Federal investigators have subpoenaed the National Archives and Records Administration for classified documents shipped to former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort after he left the White House.
The subpoena is part of a grand jury investigation into how those documents were handled, according to The New York Times. The National Archives in February asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Trump violated the law after discovering 15 boxes of records at Mar-a-Lago.
Investigators are trying to determine how the documents were shipped to Florida and whether those involved knew about the sensitive content. To answer those questions, they also are seeking to question Trump officials present at the White House in the last days of his presidency.
Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich told the Times the presidential records were handled appropriately.
“President Trump consistently handled all documents in accordance with applicable law and regulations,” Budowich said. “Belated attempts to second-guess that clear fact are politically motivated and misguided.”
In January, the National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of presidential records from Mar-a-Lago and found “items marked as classified national security information within the boxes,” according to a letter from the U.S. archivist to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
“If this was anyone but ‘Trump,’ there would be no story here,” Trump wrote in his blog following the discovery. “Instead the Democrats are in search of the next scam.” Trump relentlessly criticized 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton for using personal email for State Department correspondence that included classified subjects.
The Presidential Records Act includes a provision “that presidential records automatically transfer into the legal custody of the Archivist as soon as the President leaves office.” Presidential records may include documents, photos and letters.
The National Archives reached out to Trump after realizing key documents from his administration hadn’t been turned over, including Trump’s letters to Kim Jong Un, a letter former President Barack Obama left for Trump, and an altered weather map in the 2019 Sharpiegate incident, according to The Washington Post.
This is not the first time Trump has come under fire over his handling of records. In 2018, Politico reported staff use clear Scotch tape to piece back together documents Trump had ripped apart.
White House staff also thought Trump was behind White House toilets periodically found clogged with ripped papers, according to Maggie Haberman’s upcoming book on Trump, shared by Axios.