Feb 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Archives requests Justice Department probe of Trump's handling of records

Former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses supporters during a "Save America" rally at York Family Farms on August 21, 2021 in Cullman, Alabama

Former President Donald Trump addresses supporters during a rally at York Family Farms on Aug. 21, 2021, in Cullman, Ala. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The National Archives and Records Administration asked the Justice Department to probe former President Trump's handlings of White House records, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The request brings into question whether the former president could be investigated by federal law enforcement for a possible crime, according to the Post.

State of play: Last month, Trump had to return 15 boxes of documents that he took to Mar-a-Lago instead of handing over to the agency.

  • The boxes contained correspondence between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which he once referred to as "love letters," and a letter from former President Obama, per the Washington Post.
  • Archives officials suspected that the former president may have violated laws regarding his handling of official documents, including classified ones, and contacted the Justice Department for a potential investigation.
  • It is not yet clear whether the Justice Department will investigate, per the Post.

The DOJ did not immediately respond to Axios' requests for comment. NARA said it does not comment on ongoing or potential investigations.

The big picture: The National Archives last month released Trump's records to the House Jan. 6 select committee, including documents that the former president sought to shield.

  • Trump's documents — and the fact that he took them to Mar-a-Lago — may jeopardize the Presidential Records Act, which requires that presidential records be immediately transferred to the national archivist when a president leaves office.
  • Trump's representatives have told the National Archives "that they are continuing to search for additional presidential records that belong to the National Archives."

Go deeper: Trump took Kim Jong-un "love letters" to Mar-a-Lago

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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