The National Archives and Records Administration confirmed on Friday that it found classified material among the boxes of White House documents that former President Donald Trump improperly took to Mar-a-Lago.
“NARA has identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes” that have been returned to the agency from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, Archivist David S. Ferriero acknowledged in a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
The agency has said that Trump returned 15 boxes of documents that were improperly taken from the White House. Earlier this month, the oversight committee opened an investigation into the records that were taken from the White House by the former president.
Asked by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who chairs the oversight committee, if the agency had reported Trump’s actions to the U.S. Attorney General’s office, Ferriero said: “Because NARA identified classified information in the boxes, NARA staff has been in communication with the Department of Justice.”
In a letter to Ferriero, which was sent last week, Maloney said she was “deeply concerned” that the records had not been provided to the agency promptly at the end of the Trump administration. “They appear to have been removed from the White House in violation of the Presidential Records Act (PRA),” Maloney wrote.
In his letter, Ferreiro said the records agency is still in the process of “inventorying the contents of the boxes, which we expect to complete by February 25.”
Trump, who routinely blasted Hillary Clinton for allegedly mishandling classified information during the 2016 election, said last week he hadn’t done anything wrong.
“The papers were given easily and without conflict and on a very friendly basis, which is different from the accounts being drawn up by the Fake News Media,” he said in a statement. “In fact, it was viewed as routine and ‘no big deal.’ In actuality, I have been told I was under no obligation to give this material based on various legal rulings that have been made over the years.”
The Presidential Records Act mandates that all presidential records must be properly preserved by each administration so a complete set of records is transferred to the National Archives at the end of an administration.
The Archives revealed it had recovered the documents in a statement earlier this month, saying that in mid-January it had “arranged for the transport from the Trump Mar-a-Lago property in Florida to the National Archives of 15 boxes that contained Presidential records, following discussions with President Trump’s representatives in 2021.”
In his letter to Maloney, Ferriero said the agency “has asked the representatives of former President Trump to continue to search for any additional Presidential records that have not been transferred to NARA, as required by the Presidential Records Act.”
Asked if he was aware of any other records that had not been turned over by the administration, Ferriero said the agency “has identified certain social media records that were not captured and preserved by the Trump Administration.”
The agency has also “learned that some White House staff conducted official business using non-official electronic messaging accounts that were not copied or forwarded into their official electronic messaging accounts, as required,” he said.
Ferriero said the agency “has already obtained or is in the process of obtaining some of those records,” but did not provide any further details.
Dareh Gregorian is a politics reporter for NBC News.