Former Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann reportedly warned former President Donald Trump late last year that he could face serious legal repercussions if he did not return the U.S. government records that he took with him after he left office.
Multiple sources told The New York Times that Herschmann tried to get the former president to understand the gravity of the situation, warning that he could face criminal investigations if he did not return the documents.
Trump handed over 15 boxes, which included scores of classified documents, to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in January following Herschmann’s warning.
However, Trump did not hand over all the records that he was required to return, and he was later visited by federal officials in June who forced him to turn over numerous other classified documents.
Federal agents then raided Trump’s Florida home at Mar-a-Lago in August and found more classified documents in his personal residence, the Department of Justice said.
The report said that when Herschmann met with Trump in 2021 he was not working for or with the former president and that Trump was “noncommittal about his plans for returning the documents” after the meeting.
Herschmann defended Trump during his first impeachment trial, and he aggressively tried to defend Trump from efforts by conspiracy-minded individuals who tried to pull all the levers to keep Trump in power after he lost the 2020 presidential election.
Axios reported what it described as being the “craziest meeting of the Trump presidency,” which happened on December 18. The meeting took place days after the Electoral College finalized the results of the election.
The report featured a few different people inside the White House who argued against “four conspiracy theorists” who “marched into the Oval Office,” but paid special attention to Herschmann, who immediately said “How the hell did Sidney [Powell] get in the building?”
The group included Powell, an attorney, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, and former Trump administration official, Emily Newman.
“Hold on a minute, Sidney,” Herschmann interrupted, according to the report. “You’re part of the Rudy team, right? Is your theory that the Democrats got together and changed the rules, or is it that there was foreign interference in our election?”
“It’s foreign interference,” Powell insisted, then added, “Rudy hasn’t understood what this case is about until just now.”
Stunned by the remarks, Herschmann immediately yelled out to an aide in the outer Oval Office. “Get [White House counsel] Pat [Cipollone] down here immediately!”
“You’re quitting! You’re a quitter!” Flynn reportedly screamed at Herschmann, who initially ignored Flynn’s remarks. “You’re not fighting!”
Instead, Herschmann slammed Powell, saying, “All you do is promise, but never deliver.”
Herschmann eventually had had enough of Flynn’s ranting at those who dared to question Powell’s unsubstantiated claims, the report continues, and said, “Why the f*** do you keep standing up and screaming at me? If you want to come over here, come over here. If not, sit your a** down.”
Flynn reportedly took a seat.