The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) confirmed Friday that it found classified documents among 15 boxes former President Donald Trump took from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago residence.
US National Archivist David Ferriero confirmed the finding in response to a letter from Carolyn Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform for the US House of Representatives. Ferriero wrote:
NARA has identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes…Because NARA identified classified information in the boxes, NARA staff has been in communication with the Department of Justice.
According to Ferriero’s letter, the Trump Administration failed to preserve “certain social media records” and “some White House staff conducted official business using non-official electronic messaging accounts . . . .” President Trump also tore up presidential records and White House staff attempted to tape them back together. Those records, some taped together others not reconstructed, were transferred to NARA. NARA expects to complete an inventory of the boxes by February 25.
Maloney’s letter asked eight questions relating to the boxes. She also noted that under the Presidential Records Act (PRA), the president must preserve his or her records and deliver them to NARA upon completion of the presidential term. She shared that the “boxes reportedly contained correspondence and letters from world leaders, including correspondence with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and a letter President Obama left for his successor.”
Maloney’s request warned: “Removing or concealing government records is a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison.” She also recalled that some Congress members “obsessively investigated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server for official communications.” She then contrasted Trump’s conduct, which “involves a former president potentially violating a criminal law by intentionally removing records, including communications with a foreign leader, from the White House and reportedly attempting to destroy records by tearing them up.”
Last month, the Supreme Court denied Trump’s emergency request to block the release of his Administration’s presidential records. President Joe Biden then ordered the National Archives to send the Trump White House visitor logs to a House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol Attack, rejecting the former president’s executive privilege claims.