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National Archives Still Missing Several Records from Trump Administration, Officials Say

Police outside of Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Tuesday Aug. 9, 2022, the day after the FBI searched Donald Trump's estate. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Police outside of Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Tuesday Aug. 9, 2022, the day after the FBI searched Donald Trump's estate. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty

The search for missing White House documents continues, as the National Archives has told the House Oversight Committee that some records from former president Donald Trump's administration have still not been recovered.

In a letter sent to the committee's chairwoman, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, acting archivist Debra Steidel Wall revealed that the archives will consult with the Department of Justice regarding the missing records. The matter in question for the DOJ is whether the records were "unlawfully removed."

"While there is no easy way to establish absolute accountability, we do know that we do not have custody of everything we should," Steidel Wall wrote in the letter.

The former president's lawyers remains engaged in a legal battle with the Justice Department over the possession of documents in the first place, as the records discovered in the August search of Mar-a-Lago were meant to have been turned over to the Archives when Trump left office in January 2021.

Due to the ongoing investigation into the nature of Trump's possession of the documents, the archives did not specify whether the still-missing records are in the former president's possession or not.

"The National Archives has confirmed to the Oversight Committee that they still have not received all presidential records from the Trump White House," Maloney said in a statement about the archives' letter.

During a recent interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Trump claimed that it was within his power as president to declassify a document "just by saying it's declassified, even by thinking about it." He maintained that "there doesn't have to be a process," to declassify official White House documents, aiming to bolster his claim that he declassified all the documents he was found to be in possession of in August.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta has said that Trump's legal team has not produced any evidence that any of the documents found at Mar-a-Lago in August were declassified.

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PALM BEACH, FL - AUGUST 08: Secret Service is seen in front of the home of former President Donald Trump house at Mar-A-Lago on August 8, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. The FBI raided the home to retrieve classified White House documents. (Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FL - AUGUST 08: Secret Service is seen in front of the home of former President Donald Trump house at Mar-A-Lago on August 8, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. The FBI raided the home to retrieve classified White House documents. (Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images)

Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty

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The August search of Mar-a-Lago came after numerous attempts by the federal government to track down missing documents from Trump's time in office.

In January, after being contacted by the National Archives and Records Administration, Trump and his associates sent 184 documents from Mar-a-Lago to the archives.

Then, in early June, FBI agents and a senior Justice Department national security supervisor reportedly visited the resort regarding boxes of classified documents sitting in the property's basement. A Trump attorney handed over 38 documents at the time, and officials followed up with instructions to install a stronger lock on the storage room door.

Trump reportedly assured officials that he had no more classified materials, but weeks later, "someone familiar with the stored papers told investigators there may be still more classified documents at the private club," per The Wall Street Journal.

In August, agents came back with the warrant, ultimately leaving with more than 100 documents. The warrant revealed that the FBI is investigating whether the former president violated the Espionage Act.

An inventory of the items taken in the search showed 11 sets of classified documents. Some were marked as top secret, which the Wall Street Journal notes should only be available in special government facilities.

Among the many boxes of items taken were binders of photos, an unspecified handwritten note and the executive grant of clemency for former Trump aide Roger Stone. The three-page list of items also showed that information about the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, was collected — which Macron said he had "no information" about in a recent interview on CNN.