of former presidents belong to the US government and must be released to the public five years after a president leaves office, with provisions allowing the period to be extended to 12 years.
Reagan was elected in November 1980 and sworn in on January 20, 1981. During his second term, he extended the period for keeping his documents from public view, ordering that his records not be released to the public until January 20, 2001, twelve years after he would leave office. On January 16, 1989, four days before he left office, Reagan issued an executive order superseding the law duly passed by congress and dictated that a current president can continue to delay the release of records beyond 12 years.
George Bush was sworn in on January 20, 2001. Two months later, pursuant to the authority Reagan had given him to defy a constitutionally-passed law, Bush further extended the release-date for Reagan’s records to June 21, 2001. Bush also included a directive that the delay apply to the records of Reagan’s vice-president, Bush’s father.
In June of 2001, Bush extended the release-date for Reagan’s records to August 31, 2001. On August 31, 2001, Bush extended the release-date until November. In November 2001, Bush issued a new executive order permanently limiting access to most records of all past presidents.
But Bush was still required by law to at least maintain a record of all communications, even if he had managed to flout the law duly passed by the people’s representatives.
In December 2006, Bush fired seven federal prosecutors in what was widely seen as politically-motivated terminations. During a 2007 congressional investigation, it was revealed that Bush had circumvented the Presidential Records Act by using private servers for his email communications. Instead of using encrypted “dot gov” domains on secure government servers, Bush had used the following:
1.) gwb43.com, a domain owned by the Republican National Committee and hosted on a private server owned by and set up by the RNC;
2.) georgewbush.com, a domain owned by Bush-Cheney ’04, Inc. and hosted on a private server owned by the Bush-Cheney campaign; and,
3.) rnchq.org, another domain owned by the RNC, stored on RNC private servers.
As a result of the investigation, the Bush Administration admitted that it had “lost” 5 million emails from the period of January 2003 through July 2005.
We invaded Iraq in March 2003…
…after Bush’s three-month campaign to get the public to go along with it.
In 2009, forensic IT personnel working for President Obama found 22 million emails deleted by Bush.
No one knows if that represents all of them.
And that doesn’t begin to tell us how many may have been deleted from the RNC and Bush-Cheney private servers.
And we know the private servers contained sensitive government secrets because Bush invoked his order about keeping secrets secret, when he refused to comply with congressional subpoenas.
President Obama issued an executive order in 2009 reversing Bush’s executive order. But between the executive orders dictated by Bush and Reagan, they effectively kept Reagan’s records secret for more than 20 years from the time Reagan left office.
The Bush emails which the National Archives did manage to obtain number more than 200 million. But we still haven’t seen those emails because we can’t until January 20, 2021, twelve years after Bush left office.
Yet here we are…
…talking about the content of Hillary’s emails…
…before President Obama has even left office.
And nothing was ever done about Bush using private servers easily hackable and open to view by any RNC employee with access to the main server.
Yet here we are…
…pitching conniption fits over who may have seen what on Hillary’s server.
A white male signed an executive order allowing future presidents to shield his records from public view through intermittent requests. Another white male signed an executive order permanently shielding his own records and those of three previous white males and their white male VPs. That same white male mishandled classified information by using easily-hacked private servers open to near-public view. That same white male destroyed more than 20 million emails that relate to the crucial post-9/11 period and the drum-beat for the 2003 Iraq War and the twin 2004 election initiatives of scaremongering over terrorism and artificially propping-up the US economy.
And not nary a conservative eye was cast toward Holy God in an overblown convulsive fit over “emails.” Nary a fist was pounded into the pavement. Nary a foot was kicked into the air. Nary a preacher bemoaned “things going on in our country today.”
Nary a cock crowed “crooked white male.”
This has never been about e-mail.
Not about securing; not about preserving it.
It’s about privilege; about white males losing it.
So the first black president, they demonize;
The first woman president, they criminalize.
But it won’t work.
At a minimum, Hillary will get 274 electors.
And that means Trump can’t win.
No discovery of emails or content of emails will change that salient fact.
Equality has won. Justice has won. Respect has won. Acceptance has won. Love has won.
It’s morning in America.
Good Morning, Madam President.