By Gary Bai
Oversight GOP figures are requesting the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) provide information on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) raid of former president Donald Trump’s resort in Mar-a-Lago.
“NARA’s singling out of President Trump’s handling of official records stands starkly in contrast to the way NARA has treated far clearer violations committed by politicians and officials who are not Republicans,” 20 Republicans, including numerous Committee ranking members, wrote in an Aug. 10 letter addressed to U.S. Acting Archivist Debra Wall, first published by Politico.
“To better understand the circumstances and NARA’s role, if any, in the FBI raid, Oversight Republicans request an immediate briefing on this matter,” the lawmakers wrote.
The lawmakers’ move marks the first of the GOP’s promised effort in investigating the FBI’s Aug. 8 raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property for any underlying political motivation.
It follows shortly after the GOP in unison cast doubt over the nature of the raid—House Republicans first, and Senate ones followed—with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) promising to “leave no stone unturned” in an investigation of the Department of Justice that he says has “reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization.”
The Republican lawmakers who wrote the letter allege that “political motivation” underlies the actions of the FBI and the National Archives, as the agencies’ treatment of Trump was “so contrary” to that of other former government officials—such as former president Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—whom the Republicans say also had “some Presidential Records Act violations.”
What Republicans Are Requesting
The GOP members of Congress are requesting that the NARA provide a “Member-level briefing” on the following no later than Aug. 17:
- Any evidence of coordination between NARA and the FBI, or between NARA and the DOJ, on raiding the former president’s property
- Any documents NARA produced and submitted to a U.S. federal court
- Any documents that show NARA’s process in collecting presidential records after a presidential transition
In addition, the Republicans ask in their letter that NARA preserves records related to the warrant executed by the FBI at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort (which has, for now, yet to be unsealed), as well as any other NARA records related to Trump’s papers following Trump’s presidential term.
“The seeming weaponization of the federal government against President Biden’s political rivals cannot go unchecked, and if NARA is working to further these efforts, it will be only the latest agency to lose its credibility in the eyes of the American people under the Biden Administration,” the Republican lawmakers say in their letter.
Trump’s Presidential Records
While the FBI’s search warrant for the raid remains under seal, multiple sources close to Trump have stated that the raid was conducted, at least in name, to look for presidential records that someone is alleging Trump himself has decided to keep in Mar-a-Lago after leaving office.
Trump’s lawyer, Christina Bobb, told The Epoch Times on Tuesday that FBI agents were looking for “what they deemed to be presidential records” and seized documents from Trump’s property.
“We had been very cooperative with them before. And it’s unclear to me why they went to such drastic measures to do this. But they did. And as far as the probable cause goes, they wouldn’t give that to us,” she added.
Bobb’s comments are consistent with what NARA said in statements earlier this year about how Trump’s representatives have been cooperating in transferring presidential records, including handing over 15 boxes containing presidential records. On Tuesday, the magistrate judge who reportedly approved the search warrant ordered the Department of Justice to unseal the warrant no later than Aug. 15.