RNC tells staff not to delete or alter any documents related to 2016 campaign

RNC tells staff not to delete or alter any documents related to 2016 campaign
© Getty Images

The Republican National Committee counsel's office asked employees last week to preserve all documents regarding the 2016 presidential election.

The memo stresses that the RNC has not been contacted in any of the investigations into possible ties between President Trump's campaign or allies and Russia. The move is instead framed as a proactive step. 

“Given the important role that the RNC plays in national elections and the potentially expansive scope of the inquiries and investigations, it is possible that we will be contacted with requests for information,” says a July 28 memo to staff from the RNC counsel’s office, first obtained by BuzzFeed and subsequently by The Hill.

"Therefore, we must preserve all documents potentially relevant to these matters until they are resolved or until we are informed by all necessary parties that preservation is no longer necessary."

The memo says employees should not “delete, destroy, modify, or remove from your paper files, laptop computer, desktop computer, tablet, mobile device, e-mail, or any storage system or device, any documents, records, or other materials that relate to the 2016 presidential election or that may relate to any investigation concerning the election.”

While the memo notes there's no "specific reason" to believe that investigators might reach out to the RNC, which played an integral role in Trump's presidential organization, it adds that the request is "standard procedure." 

"This is standard procedure for any organization that may be in a position to provide helpful or otherwise relevant information to litigants or investigators. Serious consequences will result for anyone who fails to comply with this obligation.”

The RNC emphasized it does not know of any illegal activity by the committee or its staff.

“It is important to note that we are not aware of any suggestion whatsoever of improper or illegal activity by the RNC or any of its employees or officers,” the memo says.

“In fact, as far as we are aware, the only potential connection the RNC has to any of the matters currently under investigation is as a victim of unsuccessful hacking attempts.”

There are currently multiple investigations into the Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race.

President Trump has in the past decried the Russia probe and the president and his aides have repeatedly denied collusion.

- Ben Kamisar contributed