Reports by the Washington Post and others show the National Archives were forced to go down to Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence to retrieve fifteen boxes of documents and other records that were required to be handed over to the agency at the end of the administration.
The Trump administration’s actions appear to be a clear violation of the Presidential Records Act, especially the president’s habit of ripping, tearing and destroying documents, despite repeated warnings from his own White House officials. This includes documents pertaining to the January 6 attack on the Capitol incited by Trump, a concerning revelation. NARA’s statement on the matter underscores the need for transparency regarding the extent of former President Trump’s violations. According to NARA, “records should have been transferred to NARA from the White House at the end of the Trump Administration in January 2021.” Of course, that was not the case as they also state Trump’s representatives were “continuing to search” for records that should have been turned over but weren’t.
With this news, CREW has requested all records from January 20, 2021 reflecting any referrals by NARA to the DOJ relating to Trump’s presidential records. We’re also requesting all communications from January 20, 2021 on between NARA staff, Trump or his representatives relating to his compliance with the Presidential Records Act. This also includes communications concerning efforts to recover documents and other items not transferred to NARA at the end of the Trump Administration as well as those ripped, torn or destroyed by Trump while in office.
The Trump administration consistently acted as if the laws did not apply to them, it is no surprise this includes the preservation of records in compliance with the PRA. Americans are tired of public officials who act as if the rules don’t apply to them, this includes the highest office in the land. These records are not only important for historical context, they shed light on the extent of former President Trump’s failure to transfer documents to NARA, as well as his disregard for the law shown by his mutilation of presidential records.