The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) responded Friday to former President Donald Trump’s statements that former President Barrack Obama took classified records from the White House when his term ended in 2016.
“President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!” Trump said in a statement on Friday.
Trump repeated his assertion about Obama’s presidential records in a post on Truth Social after the FBI conducted its unprecedented raid of his Florida property to search for classified presidential documents.
NARA released a statement in refute of Trump’s claims, saying they exclusively maintain Obama’s presidential records according to the Presidential Records Act (PRA).
“NARA moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area where they are maintained exclusively by NARA,” NARA said in a statement.
“Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama Presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, D.C., area. As required by the PRA, former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration.”
The Epoch Times contacted Obama’s office for comment.
NARA’s Pursuit of Trump’s Records
It is unclear why an FBI warrant and subsequent raid was needed given Trump’s cooperation with NARA to return presidential documents.
Throughout 2022, NARA has released a series of statements about Trump’s presidential records, starting in January, when it spoke about receiving some “paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump.”
In one of the statements, NARA said Trump’s presidential records “should have been transferred to NARA from the White House at the end of the Trump Administration in January 2021.”
In February, NARA noted that Trump and his representatives had been cooperating with NARA to transfer boxes of records from the Mar-a-Lago property to the National Archives.
NARA official David Ferriero said in February regarding Trump’s records that NARA “pursues the return of records whenever we learn that records have been improperly removed or have not been appropriately transferred to official accounts.”
Five months later, on Aug. 8, the FBI carried out a raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach in search of presidential documents.
After pushback, the Department of Justice asked the court to unseal the warrant, which revealed that Trump is under investigation for alleged violations of 18 USC 2071—concealment, removal, or mutilation; 18 USC 793 of the Espionage Act—gathering, transmitting, or losing defense information; and 18 USC 1519—destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in federal investigations.
“Number one, it was all declassified,” Trump said in a statement. “Number two, they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted to without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has called on the DOJ to “release the information as to why a warrant was necessary” saying the “DOJ must lay their cards on the table.”
Trump and Republicans have said the raid is an example of the “weaponization of the justice system” against a political opponent of the sitting president who is mulling running against President Joe Biden in 2024.