Archivist denies GOP lawmaker's request for peek into Mar-a-Lago investigation
US president Donald Trump's home Mar-a-Lago in Florida (AFP)

The National Archives denied a request by Republican lawmaker for a peek into the investigation of Donald Trump's handling of top-secret government documents.

Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee, had asked for internal communications from archivists about the materials they had been trying to get back from the former president before referring the matter to the Department of Justice, which then obtained a warrant to search Mar-a-Lago.

"I apologize if my response may not have been clear and thus caused confusion," wrote Debra Steidel Wall, the acting U.S. archivist. "My letter was not intended to 'deny the existence of such responsive documents or communications to Congress.' Rather, its intent instead was to convey to you that, as a general matter, the Department of Justice has requested that NARA not share or otherwise disclose to others information related to this matter at this time in order to protect the integrity of DOJ’s ongoing work."

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Wall added that she had released a letter notifying one of Trump's attorneys that the former president had no authority to claim executive privilege over any government documents he still had in his possession and must return them to the National Archives.

"I also let you know that 'NARA is preserving all records related to this matter,'” Wall wrote to Comer. "We did, of course, release my May 10, 2022, letter to Evan Corcoran, an attorney for former President Trump, addressing the special access request under the Presidential Records Act (PRA) from the incumbent President on behalf of the Department of Justice, after the letter had been released by a PRA representative of Trump. To the extent that we are able to release any additional records responsive to your request in the future, we will make them available to you."