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National Archives tells House committee it has not yet retrieved all records from Trump administration


The National Archives and Records Administration told House Democrats that it has not yet retrieved all the records from officials in the Trump administration that it should have under federal law, and would consult with the Justice Department on further action.

Debra Steidel Wall, the acting archivist of the United States, said in a letter to House Oversight Committee chair Carolyn Maloney that some White House staff used “non-official electronic messaging accounts” for official business that were not copied or forwarded into their official accounts, which is required under federal law.  She told Congress: “While there is no easy way to establish absolute accountability, we do know that we do not have custody of everything we should.  The Archives has been able to obtain such records from a number of officials and will continue to pursue the return of similar types of presidential records from former officials. As appropriate, NARA would consult with the Department of Justice on whether ‘to initiate an action for the recovery of records unlawfully removed,’ as established under the Federal Records Act.”

Committee chair Maloney responded to Wall’s letter, saying it’s “outrageous” that the records, which are property of the U.S. government, are unaccounted for 20 months since the end of the Trump administration.  She wrote in a statement: “Former President Trump and his senior staff have shown an utter disregard for the rule of law and our national security by failing to return presidential records as the law requires.”

The Archives recovered 15 boxes of records from Mar-a-Lago in mid-January and records marked classified were found in 14 of them, according to the Justice Department. The documents included: 184 documents bearing classification markings, including 67 marked confidential, 92 marked secret and 25 marked top secret. Trump turned over an additional 38 unique documents with classification markings to the Justice Department in June and, after the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago in August, roughly 100 more documents with classification markings were uncovered.

Editorial credit: Jonathan Weiss /

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