HomePoliticsGov’t Narrative On Trump Docs Explodes After Internal Memos Leaked

Gov’t Narrative On Trump Docs Explodes After Internal Memos Leaked

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After referring the matter to the FBI in February 2022, the National Archives and Records Administration insisted it had no role in the federal criminal investigation into classified memos discovered at the Mar-a-Lago estate of former President Donald Trump.

“When NARA identified items marked as classified national security information within the 15 boxes, NARA referred this issue to the DOJ,” acting Archivist Debra Wall wrote Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), now the House Intelligence Committee chairman, on Aug. 16. “Since that time, the DOJ has been exclusively responsible for all aspects of this investigation, and NARA has not been involved in the DOJ investigation or any searches that it has conducted.”

The government has used this argument to rationalize why NARA is not required to answer inquiries from inquisitive legislators, so it is of great importance. Wall wrote last summer, “Consequently, NARA is unable to provide a briefing or any documents in response to your letter, and we refer you to the DOJ.”

There are, however, internal messages, emails, and correspondence – some of which were recently disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act – that contradict the Archives’ official timeline regarding the Trump scandal.

A week after Wall’s letter to Congress, a senior official at NARA was still seeking for information about the FBI investigation, according to a new set of internal messages between Archives staff.

“Need the case number for the FBI review,” NARA liaison to the Biden White House John Laster wrote in a text message dated Aug. 23 of last year.

“I think it’s LW 2022-070,” a colleague texted back. “This is the FBI review of the 15 boxes correct?”

“Correct,” Laster responded.

In April 2022, the Biden White House requested special access to 15 crates of documents Trump had returned to the Archives, who, unbeknownst to the former president and his team, was intimately involved in the investigation. This is much earlier than NARA’s referral to the FBI, but the Archives informed one of Trump’s attorneys in a letter that some of the 15 crates contained classified memoranda.

“On April 11, 2022, the White House Counsel’s Office — affirming a request from the Department of Justice supported by an FBI letterhead memorandum — formally transmitted a request that NARA provide the FBI access to the 15 boxes for its review within seven days, with the possibility that the FBI might request copies of specific documents following its review of the boxes,” the Archives wrote in a May 10, 2022 letter to Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran.

It is evident from these NARA-released documents that Archive continued to operate after the criminal referral was made.

The FBI and NARA, however, maintain that despite all the activity, the case changed hands on February 9, 2022, when the National Archives Office of Inspector General referred the matter to the FBI for a criminal investigation, after which the National Archives ceased its investigation.

“NARA received the 15 boxes from President Trump on January 18, 2022, and then discovered that they contained classified national security information,” Wall wrote current House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and current House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer on Oct. 25 of last year.

“Shortly after the discovery, NARA consulted with its Office of Inspector General (OIG), which operates independently of NARA,” Wall added. “As DOJ has disclosed publicly in court filings, NARA’s OIG subsequently referred the matter to DOJ on February 9, 2022.”

More on this story via The Republic Brief:

Furthermore, the FBI also cited the February 2022 referral as the trigger for its investigation when requesting the search warrant used to raid Mar-a-Lago in its application for the warrant used as evidence of probable cause for the raid. CONTINUE READING…

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