Some White House documents that former President Trump took to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, instead of handing them over to the National Archives, were reportedly clearly marked as classified, according to the Washington Post.
The clearly marked classified documents reportedly included those at the “top secret” level.
According to the Post, some of the documents had markings indicating that the information was extremely sensitive and would be limited to a small group of officials with authority to view such highly classified information. It is unclear, however, how many of those classified documents were received by the Archives.
The Archives reportedly discovered the markings. Last month, the Archives arranged for the collection of 15 boxes of White House records from Mar-a-Lago. It reportedly asked the Justice Department to probe former President Trump’s handling of White House records, following reports of the former president’s unusual and potentially unlawful treatment of presidential records, but FBI agents had yet to review the material as of Thursday afternoon.
It has not been determined whether the Justice Department would investigate Trump’s handling of White House records. According to the Post, files were being stored in a sensitive compartmented information facility, also known as a SCIF, while department officials discuss how to proceed.
It is unclear who packed up the classified materials at Mar-a-Lago, or how they ended up at the Florida resort in the first place. The former president was very secretive about the packing of boxes that were retrieve from Mar-a-Lago last month, and reportedly did not allow other aides to look at them.
It was reportedly common for Trump to take official documents with him to his residence to review, accruing piles of records over time. One White House staffer told the Post that it got to a point where records staff had to search for materials in classified burn bags, which are used to dispose of documents.
According to the Archives’ Information Security Oversight Office, a “top secret” classification applies to information where unauthorized disclosure “could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.”
The Post previously reported that the Archives confirmed hat some records turned over from the Trump White House “included paper records that had been torn up” and taped back together, which defies guidelines under the Presidential Records Act. News of the former president’s unusual habits first emerged in a Politico report in 2018.
Renewed concerns of the former president’s handling of government documents, including those that may be classified, come amid the Jan. 6 Select Committee’s investigation. The committee is looking through records from the Archives to investigate Trump and his allies’ involvement in the Capitol insurrection last year.
Trump’s unusual treatment of White House records isn’t the only hurdle to the committee’s efforts to piece together the former president’s activities before, during and after the insurrection.
Earlier Thursday, the New York Times reported that the Jan. 6 Select Committee has run into some gaps as they try to dig into Trump’s official White House call logs on the day of the Capitol insurrection. The logs, which were part of the tranche of documents provided by the Archives, reportedly didn’t include many of the calls the committee is aware of that took place that day.
However, investigators reportedly haven’t found evidence that the phone records were purposefully scrubbed. The Times noted that Trump had a habit of using his and other people’s personal cell phones to make calls.