WASHINGTON – The National Archives confirmed Friday that it has found classified information among documents that President Donald J. Trump took with him to his Florida home when he left office on last year and the agency consulted the Department of Justice on the matter.
The agency “identified items marked as classified national security information in boxes,” according to a alphabet posted on the website of the National Archives and Archives.
Last month, the archives found 15 boxes that Mr. Trump brought to the Mar-a-Lago home from the White House residence when his term ended. The document cover boxes are subject to the Presidential Records Act, which requires all official business-related documents and records to be moved into the archives.
Items in the box include documents, mementos, gifts, and correspondence. The archives did not describe the top secret document they found other than saying it was “classified information on national security”.
Because the National Archives “has identified information that has been classified in the boxes,” the agency “has been in contact with the Department of Justice,” wrote the letter by David S. Ferriero, national archivist. , write and send to Representative Carolyn B. Maloney said. , a Democrat of New York and chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who scrutinized the way Mr. Trump handled the presidential dossier.
Mr. Trump made attacking Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of national security documents a focus of his 2016 presidential campaign. The latest revelations about Mr Trump’s own laxity with classified information and his impromptu compliance with federal recordkeeping laws have drawn calls for hypocrisy from party members. Democratic Party.
The Republican National Committee spokesman was asked how Republicans would respond to Trump’s criticisms of Clinton given his own record. which at one point passed a resolution condemning Clinton for using a private email server while secretary of state, did not respond.
New York Times last week’s report that among the documents that have been sent back to the National Archives, there are some documents that archivists believe have been classified, and that the agency has consulted with the Department of Justice regarding the discovered.
It is not clear what steps the Justice Department is taking to address the issue.
Mr. Ferriero’s letter was sent on the same day a federal judge denied Mr. Trump’s request removed from office three civil lawsuits seeking his arrest for his role in last year’s Capitol attack. And it came a day after a judge in New York ruled that the former president must answer questions from state investigators checked his company, the Trump Organization, for evidence of fraud.
Over the past two weeks, a series of revelations have raised new questions about the Trump administration’s disobedience Federal record keeping law and handling secret information when Mr. Trump leaves office.
Focusing attention on a new element of the problem, the National Archives Office said in its letter Friday that the Trump White House failed to turn over records that included “several social media profiles.” .
The White House Archives said the White House had not taken “any steps to capture the deleted content from any of the Trump Administration’s social media accounts other than @realDonaldTrump or @POTUS.” The accounts in question include those for aides such as Andrew Giuliani, Chad Gilmartin, Ivanka Trump, Kayleigh McEnany, Kellyanne Conway, Mark Meadows and Peter Navarro that the archives say contain presidential records.
The archives were also unable to find any Snapchat messages sent by the Trump White House.
Ferriero also wrote that “some White House employees conduct official business using informal electronic messaging accounts that cannot be copied or forwarded to official electronic messaging accounts.” their”. The archives said it was in the process of retrieving some of those records.
Among those employees was Mr. Meadows, Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff, who recently turned over hundreds of pages of documents to the committee investigating the Jan. his personal cell phone. The committee said it Have a question? on why Mr. Meadows used his personal cell phone, Signal account and two personal Gmail accounts to conduct official business, and whether he properly transferred all relevant records from those accounts to the National Archives.
Mr. Ferriero made it clear in his letter that archives had been concerned for several years by Mr. Trump’s failure to comply with record-keeping laws.
In June 2018, the archives “learned from a Articles on Politico that the written presidential records have been torn up by former President Trump and that White House staff members are trying to tape them together,” the letter read.
The letter added, referring to the National Archives and Records Administration: “The White House Counsel’s Office has indicated that it will resolve the matter. Following 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 that were forwarded to us. Although White House staffers in the Trump administration recovered and recorded some of the tattered records, several other tattered records that were delivered were not reconstructed by the White House.”
The archives’ confirmation that they have found classified information in the document may present the Department of Justice with options for how to proceed. It could open a criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump and his aides mishandled classified information, as was the case with Clinton.
Such an investigation would be complicated, in part because as president, Mr. Trump has the ability to easily declassify any information he wants. He could argue that he declassified the documents he was carrying before he left the White House.
Regardless of whether an agency opens a criminal investigation, the agency typically conducts a review to determine if any sources and methods of dealing with misinformation were exposed and could compromise security. national security or not.
The department may also choose to treat the problem more like a routine. Senior U.S. officials often mishandle classified information, for example, when bringing it home from work or accidentally using it or discussing it on unsafe channels. In many of these cases, the FBI sees the problem as an “oil slick” that needs to be cleaned up.
In those cases, FBI agents take a variety of measures to ensure that any national security secrets that may have been exposed are collected so that they can be stored on secure channels and they clean or destroy electronic devices where such information may have been stored. or discuss.
Mr. Trump’s handling of government documents has come under increasing scrutiny. A book scheduled for October release by a Times reporter disclosure The way staffers in the White House residence periodically discover pieces of paper clogging the toilets, leading them to believe Mr. Trump was trying to flush them.
The former president’s use of cell phones to conduct official business activities can also lead to gaps in the official White House log of his calls on January 6, 2021, obstructing the House Select Committee’s investigation into the Capitol riots. If Mr. Trump did not preserve cell phone records and did not turn them over to the National Archives, that would also be a violation of the law.
Maloney, a New York Democrat, warned as early as December 2020 that she believes the Trump administration is not complying with the Presidential Records Act. She wrote a alphabet Ferriero, the national archivist, expressed what she called “serious concerns” that the outgoing administration “may not have adequately preserved the records and may be processing them.”
A few weeks after the Capitol riots, Ms. Maloney huge documents requested from the archives, including documents and communications before, during, and after the January 6 attacks related to the electoral college vote count and the protests and planned violence.
Then, last week, Ms. Maloney announced that she is starting an investigationafter The Washington Post reported that Mr. Trump had destroyed the documents and moved the boxes to his property in Florida instead of moving them into the archives.
Ms. Maloney said on Friday that the letter from the archive “confirms that there are likely many more Trump Administration records, including direct messages sent by senior officials across multiple media platforms.” society, is missing”.
She added, “These new revelations deepen my concerns about former President Trump’s blatant disregard for federal records law and the potential impact on his historic record.” we.”
Reid J. Epstein contribution report.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/18/us/politics/trump-archives-white-house.html Documents recovered from Trump by archive include classified information