Response to a Presidential Correspondence to the National Archives at Mar-a-Lago: Former President Donald J. Trump and the Investigative Investigation
Shortly after turning over 15 boxes of government material to the National Archives in January, former President Donald J. Trump directed a lawyer working for him to tell the archives that he had returned all the documents he had taken from the White House at the end of his presidency, according to two people familiar with the discussion.
Stern added that the Obama letter was also missing, noting that the Archives’ presidential libraries of other presidents maintain copies of similar letters. “It is necessary that this one be provided to us as well,” he wrote.
The National Archives referred the House Oversight Committee to the Department of Justice after they asked about whether former President Trump had surrendered his presidential records.
According to a lawsuit filed, Trump instructed his staff to search for classified material to comply with the subpoena. After federal investigators retrieved documents from the resort in June, his lawyers later told investigators that they had searched the storage area and that all classified documents were accounted for.
The records were taken to Trump’s Florida residence at the end of his presidency and Alex Cannon, the former Trump Organization attorney, has been working with the Archives to return them.
When the archives officials opened the initial 15 boxes that they recovered, they discovered a large amount of documents with classified markings, which led to a criminal investigation and the search of Mar-a-Lago.
Trump had asked the justices to reverse a federal appeals court and allow a special master to review about 100 documents marked classified, a move that could have opened the door for his legal team to review the records and argue that they should be off limits to prosecutors in a criminal case.
There was evidence that records were removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were made to obstruct the government’s investigation. “This included evidence indicating that boxes formerly in the Storage Room were not returned prior to counsel’s review.”
Trump lawyer Christina Bobb had to hire her own lawyer after signing an attestation in June which declared that Trump’s team had conducted a “diligent search” to comply with the Justice Department’s subpoena and returned all documents with classified markings. Bobb told the investigators that the attestation had been written by another Trump lawyer and she had to sign it. A source with knowledge of the event said Bobb was rushed to Mar-a-Lago to sign the attestation, but she insisted on first adding a line that her knowledge was “based upon the information that has been provided” to her.
Bobb submitted a sworn statement to the Justice Department that said she was making the certification based on the information that had been provided to her.
Emailed Campaign to Overturn 2020 Presidential Election: The Case for Detection of Intimidation and Tampering by the Biden Administration
In the fall of 2021, a longtime Trump staffer at the White House and Mar-a-Lago initially sent the box to a lower-level Trump aide, who has been employed by the former president since he left office. The staffer wanted copies of presidential schedules in the box to be scanned.
The newly released emails also provide new details underscoring the rushed, chaotic nature of Trump’s transition after he spent two months exhausting numerous avenues trying to overturn the 2020 election.
They were hired to search Trump’s Bedminster golf club, Trump Tower in New York, an office location in Florida and a storage unit in Florida last October, months after the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. The extent of information they offered the grand jury remains unclear, though they didn’t decline to answer any questions, one of the sources said.
His lawyer, Stanley Woodward Jr., declined to comment. Taylor Budowich, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, accused the Biden administration of “colluding with the media through targeted leaks in an overt and illegal act of intimidation and tampering.”
A process has been used to intimidate and silence some who have supported President Trump, according to a spokesman for the president. Why? Because Democrats have done nothing to deliver for the American people and they are left scrambling to fabricate a new witch-hunt to distract from their abject failures.”
A Presidential Presidential Life in a Chaotic Environment and the Role of Transition Funds in the Shipping of a Presidential Document with a GSA
If the item is considered property of the Former President, it should not be shipped using Transition Funds. Kathy gave guidance on gifts if the item is considered property of the Federal Government. I just wanted to make sure we knew what you were allowed to ship with Transition funds.
In the email exchange, Trump’s director of correspondence wanted to know where the federal code was. “I want to ensure that we are in compliance, and the attached appears to be general guidance on what gifts (foreign and domestic) can be accepted by a government employee or elected official,” she wrote.
“Working with NARA and GSA, I am in full compliance with the final disposition of gifts. So much so, we are loading the large portrait received after the 21st on a Penske truck to transport to my house so I can put it on my moving van,” Sayle added.
It wasn’t until mid-January – just nine days before President Joe Biden’s inauguration – that Trump’s staff began setting up a post presidential life for the former President following a plan signed off on by former chief of staff Mark Meadows. The GSA would support the transition and set up a post-presidential office after the same pattern of previous presidential transitions.
The chaotic environment continued after Trump vacated the White House. In July 2021, a flurry of late-night emails show staff scrambling unsuccessfully to get the boxes sent off on the final night the outgoing team would be allowed to use transition funds to assist the move, eventually having to use other resources.
A witness account of Donald J. Trump moving boxes from a Mar-a-Lago storage room to the attention of the FBI and a subpoena
“My intern is flying back to DC tomorrow, and he can repack the pallets in Crystal City,” Sayle wrote to GSA. I’m sending him to pick up a roll of shrink wrap from Uhaul and want to know if there is an AC on the 12th floor. The story has been changed to state that it refers to the General Services Administration.
