When it comes to the National Archives, history has a funny way of repeating itself. And legal experts say a decade-old case over audio tapes that Bill Clinton once kept in his sock drawer may have significant impact over the FBI search of Melania Trump's closet and Donald Trump's personal office.
The case in question is titled Judicial Watch v. National Archives and Records Administration and it involved an effort by the conservative watchdog to compel the Archives to forcibly seize hours of audio recordings that Clinton made during his presidency with historian Taylor Branch.
For pop culture, the case is most memorable for the revelation that the 42nd president for a time stored the audio tapes in his sock drawer at the White House. The tapes became the focal point of a 2009 book that Branch wrote.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington D.C. ultimately rejected Judicial Watch's suit by concluding there was no provision in the Presidential Records Act to force the National Archives to seize records from a former president.
But Jackson's ruling — along with the Justice Department's arguments that preceded it — made some other sweeping declarations that have more direct relevance to the FBI's decision to seize handwritten notes and files Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago. The most relevant is that a president's discretion on what are personal vs. official records is far-reaching and solely his, as is his ability to declassify or destroy records at will.