House Oversight Committee expands probe into Trump's handling of White House records

The chairwoman says she's "deeply concerned" Trump may have violated the law.

February 25, 2022, 6:03 AM

The House Oversight and Reform Committee on Friday expanded its investigation into former President Donald Trump's White House records, requesting new information from the National Archives about the classified materials Trump took to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida after leaving office -- as well as those records Trump is alleged to have ripped up in the White House.

In a new letter to National Archivist David Ferriero, committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., requested a "detailed" inventory of the 15 boxes of White House records the National Archives retrieved from Mar-a-Lago, as well as "all presidential records" that the agency discovered Trump had "torn up, destroyed, mutilated, or attempted to tear up, destroy, or mutilate" while in office.

"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," Rep. Maloney wrote in a letter obtained by ABC News. "This Committee plans to get to the bottom of what happened and assess whether further action is needed to prevent the destruction of additional presidential records and recover those records that are still missing."

The National Archives previously informed Maloney that some of the Trump White House documents the former president took to Florida were marked classified, and that the agency had notified the Justice Department of the matter.

The Justice Department has not said whether it has opened a formal investigation into the referral from the Archives. At a news conference on Tuesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the department would "look at the facts and the law" in evaluating the documents.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump looks at his papers during a news conference in the East Room at the White House, Feb. 16, 2017.
President Donald Trump looks at his papers during a news conference in the East Room at the White House, Feb. 16, 2017.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images, FILE

In her letter Friday, Maloney also requested any documents or records related to White House employees or contractors "finding paper in a toilet in the White House" and the president's residence -- a reference to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman's reporting that White House staff believed Trump periodically flushed papers down the toilet to dispose of them.

Trump has denied that he destroyed any documents, and has further denied any misconduct regarding the documents that were retrieved from Florida by the National Archives and Records Administration.

"The media’s characterization of my relationship with NARA is Fake News. It was exactly the opposite!" Trump said in a statement to ABC News. "It was a great honor to work with NARA to help formally preserve the Trump Legacy."

More broadly, the Oversight committee on Friday signaled plans to investigate the Trump White House's handling of the Presidential Records Act and its enforcement in the West Wing, after the National Archives informed Congress that some social media records were not preserved, and that some staff used non-official electronic messaging accounts for official business.

The committee's probe is on a parallel track to the investigation being carried out by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

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