National Archives Reveals More on 15 Boxes Found at Mar-a-Lago

NARA: Former President Trump brought classified info with him to private Fla. estate when he left WH
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2022 9:45 AM CST
National Archives: Boxes at Mar-a-Lago Had Classified Info
Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 28, 2021, in Orlando, Fla.   (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

The 15 or so boxes of administration materials that former President Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago when he left the White House had more than routine to-do lists inside. On Friday, the National Archives and Records Administration confirmed that classified records were found in those boxes, and that it's let the Justice Department know of this finding, reports CNN. The boxes were retrieved from Trump's Florida estate last month after longtime negotiations between the Archives and Trump lawyers. Although a complete inventory of the boxes' contents won't be complete till sometime next week, the Archives "has identified items marked as classified national security information within," Archivist David Ferriero noted in a letter released Friday.

It's not lost on many that this development comes after Trump had made Hillary Clinton's mishandling of classified documents a "centerpiece" of his presidential campaign in 2016, which is now leading to accusations of hypocrisy, notes the New York Times. The paper reached out to the Republican National Committee, which has pushed hard for further investigation against Clinton for her use of a private email server while secretary of state, and received no response. In a series of letters to Congress on Friday, the National Archives also revealed that some social media posts and messaging on apps by White House staff—including adviser Ivanka Trump, chief of staff Mark Meadows, White House press secretary Kayleigh Mcenany, and Donald Trump himself, thanks to deleted tweets on his personal Twitter account—weren't maintained in the correct way as official records.

What the DOJ's next moves will be on the latest Trump news remains unclear, though it is possible it could open a criminal probe into whether he mishandled classified docs and put national security at risk, as it did with Clinton. One possible wrench in any such plan: Trump could claim that, as president with the authority to do so, he simply declassified the documents before taking them with him to Mar-a-Lago. Trump for his part, is dismissing the revelation altogether. "The National Archives did not 'find' anything, they were given, upon request, Presidential Records in an ordinary and routine process," Trump said Friday in a statement, reports the Wall Street Journal. He added, per the Times: "The fake news is making it seem like me, as the president of the United States, was working in a filing room." (More Donald Trump stories.)

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