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Comer, Committee Republicans Seek Clarification on NARA’s Involvement in FBI’s Mar-a-Lago Raid

Reiterate request for information, documents, and communications between NARA and law enforcement officials.

Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and Committee Republicans are raising concerns about the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) failure to comply with Oversight Republicans’ request for information regarding NARA’s coordination with the Justice Department prior to the Mar-a-Lago raid earlier this month. In a letter to the Acting Archivist of the United States, Debra Steidel Wall, the Republican lawmakers call on NARA to clarify their involvement in the raid of the former president’s residence and reiterate the request for a briefing and all related documents and communications.

“On August 22, 2022, Just the News published a letter demonstrating robust negotiations between NARA and former President Trump’s attorney, Evan Corcoran. Also on August 22, 2022, the New York Times reported: ‘…the material in the boxes prompted archives officials to refer the matter to the Justice Department, which within months had convened a grand jury investigation.’ The article explains that NARA ‘spent much of 2021 trying to get back material from Mr. Trump,’ as well as noting NARA’s role in preserving presidential records,” wrote the Republican lawmakers. “The letter to Mr. Corcoran, along with any other documents demonstrating negotiations with former President Trump’s team as reported on by the New York Times, would certainly be covered by the above requests … It is puzzling that you and your staff would blatantly deny the existence of such responsive documents or communications to Congress. It is implausible that there would be no internal communications by NARA employees regarding the subject matter of the letter to Mr. Corcoran, as your letter to us would indicate.”

In a letter to NARA on August 10, 2022, Oversight Republicans raised concerns over the Biden Administration’s ongoing efforts to weaponize the FBI to target political rivals and sought information related to NARA’s communications with the Department of Justice. On August 16, 2022, the Acting Archivist of the United States responded to the lawmakers stating that NARA has not been involved in the Justice Department’s investigation and therefore cannot provide any documents. However, in light of recent reporting, NARA’s response to Oversight Republicans potentially misrepresented their coordination with the Department of Justice. 

“Transparency is particularly important in the post-pandemic era when Americans are lacking trust in our nation’s institutions. Congress, and particularly the Oversight Committee, has a duty to provide transparency and accountability for the American people. We request that you revisit your prior communications to Oversight Republicans and amend your prior statements as necessary.  Likewise, we expect your office to provide a briefing and documents responsive to the August 10, 2022, letter signed by 20 Republican Members of the Oversight Committee,” concluded the Republican lawmakers.  

Read the letter to the Acting Archivist of the United States here

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Author: Austin Hacker

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