Skip to content
Fact Check: Barack Obama Did Not Keep Millions of Classified Documents
Go to my account

Fact Check: Barack Obama Did Not Keep Millions of Classified Documents

Donald Trump made the claim after last week’s FBI search of his home.

In an attempt to defend himself against reports that he has classified documents in his Florida residence, Donald Trump in a statement on Friday (since deleted from his website) said Barack Obama “kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!”

But the statements are false. 

In an August 12 statement, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) said it took “exclusive legal and physical custody” of Obama presidential records when he left office: “NARA moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area where they are maintained exclusively by NARA. Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama Presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, DC, area. As required by the [Presidential Records Act], former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration.”

The Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978, “governs the official records of Presidents and Vice Presidents that were created or received after January 20, 1981.” The NARA further explained that the PRA “changed  the legal ownership of the official records of the President from private to public, and established a new statutory structure under which Presidents, and subsequently NARA, must manage the records of their Administrations.”

According to the NARA, Obama’s presidential records currently reside in a temporary facility in Hoffman Estates in Illinois and are not open to the public. 

If you have a claim you would like to see us fact check, please send us an email at factcheck@thedispatch.com. If you would like to suggest a correction to this piece or any other Dispatch article, please email corrections@thedispatch.com.

Khaya Himmelman is a fact checker for The Dispatch. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Barnard College.