In late 2021 — After almost a year of trying, it finally worked. from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to obtain government records Donald Trump had improperly removed from the White House — the former president told his advisors that he would return the records in exchange for documents relating to the Russia investigation.
Trump, “still determined to show he had been wronged by the FBI investigation into his 2016 campaign’s ties to Russia,” suggested to his aides that they bargain for materials related to the inquiry by offering NARA the White House records he was keeping at his estate, according to reporting from The New York Times.
Trump has decried the Russia investigation for years. It was led by Robert Mueller, an ex-special counsel, and sought to determine whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential elections.
Trump wanted documents related to the Russia investigation, according reports. he believed NARA had previously refused to disclose documentsThis would support his unsubstantiated claims regarding this inquiry.
The former president has frequently stated that the Russia investigation “exonerated” him of any wrongdoing. However, Mueller has stated the contrary, noting that many of Trump’s actions could constitute obstruction of justiceIn the eyes of federal prosecutors
Trump’s aides ultimately rejected the proposal to bargain for the documents. Later that year, Trump relented and agreed to allow NARA to retrieve some documents from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida — but Only after the agency threatened to involve Congress was it possible to stop them.
NARA inspected the documents it had retrieved in the early 2022 and found that many of them were classified. NARA contacted the Department of Justice (DOJ) to clarify. In June 2022 the DOJ subpoenaed Trump for additional classified documents. The DOJ also had his legal counsel sign an affirmation stating that no additional documents were on the property.
After evidence emerged that additional classified documents had been left at Mar-a-Lago’s headquarters, the FBI executed a search warrant and recovered more than 100 of these materials and over 11,000 government documents. The federal government has retrieved over 200,000 documents. More than 300 classified documents from Trump’s property since the start of the year.
It’s unclear if additional White House documents remain in Trump’s possession.
“While there is no easy way to establish absolute accountability, we do know that we do not have custody of everything we should,” acting archivist Debra Steidel WallIn a letter to House Oversight Committee this month.