Obama kept no classified documents, the National Archives confirms.
To divert attention from reports that the classified documents he kept in his Florida home may contain material related to nuclear weapons, former President Donald J. Trump claimed Friday that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had done the same.
“President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, many of them classified,” Trump said in a statement. “How many of those were nuclear? Word is, a lot!”
But the National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, which retains and maintains records after a president leaves office, confirmed Friday afternoon that Obama had turned over his documents — classified and unclassified — as required under the Presidential Records Act of 1978.
The National Archives “took over the exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama’s presidential documents when President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act,” the statement said. “NARA has moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area, where they are maintained exclusively by NARA. In addition, NARA keeps Obama’s classified presidential records at a NARA facility in the Washington, DC area.
“As required by the PRA,” the statement added, referring to the Presidential Records Act, “former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores his administration’s presidential records.”
A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In 2017, the National Archives announced that Obama’s presidential documents were in his possession and that he would keep them in an archive room rather than a traditional presidential library. It said it would digitize all unclassified records with funding from the Obama Foundation. “Classified records will be stored in the Washington, DC area, where they can be secured and reviewed for declassification more efficiently and effectively,” the announcement said. “If classified records are released and released, NARA will make them available in digitized form.”