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11:34 PM
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Q: Was it illegal for Nancy Pelosi to tear up her copy of the State of the Union address?

SdarbPresident Trump has claimed it was illegal for Nancy Pelosi to tear up her copy of his State of the Union address, as it was an official document. Is there any law stating that it is illegal to tear up official documents, and does this qualify under that law as an official document?

A legal document? Like the weather report that he drew on with a sharpie to mispresent the path of a hurricane?
Like Nixon says, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal. The converse of that is that when the Speaker does it, and the president says it's illegal, it is.
@Acccumulation you mean the "misrepresentation" that was backed by the NOAA? npr.org/2019/09/06/758532041/… "The parent agency of the National Weather Service said late Friday that President Trump was correct when he claimed earlier this week that Hurricane Dorian had threatened the state of Alabama."
@WernerCD: Either you haven't read the article you link to, or you're hoping that your readers won't. I hope it's the former, because the latter would be despicable. Either way, you should delete your comment.
@Ruakh I've read multiple articles over the years... it's not rocket science. Maybe you should reevaluate your attitude and take your own medicine? Your comment adds nothing but negativity and division - which, I guess, you're okay with? Can't bring facts, bring bad attitude?
11:34 PM
I think the claim that is being made is not that it is a copy, but rather that it is the document which is to be archived. Sort of like The Declaration of Independence.. there are copies, but there are also official original documents. I don't have any reason to support this claim. However, if you rephrase the question in terms of asking if this claim has any merit, it may get less opinionated and more factual answers.
Moo
Moo
@WernerCD “The New York Times reported that the NOAA September 6 statement was prompted by a threat from U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to fire high-level NOAA staff unless they supported President Trump's claim.” About right for the Trump administration...
Hey everyone, the NOAA incident is completely irrelevant to this question, and I've flagged those comments for deletion by a moderator.
"If the Speaker of the House does it, then it's legal." -- Carl Albert.
Rep. Matt Gaetz says he's filing an ethics complaint, alleging a violation of 18 USC 2071. I don't think that statute has been considered in any of the answers so far. Would anyone like to address it?
Possibly relevant to the 18 USC 2071 is US v Hitselberger, in which the District Court ruled that to convict under 18 USC 2071(a), "the government will need to prove that he obliterated information from the public record" (p.24). Obviously they could not do that in Pelosi's case. On the other hand, the court's reasoning in Hitselberger came mainly from dissents in previous cases, in which the majorities had held that the statute generally applied to copies (in other contexts).
Also of interest regarding 18 USC 2071 may be the DOJ's Criminal Resource Manual justice.gov/archives/jm/…: "[I]t is a specific intent crime. This means that the defendant must act intentionally with knowledge that he is violating the law."
@NateEldredge Neither (a) nor (b) applies. Section a doesn't apply because the document wasn't filed with a court or public officer (neither of those terms apply to the legislative branch). Section b doesn't apply because "such record" imports those requirements from section a. And in any event, 18 USC 2071 can't apply to proceedings in the House of Representatives because it's a law enforced by the judicial branch which doesn't have jurisdiction over speeches and debates in the House of Representatives. See Section 5 and Section 6 of the Constitution of the United States.
11:34 PM
@Acccumulation Where in the law does it say a weather report is a legal document?

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