The National Archives and Records Administration had to retrieve 15 boxes of documents from former President Donald Trump's White House from his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 7 (UPI) -- National Archives officials on Monday confirmed that the agency retrieved 15 boxes of White House documents and other items from former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence last month.
National Archivist David Ferriero said in a statement that the records retrieved from the Palm Beach, Fla., estate should have been transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration from the White House when Trump's term as president concluded in January 2021 as required by the Presidential Records Act.
"NARA pursues the return of records whenever we learn that records have been improperly removed or have not been appropriately transferred to official accounts," said Ferriero.
The documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago included correspondence with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that Trump had described as "love letters" as well as a letter former President Barack Obama left ahead of Trump's inauguration, according to ABC News and The Washington Post, which first reported news of the documents.
Ferriero said Trump representatives are "continuing to search" for additional records.
"The Presidential Records Act is critical to our democracy, in which the government is held accountable by the people," he said. "Whether through the creation of adequate and proper documentation, sound records management practices, the preservation of records, or the timely transfer of them to the National Archives at the end of an Administration, there should be no question as to need for both diligence and vigilance. Records matter."
Last week, NARA confirmed that records it turned over to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol "included paper records that had been torn up" by Trump.
Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., a member of the Jan. 6 committee, said the situation surrounding the records showed the "unconventional nature" of how Trump's White House operated.
"That they didn't follow the rules is not a shock," she said. "As for how this development relates to the committee's work, we have different sources and methods for obtaining documents and information that we are seeking."