Items marked as ‘classified national security information’ have been discovered in boxes kept at the former US president’s mansion
A total of 15 boxes recently returned to the US National Archives from Donald Trump’s private residence in Florida contained items marked as classified, the agency revealed on Friday. A letter sent to a House of Representatives committee, which is investigating Trump’s alleged mishandling of presidential records, says the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) discovered some classified data and has been in communication with the Department of Justice on the matter.
“NARA has identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes,” archivist David Ferriero stated in the document addressed to Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform Carolyn Maloney.
“Certain social media records” that had not been preserved by the Trump administration were also identified by the government agency, which is now trying to obtain some of those records.
During Trump’s presidency, his staff “conducted official business using non-official electronic messaging accounts,” the archivist wrote, adding that the correspondence was not copied or forwarded to official accounts, as required by law under the Presidential Records Act.
Some paper records may also have been lost, according to NARA. It said that, although Trump’s staff recovered and taped together some of the papers ripped up by the former president prior to giving them to the archive, “a number of other torn-up records that were transferred had not been reconstructed by the White House.”
“These new revelations deepen my concern about former President Trump’s flagrant disregard for federal records law and the potential impact on our historical record,” Maloney said in a statement on Friday.
The National Archives is continuing its inventory of the boxes, the letter added, saying that it expects to complete the process by the end of next week. Meanwhile, Trump’s representatives continue to search for additional records that must be handed to the Archives.
The House Committee has been investigating Trump’s handling of government papers and other sensitive records during and after his time in the White House since it became known that boxes with such documents had been found at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach. They were located and last month transferred to NARA as a result of cooperation with the representatives of the former president throughout 2021, the agency said. It had previously stressed that “NARA officials did not visit or ‘raid’ the Mar-a-Lago property.”
Under the Presidential Records Act, which was enacted in 1978 following the Watergate scandal, all records created by presidents must be turned over to the National Archives at the end of their terms, and are considered property of the state. An attempt to conceal or intentionally destroy them is a crime punishable by up to three years in prison.
Trump has previously denied the alleged mishandling of official documents, calling it “another fake story.”