The National Archives has still not recovered all the presidential records that should have been turned over at the end of the Trump administration, according to a new letter to Congress from the acting archivist.
“We do know that we do not have custody of everything we should,” Debra Steidel Wall, acting archivist of the United States, said in her letter to Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., suggesting that former officials had still not turned over electronic messages of official business done on personal accounts.
Wall’s letter was a response to a Sept. 13 request from Maloney seeking an “urgent review” of “whether presidential records remain unaccounted for and potentially in the possession of the former president.”
Wall said the National Archives and Records Administration “would consult with the Department of Justice” on whether “to initiate an action for the recovery of records unlawfully removed.”
The revelation comes as Trump and the Department of Justice are in a court battle over documents seized from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate by federal agents in early August as part of an investigation into Trump’s potential mishandling of presidential records after leaving office.
The FBI said it took 11,000 documents in the court-authorized seizure, including more than 100 documents with classified markings.
Trump sued to obtain the appointment of a special master to pore over the documents seized for attorney-client privilege and executive privilege. The review is ongoing, and the Department of Justice is seeking a fast-track appeal of the special master ruling.
In a statement, Maloney said it was “outrageous that these records remain unaccounted for 20 months after former President Trump left office.”
“Former President Trump and his senior staff have shown an utter disregard for the rule of law and our national security by failing to return presidential records as the law requires,” Maloney said. “I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that all presidential records from the Trump White House are returned to the custody of the government and to make sure these abuses never happen again.”
The National Archives previously said Trump allegedly had more than 700 pages of classified material in his possession, which were found in the 15 boxes that the Archives retrieved from Mar-a-Lago in January.
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