US National Archives requests legal probe of Trump over handling of documents

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Donald Trump holds a copy of a court document prior to his departure from the White HouseImage source, Getty Images

The US government agency that manages the preservation of presidential records has asked the justice department to investigate Donald Trump for his handling of official papers.

US presidents are required by law to transfer all of their letters, work documents and emails to the National Archives.

But officials say the former president illegally ripped up many documents.

Some of them had to be taped back together, the Archives said.

It has also emerged that 15 boxes of papers that Mr Trump should have turned over when he left the White House were instead taken to his home in Florida.

They include letters between Mr Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the presidential handover letter from Barack Obama.

Some of the documents Mr Trump brought home could have been classified government secrets, reports CBS News.

Mr Trump has clashed with the National Archives in the past. He unsuccessfully sued in an effort to prevent the transfer of White House records to a congressional committee investigating the January 6 riot on the US Capitol.

In a statement, Mr Trump acknowledged cooperation with the National Archives.

"The media's characterisation of my relationship with NARA [National Archives and Records Administration] is Fake News. It was exactly the opposite! It was a great honour to work with NARA to help formally preserve the Trump Legacy," he said.

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