EXCLUSIVE: Former President Trump’s legal team is demanding the National Archives and Records Administration turn over documents that they say will expose the “highly politicized” agency for attempting to criminalize a civil dispute over classified materials in an “unconstitutional and unprecedented weaponization of the Presidential Records Act. “
Attorneys representing the former president in the special counsel investigation into his alleged mishandling and improper retention of classified records – James Trusty, Lindsey Halligan and Evan Corcoran – filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on Monday.
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Trusty told Fox News Digital that attorneys are “demanding documents that will expose NARA’s completely different treatment of President Trump from every other president.”
“What we expect to find are highly-politicized bureaucrats who worked in tandem with DOJ and politicians to criminalize a dispute that never has criminal implications,” Trusty said. “We’re confident that a substantive response to our demands from NARA will firmly establish a different and politicized treatment of President Trump.”
Trump’s legal team is calling for NARA to turn over records related to its dispute resolution process and communications about how the agency characterizes presidential records; its process for establishing secure locations for past presidents to maintain possession of those records; and other information.
“This request covers records located at any office within NARA, including its Office of General Counsel, each of its field and regional offices, the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, the George W. Bush Presidential Center, and the Obama Presidential Library,” the request stated.
Trump’s legal team hopes to reveal that “the underpinnings” of the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified records are “rotten” and “used criminal tools when they shouldn’t have.”
The former president’s attorneys hope the responsive records to their request will call into question the initial validity of the Justice Department’s investigation due to “politically-biased” actions.
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Specifically, Trump’s legal team is requesting records related to how NARA determines whether a particular record is a “presidential record,” including training materials, employee handbooks, and policies and procedures.
The lawyers are also calling for “any and all documents” related to any “dispute-resolution process that NARA uses, or has used, to resolve disagreements with any of the Past Presidents and their Administrations, concerning the classification of records as Presidential records, personal records, agency records or otherwise.”
The lawyers are requesting records to review the historical treatment of other presidents, and whether NARA has made any formal or informal criminal referrals in connection with a past president or the Biden administration.
President Biden is currently under special counsel investigation for his alleged mishandling and improper retention of classified records from his days as vice president during the Obama administration. As a result, Trump’s legal team is demanding all communications between NARA and the Biden administration about his retention of classified records at the Penn Biden Center and in his home in Delaware.
Trusty told Fox News Digital that the attorneys are also “very interested in the arrangement where Obama’s Foundation acknowledged possessing classified documents for years.”
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“They also mentioned paying $3.3 million to NARA in eventual moving costs,” he said. “So you can imagine we’d love to see the paper trail relating to that agreement.”
Trusty was referring to a Sept. 21, 2018 letter of intent sent by Obama Foundation Executive Director Robbie Cohen to Archivist of the United States David Ferriero.
In that letter, reviewed by Fox News Digital, the Obama team agreed to “work collaboratively and in good faith” with NARA, and “agrees to transfer up to” $3.3 million to the National Archives Trust Fund “to support the move of classified and unclassified Obama Presidential records and artifacts from Hoffman Estates to NARA-controlled facilities that conform to the agency’s archival storage standards for such records and artifacts, and for the modification of such spaces.”
Trump’s legal team is requesting records relating to whether the Obama Presidential Library “currently maintains documents marked classified and whether NARA has made any effort to secure such documents.”
Trump’s lawyers are requesting any documents related to Biden’s donation of “approximately 1,875 boxes of his Senatorial papers to the University of Delaware,” including any communications about whether NARA applies to Senatorial records.
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The complaint also demands any communications concerning Biden’s “decision to bypass NARA” and whether NARA approved that donation.
The complaint demands all interactions between NARA and the Trump administration; all communications with anyone within the federal government, including Congress, about Trump and the Trump administration, including any dispute regarding presidential records; and any communications with anyone outside the federal government, including news organizations, regarding Trump.
In addition, Trump’s lawyers are demanding the identity of all NARA employees involved in NARA’s decision to contact the Justice Department regarding Trump’s presidential records, as well as any disciplinary records from “everyone who has touched this case.”
“Expedited treatment is justified because President Trump has a reasonable expectation of an imminent loss of a substantial due process right,” stated the complaint, which gave NARA 10 days to turn over responsive documents. “These requests pertain to documents that expose the origin and politicized nature of NARA’s involvement in the DOJ’s unprecedented investigation of President Trump.”
The complaint comes amid Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified records at Mar-a-Lago.
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Last August, the FBI conducted an unprecedented raid on Mar-a-Lago to seize documents such as personal media records, correspondence related to taxes, accounting and personal effects, passports, and records subject to attorney-client and executive privilege.
Trump’s lawyers argued that the former president “suffered a loss of substantive due-process rights with the execution of the general warrant and subsequent seizure of documents and other items not relevant to the Government’s purported investigation, and President Trump continues to suffer and is at risk of suffering further deprivation of his substantive due process rights each day as the FBI, DOJ, and NARA seek to criminalize a civil dispute, using criminal investigation tools in an unconstitutional and unprecedented, weaponization of the Presidential Records Act.”
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“There are systematic fixes to the classification system that are much more important and warranted than prosecuting presidents and vice presidents,” Trusty told Fox News Digital.