Statement of John Solomon regarding access to Trump records at National Archives

Access to Trump records was limited to reporting on declassified Russia documents.

Published: August 15, 2022 6:20pm

Updated: August 15, 2022 6:58pm

Statement of Just the News founder John Solomon regarding access to National Archives materials from the Trump presidency:

There has been wild and irresponsible speculation in the news media about my authorization to view documents from the Trump presidency at the National Archives. While I have addressed this issue previously on the record with reporters and on my own news site, I am offering the following statement to reporters who seem to have missed or ignored my earlier reporting.

My authorization as a representative to the National Archives with access to the Trump collection has nothing to do with the grand jury investigation, the dispute over documents at Mar-a-Lago, or the FBI search. It was granted solely in my capacity as a reporter. I did not access the documents in Florida, seek to access them, or have anything to do with them or the dispute surrounding them. 

As I reported at Just the News and disclosed to Politico, I requested access to the National Archives from the former president's office in my capacity as a reporter in an effort to resolve the question of what happened to the Russia probe documents that former President Trump declassified but which were never released. I have narrowly limited my access to the Archives to documents related to that single question and was able to get the American people an answer.

With the help of documents provided to me by the National Archives, I was able to confirm that on Jan. 19, 2021 former President Trump did, in fact, declassify a binder of documents regarding the Russia collusion probe and ordered the material to be publicly released. But on the morning he left office, DOJ and FBI stopped the release by raising Privacy Act concerns. Then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows returned the binder on Jan. 20, 2021 to DOJ and asked officials to make the privacy redactions and release the memos, according to the memos NARA shared with me.

That release never happened, and the DOJ and FBI have failed to return the declassified binder to the National Archives. 

This is the second time in my career I have asked for access to non-public presidential documents from the National Archives. In 1992 as an AP reporter, I asked the Nixon Foundation for permission to access non-public documents, including exit interviews, of Nixon administration players from the Watergate era.

The access was greenlighted, and the National Archives graciously helped find documents showing that then-presidential candidate Ross Perot had promised Richard Nixon $50 million in donations and scored numerous favors from his administration for Perot's businesses. The story conflicted with Perot's portrayal of himself as a Washington outsider who didn't play inside baseball.

That story was widely credited for Perot's sudden demise in the polls, and it won the Raymond Clapper Award honorable mention in 1993. President Bill Clinton presented me with that award.

In both instances, my request for special National Archives access was driven by journalism, done with transparency and resulted in stories that answered important questions for the American public.

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