A top lawyer for then-President Donald Trump tried to turn over the president’s records to the National Archives, but was reportedly blocked by Trump.
Before Trump’s term ended, Patrick Philbin, deputy counsel to the president, was named Trump’s representative to handle matters with the National Archives along with White House counsel Pat Cipollone, The New York Times reported.
Once the National Archives realized that some of Trump’s White House records were missing, they reportedly contacted Philbin for help getting them back.
Philbin reportedly tried to help the National Archives retrieve the material, but was reportedly blocked by Trump.
“It’s not theirs, it’s mine,” Trump reportedly told several of his advisers.
The criminal investigation into Trump was launched after the National Archives discovered last year that Trump had taken government records when he left office that they were supposed to receive. Officials reviewed more than a dozen boxes that Trump returned earlier this year and discovered that many documents were marked as classified. The National Archives contacted the DOJ and the DOJ, in turn, convened a federal grand jury.
A subpoena was subsequently issued to retrieve the remaining documents. Trump’s advisers urged him to return the documents, but he decided against doing so. Investigators visited Trump’s Florida residence at Mar-a-Lago in June and were shown by Trump’s lawyers the storage area where some of the classified material was being kept. The investigators left with the classified material. After that visit, at least one of Trump’s lawyers reportedly signed a written statement saying that all the classified information had been returned.
After the meeting, those investigators told Trump’s team that they needed to take additional steps to further secure the room where some White House records were being stored. Subpoenaed surveillance footage from outside the storage room showed that boxes were shuffled in and out of the room over a two-month period. At some point during the investigation, a source close to the president gave the FBI information that led them to believe that there was additional classified material on the property.
During the FBI’s raid on Trump’s home last week, which U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland authorized, investigators recovered at least 4 sets of top secret documents, 3 sets of secret documents, and 3 sets of confidential documents during their search.