There appears to be conflicting stories on what happened to some 30 million pages of documents from Obama’s time as president, as Donald Trump and the National Archives don’t seem to be on the same page about it.
Following the FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, the former president made accusations about former President Obama and his personal handling of the documents during his presidency. According to the post of Trump on Truth Social, he has been politically targeted and is being persecuted like no other. Then, Trump went on and said, “President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, most of which are classified. How many of them were nuclear-related? The word is, a lot!” The claim was made by Trump as he defended himself following the FBI’s execution of a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida.
In New York, Trump had just left Trump Tower when FBI agents arrived at his golf club and residence in Mar-a-Lago in order to retrieve classified documents which authorities said they were concerned could cause a serious danger to U.S. national security if they ended up in the wrong hands.
In an attack on the FBI before the warrant was released, Trump suggested that Obama had committed far worse crimes than he did. “What happened to the 30 million pages of documents taken from the White House to Chicago by Barack Hussein Obama?” Former President Donald Trump wrote. “He refused to give them back! What is going on? This act was strongly at odds with NARA. Will they be breaking into Obama’s ‘mansion’ in Martha’s Vineyard?”
In its statement, The National Archives and Records Administration reported that it obtained “exclusive legal and physical custody” of Obama’s records when he left office in 2017. They further indicated that after Obama stepped down from the White House, they “moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area, where they are maintained exclusively by NARA.” They also emphasize that Obama, like any other president following proper process, has “no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration,” said The Blaze.
Minutes after the statement from the NARA, Trump again reiterated his unproven claim against the latest reports, stating, “What are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?”
A U.S. federal judge unsealed the warrant and revealed what the FBI took from Trump’s residence. There were 11 sets of classified documents taken from the residence, along with several documents classified as “top secret.” Trump was suspected of violating the Espionage Act, according to the warrant. The former president’s supporters called the FBI’s actions political, while critics hailed them as long overdue.
In response to criticism over the raid, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that he had signed the search warrant and that the Justice Department would ask for the order to be unsealed by a federal judge.
Defenders of the former president argue that the president’s authority to declassify all documents exonerates him, but critics contend that the former president does not follow the proper process when it comes to declassifying those documents.