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Some records taken by Trump are so sensitive they may not be described in public

The revelations come as a letter Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney suggests she is broadening a House probe into the breadth of potential records act violations under Trump

Workers load boxes of newspapers and other items into a truck outside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 14. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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Some of the presidential records recovered from former president Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago are so sensitive they may not be able to be described in forthcoming inventory reports in an unclassified way, two people familiar with the matter said Friday.

The revelation comes as Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) sent the National Archives and Records Administration a request for further information on 15 boxes of records recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort last month. The Archives set Friday as its deadline for an inventory of the contents.

The Archives has publicly confirmed earlier reporting by The Washington Post that classified materials were found within the boxes and that torn-up records had been transferred to the Archives but not reconstructed by the Trump White House.

The inventory is expected to provide more information on the volume and scope of classified documents, including details on the level of classification, according to the two people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic. There are records at the very highest levels of classification, including some that can be viewed by only a small number of government officials, the two people said.

“There are records that only a very few have clearances” to review, one of the people told The Post. The documents are so sensitive that they may not be able to describe them in an unclassified way, and, therefore, such documents might be described broadly in a classified addendum to the inventory, according to the two people.

Maloney is requesting the additional information as a part of the congressional investigation into Trump’s handling of White House records.

In a letter to sent Thursday evening to Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, Maloney asked for a “detailed description of the contents of the boxes recovered from Mar-a-Lago … and identification of any items that are classified and the level of classification” by March 10.

Maloney also requested a description of any potential reviews conducted by other federal agencies of the contents of the recovered boxes, all presidential records transferred to the Archives that Trump “had torn up, destroyed, mutilated, or attempted to tear up, destroy or mutilate,” and communications between the Trump White House and the Archives related to the Presidential Records Act.

15 boxes: Inside the long, strange trip of Trump's classified records

“I am deeply concerned that former president Trump may have violated the law through his intentional efforts to remove and destroy records that belong to the American people,” Maloney wrote. “This Committee plans to get to the bottom of what happened and assess whether further action is needed to prevent the destruction of additional presidential records and recover those records that are still missing.”

The letter suggests that the House committee led by Maloney was broadening its efforts to probe the breadth of potential records act violations under Trump, who frequently flouted the legal requirements to safeguard documents produced during his presidency and, at times, seemed intent on destroying records.

The letter cited revelations from the Archives that the Trump White House failed to capture presidential records on social medial platforms, and is “continuing to search for missing records from the Trump Administration” because of White House staffers who conducted official business “using nonofficial electronic messaging accounts that were not copied or forwarded to their official electronic messaging accounts.”

Maloney asked for all documents and communications between Trump White House officials relating to the use of personal accounts for official business, the destruction of presidential records, the discovery of “paper in a toilet” in the White House or White House residence, and communications with Trump about the Presidential Records Act.

Maloney added a request to prioritize from former White House chiefs of staff Mark Meadows, John F. Kelly and Reince Priebus; former White House counsel Donald McGahn; former deputy White House counsel Stefan Passantino; and former aides Nicholas Luna, Derek Lyons, Robert Porter and Madeleine Westerhout.

Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed that the Justice Department has been in touch with the Archives about the discovery of classified material in boxes taken earlier this week from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., but stopped short promising a full investigation.

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