US lawmakers ask the National Archives to account for Trump’s records

Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S., on September 3, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File photo

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WASHINGTON, Sept 13 (Reuters) – A congressional panel on Tuesday called for an urgent review of the U.S. National Archives after agency staff members acknowledged they did not know whether all presidential records from the Trump administration had been delivered.

House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney also asked the Archives, the federal agency tasked with preserving government records, to seek written certification from the former Republican president that he turned over all presidential records and classified materials.

Maloney, a Democrat, also wants him to confirm that he has not made copies or transferred them anywhere other than that agency or the Justice Department.

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Trump is facing a criminal investigation by the Justice Department for withholding government records, some marked as highly classified, including “top secret,” at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida after leaving office in January 2021.

The FBI seized more than 11,000 records, including about 100 documents marked classified, in a court-approved search Aug. 8 at Mar-a-Lago. A federal judge is weighing how the documents should be handled as the investigation continues. read more

Maloney in a letter described the National Archives’ attempts over many months, along with the Justice Department, to recover government property that Trump removed from the White House and transferred to Mar-a-Lago.

Staff at the National Archives “recently informed the committee that the agency is not sure if all presidential records are in its custody,” Maloney wrote, adding that she was deeply concerned that the sensitive records are outside of the government’s custody. USA

“The Committee requests that NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) conduct an urgent review of the Trump Administration’s presidential records to identify any presidential records or categories of presidential records, whether textual or electronic, that NARA has reason to believe are they may still be outside the agency’s custody and control,” Maloney said in his letter to Debra Wall, Acting Archivist of the United States.

The National Archives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump’s deletion of White House documents was a clear violation of a federal law called the Presidential Records Act, Maloney said. The committee is concerned that Trump delayed his return for months and that his representative misled investigators over the summer about whether there were any left at Mar-a-Lago, Maloney added.

Maloney asked the Archives for an initial evaluation of their findings by September 27.

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Information from Doina Chiacu; Edited by Will Dunham

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