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The attorney denied Trump’s instruction to tell the archives that all records had been withdrawn

 



CNN

When former President Donald Trump returned 15 boxes of presidential records to the National Archives and Records Administration earlier this year, he instructed one of his lawyers to inform the agency that all materials requested by the archives had been returned from his mar-au. -Lago Estate, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

Alex Cannon, a former Trump Organization lawyer, has been working with archivists since 2021 to facilitate the return of records taken to Trump’s Florida home and resort as his presidency ends. Because Cannon is based in New York and has been assisting with the records remotely, he was unsure if the archives had access to everything in Trump’s possession, thus denying the former president’s request, people familiar with the matter said. Trump told Cannon not to involve himself further, the sources said.

Relations between the two have already become strained after Trump stonewalled for months, questioning why he should return the items in the first place.

“My understanding is that it’s a mutual decision that Alex is no longer dealing with the archives,” said one of the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations.

Undeterred by Cannon’s denials, Trump commissioned a statement to aides in February, announcing that all records had been returned to NARA and denying that his relationship with the agency was “fake news.” Two people familiar with the report, which has never been released, said it went as far as to inexplicably refer to German pipelines. The report was distributed to several Trump aides, including his spokesman, Taylor Pudovich, who was among several advisers who warned the former president to consult with his lawyers before releasing it.

Eventually, a version of the statement was released that did not mention the handover of all the documents, but said the documents had been returned “on the most amicable basis”.

Budovich, who declined to answer detailed questions for this story, said in a statement Monday that “Biden’s weaponized DOJ has no greater ally than the fake news media, which serves only as a biased microphone for leaks and liars buried deep in the bowels. of the United States Government”

He continued, “President Trump is committed to protecting the Constitution and the office of the President, and ensuring the integrity of America for generations to come.”

Trump’s intention to announce that he has returned all presidential records to archives officials comes amid a Justice Department investigation into the former president’s retention of government records at Mar-a-Lago, including hundreds of documents.

Months after Cannon and others turned down Trump’s request to return 15 boxes of items in January, two of his lawyers gave additional sensitive records to federal investigators at a June meeting at Mar-a-Lago. Previously reported by CNN.

At the time, a Trump lawyer signed an affidavit declaring that all the items had been returned. In August, FBI agents raided Trump’s Palm Beach club and recovered additional material marked classified and other government records.

The Washington Post first reported on Cannon and a statement Trump drafted earlier this year said all the records had been returned to the archives. Cannon declined to comment for this story.

It is not yet clear who exactly packed the boxes that were returned to the archive in January 2022. While some of the boxes were taken directly from Trump’s office, the former president’s aides have been warned not to sift through them by Cannon and other senior staffers. By boxes left around the property – they were worried they might contain classified information and most of the former president’s aides did not have security clearances.

Archives officials have confirmed that the initial tranche of boxes returned by Trump’s team actually contained 184 classified documents, including 25 top-secret documents and some handwritten notes from Trump.

The attorney denied Trump’s instruction to tell the archives that all records had been withdrawn

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The attorney denied Trump’s instruction to tell the archives that all records had been withdrawn

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