- Trump took White House records that contained classified information to Mar-a-Lago, the National Archives said.
- Trump took 15 boxes of White House records to his Florida club but returned them to the archives last month.
- The agency said it “identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes” Trump took.
Former President Donald Trump took some White House records that contained classified information to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) said Friday.
The agency wrote in a letter to Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, that it has “identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes” that Trump took to his golf club.
Upon leaving office, Trump took 15 boxes of White House materials and documents to his Florida residence — records that should have been handed over to the National Archives. The agency was in ongoing communication with Trump advisors last year, received the 15 boxes last month, and is still in the process of inventorying its contents, NARA said Friday.
Besides the classified information, the agency found that “certain social media records” had not been included in Trump’s records. The agency also learned that some “White House staff conducted official business using non-official electronic messaging accounts that were not copied or forwarded into their official electronic messaging accounts.”
The National Archives also said that it reached out to the White House after Politico reported in 2018 that Trump’s staffers frequently had to tape up documents that he had ripped apart.
“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 agency said in Friday’s letter. The White House counsel’s office told NARA that it would address the issue, but “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.”
“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,” NARA said.
Friday’s development comes after the agency asked the Justice Department to investigate if Trump broke the law by taking official records with him to Mar-a-Lago.
Legal experts have said that his actions may have violated the Presidential Records Act, which requires presidents and White House staff to preserve official documents and communications, and turn those items over to the Archives at the end of a president’s term.
Trump’s handling of presidential records came back into the spotlight amid his fight to conceal executive branch documents from the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot.
Trump asserted executive privilege over the documents when the committee initially requested them. But the Biden White House declined to do the same, saying in October that it was “not in the best interests of the United States,” and authorized the National Archives to turn over the materials to Congress.
Trump filed a lawsuit in response, setting up the first constitutional showdown testing whether a sitting president has the right to overrule their predecessor’s assertion of executive privilege.
The former president ultimately lost his bid when the Supreme Court last month declined to block the release of White House records to the committee, clearing the way for the panel to receive four tranches of presidential records from NARA.