Citing two people familiar with the matter, The Post reported on Thursday that some of the documents Trump took back to his Florida club after departing the White House were clearly labeled as classified, while some were marked as “top secret” — which is the highest level of classified information.
It is unclear how many classified documents were recovered by the National Archives, according to The Post. Two sources told the newspaper that some records had labels signaling that the information within was very sensitive and would only be available to few people with clearance high enough to review such details.
News broke on Monday that the National Archives and Records Administration had recovered multiple boxes of White House records from Mar-a-Lago last month, which contained significant communication records and gifts and letters from world leaders.
The Post said the storing of such documents at the former president’s residence raised concerns regarding the the Presidential Records Act, which requires that various documents relating to a president’s official duties are saved.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that some of the documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago may have been classified. An unidentified source told the newspaper that potential classified material was found when 15 boxes of presidential materials were retrieved from the Florida club.
The National Archives has reportedly asked the Department of Justice to look into Trump’s handling of documents related to his time in the White House following the reports of records being seized from Mar-a-Lago.
The Post reported on Wednesday that the referral from the National Archives sparked conversation among federal prosecutors about potentially probing if Trump committed a crime by not properly turning over records.
It is reportedly unclear, however, if the department will go ahead with such an effort.
Trump on Thursday reacted to reports of White House documents being seized from Mar-a-Lago, writing in a statement that the archives “openly and willingly arranged” the transfer of “boxes that contained letters, records, newspapers, magazines, and various articles” with him.
“The media’s characterization of my relationship with NARA is Fake News. It was exactly the opposite! It was a great honor to work with NARA to help formally preserve the Trump Legacy,” the former president added.
He said the documents were handed over “easily and without conflict and on a very friendly basis,” arguing that the situation was “viewed as routine and ‘no big deal.’”
He also denounced a story from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman’s new book, which said White House staffers regularly discovered that ripped-up printed papers were clogging a toilet in the presidential residence when Trump was in office.
Axios reported on the excerpt from Haberman’s book, which is titled “Confidence Man” and set to publish in October.
Trump called the reporting a “fake story.”
This story was originally posted on The Hill.