National Archives Fact-Checks Trump on Obama Documents


Former President Donald Trump ran into an obstacle to his what-about deflection posted on social media while the FBI looks over documents it removed from his home, but it didn’t slow him down. “President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified,” Trump said Friday, the New York Times reports. “How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!” That prompted an intervention by the National Archives and Records Administration, the agency charged with maintaining the records of a president who has left office.

The word from the National Archives is “none.” The agency said it “assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama presidential records when President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.” Obama did not take his records home, and the statement said he does not have a say on where the files are kept. “NARA moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area, where they are maintained exclusively by NARA. Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, DC, area,” the agency said.

Minutes after the statement was issued, per the Washington Post, Trump said, “What are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?” That claim has been echoed online by Trump supporters since the raid and since the Post reported that some of classified documents taken by the FBI involved nuclear weapons. A Trump spokesperson did not immediately comment on the issue. Benjamin Hufbauer, a professor at the University of Louisville who researches presidential libraries, also told the AP that no White House records are in Obama’s personal possession. The documents are “owned by the nation,” he said. (Read more National Archives stories.)