SEPTEMBER 13, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A congressional panel on Tuesday sought an urgent review by the U.S. National Archives after agency staff members acknowledged that they did not know if all presidential records from Donald Trump’s administration had been turned over.
House of Representatives Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney also asked the Archives, the federal agency charged with preserving government records, to seek a written certification from the Republican former president that he has handed over all presidential records and classified materials.
Maloney, a Democrat, also wants him to confirm he has not made copies or transferred them anywhere other than to that agency or the Justice Department.
Trump is facing a criminal investigation by the Justice Department for retaining government records – some marked as highly classified, including “top secret” – at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after leaving office in January 2021.
The FBI seized more than 11,000 records, including about 100 documents marked as classified, in a court-approved Aug. 8 search at Mar-a-Lago. A federal judge is weighing how the documents should be handled as the investigation continues.
Maloney in a letter outlined attempts by the National Archives over many months, joined later by the Justice Department, to retrieve government property that Trump removed from the White House and transferred to Mar-a-Lago.
National Archives staff “recently informed the committee that the agency is not certain whether all presidential records are in its custody,” Maloney wrote, adding that she was deeply concerned that sensitive records are out of U.S. government custody.
“The Committee requests that NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) conduct an urgent review of presidential records from the Trump Administration to identify any presidential records or categories of presidential records, whether textual or electronic, that NARA has reason to believe may still be outside of the agency’s custody and control,” Maloney said in her letter to Debra Wall, acting archivist of the United States.
The National Archives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump’s removal of documents from the White House was a clear violation of a federal law called the Presidential Records Act, Maloney said. The committee is concerned that Trump delayed their return for months and that his representative misled investigators over the summer about whether any remained at Mar-a-Lago, Maloney added.
Maloney asked the Archives for an initial assessment of its findings by Sept. 27.