Material recovered from Trump by the archives contains classified information

WASHINGTON — The National Archives confirmed Friday that it found classified information among documents President Donald J. Trump took with him to his Florida home from the White House and consulted with the Justice Department. on this subject.

The agency “has identified items marked as classified national security information in the boxes,” according to a letter posted on the National Archives and Record Administration website that was sent to Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and Speaker of the House. Oversight Committee, which reviewed how Mr. Trump handled presidential records.

“Because NARA has identified classified information in the boxes, NARA personnel have been in communication with the Department of Justice,” says the letter, written by David S. Ferriero, the National Archivist.

Over the past two weeks, a series of disclosures have raised new questions about whether Mr. Trump complied with federal record-keeping laws or mishandled classified information after leaving office. The National Archives said in its letter on Friday that the Trump White House had not turned over records containing “certain social media records.”

Mr. Ferriero also wrote that “certain White House personnel were conducting official business using unofficial email accounts that were not copied or forwarded to their official email accounts.” The archives said they were in the process of obtaining some of these documents.

The revelation that Mr Trump had filed information among the documents he took with him from the White House has prompted claims of hypocrisy from Democrats. Mr Trump made the attack on Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of national security documents a centerpiece of his 2016 presidential campaign.

In January, after lengthy negotiations between his lawyers and the National Archives, 15 boxes of documents Mr. Trump had taken from the White House were returned to the National Archives. The boxes contained items such as official letters, White House documents and gifts that are considered presidential documents, are government property and were supposed to be kept in the National Archives.

“In June 2018, NARA learned from a news article in Politico that verbatim presidential documents were being torn up by former President Trump and White House staff were attempting to glue them back together,” the archives said in the statement. letter to Mrs. Maloney on Friday.

The letter added: ‘The White House Legal Counsel’s Office has indicated that it will address the matter. After the end of the Trump administration, NARA learned that additional paper documents that had been torn up by former President Trump had been included in the documents transferred to us. Although White House staff under the Trump administration recovered and saved some of the torn documents, a number of other torn documents that were transferred have not been pieced together by the White House.

Other new information cast doubt on Mr. Trump’s handling of government records. The New York Times reported that among the documents that were returned to the National Archives were some that archivists thought were classified. It was also reported that a book slated for release in October by a Times reporter revealed how White House Residence staff periodically discovered wads of printed paper clogging toilets, leading them to believe Ms. Trump had tried to flush them out.

The former president’s use of cellphones to conduct official business could also have resulted in large gaps in the official White House logs of his calls on Jan. 6, 2021, hampering the House Select Committee’s investigation into the Capitol Riot. Failure by Mr. Trump to keep cellphone records and turn them over to the National Archives could also be a violation of the law.

Ms Maloney had warned as early as December 2020 that she believed the Trump administration was not complying with the Presidential Records Act. She wrote a letter to Mr. Ferriero, the National Archivist, expressing what she called “serious concerns” that the outgoing administration “may not properly preserve records and may dispose of them.”

Weeks after the Capitol riot, Ms. Maloney requested voluminous documents from the National Archives, including documents and communications before, during and after the Jan. 6 attack regarding the counting of electoral votes and planned protests and violence. . Then, last week, Ms Maloney announced she was opening an investigation after reports in The Washington Post that Mr Trump destroyed documents and took boxes to his property in Florida instead of turning them over to the National. Archives and Records Administration.

“I am deeply concerned that these records were not provided to NARA promptly at the end of the Trump administration and that they appear to have been removed from the White House in violation of the Presidential Records Act. “Ms Maloney said in a letter. adding that Mr. Trump’s practice of tearing up documents “could constitute additional serious violations” of federal law.

Reid J. Epstein contributed report.