Former President Donald Trump wrote Tuesday the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) should return documents to him amid the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation into whether the 45th president mishandled classified information.
“NARA lost a whole hard drive full of HIGHLY SENSITIVE information from the Clinton White House,” wrote Trump on Truth Social, referring to previous reports on the subject that said the hard drive went missing in 2009 from NARA’s Maryland facility. “What else have they ‘lost’? How can Americans trust a system like this?”
DOJ prosecutors say the FBI seized roughly 11,000 documents, including about 100 that were allegedly marked classified or top secret, during a raid targeting Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. That probe was launched, according to the federal agency, after the former president handed over materials to NARA earlier this year before NARA indicated that some of the records were classified.
But Trump said that “there is no security at NARA,” pointing to the CNN report. “I want my documents back!” he wrote. It’s not clear if Trump is referring to the FBI-seized materials, the documents he handed over to NARA this year, or both.
An archived news release issued by NARA in July 2009 stated that an external hard drive “containing copies of Clinton Administration Executive Office of the President data” was lost National Archives facility in College Park, Maryland. It’s not clear what was on the hard drive.
The former president’s comment on social media comes as his lawyers asked the Supreme Court to issue an order that would reverse an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling and ensure that more than 100 documents marked as classified are part of the review of a special master.
Justice Clarence Thomas gave the DOJ a deadline of 5 p.m. on Oct. 11 to respond.
“That appointment order is simply not appealable on an interlocutory basis and was never before the Eleventh Circuit. Nonetheless, the Eleventh Circuit granted a stay of the Special Master Order, effectively compromising the integrity of the well-established policy against piecemeal appellate review and ignoring the District Court’s broad discretion without justification,” Trump’s petition said.
Last month, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court ruled that DOJ investigators could retain the classified materials and review them as part of their criminal investigation. The court stipulated that the documents belong to the federal government and not Trump.
Since the raid Trump has often stated that he declassified a range of materials when he was president. His lawyers have not provided details about those declassification orders in court papers, however.
During an interview in September, Trump argued that he had broad declassification powers while he was president.
“Different people say different things but as I understand it, if you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified, even by thinking about it,” the former president told Fox News.
“Because you’re sending it to Mar-a-Lago or wherever you’re sending it. There doesn’t have to be a process. There can be a process, but there doesn’t have to be,” Trump said. “You’re the president … you make that decision” on whether to declassify, he said.