Updated Sep 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

NARA withholding Mar-a-Lago search records to protect DOJ's "ongoing work"

he National Archives Building, opened in 1935, is the original headquarters of the National Archives and Records Administration

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The National Archives and Records Administration says the Department of Justice has asked the agency to not share information related to the Mar-a-Lago probe "to protect the integrity of DOJ’s ongoing work."

Driving the news: In a letter dated Thursday, acting archivist Debra Steidel Wall responded to questions from Republicans on the House Oversight Committee about the agency's previous refusal to turn over records to the lawmakers.

  • "As a general matter, the Department of Justice has requested that NARA not share or otherwise disclose to others information related to this matter at this time in order to protect the integrity of DOJ’s ongoing work," Steidel Wall wrote.
  • "I also let you know that 'NARA is preserving all records related to this matter'."
  • In an email to Axios, NARA said it released the letter publicly as "a proactive disclosure."

The big picture: In the wake of the FBI's search at former president Donald Trump's Florida residence, House Republicans demanded additional information on the lead-up to the search and the materials found at the residence.

  • Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, and other Republicans on the panel sent a letter at the end of last month seeking to clarify NARA's role in the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago "and reiterate the request for a briefing and all related documents and communications," per a statement.
  • In Thursday's letter, Wall didn't rule out handing over records in the future. "To the extent that we are able to release any additional records responsive to your request in the future, we will make them available to you," she said.

Go deeper: Top Republicans press DOJ for answers on Mar-a-Lago search

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from NARA.

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