Washington, DC – In a letter sent to the House Oversight Committee, the National Archives confirmed the presence of classified national security information within the boxes retrieved from President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. Because they identified classified information in the boxes, NARA staff has been in communication with the Department of Justice. They are in the process of inventorying the contents of the boxes which is expected to be completed by February 25.
In mid-January 2022, NARA arranged for the transport from the Trump Mar-a-Lago property in Florida to the National Archives of 15 boxes that contained Presidential records, following discussions with President Trump’s representatives in 2021. Former President Trump’s representatives have informed NARA that they are continuing to search for additional Presidential records that belong to the National Archives.
In the letter, Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero said that NARA has identified social media records that were not captured and preserved by the Trump Administration in violation of the Presidential Records Act (PRA). The letter states that some White House staff conducted official business using unofficial email that were not copied or forwarded into their official electronic messaging accounts, as required by section 2209 of the PRA.
Representatives of former President Trump have been asked by NARA to continue to search for any additional Presidential records that have not been transferred to NARA, as required by the PRA.
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. 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. 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.
As required by the PRA, these records should have been transferred to NARA from the White House at the end of the Trump Administration in January 2021.
“The Presidential Records Act mandates that all Presidential records must be properly preserved by each Administration so that a complete set of Presidential records is transferred to the National Archives at the end of the Administration,” said Ferriero. “NARA pursues the return of records whenever we learn that records have been improperly removed or have not been appropriately transferred to official accounts.”
Ferriero further stressed the importance of adherence to the PRA by all Presidents.
“The Presidential Records Act is critical to our democracy, in which the government is held accountable by the people,” Ferriero said. “Whether through the creation of adequate and proper documentation, sound records management practices, the preservation of records, or the timely transfer of them to the National Archives at the end of an Administration, there should be no question as to need for both diligence and vigilance. Records matter.”