National Archives Denies Raiding Mar-a-Lago for Trump Documents

The National Archives is denying helping to raid Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, to obtain documents left by former President Donald Trump.

On February 8, the the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released a statement after reports began to circulate regarding the organization receiving 15 boxes of documents. The organization insists that it has been a part of a mutual ongoing effort to retrieve presidential documents, not a raid.

"Throughout the course of the last year, NARA obtained the cooperation of Trump representatives to locate Presidential records that had not been transferred to the National Archives at the end of the Trump administration," wrote the Archives in a statement.

"When a representative informed NARA in December 2021 that they located some records, NARA arranged for them to be securely transported to Washington. NARA officials did not visit or "raid" the Mar-a-Lago property."

Newsweek reported that the Washington Post claimed that documents from Mar-a-Lago were obtained last month in a raid. Among the documents allegedly were letters from leaders around the world, including North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. Mementos and gifts were also said to be obtained from the property.

The Washington Post also reported that the administration had a "frenzied packing process in the final days of the administration," which could have resulted in mementos getting left behind.

Although exact mementos taken from Mar-a-Lago are currently unknown, it's a common procedure after a president leaves office. According to the Presidential Records Act of 1978, the outgoing president must establish "public ownership of all Presidential records" and follow "all practical steps to file personal records separately from Presidential records."

In a statement addressed to the Washington Post, Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero explained that the Presidential Records Act helps preserve democracy by allowing for complete transparency.

"​​The Presidential Records Act is critical to our democracy, in which the government is held accountable by the people," Ferriero said. "Whether through the creation of adequate and proper documentation, sound records management practices, the preservation of records, or the timely transfer of them to the National Archives at the end of an Administration, there should be no question as to need for both diligence and vigilance. Records matter."

Newsweek reached out to representatives of the National Archives and Trump for comment.

Update 2/8/22, 3:44 p.m. ET: This article was updated with additional information.

maralago 1
The National Archives is denying helping to raid Mar-a-Lago to obtain documents left by former President Donald Trump. REUTERS