The Justice Department is reportedly preparing to investigate former President Trump bringing the 15 boxes of White House documents to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
The DOJ’s probe into Trump’s mishandling of White House documents — some of which were reportedly clearly marked as classified — is in early stages, people familiar with the matter told the Washington Post. It is unclear whether DOJ officials have begun reviewing materials in the boxes the former president took to his Florida resort. Other lingering questions include whether the DOJ will seek to interview people in Trump’s inner circle who might have seen the boxes or had a hand in assembling and moving them.
The development comes as House Oversight Committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) alleges that the DOJ is obstructing the panel’s investigation into the 15 boxes of documents the former president took to Mar-a-Lago.
In a letter the House Oversight Committee received from the National Archives dated March 28, Archives General Counsel Gary Stern reportedly wrote that his agency was unable to respond to the committee’s request for more information as part of the panel’s own investigation into the Mar-a-Lago boxes due to the Archives’ “consultation” with the Justice Department, according to CNN.
On Thursday, Maloney reportedly reached out to Attorney General Merrick Garland in a letter requesting additional information about what she characterized as the DOJ “interfering” with the House Oversight’s investigation.
“I write today because the Department of Justice is preventing NARA from cooperating with the Committee’s request, which is interfering with the Committee’s investigation,” Maloney wrote in a letter to Garland dated Thursday, according to CNN. “By blocking NARA from producing the documents requested by the Committee, the Department is obstructing the Committee’s investigation.”
Maloney wrote that House Oversight does not intend to “interfere in any manner with any potential or ongoing investigation” by the DOJ.
“However, the Committee has not received any explanation as to why the Department is preventing NARA from providing information to the Committee that relates to compliance with the [Presidential Records Act], including unclassified information describing the contents of the 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago,” Maloney wrote, according to CNN and the Post.
News of the DOJ’s reported investigation into Trump’s handling of White House documents follows Garland’s remarks in February when asked about the Archives’ discovery that some of the documents Trump took with him to Mar-Lago include highly classified information.
Garland, at the time, said the DOJ would “do what we always do under these circumstances — look at the facts and the law and take it from there.”