If a president, vice-president, or congress person retains classified documents past their term does the government have to show intent for it to be criminal?
It is not a crime for a president or a vice-president to retain documents (any) past their term in office. It is required under 44 USC Ch. 22 that a president or vice-president turn over records to the archivist, and if an ex-president refuses, a lawsuit could result whereby he is ordered to turn the records over. Intent or knowledge are therefore irrelevant since non-compliance is corrected but not punished.
Yes. It is a crime if the president or vice president:
- Obtains classified information while in office;
- Knowingly removes it without authority; and
- With intent to retain it at an unauthorized location.
Whoever, being an officer ... of the United States, and, by virtue of his office ... becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.