Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., the chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, said Thursday that the panel is opening an investigation into the 15 boxes of documents that were taken from the White House by former President Donald Trump.
Maloney, in a letter to Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, said she is "deeply concerned" that the records were not provided to the agency promptly at the end of the Trump administration "and appear to have been removed from the White House in violation of the Presidential Records Act (PRA)."
The National Archives and Records Administration has said that Trump returned 15 boxes of documents that were improperly taken from the White House. In a statement Monday, the archives said that it had “arranged for the transport from the Trump Mar-a-Lago property in Florida to the National Archives of 15 boxes that contained Presidential records, following discussions with President Trump’s representatives in 2021.”
Trump denied Thursday that there was any wrongdoing with the documents and said the archives had “openly and willingly” arranged the transfer of the boxes, which he said “contained letters, records, newspapers, magazines, and various articles.”
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“The papers were given easily and without conflict and on a very friendly basis, which is different from the accounts being drawn up by the Fake News Media,” he said in a statement. “In fact, it was viewed as routine and ‘no big deal.’ In actuality, I have been told I was under no obligation to give this material based on various legal rulings that have been made over the years.”
The Presidential Records Act mandates that all presidential records must be properly preserved by each administration so a complete set of records is transferred to the National Archives at the end of an administration.
Separately, the National Archives on Wednesday asked the Justice Department to examine whether Trump’s handling of White House records violated federal law. One official said it’s unclear whether the Justice Department would take up the request, saying it’s all preliminary.
Maloney requested that the National Archives provide information regarding its communication with Trump representatives about the missing boxes, the contents of the boxes, and more by Feb. 18.