Oversight Committee Expands Investigation into Former President Trump’s Destruction and Removal of White House Records
Washington, D.C. (Feb. 25, 2022)—Yesterday, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to David S. Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, seeking additional documents and information about former President Donald Trump’s removal of classified documents and presidential records from the White House, his attempt to destroy records by tearing them into pieces, and other presidential records from the Trump Administration that are missing.
“In response to a request from the Committee, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) provided new details of what appears to be the largest-scale violations of the Presidential Records Act since its enactment,” wrote Chairwoman Maloney. “I am deeply concerned that former President Trump may have violated the law through his intentional efforts to remove and destroy records that belong to the American people. This Committee plans to get to the bottom of what happened and assess whether further action is needed to prevent the destruction of additional presidential records and recover those records that are still missing.”
In response to the Committee’s February 9, 2022, letter, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) sent a partial response to the Committee’s requests that identified significant potential violations of the Presidential Records Act and other federal laws governing the preservation of federal records, but did not provide all the information the Committee requested.
NARA’s letter confirmed that the agency had “identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes” recovered at Mar-a-Lago, and that “NARA staff has been in communication with the Department of Justice” regarding this discovery.
NARA also provided concerning new information about former President Trump’s destruction or attempted destruction of documents while serving as president, including that he personally tore up records. NARA wrote that White House staff had “taped together some of the torn-up records” but that “a number of other torn-up records that were transferred had not been reconstructed by the White House.”
NARA also sent the Committee a second letter that described in detail the Trump Administration’s failure to capture and preserve presidential records on social media platforms, including the former President’s deleted tweets, posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, and direct or private messages on those social media accounts.
The Chairwoman’s letter continued, “The Committee needs additional documents and information uniquely available from NARA to investigate the full extent of this conduct and determine what additional steps, including potential legislative reforms, may be needed to ensure the preservation of presidential records for the American people.”
The Committee requested that NARA turn over additional information, including an inventory of the boxes recovered from Mar-a-Lago and information on any classified documents, as well as documents from the Trump Administration related to the former President’s destruction of records, the preservation of social media accounts, and related topics.
Click here to read the letter.