National Archivist Confirms Records Brought To Mar-A-Lago Included Classified Material

PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 11: A car passes in front of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort on February 11, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. Published reports indicate that possible classified material ... PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 11: A car passes in front of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort on February 11, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. Published reports indicate that possible classified material was among documents recovered by the National Archives in January from the Mar-a-Lago home. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) MORE LESS

The National Archives and Record Administration confirmed on Friday that it had recovered classified White House records from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, and that it had referred the matter to the Department of Justice. 

“NARA has identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes,” David S. Ferriero, the national archivist, wrote in a letter to House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who’d asked about 15 boxes of presidential records that archivists had recovered from Mar-a-Lago. 

“Because NARA identified classified information in the boxes, NARA staff has been in communication with the Department of Justice,” the letter added later. 

The Washington Post first reported earlier this month that presidential records Trump took to Mar-a-Lago following his White House tenure included documents clearly labeled “classified,” including top secret records. The National Archives asked the Department of Justice to investigate, the Post reported at the time, and the Oversight Committee launched its own investigation

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Reports this year and in 2018 indicated that some Trump White House records had been torn up, another detail that Ferriero confirmed in his letter. 

“Although White House staff during the Trump Administration recovered and taped together some of the torn-up records, a number of other torn-up records that were transferred had not been reconstructed by the White House,” the letter read. 

Asked about any records that may be missing from the Trump administration archives, Ferriero highlighted the administration’s social media presence. 

“NARA has identified certain social media records that were not captured and preserved by the Trump Administration,” the archivist wrote. “NARA has also learned that some White House staff conducted official business using non-official electronic messaging accounts that were not copied or forwarded into their official electronic messaging accounts, as required by section 2209 of the PRA. NARA has already obtained or is in the process of obtaining some of those records.” 

A separate letter from Ferriero to Maloney dated Friday went into depth about missing electronic records from the White House, specifically from social media accounts like the White House Snapchat page. 

The letter noted that the Trump White House used a patchwork process for collecting Twitter posts from Trump, including since-deleted posts, and that, as a result, “we were unable to obtain a complete set of these Presidential records from the Trump Administration or Twitter.”

The missing records included direct messages, if any happened to have been sent from official social media channels. “The Trump Administration opted not to enable capture of direct messages” from the vendor ArchiveSocial, the letter noted.

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