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House oversight chair says DOJ is 'obstructing' probe into Trump

The Department of Justice is preventing the National Archives from cooperating with the committee's request for documents and information, said committee chair Carolyn Maloney.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney
Rep. Carolyn Maloney delivers remarks at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Mar. 17, 2022.Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., is alleging that the Department of Justice is "obstructing" the panel's investigation into former President Donald Trump by blocking the National Archives from handing over relevant documents.

In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland Thursday, Maloney said the DOJ is "preventing" the National Archives from cooperating with the committee's request for documents and information, “including an inventory of 15 boxes of documents recovered from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence.”

The committee is conducting the investigation, Maloney said, because it has jurisdiction over the Presidential Records Act and is trying to determine the full scope of Trump's potential violations of that law.

In response to a request in February for those records, the Archives wrote on March 28, “With respect to your request for information about the contents of the 15 boxes that NARA received from President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence or about any reviews conducted by other federal agencies, based on our consultation with the Department of Justice, we are unable to provide any comment," Maloney said.

The DOJ is "obstructing" the probe by blocking the Archives from supplying the documents, she said, adding that while the committee doesn't want to interfere with any federal investigations, it has not received any explanation about the decision to not comply with the congressional request for information.

She asked Garland to confirm by April 14 whether the DOJ will tell the Archives that it may fully cooperate, including by giving Congress the inventory of the documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago. Maloney asked for a written explanation and briefing by that date if the DOJ decides to not follow through on the request.

The Archives confirmed in February that it had discovered classified material among boxes of White House documents that Trump improperly took to Mar-a-Lago.