White House records mishandled by former president Donald Trump "very likely" include classified national security documents, according to former GOP lawmaker David Jolly.
Appearing on MSNBC on Wednesday, Jolly was reacting to a report that the National Archives has asked the Justice Department to look at whether Trump broke the law by tearing up presidential records — or removing 15 boxes of them to Mar-a-Lago.
The Washington Post's Jacqueline Alemany, who broke the story about the DOJ referral, called it "fairly significant," adding there are "a number of different potential investigative avenues."
"There are potential issues with one, mishandling classified information, which obviously we are all well acquainted with after an investigation was sparked into Hillary Clinton's emails for that issue," Alemany said. "And then also, the issue of the theft of federal property or documents that includes presidential records and potential gifts."
After host Alicia Menendez noted that the records aren't just "extra napkins" from the White House that Trump accidentally put in a moving van, panelist Yamiche Alcindor suggested that Trump deliberately mishandled documents because he "didn't want to leave a paper trail."
Jolly said the situation is particularly alarming given the context.
"It's easy to think of presidential records as being benign, and I'm sure many of the records are benign, but consider this is a president who was twice impeached for malfeasance and maladministration within office, and he also is somebody who is under criminal investigation in multiple jurisdictions, so there certainly could be evidentiary information that is relevant, not just to a fact-finding investigation of the Congress, but to criminal investigations and investigations that might to relate to behaviors that have not yet been identified," Jolly said.
"I would also say in a very real way, in terms of our national security posture, there very likely are national security documents that despite having certain classified protections, were also prone to being torn up. I mean, there are staff members who have acknowledged — those responsible for having to remove national security documents — that he did this when it came to national security measures as well. So it is important form a fact-finding perspective. it is important for posterity, if you will, but it's also important because of the uniqueness of his president, who was twice impeached and is now under criminal investigation."
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