The National Archives asked former U.S. presidents and vice presidents on Thursday to re-check their personal records for any classified documents or other presidential records after the discovery of such documents in the possession of former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence, CNN reported.
The National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, sent a letter to representatives of former presidents and vice presidents from the last six presidential administrations covered by the Presidential Records Act (PRA), the report added.
The letter cited by CNN requested that the former leaders check their files to ensure that material thought to be personal does not inadvertently contain presidential records that are required by law to be turned over to the National Archives. The Archives did not respond to a request for comment.
“We request that you conduct an assessment of any materials held outside of NARA that relate to the Administration for which you serve as a designated representative under the PRA, to determine whether bodies of materials previously assumed to be personal in nature might inadvertently contain presidential or vice presidential records subject to the PRA, whether classified or unclassified,” CNN quoted the letter as saying.
Documents marked as classified were discovered at Pence’s Indiana home last week. Biden, whose documents dated from his time as vice president and senator, and Trump, who resisted turning over the items, leading to an FBI raid, are both facing special counsel investigations by the Justice Department over improper handling of classified materials.
Trump’s handling of the records is also under federal criminal investigation.
A spokesman for former President Barack Obama told Reuters when asked about possible classified documents that his office had been given a “clean bill of health” by the National Archives.
The administration of George W. Bush “turned all presidential records over – both classified and unclassified – upon leaving the White House,” Bush spokesman Freddy Ford told Reuters.
Former President Jimmy Carter did not receive a letter from the National Archives, since the Presidential Records Act took effect after he left office.
The National Archives has come under criticism from Republicans who say it has not been transparent in the documents cases. The Oversight Committee of the House of Representatives, now controlled by Republicans, has scheduled a Jan. 31 transcribed interview with the Archives’ general counsel, a committee aide said.