The House Oversight Committee asked the National Archives on Tuesday to determine whether former President Donald Trump needs to turn over additional documents to retrieve classified records following an Aug. 8 FBI raid on his Florida home.
The panel, led by outgoing Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), asked the archives to have Trump confirm in writing that he no longer has any records – which could subject him to misrepresentation charges – and to see if there are more missing papers.
“Given the serious risk that Mr. Trump is still storing sensitive government records at Mar-a-Lago or his other properties, I urge NARA to obtain personal certification from Donald Trump that he has turned over all presidential records that he has illegally received removed from the White House after leaving office,” Maloney wrote to Acting Archivist Debra Wall.
“I am also requesting that the agency conduct an urgent review of the presidential records recovered from the Trump White House to determine if the presidential records remain unresolved and may be in the possession of the former president.”
Maloney added that archives staff “recently informed the committee that the agency is not certain that all of the President’s records are in their custody.”
The unprecedented FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach followed a dispute over the status of documents transmitted from the White House during the chaotic final days of Trump’s presidency in January 2021.
According to the authorities, top secret documents were seized during the raid. Trump claims he declassified those documents, but experts say the ex-president could still be prosecuted for misusing national defense information.
Trump says the crackdown is part of a long-running “witch hunt” against him that began with the FBI’s 2016 investigation into whether his campaign was colluding with Russia. That investigation spanned more than half of his presidency and ended with a report from the special counsel who found no evidence of a conspiracy.
Trump’s legal team clashed with officials ahead of the Mar-a-Lago raid and signed a document in June saying the ex-president’s team had completed a “diligent search” for classified records.
The FBI found “twice as many documents with classification marks as the ‘diligent search,'” prosecutors said in a court filing, “[which] seriously questions the claims made in the June 3 certification and casts doubt on the level of collaboration on this matter.”
But Trump’s allies doubt whether the markings on documents were accurate – and the matter may never be publicly settled.
Frederick Fleitz, who spent 19 years at the CIA and served as Trump’s chief of staff on the White House National Security Council, said in a recent interview with The Post that it’s common for officials to use cover sheets that tell about the actual classification of records go out.
Fleitz said a photo released by the government with covers reading “Top Secret” doesn’t necessarily mean much.
“I had a drawer full of wrappers [at the White House]’ Fleitz said. “And at the NSC, when I had to give a document to someone in an adjoining office, I would staple a cover sheet to the document. And when I run out of secret sheets, I might attach a top secret sheet to a document. I’m not saying this happened here. But what I see are wrappers. I don’t know what’s underneath.”
Experts say Trump could still face criminal charges, even though the records are currently unclassified.
Kel McClanahan, an attorney representing clients in civil cases dealing with security clearances and classified documents, said: “Everyone is talking about him releasing information, [but] the Espionage Act does not deal with classified information. It deals with this thing called national defense information that is not classified. It’s only information related to national defense, which is an extraordinarily broad definition, but that definition has stood the test of 100 years of Supreme Court challenges. So he can release whatever he wants. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s NDI.”
Jesselyn Radack, an attorney who has defended government employees, including prominent whistleblowers, accused of mishandling classified records, recently told The Post, “I represent clients who have betrayed the FBI, so I take what they do.” say, not at face value.”
But Radack added, “The unsealed search warrant and partially redacted supporting affidavit demonstrate that Trump mishandled national defense information, classified or not, on a scale greater than my clients.”
https://nypost.com/2022/09/13/house-dems-say-archives-unsure-whether-trump-has-more-records/ House Dems say archives are unsure Trump has more records