Chairwoman Maloney Asks NARA to Assess Missing Presidential Records from Former President Trump
Washington, D.C. (Sept. 13, 2022)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to Ms. Debra Steidel Wall, Acting Archivist of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), regarding former President Trump’s decision to remove from the White House and retain presidential records and highly sensitive classified material. The letter follows revelations that the former President’s representatives misled investigators about his continued possession of government property and that material found at his club included dozens of “empty folders” for classified material.
“In light of the serious risk that Mr. Trump may still be retaining sensitive government records at Mar-a-Lago or his other properties, I urge NARA to seek a personal certification from Donald Trump that he has surrendered all presidential records that he illegally removed from the White House after leaving office,” wrote Chairwoman Maloney. “I also ask that the agency conduct an urgent review of presidential records recovered from the Trump White House to assess whether presidential records remain unaccounted for and potentially in the possession of the former president.”
Prior to the August 8, 2022, court-authorized search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, Mr. Trump had failed to comply with multiple requests from NARA and a grand jury subpoena seeking the return of all presidential records and classified documents he retained after leaving office.
Two months before the August 8 search, Mr. Trump’s attorney certified that all documents bearing classified markings had been returned and that no “copy, written notation, or reproduction of any kind was retained.” Yet the search revealed that the former President continued to improperly possess more than 11,000 government records, including 13 boxes containing more than 100 additional documents bearing classified markings that included documents with the U.S. Government’s highest classification markings—related to human source intelligence.
On at least three separate occasions, former President Trump and his attorneys have had the opportunity to turn over all presidential records—including classified documents—as requested by federal authorities, but failed to do so.
“The Committee is concerned that, given this pattern of conduct, Mr. Trump may continue to retain presidential records at non-secure locations, including classified material that could endanger our nation’s security and other important records documenting Mr. Trump’s activities at the White House,” the Chairwoman wrote. “NARA’s staff recently informed the Committee that the agency is not certain whether all presidential records are in its custody.”
As the Committee with primary jurisdiction over the Presidential Records Act, the Oversight Committee has been investigating former President Trump’s mishandling of presidential records for more than seven months. This inquiry, which is separate from the Department of Justice’s ongoing criminal investigation into former President Trump’s conduct, seeks to understand “the full extent of this conduct” in order to “determine what additional steps, including potential legislative reforms, may be needed to ensure the preservation of presidential records for the American people.”
Click here to read today’s letter.