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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

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Judicial Watch Sues National Archives for Records of Its Role in Trump Records Dispute

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for records of the Archives’ role in President Trump’s White House records controversy; whether it offered Trump a secure storage location other than the National Archives; and if the Archives consulted with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence regarding the classification or declassification procedures of any of the alleged classified documents found at Trump’s Florida residence (Judicial Watch v. National Archives and Records Administration (No. 1:23-cv-02267)).

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the National Archives failed to substantively respond to a June 15, 2023, FOIA request for:

Policies, procedures, regulations, or other documents outlining NARA procedures assisting a U.S. President during transition from office. Records from January 1, 2009, to present.

Coordination with the Department of Defense to assist with inventory, packing or transport of any records from the White House, from November 1, 2020, to December 1, 2021.

Advice and assistance regarding “records” provided by NARA to former President Trump, his transition team, record custodians or representatives from May 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021.

NARA employees assisting former President Trump and/or his representatives inventorying, reviewing, packing, or moving boxes at the White House from November 1, 2020, to April 1, 2021.

Request for assistance from former President Trump or his representatives to assist with packing, inventorying, reviewing, or storing records from November 1, 2020, to February 1, 2022.

NARA offering or providing a secure storage location other than the National Archives for records potentially being retained by former President Trump or his representatives from November 1, 2020, to December 31, 2021.

NARA inserting placeholder pages in any of the 15 boxes obtained from former President Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago, FL, from November 1, 2020, to December 1, 2022.

Consultations with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (“ODNI”) concerning classification or declassification procedures of any of the alleged classified documents found in the 15 boxes recovered from former President Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago, FL, from January 21, 2021, to present.

In an April 26 letter to Michael Turner (R-OH), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Trump attorney Timothy B. Parlatore said the Archives “unfortunately has become overtly political and declined to provide archival assistance to President Trump’s transition team.”

“The National Archives is covering up, in absolute violation of federal FOIA law, the full truth about its selective abusive targeting of President Trump,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

Judicial Watch is in the forefront of the court battles for transparency regarding Biden administration’s targeting of former President Trump.

In June 2023, Judicial Watch obtained DOJ records that showed top officials of the National Security Division discussing the political implications of Trump allowing CNN to use closed-circuit TV (CCTV) footage of the raid on his Mar-a-Lago home. The documents confirmed that the Justice Department had asked that Mar-a-Lago CCTV be turned off before the raid.

A separate Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration resulted in the release of records about the unprecedented document dispute between Archives and President Trump. Click here or here to review the records.

In August 2022, Judicial Watch successfully sued to unseal the search warrant affidavit used to justify the unprecedented raid on the home of former President Trump.

In September 2022, Judicial Watch filed lawsuits against the DOJ for its records and the FBI’s records about the Mar-a-Lago raid search warrant application and approval, as well as communications about the warrant between the FBI, Executive Office of the President and the Secret Service.

In October 2022, Judicial Watch sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for all communications of the U.S. Secret Service internally and with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding the raid on Trump’s home and for any video or audio recordings made during the raid.

In November 2022, Judicial Watch sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for all communications between the Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding the search warrant that precipitated the raid on former Trump’s Florida residence at Mar-a-Lago.

 

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