Here are 4 bombshells from the report of an FBI investigation into 'classified material' found at Mar-a-Lago
In January, the U.S. National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of White House records from former President Donald Trump’s home at his Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida. Now, according to the New York Times, the FBI is getting ready to investigate the “handling of classified material” found at Mar-a-Lago.
Here are four important details reported by Times journalists Luke Broadwater and Adam Goldman on April 7.
1. Moving the material was apparently in violation of federal law.
Under the Presidential Records Act of 1978, presidential records must be turned over to the National Archives. But Trump and his allies have maintained that he did nothing wrong when those records were moved to Mar-a-Lago from the White House, claiming that reports to the contrary are “fake news.”
Times journalists Luke Broadwater and Adam Goldman, reporting on the FBI investigation, explain, “The effort, led by the FBI, stems from the discovery of classified information in 15 boxes that contained documents, mementos, gifts and letters that had been taken from the White House at the end of Mr. Trump’s term in apparent violation of the requirements for turning over all presidential records to the National Archives. The development was reported earlier by the Washington Post.”
2. A criminal investigation ‘might be underway.’
Broadwater and Goldman report that in February, the National Archives “said…. it had consulted with the Justice Department about the classified material.
“The Justice Department has instructed the National Archives not to share with the House Oversight Committee, which is conducting its own investigation, details about the material taken from the White House by Mr. Trump, the Committee disclosed on (April 7), in a hint that a criminal investigation might be underway,” Broadwater and Goldman report.
3. An FBI probe could determine whether a ‘foreign adversary’ had access to the material.
Broadwater and Goldman explain, “In cases of this type, the FBI would typically look at an array of scenarios, including whether the classified material was mishandled or inadvertently disclosed, and it could examine whether a foreign adversary might have gotten access.”
4. The FBI will need to determine who moved the material to Mar-a-Lago.
According to Broadwater and Goldman, “As part of any investigation, the FBI would want to find out why the classified material was in Mr. Trump’s possession and who had access to it. Then, agents would want to determine who packed the boxes and transported them to Florida and the circumstances surrounding that episode. Assessing Mr. Trump’s role could be complex, in part because, as president, Mr. Trump had the ability to easily declassify whatever information he wanted.”
When Trump was president, he had a reputation for tearing up documents.
The Presidential Records Act of 1978, passed by Congress when Jimmy Carter was president, changed the way in which White House records must be handled; the PRA gave the federal government legal ownership of all White House records. President Carter himself never had a chance to comply with the PRA, as he was voted out of office in the United States’ 1980 presidential election, and the PRA did not go into effect until January 20, 1981 — the day of President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration.
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