Trump staffers not returning White House records, National Archives says

WASHINGTON, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Former President Donald Trump’s administration has not turned over all presidential records and the National Archives will consult with the Justice Department on whether to retrieve them, the agency said. in Congress.

On September 13, a congressional panel called for an urgent review by the National Archives and Records Administration after agency staffers admitted they did not know whether all of Trump’s White House presidential records had been handed over.

“While there’s no easy way to establish absolute liability, we know we don’t have custody of everything we should,” acting archivist Debra Wall said in a statement on Friday. letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

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The Archives is aware that some White House staff conducted official business on personal email accounts that were not copied or forwarded to their official accounts, in violation of the Presidential Records Act, said Wall.

“NARA was able to obtain such records from a number of former officials and will continue to seek the return of similar types of presidential records from former officials,” Wall said in the letter, first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

She said the Archives, the federal agency charged with preserving government records, would consult with the Justice Department on “whether to take action for the recovery of records unlawfully deleted.”

Oversight committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney said in a statement that she would do everything in her power to ensure the return of all records and prevent future abuse.

“Former President Trump and his senior staff showed complete disregard for the rule of law and our national security by failing to return presidential records as required by law,” said Maloney, whose committee shared a copy of the letter with Reuters, in a statement.

Trump’s representatives did not return a request for comment on the matter.

Trump is facing a Justice Department criminal investigation for keeping 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 search Aug. 8 in Mar-a-Lago.

The Justice Department and Trump’s attorneys have been locked in a legal battle over how the cases are being handled. Government lawyers won access to the classified documents, but on Friday asked an appeals court to expedite its ability to access unclassified documents seized in Florida.

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Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Daniel Wallis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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