The FBI has begun to investigate the handling of classified materials found at former President Donald Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago, The New York Times reports.
The FBI is in the “preliminary stages” of its investigation after the National Archives reported in February that 15 boxes of materials were removed from Trump’s home, including documents that had been classified “top secret.”
The National Archives said in February that the materials included “classified national security information.”
The FBI is expected to look at whether classified materials were mishandled or potentially disclosed. It could also look at whether a foreign adversary may have gotten access, according to the Times.
Such a high-profile case was likely approved by top Justice Department officials.
FBI at odds with House:
The House Oversight Committee is also investigating the handling of documents found at Mar-a-Lago. But Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said this week that the Justice Department had banned the National Archives from allowing the committee to review the materials.
“By blocking NARA from producing the documents requested by the committee, the department is obstructing the committee’s investigation,” Maloney wrote on Thursday to Attorney General Merrick Garland. “The committee does not wish to interfere in any manner with any potential or ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice. 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.”
Trump also ripped up papers that had to be taped back together, the National Archives said, and a recent book found that aides suspected Trump was flushing documents down a toilet in the White House residence after finding a wad of printed paper.
Trump in a recent statement said that his materials were turned over to the National Archives as part of an “ordinary and routine process.”
“The fake news is making it seem like me, as the president of the United States, was working in a filing room,” he said.