We can, of course, expect the House Jan. 6 committee’s final report to be released next week, with any criminal referrals the committee plans to relay to the Justice Department. And Democrats in the Senate appear to be nearing an agreement with Republicans on the contours of an omnibus bill that could fund the government into next fall.
But wait … there’s more.
On Tuesday, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., the outgoing chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to the National Archives and Records Administration sounding the alarm over a report that former President Donald Trump had been keeping presidential records in a Florida storage unit after leaving the White House.
Maloney’s letter cites last week’s Washington Post report that said an outside team working with Trump’s lawyers on a court-ordered search had “found” two additional documents marked classified in the storage unit in recent weeks, and that the team also conducted searches at Trump’s estate in Bedminster, New Jersey, and Trump Tower in New York. (Trump’s lawyers claim no classified documents were unearthed at the New Jersey and New York properties, according to the Post.)
The Post’s report suggests Trump continued to keep presidential records owned by the U.S. government even after a grand jury subpoena in May ordered his legal team to return all classified records in his possession — and after the Justice Department ultimately seized documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida despite his lawyers claiming on legal forms that all documents sought by the government had been turned over.
“It appears that the former President continued to retain government property even after a court-authorized search of his Mar-a-Lago Club on August 8, 2022, when the FBI recovered more than 11,000 government records,” Maloney wrote in her letter.
And she issued a request to the National Archives.
“I am deeply concerned by former President Trump’s flagrant disregard for the [Presidential Records Act],” Maloney wrote. “I therefore request that NARA, in consultation with other federal entities as appropriate, conduct a review to determine what, if any, presidential records former President Trump has retained at his storage facility in Florida or his other properties that should be under NARA’s custody and control consistent with the Presidential Records Act.”
In September, Maloney sent a letter to the Archives asking it to confirm whether Trump had returned all presidential records belonging to the government that were believed to be held at Mar-a-Lago or other Trump properties. In October, the acting archivist of the United States replied that all documents had not been returned.
“While there is no easy way to establish absolute accountability, we do know that we do not have custody of everything we should,” Debra Steidel Wall wrote.
The DOJ seems just as apoplectic as Maloney. Officials had already claimed in an August court filing that they had evidence Trump’s team “likely concealed and removed” documents at Mar-a-Lago and that efforts were likely made to obstruct the investigation. And last week, multiple reports claimed the DOJ had recently requested that Trump’s legal team be held in contempt for not complying with the grand jury’s subpoena.
That request was denied, NBC News reported.
It’s unclear whether and how the National Archives will pursue the investigation Maloney requested under a GOP-led House of Representatives. But it’s plain to see there’s widespread concern — and not just about Trump potentially still hoarding classified documents.
The storage unit story suggests these documents could’ve been tucked away almost anywhere.