National Archivist: We Still Don't Have Trump Staff Emails

Letter to House panel says agency will confer with Justice Department
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 2, 2022 10:40 AM CDT
2 Years Later, Archives Says It Still Lacks Trump Staff Emails
A letter from Debra Steidel Wall, acting archivist of the US, to former President Donald Trump's legal team is photographed last month.   (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File)

The National Archives and Records Administration has informed lawmakers that a number of electronic communications from Trump White House staffers remain missing, nearly two years after the administration was required to turn them over. The nation's record-keeping agency, in a letter Friday to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said that despite an ongoing effort by its staff, electronic communications between certain unidentified White House officials were still not in their custody, the AP reports. "While there is no easy way to establish absolute accountability, we do know that we do not have custody of everything we should," Debra Steidel Wall, the acting US archivist, wrote to Democratic Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney.

The letter specified that the National Archives would consult with the Justice Department about how to move forward and recover "the records unlawfully removed." It has been widely reported that officials in President Donald Trump's White House used non-official electronic messaging accounts throughout his four years in office. The Presidential Records Act, which says that such records are government property and must be preserved, requires staff to copy or forward those messages into their official electronic messaging accounts. The agency said that while it has been able to obtain these records from some former officials, a number remain outstanding.

The Justice Department has already pursued records from one former Trump official, Peter Navarro, whom prosecutors accused of using at least one nonofficial email account while he worked as Trump's trade adviser. The legal action in August came weeks after Navarro was indicted on criminal charges after refusing to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. The House committee has jurisdiction over the Presidential Records Act. The request is the latest development in a monthslong back-and-forth between the agency and the committee, which has been investigating Trump's handling of records.

(Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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