US House panel launches probe into Trump document handling

The probe comes after the National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of White House documents from one of Trump’s residences.

Donald Trump
Recent reports have detailed former President Donald Trump practice of regularly shredding White House documents [File: Alex Brandon/AP Photo]

A United States House of Representatives committee has launched an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s handling of White House records after 15 boxes of official documents were retrieved from his private Florida property.

The probe, announced by House oversight committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney on Thursday, comes after a string of reports detailing Trump’s mishandling of documents in apparent violation of the law.

Maloney said she was “deeply concerned” that 15 boxes of records were not promptly turned over to the National Archives when Trump’s term ended in January 2021. The agency retrieved the documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in January.

Maloney said the documents “appear to have been removed from the White House in violation of the Presidential Records Act”, which requires presidential administrations to preserve records.

“Former President Trump and his senior advisers must also be held accountable for any violations of the law,” she added.

On Wednesday, the New York Times reported the National Archives found possibly classified information within the retrieved documents, and reached out to the Department of Justice to examine the matter.

Maloney also referenced a string of recent media reports that detailed how Trump “repeatedly attempted to destroy presidential records, which could constitute additional serious violations” of the law.

In February, the Washington Post reported on Trump’s practice of shredding various documents, both sensitive and inconsequential, that extended throughout his four years in office.

The practice was so common during Trump’s presidency that staffers came up with a contingency plans – collecting the shredded papers and taping them back together – to try to prevent the president from breaking the law.

Meanwhile, New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman, in a preview of a new book, reported that staffers regularly found wads of printed paper clogging a toilet in the White House.

The staffers believed Trump had flushed the papers, according to Haberman.

The latest probe came as a special House Committee continued to investigate Trump’s involvement in the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol and Trump’s misinformation campaign leading up to the failed attempt to overturn the victory of US President Joe Biden.

A separate House panel is investigating Trump’s finances and business dealings.

Trump representatives did not immediately respond to the House investigation.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies