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House Oversight panel seeks more information on Trump's handling of White House records

The committee is seeking a range of records, including information on what was found in 15 boxes obtained from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.
Image: Donald Trump
Donald Trump gestures after disembarking from Air Force One at Stansted Airport on Dec. 2, 2019.Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — The House Oversight Committee has asked the National Archives for more information about former President Donald Trump's handling of White House records.

In a letter to National Archivist David Ferriero, the panel's chairwoman, Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., asked for a range of documents, including information on what was found in 15 boxes obtained from Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

Maloney also asked for information on documents that the National Archives learned Trump had ripped up and on any correspondence between the agency and him about the Presidential Records Act.

“I am deeply concerned that former President Trump may have violated the law through his intentional efforts to remove and destroy records that belong to the American people,” Maloney wrote in the letter Thursday.

She also requested documents and communications on the use of personal messaging accounts for official business and on the destruction of or failure to preserve social media account records.

"The committee needs additional documents and information uniquely available from NARA to investigate the full extent of this conduct and determine what additional steps, including potential legislative reforms, may be needed to ensure the preservation of presidential records for the American people," Maloney wrote.

Maloney's committee opened an investigation into Trump's handling of White House records earlier this month after the Archives said it had to ask Trump to return 15 boxes of records that he had improperly taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago.

The records agency also said earlier this month that White House documents it had preserved had been ripped up by the former president, some of which were taped back together by government officials. The President Records Act requires that all presidential records be turned over to the Archives at the end of their administrations, the agency noted.

In response, Trump said the archives had “openly and willingly” arranged the transfer of the boxes, which he said “contained letters, records, newspapers, magazines, and various articles.”

“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 Archives has released hundreds of pages of White House documents to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, a move Trump sought unsuccessfully to block at the Supreme Court. NBC News previously reported that the committee found that the records showed a gap in Trump's phone calls on the day of the riot. The panel declined to comment to NBC News, and Trump’s spokesman did not return a request for comment.

In addition, The New York Times' Maggie Haberman wrote in a book about the former president that White House staff periodically found papers clogging a toilet and believed Trump had flushed the materials — a claim Trump quickly denied.

“Another fake story, that I flushed papers and documents down a White House toilet, is categorically untrue and simply made up by a reporter in order to get publicity for a mostly fictitious book,” he said in a statement.