Donald Trump’s immediate predecessors as president didn’t take classified information upon leaving the White House, the National Archives and Records Administration told The Daily Signal.
The typically history-focused agency—charged with holding White House documents and other government records under the Presidential Records Act—was thrust into a political firestorm last month when the FBI raided the Mar-a-Lago home of the 45th president.
According to the FBI, Trump kept classified information in his private Florida residence. Trump claimed that he had declassified the documents prior to leaving office and kept them secure.
In a statement provided to The Daily Signal, the National Archives said that Trump’s three immediate predecessors in the White House, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton didn’t leave office with classified information.
“To our knowledge, no records containing classified national security information or information classified under the Atomic Energy Act were outside of government control with regard to the transfer of records at the end of the terms for Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush, or Obama,” a National Archives spokesperson told The Daily Signal in an email.
Each of these former presidents fought with the National Archives over Presidential Records Act. However, the disputes didn’t concern classified documents.
The National Archives and Records Administration gave the statement on Tuesday afternoon, but The Daily Signal had first inquired about the matter on Aug. 26.
The Daily Signal asked how many classified documents did Obama, Bush, and Clinton took with them when they left the presidency and what the agency did to get the documents back.
The National Archives responded three days later, on Aug. 29, saying that because the agency is “experiencing quite a deluge of requests” from the news media, it could not meet a deadline of 4 p.m.
The Daily Signal kept in touch with the agency for several days and inquired when they might respond. It did so Tuesday.
Rep. James Comer, R.Ky., is a ranking member of House Oversight and Reform Committee. requested a briefing from National Archives officials as well as preservation of all documents and communications relevant to the FBI raid of Trump’s Florida home Aug. 9.
Last month, The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act seeking communications between senior National Archives officials and the Biden White House, the Justice Department, the FBI, and Trump’s staff at Mar-a-Lago; Bedminster, New Jersey; or Trump Tower in New York City. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)
After the agencies failed to respond to the requests, the Oversight Project filed suit Sept. 2 under Freedom of Information Act against National Archives and Justice Department.
“Biden’s DOJ and FBI raided Mar-a-Lago over a document dispute,” Mike Howell, director of Heritage’s Oversight Project, said in a prepared statement.
“Now, they have a document dispute with us,” Howell said. “Let’s see if the law is truly applied evenly, or if these agencies continue to stonewall our efforts while selectively leaking information [about what was seized in the raid]To advance the narrative, liberal media outlets [Attorney General] Merrick Garland and Joe Biden want.”
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