In the letter, Wall reiterated the facts of NARA’s role in a months-long effort to recover documents from Trump’s Florida resort — particularly as it has evolved into a criminal investigation by the Justice Department — defending the agency’s communication with Trump associates and the DOJ.
“The National Archives has been the focus of intense scrutiny for months, this week especially, with many people ascribing political motivation to our actions. NARA has received messages from the public accusing us of corruption and conspiring against the former President, or congratulating NARA for ‘bringing him down,'” she wrote.
“Neither is accurate or welcome,” Wall added. “For the past 30-plus years as a NARA career civil servant, I have been proud to work for a uniquely and fiercely non-political government agency, known for its integrity and its position as an ‘honest broker.’ This notion is in our establishing laws and in our very culture. I hold it dear, and I know you do, too.”
“In NARA Notice 2022-082 and NARA Notice 2022-087, he wrote that NARA received 15 boxes that contained Presidential records from former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida, including items marked as classified national security information, and, accordingly, had been in communication with the Department of Justice,” she wrote.
“He also shared that NARA staff did not visit or ‘raid’ the Mar-a-Lago property; that representatives of President Trump informed us that they were continuing to search for additional Presidential records that belong to the National Archives; and that some of the records we received at the end of the Trump Administration included paper records that had been torn up,” the letter adds.
In its search earlier this month, the FBI recovered 11 sets of classified documents, including some materials marked as “top secret/SCI” — one of the highest levels of classification. CNN has previously reported that the Archives had been working throughout 2021 to get presidential records back from Trump.
After Trump baselessly suggested former President Barack Obama had mishandled presidential records after leaving office by, Trump claimed, keeping more than 30 million documents, many of them classified, and taking them to Chicago, NARA issued a statement explaining it has “exclusive legal and physical custody” of the Obama-era records.
It added that NARA itself moved about 30 million pages of unclassified records to one of its own facilities in the Chicago area, that the classified Obama-era records are maintained in a separate NARA facility near Washington, and that “former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration.”
This story has been updated with additional details.
CNN’s Katelyn Polantz, Tierney Sneed, Holmes Lybrand and Daniel Dale contributed to this report.