Archives says documents were not returned even though White House counsel said Trump should hand them over

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The contents of the email have been confirmed to CNN by a source familiar with the matter. The Washington Post first reported on the email.

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 newly reported email underscores the efforts of the National Archives, tasked with collecting and sorting presidential material, to retrieve Trump-era documents as an investigation into the handling of presidential documents heats up. The FBI executed a search warrant at the former president’s Florida residence earlier this month, with federal agents removing boxes of material from the property.

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.

CNN has previously reported that the records have been working in 2021 to get presidential records back from Trump.

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.

In the last weeks of the administration, the National Archives was informed that it was looking for certain documents because the White House Records office warned the records that they never received them from the president’s team – including the map of hurricane Dorian who infamously changed Trump with a Sharpie marker, former President Barack Obama’s letter to Trump and Kim Jong Un’s “love letters.”

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.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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