Documents management was never a strong suit at the Trump White House, new reports show—while still others indicate that even after the FBI's Mar-a-Lago search and promises to the contrary, sensitive records that belong secured with NARA remain missing.
In an Oct. 4 Washington Post report based on interviews with more than a dozen White House-connected officials from the Trump administration’s time in office, the once media-celebrated real estate giant from New York is instead portrayed as highly disorganized and practically random in his office procedures and document-management practices—frequently ripping up key pieces of historic public property and hoarding at his residence without logic or security top secret documents and unlabeled government records boxes.
The main points in the Post story note the former president’s now well-reported paper piles in the Oval or anywhere else documents were kept by him. But its sources add that he carted many items items off far and wide from secure work locations—often, despite being warned against it—to the White House residence living quarters and dining room areas, as well as Mar-a-Lago hundreds of miles away.
The same sources report that in the chaos, sensitive items frequently disappeared to hiding spots unknown. The report notes that many times top advisors gave up even on warning him against such sloppy and potentially dangerous practices.
Perhaps most striking in the report, advisors at the top and aides at lower levels all appear to have been cowed—not just intimidated by the majesty of the Office of the President but rather by a boss who actively bullied past any hint of objections. President Trump ignored references to accepted best practices, legal mandates such as the Presidential Records Act and statutes on classified materials that govern federal documents management.
Additional reports from the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal—attributed mostly to unnamed sources at NARA and DOJ—stated that officials at those key agencies do not believe the former president or his agents have properly returned all of the government documents wrongly removed from the White House.
According to the New York Times piece, these documents could contain even more classified materials and, partly as a result, could result in additional actions such as subpoenas or search warrants directed at Trump, his properties or others connected with him.
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