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National Archives asks past presidents, vice-presidents to look for classified items

A letter from acting archivist of the United States Debra Steidel Wall to former President Donald Trump's legal team detailing that the National Archives recovered 100 documents bearing classified markings, totaling more than 700 pages, from an initial batch of 15 boxes retrieved from Mar-a-Lago in 2022.Jon Elswick/Associated Press

The National Archives sent a letter to representatives for living former presidents and vice presidents on Thursday asking them to review their personal records to verify that no classified materials are inadvertently outstanding, according to a person familiar with the correspondence who spoke on the condition of anonymity to detail private conversations.

The list of former presidents and vice presidents contacted likely includes former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and former vice presidents Dick Cheney, Al Gore and Dan Quayle.

The Washington Post previously reported that the Archives was weighing the request earlier this week.


The request comes after a limited number of records bearing classified markings were found in recent weeks at President Biden’s home and a think tank bearing his name, as well as at the home of former vice president Mike Pence. More than 100 classified documents also were found by the FBI last year when they searched former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, capping a nearly year-long quest to retrieve documents from Trump. The search came after more than 200 classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago had been turned over to the Archives and the Justice Department.