National Archives Rebuts Trump Lies About Obama Stealing Docs


Donald Trump is still lashing out over the FBI raid of his southern Florida property known as Mar-a-Lago earlier this week.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, nearly a dozen sets of highly sensitive government documents were among items FBI agents took from Mar-a-Lago during the raid. The report reveals classified documents — including what a report from The Washington Post said authorities feared could’ve included secrets related to nuclear weapons — remained at the Trump resort months after the National Archives initially found what it said was classified material among 15 boxes of government records recovered from the property. Among Trump’s many attempts at a defense after the FBI raid, he alleged former President Barack Obama also took classified material among records from his administration, but in a prepared statement, the National Archives rebutted that argument.

“President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!” Trump ranted Friday on Truth Social. The National Archives responded to that slew of allegations with a comprehensive rebuttal. In reality, Obama doesn’t hold 33 million pages of documents from his administration, per the federal agency’s statement — and included in that is the implication Obama isn’t holding onto any documents related to nuclear weapons of the U.S. or any other country.

“The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama Presidential records when President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act (PRA),” the agency said on Friday. “NARA moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area where they are maintained exclusively by NARA. Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama Presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, DC, area. As required by the PRA, former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his administration.”

Trump restated the allegation about Obama supposedly taking tens of millions of records in follow-up remarks. Referring to records federal agents were after at Mar-a-Lago, Trump complained: “They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK. The bigger problem is, what are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?” In reality, federal authorities engaged in months of communications and negotiations with former President Trump’s team over records from his tenure taken to Mar-a-Lago. A report from The New York Times outlines how U.S. authorities suspected information provided by Trump’s team regarding what Trump handed over wasn’t accurate. In other words, it’s not as though Justice Department personnel didn’t try to simply ask. At issue is a suspicion Trump was deceptively harboring federal records that U.S. rules required be turned over, even after contacts from authorities.

An official list of items seized from Mar-a-Lago that was viewed by the Journal also indicated information about the president of France was included, and other reporting — from the Post — says signals intelligence, meaning intercepted electronic communications, was in what the archives recovered in 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago back in January. The raid at Mar-a-Lago was associated with an investigation into the potential perpetration of three potential crimes, including violations of the Espionage Act, “a federal law that makes it a crime to destroy or conceal a document to obstruct a government investigation; and another statute associated with unlawful removal of government materials,” The New York Times reported.

An affidavit accompanying the warrant that supported the eventual court finding of probable cause — and would presumably contain key evidence about how the government built its case for the raid — isn’t set for release. A reporter with the Times noted that citing the potential violation of a federal law against holding onto certain documents for the purpose of obstruction leads to the question of what action or probe federal law enforcement might suspect Trump of trying to affect.