National Archives sued by conservative foundation for allegedly "covering up" targeting of President Trump

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WASHINGTON, DC - Judicial Watch announced on Friday that it had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

That suit seeks to obtain any and all records that detail the role that NARA played in the White House documents controversy that saw the FBI raid the former President and current Republican front-runner’s residence in Florida.

That raid was a precursor to a grand jury indicting the 45th President of the United States on federal charges of mishandling classified documents.

The Judicial Watch suit was filed after the National Archives failed to respond to a FOIA request filed by them on June 15, 2023.

“The National Archives is covering up, in absolute violation of federal FOIA law, the full truth about its selective abusive targeting of President Trump,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
According to the Judicial Watch website, that FOIA request sought the following information:
  1.        Policies, procedures, regulations, or other documents outlining NARA procedures assisting a U.S. President during transition from office. Records from January 1, 2009, to present.
  2.        Coordination with the Department of Defense to assist with inventory, packing or transport of any records from the White House, from November 1, 2020, to December 1, 2021.
  3.        Advice and assistance regarding “records” provided by NARA to former President Trump, his transition team, record custodians or representatives from May 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021.
  4.        NARA employees assisting former President Trump and/or his representatives inventorying, reviewing, packing, or moving boxes at the White House from November 1, 2020, to April 1, 2021.
  5.        Request for assistance from former President Trump or his representatives to assist with packing, inventorying, reviewing, or storing records from November 1, 2020, to February 1, 2022.
  6.        NARA offering or providing a secure storage location other than the National Archives for records potentially being retained by former President Trump or his representatives from November 1, 2020, to December 31, 2021.
  7.        NARA inserting placeholder pages in any of the 15 boxes obtained from former President Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago, FL, from November 1, 2020, to December 1, 2022.
  8.        Consultations with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (“ODNI”) concerning classification or declassification procedures of any of the alleged classified documents found in the 15 boxes recovered from former President Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago, FL, from January 21, 2021, to present.
They also pointed to an April 24, 2023 letter from Trump attorney Timothy Parlatore, to Mike Turner, Chairman of the House Permanent Selection Committee on Intelligence.

That letter, while addressing the absence of normal practices seen in previous administrations compared to how the Archives and the GSA facilitated Trump’s exit from the White House, addressed the need for changes to prohibit the DOJ from conducted criminal proceedings for non-criminal acts.

It also points out that it is their opinion that NARA has become overtly politicized, identifying the difference in how they accommodated Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama.

“Interestingly," the letter said, "in its Press Statement NARA cites every recent President after Jimmy Carter as having received the same assistance with 'archival and security standards.' Yet, President Carter, the last President before President Trump to not receive archival assistance found documents with classification markings in his home, which he returned to NARA (though apparently without an accompanying DOJ criminal probe).”

The ten-page letter also details the numerous offers of cooperation from the Trump team to the FBI that went ignored, allegedly at the behest of Jay Bratt (then Chief of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the National Security Division), and likely were not disclosed when they applied for a search warrant to raid Mara-a-Largo.

Judicial Watch identifies itself as “a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.”
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