Trump Took Top-Secret Docs to Mar-a-Lago When He Left White House: Report

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The Presidential Records Act is one of the many rules and norms Donald Trump ignored with abandon during his time in office, defying its order to keep all presidential papers by ripping many of them up or reportedly throwing them in the toilet. According to the Washington Post, it wasn’t just routine memos Trump was keeping out of the National Archives: Of the 15 boxes of documents the agency recently seized at Mar-a-Lago, many papers were clearly designated as classified, including several documents restricted to top-secret clearance.

According to the agency’s Information Security Oversight Office, a top-secret doc is one in which an unintended disclosure “could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.” While it’s not yet known how the documents got there in the first place — Trump often brought and left papers on his frequent trips to South Florida — the former president was very secretive when they were being boxed up, reportedly refusing to allow senior aides to see them. According to the Washington Post, National Archives officials have asked the Justice Department to look into the matter to determine if Trump violated the law by willfully intending to destroy or obscure important documents.

In recent weeks there has been renewed scrutiny on Trump’s poor record-keeping due to the House select-committee investigation of the Capitol riot, which is gathering correspondence to determine how Trump and other top administration officials coordinated on January and in the days leading up to the attack. Some of the requested documents that the National Archives handed over to lawmakers looked as if they were ripped apart and taped back together again.

As Trump has proven before, Mar-a-Lago is not the best place for state secrets, with the then-president handling national-security matters in front of resort guests shortly after entering office in 2017. In general, experts viewed the property as a “security nightmare” extremely vulnerable to spies. In 2019, this concern was nearly realized when a Chinese national, Yujing Zhang, got past security by informing a receptionist she was attending a nonexistent United Nations event; when she was detained by the Secret Service, they found malware on a thumb drive. Zhang eventually served eight months in prison for trespassing.

Trump Took Top-Secret Docs to Mar-a-Lago: Report