It’s been rumored for some time now but now we know for certain.
Originally published at WND News Center. Used with permission.
The National Archives and Records Administration has been caught claiming it has no part in the investigation of memos containing classified markings found at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, even while trying to keep tabs on the FBI’s work in the case.
The situation was profiled in a report by John Solomon at Just the News, who noted the bureaucrats in the federal agency cited the publication’s reporting on the issue as a concern.
Formally, NARA spokeswoman Debra Wall told U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, “When NARA identified items marked as classified national security information within the 15 boxes [taken from Mar-a-Lago], NARA referred this issue to the DOJ. 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 report explained the claim by NARA that it isn’t involved is being used now as a reason why it does not have to answer questions from members of Congress about the scandal.
Wall said her bureaucracy was “unable to provide a briefing” to lawmakers.
But the report said NARA internal message, emails and letters, “some released in recent days under the Freedom of Information Act,” actually confirm that a full week after Wall’s letter to Congress, a senior official at NARA “was still seeking data” from the FBI.
“Need the case number for the FBI review,” the report explained was the demand from NARA liaison to the Biden White House John Laster.
That was from last August. “I think it’s LW 2022-070,” a colleague texted back. “This is the FBI review of the 15 boxes correct?” “Correct,” Laster responded.
The report also noted that earlier, but after NARA sent the case to the FBI, “the Archives was deeply involved in the probe when it fielded a request in April 2022 from the Biden White House to facilitate FBI ‘special access’ to 15 boxes of documents Trump had returned to the Archives, some of which contained the classified memos, according to a letter from the Archives to one of Trump’s attorneys.”
In fact, the Archives told Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran at the time that the White House counsel affirmed “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.”
Just the News revealed, “Such documents, released by NARA to the public, clearly show Archives activity well after the criminal referral.”
Meanwhile, NARA continues to insist it fled the case when the FBI became involved.
Solomon continued, “When Just the News and this reporter first obtained the May 2022 communications between Corcoran and NARA and published them on Aug. 23, 2022, the story’s revelation about the special access request from the FBI raised concerns at the highest levels of the Archives, in part because other news outlets were beginning to pick up on it.”
He explained internal notes reveal NARA officials have been concerned about the reporting on the dispute.
And, the report pointed out, the public interest law firm America First Legal is preparing a FOIA request to force the release of more communications and records.