The National Archives has asked the Department of Justice to investigate former President Donald Trump’s handling of White House records, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The source said the Archives is seeking a review of whether Trump violated the Presidential Records Act, which requires that all records created by presidents be turned over to the National Archives at the end of their administrations, and other possible violations, including the handling of classified information.
It is not clear if the Justice Department will launch a formal investigation, as a vast majority of referrals to the department do not end up sparking a formal investigation. The Justice Department declined to comment.
The Washington Post was first to report the request.
In a statement Wednesday, the Archives said, “We do not comment on potential or ongoing investigations.” The request came after recent revelations that the National Archives had to retrieve 15 boxes of records that had ended up with Trump in Mar-a-Lago and that other documents given to the Archives were torn up and had to be pieced back together.
A person familiar with the matter previously told CNN that Archives general counsel Gary Stern contacted Trump’s team last fall to inquire about several boxes of records that appeared to have been taken to Mar-a-Lago during Trump’s relocation to Florida.
These were boxes that had been in the White House residence and thus had been packed up with other personal belongings of the first family, this person said.
Additionally, some Trump White House documents that have been handed over to the House select committee investigating January 6 had to be taped back together by National Archives staff because they had been ripped up, the agency said in a statement last month.
The Archives, in response to questions from CNN, said that “some of the Trump presidential records received by the National Archives and Records Administration included paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump.”
The agency did not explain how officials know Trump himself ripped up the records, but the Archives pointed to previous reporting that White House records management staff had to tape together torn-up documents during the Trump era.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated which entity could launch a formal investigation. This story has also been updated with additional reporting.
CNN’s Gabby Orr, Paul LeBlanc, Ryan Nobles, Zachary Cohen and Annie Grayer contributed to this report.