Although there’s no easy way to establish absolute accountability, the National Archives and Records Administration believes that it is still missing some records from the Trump administration.
Archivist Debra Steidel Wall said in a letter to the House Oversight and Reform Committee that the National Archives does do not have custody of everything it should, including messages sent and received in unofficial accounts by members of the Trump administration while conducting official business for then-president Trump.
Wall said they’ve been able to recover these types of records from some former Trump officials, but the Archives are still missing messages from officials who have not yet handed them over.
One of them is former Trump adviser Peter Navarro who – although sued by the Justice Department for the documents in August – refused to turn over the messages from his unofficial account.
According to the DOJ’s lawsuit, Navarro used at least one nonadministration email account while working in the White House and was wrongfully retaining communications.
Navarro does not deny the existence of the unofficial account nor that the messages are the property of the US government but refuses to hand them over without a grant of immunity.
With regards to the records held by Trump himself, Wall did not provide an update in her letter, instead referring the committee to the DOJ’s investigation.
Helped by the Justice Department and the FBI, which raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, the National Archives recovered hundreds of presidential records, including dozens of classified documents over the last year.
The status of the Mar-a-Lago documents the FBI seized has enticed disputes that have resulted in an ongoing legal battle between the DOJ and Trump that is now expected to drag into 2023 following Judge Aileen Cannon’s recent decision to extend the timeline of the case.