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National Archives responds to Trump lawyers' letter on handling classified documents

The National Archives said that it assisted President Trump's team similar to how it helped the prior three presidential transitions.

Published: April 27, 2023 2:43pm

Updated: April 27, 2023 2:52pm

The National Archives and Records Administration responded Thursday to a letter sent to top congressional leaders from former President Donald Trump's lawyers regarding the handling of classified materials at Mar-a-Lago, rebutting claims that the agency didn't assist the transition team.

NARA responded to a letter sent to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner and the Gang of Eight congressional leadership Wednesday from former President Donald Trump's attorneys that states the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago last August for the materials was unnecessary.

The Gang of Eight consists of the top four congressional leaders and the head Republicans and Democrats from the intelligence committees of both the House and Senate.

See Turner's response to the letter here.

The letter also argues the FBI shielded Congress from being alerted to a lax White House security system that boxed up classified documents with mementos and shipped them to the Florida compound without regard to protecting national secrets.

"NARA unfortunately has become overtly political and declined to provide archival assistance to President Trump's transition team," the lawyers wrote. "Interestingly, in its press statement NARA cites every recent president after Jimmy Carter as having received the same assistance with 'archival and security standards.'"

The letter also states Carter found documents with classification markings in his home, which he returned to NARA, though apparently without an accompanying Justice Department criminal probe.

"Whether NARA's departure from routine pack-out procedures for President Trump was intentional or a product of the compressed timeline, it did not take custody of the documents and this made necessary the transfer of boxes of documents to President Trump's heavily secured home at Mar-a-Lago," the letter continued.

"To be clear, had NARA offered President Trump the same assistance that it had provided to all previous Presidents, he would have accepted the offer and there would have been no reason to transfer the documents to Mar-a-Lago."

The National Archives's press office told Just the News on Thursday the April 24 letter from Trump lawyers Timothy Parlatore, John Rowley, James Trusty and Lindsey Halligan to House Permanent Selection Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner "incorrectly states" the federal agency "declined to provide archival assistance to President Trump's transition team."

It also referred JTN to a February 10 letter to Rep. James Comer's (R-Ky.) panel in which the agency's general counsel, Gary M. Stern, clarifies that that the agency in fact "did send staff members to the White House in the final weeks of the Trump administration to assist with the move of the physical records."

"Stern's letter also described how this assistance was similar to the assistance that NARA had provided to the White House during the three previous presidential transitions," the agency told JTN.

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