Justice Department looking into top secret presidential documents pulled from Trump's Mar-a-Lago

An untold number of classified documents were discovered amongst 15 boxes that found their way from the White House

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published February 10, 2022 8:34PM (EST)

Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich is calling "fake news" to claims that top secret documents were improperly taken from the White House to the former president's Mar-a-Lago residence.

According to The Washington Post, the National Archives and Records Administration made arrangements to retrieve 15 boxes of documents from Trump's residence and, as of now, there has been no number given as to how many of them were classified. Since the discovery, the Justice Department has been brought in to investigate the matter further but as of the time of this post the FBI has not yet had a chance to review the documents, and a more extensive investigation has yet to be launched.

"It is clear that a normal and routine process is being weaponized by anonymous, politically motivated government sources to peddle Fake News," says Budowich. The only entity with the ability to credibly dispute this false reporting, the National Archives, is providing no comment."

Related: Trump illegally ripped up "hundreds" of White House documents, and many went in "burn bags"

The Presidential Records Act stipulates that any written documents relating to a president's time in office need to be preserved, which is a practice that Trump has come under scrutiny for shrugging off for years. In a recent CNN report it's detailed that three different White House officials who worked close to Trump witnessed him, on numerous occasions, rip up documents after reading them. 

"I remember sitting behind him on one of our Christmas trips to the Middle East, and he would put certain things in folders and then he would tear up others and leave them on the floor," says former White House communications director Stephanie Grisham.


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If the matter of these classified documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago were to escalate, it would be on the basis that prosecutors determined that the mishandling of the top secret paperwork was intentional, and/or grossly negligent, according to the Washington Post article.

"The FBI would want and need to review the information and conduct an investigation to determine what occurred and whether any sources and methods were compromised," says Former federal prosecutor Brandon Van Grack.

Trump's treatment of presidential documents isn't the only thing that's been of some concern lately.  A report from The New York Times today reveals that a House committee investigation into the attack on the Capitol on January 6 found that there were gaps in Trump's phone logs during hours in which investigators knew he had in fact been on the line.

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By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is a journalist and fiction writer who lives in New Orleans. She is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

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