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National Archives confirms Trump took classified records from White House

National Archives confirms Trump took classified records from White House
Former President Donald J. Trump rides in the last motorcade of his presidency in West Palm Beach, Florida, as he travels to his Mar-A-Lago estate after leaving the White House on Jan. 20, 2021. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 18 (UPI) — Former President Donald Trump took classified information from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after leaving office, the National Archives and Records Administration confirmed Friday.

Trump has faced scrutiny in the last two weeks over whether he followed federal laws related to record-keeping after the National Archives confirmed it had retrieved 15 boxes of White House documents and other items from his Florida home in January.

The confirmation comes after The New York Times and Washington Post reported that some of the documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago contained “top secret” information.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, chair of the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter to the National Archives last week seeking information from the agency regarding the nature and contents of the documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago.

“Because NARA identified classified information in the boxes, NARA staff has been in communication with the Department of Justice,” Archivist David Ferriero said in his response letter to Maloney on Friday.

In her letter, Maloney had noted that the documents “appear to have been removed from the White House in violation of the Presidential Records Act” — which had been created in a response to former President Richard Nixon’s attempts to destroy presidential records during the Watergate scandal.

The Presidential Records Act requires presidents to preserve presidential records and submit them to the National Archives at the end of their term. Maloney noted that not doing so could potentially violate criminal law.

The National Archives also revealed Friday that the agency had identified social media records that had not yet been preserved by Trump.

“NARA has 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, as required by section 2209 of the PRA,” Ferriero wrote.

He said that the agency was in the process of obtaining some of the social media records that had not been preserved. NARA has already obtained or is in the process of obtaining some of those records.

“Republicans in Congress obsessively investigated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server for official communications,” Maloney said in a statement.

“Former President Trump’s conduct, in contrast, 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.”

Ferriero said that the National Archives first learned that Trump had torn up records from a Politico article in June 2018.

The article, titled “Meet the guys who tape Trump’s papers back together,” revealed that Trump had torn up documents that were meant to be preserved and records management analysts were tasked with preserving them with clear Scotch tape.

“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,” Ferriero wrote in his letter. “The White House Counsel’s Office indicated that they would address the matter.”

Ferriero revealed that White House staff had recovered and taped together some of the torn-up records but a number of them “had not been reconstructed by the White House.”

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