WASHINGTON Former President Donald Trump turned over 15 cartons of documents from his Mar-a-Lago estate in January. The documents were stamped with a level of classification that suggested they included some of the government’s most sensitive secrets.
In an letter in May that was published on its website on Tuesday, the National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, told Trump’s attorneys of the discovery. On the website of right-wing journalist John Solomon, the letter was first published.
In a statement to the National Archives, authorities noted that things inside 15 boxes provided by Trump’s attorneys in January were “designated as classified national security information, up to the level of top secret and includes sensitive compartmented information and special access program papers.” That means Trump brought the most sensitive information from the American government home, information that, if revealed, may reveal sources and methods.
The Department of Justice then asked the president to urge NARA to grant the FBI access to the boxes in question so that the FBI and other members of the intelligence community could review them, the letter stated. The National Archives subsequently “advised the Department of Justice about that discovery.”
The letter stated, “There are vital national security interests in the FBI and other members of the intelligence community obtaining access to these materials,” as the Department of Justice’s national security division had previously indicated to you on April 29, 2022. “NARA claims that the papers in the boxes include more than 100 documents totaling more than 700 pages that have classification markings. Some of them contain materials from special access programs (SAP), which have the highest classification levels.”
President Joe Biden reportedly renounced any executive privilege defenses Trump may have had against the materials, according to the letter. The Justice Department’s National Security Division was attempting to “perform an evaluation of the possible damage resulting from the apparent way in which these materials were handled and moved and take any necessary remedial procedures,” according to the National Archives.
In February, NBC News reported that boxes taken by the National Archives in January included classified material. Their classified statuses were covered in further detail in the May letter.
According to the Presidential Records Act, every government is required to properly preserve all presidential records in order to transfer them entirely to the National Archives at the end of each term.
According to court records that a federal judge in Florida unsealed, FBI officers searched Mar-a-Lago this month and found a wealth of more top secret and other highly classified information.
According to records that NBC News got just before the judge released them, federal officials removed 11 sets of sensitive documents, some of which were marked secret and top secret.