Stern wrote in the email: “We also understand that about two dozen boxes of original presidential documents were kept at the White House residence during the course of President Trump’s presidency last year and have not been turned over to NARA, despite a determination by Pat Cipollone in the last days of the government they need. I had also expressed this concern to Scott in the last few weeks.”
“Scott” refers to Scott Gast, another Trump attorney who was copied on the post.
Cipollone, along with his former deputy Patrick Philbin, were appointed by Trump shortly before he left office to resolve the issues related to his presidential records.
CNN was unable to reach Cipollone for comment on the email.
The National Archives has previously said at least 15 boxes of White House data were recovered at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in January, including some that had been classified. And in its search earlier this month, the FBI recovered 11 sets of classified documents, including some materials marked “top secret/SCI” — one of the highest levels of classification.
According to the source familiar with the case, there were about a dozen emails and phone calls over the course of the year as the archives tried to get Trump to return the presidential documents.
The archive was aware that White House records management had determined that documents were missing even before Trump left office, the source said.
In addition, the Archives were aware of the two dozen boxes in the residence even while Trump was in office, the source said.
But there was no inventory or documentation of exactly what was in those boxes.
Shortly after Trump left office, negotiations for the return of the documents began between the Archives and Trump’s team, the well-known source said. There were repeated phone calls and communications to try to get the boxes back, but to no avail, the source said.
Finally, in January 2022, Trump agreed to return 15 boxes — not the 24 boxes the archives were aware of — kept at his Mar-a-Lago residence — boxes that the archives had determined to be classified contain documents.
This story has been updated with additional reporting.
CNN’s Evan Perez and Gabby Orr contributed to this report.