Fact Check: Biden Administration Did NOT Interfere With Trump Transition Documents Later Shipped To Mar-A-Lago

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Biden Administration Did NOT Interfere With Trump Transition Documents Later Shipped To Mar-A-Lago Secured Docs

Did the Biden administration have unfettered access for a large portion of 2021 to Donald Trump's transition documents and papers that were later shipped from storage near Washington, D.C., to Mar-a-Lago in Florida? No, that's not true: The General Services Administration, which provides transition support for outgoing presidents, told Lead Stories that the documents were "accessible only to the former president's Outgoing Transition Staff and those who they permitted." There was never unsupervised access to those documents, a spokesperson for the federal agency said.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Facebook by Peggy Traeger Tierney on April 27, 2024. The post's caption said:

Unsealed testimony reveals that Team Biden shipped boxes of classified information from government storage to Trump at Mar-a-Lago - after they had likely planted documents with 'classified markings in the boxes - then charged him for possessing it, then rescinded his clearance after charging him.


An FBI agent says the Feds were holding large quantity of Trump's boxes in Virginia and then ordered his team to come get them.
I am sure NOTHING hanky happened there...

So an entire pallet full of boxes that had been held by Team Biden somewhere outside of DC was dumped at Mar-a-Lago. Apparently these are the boxes that ended up containing papers with 'classified markings.'

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Thu May 2 17:21:51 2024 UTC)

General Services Administration

The General Services Administration (GSA) is a U.S. federal agency that manages government property and records and provides services to the federal government. It additionally provides transition support for outgoing presidents. In this case, Donald Trump.

In a May 8, 2024, email, a GSA spokesperson told Lead Stories that the agency never had unsupervised access to the Trump documents mentioned in the social media post, which were stored at a facility in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia. They said the materials were managed by Trump's team:

The documents were placed on shelving in the back portion of the space, accessible only to the former president's Outgoing Transition Staff and those who they permitted.

The GSA said this about the chain of custody for the papers:

Documents were transported to and from the facility by the former president's Outgoing Transition Staff. Pallets with documents to be moved to Mar-a-Lago were packed and shrink wrapped by the former president's Outgoing Transition Staff.

Visual evidence comes from an image of the boxes obtained by Bloomberg from the GSA and included in an article (archived here) published on October 5, 2022, called "Trump Says US Agency Packed Top-Secret Documents. These Emails Suggest Otherwise," with the subheading: "A federal agency worked with Trump staff to move the boxes that were already packed and loaded on pallets, emails show."

The caption for the photo says:

Several pallets of document boxes ready for shipment to Trump's Mar-a-Lago club, according to a July 2021 email from Trump's post-presidential office.

This is what the image looked like on the Bloomberg website at the time of writing:


(Source: Bloomberg screenshot taken on Wed May 8 17:10:03 2024 UTC)

The GSA spokesperson told Lead Stories that the task of placing the boxes onto pallets and securely wrapping each one with shrink-wrap fell under the responsibility of the Trump transition team. They said:

Consistent with the typical division of responsibilities between GSA and outgoing Presidents, members of the outgoing Presidential transition team and their volunteers were responsible for packing items from the outgoing transition space into boxes. In this instance, the former president's outgoing transition team was responsible for putting the boxes on pallets and shrink-wrapping each pallet.

Prior to shipping, GSA required the former president's outgoing transition team to certify in writing that the items being shipped were required to wind down the Office of the Former President and would be utilized as the Office transitioned to its new location in Florida.

The GSA email concluded with the agency saying it did not know what was in the boxes that were sent to Florida. It said:

GSA did not examine the contents of the boxes and, accordingly, had no knowledge of the contents prior to shipping. This is consistent with the typical support that GSA provides former Presidents pursuant to the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 and the Former Presidents Act.

Additional information on the Presidential Transition Act is available here.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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