The reason why presidents can’t keep their White House records dates back to Nixon

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President Richard Nixon speaks at the White House on Aug. 9, 1974. He was preparing to leave the day after resigning because of the Watergate scandal. Nixon wanted to take his presidential documents with him, including his infamous tape recordings. But he was barred from doing so, and Congress passed a law that now requires all presidents to hand over their documents to the National Archives.

Congress changed the law in the 1970s when President Nixon prepared to leave with his documents — and infamous tape recordings.

(Image credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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