In an unfolding story, a recently disclosed letter notes that months before the raid on former President Donald Trump’s home in Palm Beach, Florida, Biden administration officials pushed the federal agency in charge of national records to allow the FBI to review documents reportedly kept at Trump’s home.
Acting Archivist Debra Wall later told Trump attorney Evan Corcoran, that the White House Counsel’s Office sent a formal request to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in April.
An excerpt of the request letter, which was released by NARA on Tuesday — after being leaked to Just The News — reads:
“On April 11, 2022, the White House Counsel’s Office—affirming a request from the Department of Justice supported by an FBI letterhead memorandum—formally transmitted a request that NARA provide the FBI access to the 15 boxes for its review within seven days, with the possibility that the FBI might request copies of specific documents following its review of the boxes.”
Trump’s team complied with NARA’s request and transferred the boxes to NARA in mid-January.
David Ferriero, a former archivist with NARA reported to a House of Representatives panel that the boxes contained classified documents. However, Trump maintains he properly and publicly declassified the documents before leaving office and has cooperated with NARA.
In conjunction with Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Justice Department’s (DOJ) National Security Division informed Corcoran on April 29 that it had opened a criminal investigation against Trump and sought access to the materials for the probe.
NARA ultimately granted the FBI access to the materials, though Corcoran argued that the documents were subject to Trump’s executive privilege and the materials should be considered “a protective assertion of executive privilege made by counsel for the former President.”
According to the Epoch Times, Christopher Schroeder, an assistant attorney general appointed by President Joe Biden, reportedly told Biden it was “unprecedented for a former President to assert executive privilege against an incumbent President to prevent the latter from obtaining from NARA Presidential records belonging to the Federal Government where such records contain information that is needed for the conduct of current business of the incumbent President’s office and that is not otherwise available.”
Though it was not noted how or why the documents in Trump’s home were “needed for the conduct of current business of the [President],” Biden ordered the FBI to proceed.
NARA was ordered to provide the FBI access to the records as soon as May 12 — two days after the demand letter was sent.
The Epoch Times reported that NARA, the DOJ, the White House and Corcoran declined to comment on the letter.
In early August, the FBI received approval for a warrant to raid Trump’s home in Mar-a-Largo. On August 8, some 30 FBI agents descended on the home, ordered security cameras off and attorneys off the premises, broke into a private safe, rummaged through Melania Trump’s clothing, and took an assortment of items for which they have yet to provide an inventory list.
The Justice Department alleged that by having sensitive documents at his home, Trump violated several laws, including directives regarding the handling of defense materials.
Trump maintains the raid on his home was unnecessary and illegal. He has asked for the affidavit authorizing the warrant to search his home to be unsealed. (This will indicate what probable cause the government had to authorize the search.)
The government accuses Trump of misconduct, but no charges against him have been filed.
Believing his personal liberties and civil rights were violated, Trump is moving to bring a suit against the DOJ and has requested the appointment of an independent party (a “special master”) to review the seized materials and protect privileged items.
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