The Democrat-led House Oversight Committee has indicated to the National Archives it’s expanding its investigation into former President Donald Trump’s mishandling of government documents after he left the presidency by asking the Archives in a new letter for more information, including the torn-up pieces of paper the Archives has obtained from Trump’s White House.
The House’s letter to the Archives seeks more of the mishandled presidential records, detailed explanations from the Archives about what it found in boxes kept at Trump’s Florida resort until recently, including what classified information was found, and still-secret communications between the Trump White House and the Archives regarding handling of government records. The committee has expressed concern that classified documents were in the Mar-a-Lago cache, that Trump regularly tore apart memos despite being warned not to and that White House staff didn’t keep complete records of their messages on encrypted apps or from social media.
“The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) provided new details of what appear to be the largest-scale violations of the Presidential Records Act since its enactment,” Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, who chairs the committee, wrote in the new letter dated Thursday and sent to the Archives.
The Archives, which has drawn attention in recent weeks to presidential record-keeping problems from the Trump years, has previously said it was planning to complete its inventory of the 15 boxes it had received from Mar-a-Lago on Friday. The Archives initially arranged for the transport of the boxes of records from Trump’s Florida resort last month after the agency sought them from the former President’s team.
In addition to its request for a detailed description of the contents of the boxes found at Mar-a-Lago, and all presidential records that had been or attempted to be torn up, destroyed or mutilated, the committee also asks the Archives for all correspondence between the Archives and the Trump administration about the Presidential Records Act that has not been provided to the committee.
The committee zeroes in on a request for records from Trump’s Executive Office of the President, in light of the Archives’ revelation that some social media records and correspondence by White House staff were not properly kept as official documents despite previous warnings to Trump officials.
The committee asks the Archives to turn over the social media accounts, including direct messaging, of some of the most senior members in Trump’s White House, to specifically look at what was preserved or destroyed.
The accounts the committee asks the Archives to process first are those of Rudy Giuliani, Ivanka Trump, Mark Meadows, former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, former senior counselor to Trump Kellyanne Conway, former trade adviser Peter Navarro and former Trump assistant press secretary Chad Gilmartin. The panel also asks for all records related to how Trump’s Twitter account was disconnected.
The committee calls on the Archives to deliver any documents or communication relating to the use of personal messaging accounts for official business, the attempted or actual destruction of any documents, and any information about conversations between staffers and Trump about the Presidential Records Act.
It even asks the Archives for any evidence that White House employees or contractors found paper in a toilet in the White House, including in the White House residence, after that detail was reported in the media.
For that request, the panel asks the Archives to first prioritize records from some of the individuals closest to the former President, including former chiefs of staff Meadows, John Kelly and Reince Priebus. It also seeks this information specifically from former Trump White House Counsels Don McGahn and Pat Cipollone.
Other individuals the committee asks the Archives to prioritize are Trump’s former personal assistant Nicholas Luna, former White Staff Secretary and Counselor to Trump Derek Lyons, former Trump White House Deputy Counsel Stefan Passantino, former Trump White House Staff Secretary Robert Porter and Former Director of Trump Oval Office Operations Madeleine Westerhout.
The committee wants responses from the Archives by March 10 and March 17.