The acting head of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) pushed back on accusations that the agency is corrupt or conspiring against former President Trump in its actions taken over his presidential records.
“The National Archives has been the focus of intense scrutiny for months, this week especially, with many people ascribing political motivation to our actions,” Debra Steidel Wall, the acting archivist, wrote in a memo sent to employees on Wednesday.
“NARA has received messages from the public accusing us of corruption and conspiring against the former president, or congratulating NARA for ‘bringing him down,'” she continued. “Neither is accurate or welcome.”
The memo was made public under the Freedom of Information Act and was previously reported by The Washington Post.
The National Archives had attempted to recover presidential records stored at Trump’s Florida home for months, dating back to last year. Officials retrieved 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago in January, including at least 700 pages of classified materials, and asked the Justice Department to examine the former president’s handling of records.
The investigation ultimately led the FBI to execute a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence earlier this month, when agents seized 11 sets of classified documents. The Justice Department is probing whether Trump violated the Espionage Act or two other federal statutes.
The search led to a flurry of criticisms against the involved agencies by Trump and his allies, who alleged the probe and related actions were politically motivated.
Wall’s memo references some of those criticisms, including Trump’s unfounded claim on his social media platform that former President Obama “kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified.”
The Archives debunked that claim in a statement, saying it keeps classified Obama records in a government facility outside of Obama’s control.
“Our fundamental interest is always in ensuring that government records are properly managed, preserved and protected to ensure access to them for the life of the republic,” Wall wrote. “That is our mission, and what motivates us as we seek to uphold the public trust.”
Wall also thanked employees for their professionalism and integrity. “We will continue to do our work, without favor or fear, in the service of our democracy,” she wrote.
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This story was originally published August 29, 2022 3:59 PM.