Washington – The National Archives and Records Administration told House Democrats on Friday that it has not yet done so retrieve all records by Trump administration officials that it should have under federal law and would consult with the Justice Department on further action.
In a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, Debra Steidel Wall, acting archivist of the United States, said some White House staff were using “non-official email accounts” for official work that was not copied or forwarded to their official accounts. , which is required under federal law.
“While there is no easy way to establish absolute responsibility, we know that we do not have custody of all that we should,” he told Congress.
The Archives, Wall wrote, “has been successful in obtaining such records from several officials and will continue to pursue the return of similar types of presidential records from former officials.”
“As appropriate, NARA will consult with the Department of Justice about whether to “initiate an action to recover unlawfully removed records,” as defined under the Federal Records Act,” he said.
Wall also referred to a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department in August against Peter Navarro, former President Donald Trump’s top trade adviser, to retrieve official email records sent from his personal email account. Navarro’s attorneys told The Hill in August that he has “instructed his attorneys to preserve all of these records” and “expects the government to follow the formalities in good faith to allow him to produce records.”
Responding to Wall’s letter, Maloney said it was “outrageous” that the records, which are the property of the US government, have been ignored for 20 months since the end of the Trump administration.
“Former President Trump and his senior staff have shown utter disregard for the rule of law and our national security by failing to return presidential records as required by law,” she said in a statement.
Trump has come under scrutiny from the Justice Department for his handling of sensitive files which were taken with him from the White House at the end of his presidency to his South Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago.
The Archives discovered 15 boxes of records from Mar-a-Lago in mid-January, and files marked classified were found in 14 of them, according to the Justice Department. The tranche of sensitive documents included: 184 classified documents, of which 67 were marked confidential, 92 marked secret and 25 top secret.
A Trump spokesman turned over an additional 38 unique classified documents to the Justice Department in June and after The FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago in August, found about 100 more documents with classification markings in a warehouse on the property and in offices in Trump’s office.
The Justice Department is investigating Trump for what it said was the improper removal and storage of classified information in illegal locations, as well as the illegal concealment or removal of government records.
Trump’s lawyers, however, said that investigation against him it is “unprecedented and misplaced.”