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DOJ stiffs Democrats’ request for info on Trump White House records

By Zachary Cohen and Evan Perez, CNN

The Justice Department declined a request from the House Oversight Committee to provide additional details about 15 boxes of records that former President Donald Trump improperly took to Mar-a-Lago after leaving office, citing an ongoing investigation, according to a new letter sent to the committee.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Peter Hyun wrote in the letter that the Justice Department had asked the National Archives to refrain from disclosing information about the boxes to Congress to “protect the integrity of our ongoing work.”

The National Archives has previously referred “concerns about whether such materials had been properly handled” to the Justice Department for review.

The Washington Post first reported the new letter, which was sent to the committee’s chairwoman, Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York. Sources who reviewed the letter confirmed its contents to CNN.

CNN reported last week that the Justice Department has begun investigating the mishandling of 15 boxes of White House records, including some that contained classified information, which were taken to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in South Florida.

The Justice Department has been blocking the National Archives from sharing details on the boxes with House Democrats, who have launched their own inquiry.

In a letter that the House Oversight Committee disclosed last week, National Archives General Counsel Gary Stern said the agency was unable to respond to the panel’s request for more information, based on the Archives’ “consultation” with the Justice Department.

After receiving the March 28 letter from the National Archives, also known as NARA, Maloney reached out to Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting additional information as to why the Justice Department is preventing the Archives from cooperating with the panel.

“I write today because the Department of Justice is preventing NARA from cooperating with the Committee’s request, which is interfering with the Committee’s investigation,” she wrote in a letter dated last Thursday. “By blocking NARA from producing the documents requested by the Committee, the Department is obstructing the Committee’s investigation.”

Maloney also said that the committee “does not wish to interfere in any manner with any potential or ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice.”

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