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May 19, 2022
House Panel Steps Up Probe Into Trump’s Document Handling
politics

House Panel Steps Up Probe Into Trump’s Document Handling

Topline
The Democrat-led House Oversight Committee on Friday stepped up an investigation into the alleged mishandling of government documents by former President Donald Trump and his close allies, pushing for more information amid growing reports of shoddy record keeping and repeated destruction of documents by the former president after a trove of files—some classified—were discovered at his Mar-a-Lago resort. 

The House committee has asked the National Archives to turn over more information on Trump’s record … [+] keeping.

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Key Facts

In a letter to the National Archives, Committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) asked the Archives for more information on the contents of 15 boxes found at Trump’s Florida resort, including details on classified documents the organization discovered in the cache. 

Maloney also asked for the records the former president “had torn up, destroyed, mutilated” or attempted to do so and whether White House workers found paper blocking toilets, referencing reports Trump regularly tore memos and that staffers allegedly found pieces of paper flushed down toilets.

The committee also asked the Archives to turn over social media accounts and messages of senior members of Trump’s inner circle to assess claims the administration did not adequately preserve, or destroyed, social media records.   

The committee also asked the Archives to turn over social media accounts and messages of senior members of Trump’s inner circle to assess claims the administration did not adequately preserve, or destroyed, social media records.   

For several requests, the committee asked the archives to prioritize records involving senior members of Trump’s inner circle, including Ivanka Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, Reince Priebus, Kayleigh McEnany, Kellyanne Conway, Chad Gilmartin and Peter Navarro.

Maloney said the committee expects responses from the Archives by March 10 and March 17. 

Crucial Quote
“The American people deserve to know the extent of what former President Trump did to hide and destroy federal records and make sure these abuses do not happen again,” Maloney said in a statement, according to the New York Times. 

Key Background
The Presidential Records Act requires the White House to preserve a wide array of the president’s documents and communications for historic preservation. Trump, however,  reportedly had a habit of ripping up and disposing of paper once he was finished (which staff had to try and stick back together). An upcoming book by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman said Trump officials found wads of paper clogging White House toilets and that they believed the then-president was the one responsible. Trump denies the allegations. Trump’s diligence in record-keeping returned to the spotlight a year after he left the White House when a trove of documents was found stored at his Mar-a-Lago resort, some of which were confidential. The issue raised the prospect of whether Trump has fallen foul of federal law, which prohibits the concealment, destruction, or removal of documents. 

Further Reading
National Archives Says It Found ‘Classified National Security Information’ In Boxes At Mar-A-Lago (Forbes)

House Panel Widens Investigation of Trump’s Handling of Documents (NYT)

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