The National Archives has told the House Oversight Committee that certain Trump administration presidential records remain pending, citing information that some White House employees used unofficial electronic systems to conduct official business.
In a Friday letter to the panel’s chair, New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney of the National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, said she had been unable to obtain records on several former officials and would continue to seek the return of similar types. of files. Presidential records of former officials.
But, “while there is no easy way to establish absolute liability, we know we don’t have custody of everything that we should,” NARA said.
Last month, Maloney requested in a letter that NARA seek “personal certification” from former President Donald Trump that he turned over all presidential records that he “unlawfully removed” from the White House.
The Archives letter is the latest development in NARA’s years-long quest to recover all records belonging to the federal government that were created during the Trump administration.
NARA’s back and forth with Trump and his ties earlier this year led to the return by former administration officials and lawyers of boxes and envelopes filled with records. NARA’s findings in one such collection prompted a Justice Department investigation into mishandling of classified records and a search in August at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s beach club in Florida.
In its letter to Maloney, NARA cited a lawsuit filed last summer by the Justice Department that asked a judge to order Trump’s former White House trade adviser, Peter Navarro, to return federal records the DOJ says he kept. improperly after leaving the administration.
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The DOJ said Navarro used a private email account for presidential business, “such as the need for ventilators, the creation and deployment of National Guard-based rapid response teams, and the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID,” it said. the DOJ document.
According to the lawsuit, the National Archives learned of Navarro’s private account through the House committee investigating the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is outrageous that these records remain unaccounted for 20 months after former President Trump left office,” Maloney said in a statement Saturday. “Former President Trump and his senior staff have shown a complete disregard for the rule of law and our national security by failing to return presidential records as required by law.”
In Friday’s letter, NARA referred questions about whether it intends to file criminal charges to the Justice Department.