The House Oversight Committee, through its currently serving chairperson, is requesting a new investigation by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) into Donald Trump’s handling of highly sensitive government records from his time in office.
The investigation for which chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) pushed in a new letter to the head of the agency would deal with whether there are still government records potentially in Donald Trump’s possession. Evidence already shows Trump and his team aren’t being forthcoming. After a grand jury subpoena demanding the return of a broad array of government records identified with various classification markings, government personnel received a signed assurance from a Trump lawyer that everything covered by the subpoena was getting returned and the Trump team wasn’t even keeping any copies. FBI agents participating in a raid of Mar-a-Lago some two months later found numerous additional classified documents, including information a report says concerned the nuclear capabilities of a foreign nation. Also among what agents found was information connected to gathering intelligence from covert human sources.
“In light of the serious risk that Mr. Trump may still be retaining sensitive government records at Mar-a-Lago or his other properties, I urge NARA to seek a personal certification from Donald Trump that he has surrendered all presidential records that he illegally removed from the White House after leaving office,” Maloney’s recently issued letter says. “I also ask that the agency conduct an urgent review of presidential records recovered from the Trump White House to assess whether presidential records remain unaccounted for and potentially in the possession of the former president.” Empty folders designated for holding classified materials were also discovered at Mar-a-Lago during the recent FBI raid, although the exact fate of whatever the folders previously held isn’t precisely known to the public at this point — but serious concerns remain.
The Justice Department cited the issue of the empty folders in a Florida court filing pushing for federal Judge Aileen Cannon to put some of her recent conclusions in favor of Trump’s push for a special master on hold. (A special master is a court-appointed third party who in this case would take over part of dealing with the docs seized in the raid.) The recent federal filing outlines how there are urgent national security concerns that don’t necessarily directly involve Trump but underlie some of the U.S. interest in using seized materials for investigative purposes, necessitating Cannon altering her directives: “The same is true of the empty folders with “‘classified’ banners” that were among the seized materials here… The FBI would be chiefly responsible for investigating what materials may have once been stored in these folders and whether they may have been lost or compromised—steps that, again, may require the use of grand jury subpoenas, search warrants, and other criminal investigative tools and could lead to evidence that would also be highly relevant to advancing the criminal investigation.”