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 boxes containing classified national security information.,” archivist David Ferriero stated in the document addressed to Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform Carolyn Maloney.
“Certain records from social media” 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 “Official business conducted using electronic messaging accounts that are not official,” the archivist wrote, adding that the correspondence was not copied or forwarded to official accounts, as required by law under the Presidential Records Act.
NARA also suggests that some paper records might have been lost. 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, “The White House did not reconstruct many other records, including some that had been torn up..”
“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.
According to the letter, the National Archives will continue its inventory of boxes and expects that the entire process should be completed by 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. The agency stated that they were found and transferred to NARA last month as a result, in cooperation with former President Donald Trump throughout 2021. It had previously stressed that “NARA officials did not visit or ‘raid’ the Mar-a-Lago property.”
After the Watergate scandal in 1978, the Presidential Records Act requires that all presidential records must be handed over to National Archives. A crime of concealing or deliberately destroying them can lead to up to three years imprisonment.
Trump has previously denied the alleged mishandling of official documents, calling it “Another false story.”
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