The US National Archives and Records Administration has arrested Donald Trump over his repeated false accusations that former President Barack Obama seized 30 million pages of documents when he left the White House.
In posts on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump has relentlessly attacked the lack of legal action against Obama for this imaginary scenario. This plays into his argument that the government gave Obama free rein on presidential documents, while punishing Trump.
On Friday, Trump again attacked the former president, falsely claiming: “President Barack Hussein Obama has kept 33 million pages of documents, much of which is classified. How many of them were nuclear? He asked. “The word is, a lot!”
Trump went wild after the FBI revealed it had collected 20 boxes of documents, including 11 sets of classified information, some top secret, during its search of his Mar-a-Lago residence on Monday. Trump is currently being investigated for possible violations of the Espionage Act regarding the documents, according to the FBI search warrant.
The National Archives, responding to Trump’s repeated claims, said in a statement Friday that it “assumed sole legal and physical custody” of Obama’s presidential archives at the end of his term in 2017, “in accordance with the presidential archives.
The National Archives said it “has moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area, where they are held exclusively by NARA.”
The documents will eventually be housed in a presidential library there. As required by law, Obama has “no control over where or how NARA stores his administration’s presidential records,” the statement noted.
Trump began to insist on his false claim following an opinion piece in the New York Post on Tuesday that referenced Obama’s documents. The most severe criticism was that the National Archives is way behind in digitizing Obama administration files.
It wasn’t long before Fox News joined the chorus singing the dubious accusations about Obama’s documents. Sean Hannity falsely claimed they were “possibly classified”. A guest wondered why federal SWAT teams weren’t descending on Obama’s documents.
The Washington Post called Trump and Fox’s strategy of “flooding the trash zone” – a phrase borrowed from Steve Bannon – in the face of serious problems.