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National Archives Confirms Trump Took Classified Docs to Mar-a-Lago

February 18, 2022 by Dan McCue
National Archives Confirms Trump Took Classified Docs to Mar-a-Lago
National Archives (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — The National Archives confirmed Friday there were classified national security documents among the 15 boxes of presidential materials recently retrieved from former President Donald Trump’s home, the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

In a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, David Ferriero, archivist of the United States, confirmed media reports that Trump walked off with government records and took them to Florida when he left office in January 2021.

The Oversight Committee launched a probe into Trump’s handling of presidential records last week and has reportedly asked the Justice Department to look into the matter.

Ferriero’s letter indicated the National Archives has also been in touch with the Justice Department.

The letter from the archivists also stated that certain social media records were not captured and preserved by the Trump administration. And that the agency learned that White House staff frequently conducted official business using unofficial messaging accounts and personal phones.

Ferriero said the National Archives “has already obtained, or is in the process of obtaining, some of those records,” and that “representatives of former President Trump continue to search for any additional presidential records that have not been transferred to [the National Archives and Records Administration], as required by the Presidential Records Act.”

The letter also goes on to reveal that after Trump left the White House, the National Archives learned that additional paper records that had been torn up by the former president had been transferred to the agency.

“In June 2018, NARA learned from a press report in Politico that textual presidential records were being torn up by former President Trump and that White House staff were attempting to tape them back together,” Ferriero wrote. “NARA sent a letter to the deputy counsel to the president asking for information about the extent of the problem and how it is being addressed.

“The White House Counsel’s Office indicated that they would address the matter,” he continued. “After the end of the Trump administration, NARA learned that additional paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump were included in the records transferred to us.”

He added, “Although White House staff during the Trump administration recovered and taped together some of the torn-up records, a number of other torn-up records that were transferred had not been reconstructed by the White House.”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., the chair of the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement announcing the investigation that Trump was required under the law to turn over the documents to the National Archives before leaving office, and that lawmakers are seeking information about the contents of the boxes recovered from Mar-a-Lago.

But Ferriero suggested that may take a little time. First, NARA staffers need to go through and catalog the bounty they’ve received.

Then, “because the records in the boxes are subject to the Presidential Records Act, any request for information regarding the content of the records will need to be made in accordance with the act,” he said.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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