Mark Meadows Did Not ‘Properly’ Turn Over Documents To National Archives

The National Archives is engaging with Mark Meadows’ attorneys over apparent gaps in the records from his personal email and phone that he was supposed to turn over to the presidential record-keeping agency months ago.

″[The National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA] is working with counsel to Mark Meadows to obtain any Presidential records that were not properly copied or forwarded into his official account,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement to HuffPost.

It is not clear when the missing records would have been generated.

The National Archives is tasked with maintaining a vast trove of documentation produced by the White House and the executive branch more broadly. As chief of staff to former President Donald Trump, Meadows would have been required to comply with the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which guides the agency.

At the conclusion of Trump’s term, all of his presidential records were legally placed in the hands of the National Archives.

Protocol dictates that White House employees who send work-related emails or text messages from their personal accounts or phone numbers must find a way to preserve the message. They can, for example, forward an email chain to their official email address and then delete it from their personal account within 20 days. Text messages can be preserved by screenshot.

“Whenever Presidential records of former Presidents are identified as being outside of NARA’s physical control, NARA works to recover and obtain such records,” the spokesperson said.

The apparent problem with Meadows’ official record came the same week the former chief of staff clashed with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Committee members issued a subpoena to Meadows in September demanding an array of documentation and an in-person deposition. Meadows complied somewhat, sending over some 6,800 pages of emails and 2,300 text messages, according to court documents filed by his attorneys. But in an about-face this week, he told the committee in a letter that he would no longer be cooperating.

On Wednesday, he filed suit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the House committee in an attempt to free himself from the subpoenas. Meadows claims that he does not have to turn over all of his records from around the time of Jan. 6 because Trump has invoked executive privilege in a lawsuit of his own.

That right, however, is generally only exercised by sitting presidents, and President Joe Biden has not chosen to intervene.

The courts have also not bought Trump’s argument. An appellate court ruled against Trump on Thursday afternoon, saying that he could not block the release of a trove of presidential records held by the National Archives that the Jan. 6 committee wants to examine. Trump now has two weeks to petition the Supreme Court to consider his case.

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