House Oversight Committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney claims the Justice Department is intentionally obstructing the panel’s investigation into Trump’s handling of presidential documents.
In a letter to Attorney General Marrick Garland, Rep. Maloney says the DOJ’s separate investigation into the documents has prevented the National Archives from handling materials over to the panel.
The Washington Examiner reports:
“I write today because the Department of Justice is preventing NARA from cooperating with the Committee’s request, which is interfering with the Committee’s investigation,” she wrote, per CNN. “By blocking NARA from producing the documents requested by the Committee, the Department is obstructing the Committee’s investigation.”
The National Archives could not fulfill some of the committee’s information requests because of the DOJ’s investigation over whether Trump mishandled classified documents, general counsel Gary Stern claimed. Maloney emphasized the committee “does not wish to interfere in any manner with any potential or ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice” but wants the National Archives to be allowed to cooperate with its inquiry.
The committee began its investigation last month after reports surfaced that the National Archives acquired 15 boxes from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in mid-January. Trump improperly stored the material at his resort, which included presidential material such as notes from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former President Barack Obama.
After receiving the material, archivists quickly surmised that classified material was likely included in the boxes, potentially breaking laws governing the handling of such information, and turned the matter over to the DOJ. The department has taken steps toward an investigation, the Washington Post reported.
The House Oversight Committee’s investigation focuses on Trump’s failure to comply with the Presidential Records Act of 1978. The Presidential Records Act requires that material get turned over to the National Archives.