A long-serving aide to former President Donald J. Trump was captured on security camera footage moving boxes out of a storage room at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s residence in Florida, both before and after the Justice Department issued a subpoena in May demanding the return of all classified documents, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The witness account of Trump’s actions after the subpoena was served in May coupled with the footage could be key to the federal criminal investigation that’s looking into a range of potential crimes, including obstruction, destruction of government records and mishandling of classified information.
Prosecutors said in August that that some documents were likely removed from a storage room before Trump’s lawyers examined the area, while they were trying to comply with the subpoena.
The footage showed Walt Nauta, a former military aide who left the White House and then went to work for Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago, moving boxes from a storage room that became a focus of the Justice Department’s investigation, according to the people briefed on the matter. The inquiry is centered on whether Mr. Trump kept the national security records he stole after leaving the White House.
One of the people said that Mr. Nauta had been interviewed multiple times by the Justice Department. Those interviews started before the F.B.I. executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8 and carted off more than 11,000 documents, including about 100 that bore classification markings. Mr. Trump’s handling of the documents is under investigation by the FBI.
The House voted on January 6 to subpoena him, after they learned that he was planning to overthrow the 2020 election and that he wasn’t performing his duty when his mob invaded the US Capitol.
The committee needs to hear from Donald Trump, not only because of their fact- finding. This is a big question for the American people. He has to be held accountable. Thompson said he was required to answer for his actions.
The developments that may hurt Trump the most happened off stage. They reflect the extraordinary legal thicket surrounding the ex-President, who has not been charged with a crime, and the distance still left to run for efforts to account for his riotous exit from power and a presidency that constantly tested the rule of law.
As the midterm election draws closer and Trump grapples with his next political move, he and allies are eager for some relief from his web of legal troubles.
The Supreme Court told the House select committee that they had no interest in being dragged into Trump and his attempt to derail a Justice Department probe into classified material at Mar-a-Lago.
The court turned down his emergency request to intervene because they didn’t know why. No dissents were noted, including from conservative justices Trump elevated to the bench and whom he often seems to believe owe him a debt of loyalty.
While television stations beamed blanket coverage of the committee hearing, more news broke that hinted at further grave legal problems the ex-President could face from another Justice Department investigation – also into January 6. Unlike the House’s version, the DOJ’s criminal probe has the power to draw up indictments.
Marc Short, a former chief of staff for then-Vice President Mike Pence, was spotted leaving a courthouse in Washington, DC. According to a person close to the situation, Short had to testify again to the grand jury. Another Trump adviser, former national security aide Kash Patel, was also seen walking into an area where the grand jury meets. Patel would not tell reporters what he was doing.
CNN previously reported exclusively that Trump’s legal team was considering allowing federal agents to search Mar-a-Lago again to satisfy Justice demands that all sensitive government documents were returned. The matter was addressed in a court proceeding this fall where the Justice Department asked a judge to issue an order compelling the Trump team to arrange for another search.
Jack Smith, appointed by Attorney General Garland in November, has been tasked with overseeing criminal investigations into the retention of national defense information at Mar-a-Lago. The situation related to Mar-a-Lago documents and the Trump team’s response to the May subpoena is an important aspect of the probe.
The former President mishandled classified documents when he was in the White House, and compliance with the subpoena could pose a legal risk. In earlier court filings, prosecutors claimed that Trump’s team had not fully complied with a subpoena served in May and “efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.”
The New York Attorney General asked the state court to block the Trump Organization from moving assets and continuing to perpetrate what she has alleged is a decades-long fraud.
“There is every reason to believe that the Defendants will continue to engage in similar fraudulent conduct right up to trial unless checked by order of this Court,” James wrote in an application for a preliminary injunction linked to her $250 million suit against Trump, his three eldest children and his firm.
Trump denied wrongdoing and branded the James probe a stunt. The Justice Department did not indict the former President, nor anyone else, over the Capitol insurrection. The House select committee cannot bring criminal charges, although it is discussing whether to send criminal referrals to the Justice Department. The FBI searched the Mar-a-Lago residence of Donald Trump and found a cache of classified documents. Trump blasted the DOJ investigation as a witch hunt and political persecution.
Those aren’t even the only probes connected to Trump. There is also the matter of yet another investigation in Georgia over attempts by the former President and his allies to overturn the election in a crucial 2020 swing state.
The Unselect Committee, the First President, is a total ‘BUST,'” tweeted the Republican spokesman after the January 6 subpoena
As always, Trump came out fighting on Thursday, one of those days when the seriousness of a crisis he is facing can often be gauged by the vehemence of the rhetoric he uses to respond.
The unanimous vote in the select committee to issue a subpoena for the former President was mocked by the first Trump spokesman.
Pres Trump will not be intimidated by their un-American actions. Trump-endorsed candidates will sweep the Midterms, and America First leadership & solutions will be restored,” Budowich wrote on Twitter.
The former President’s post on his Truth Social network didn’t answer any of the accusations against him, but that was designed to cause a political backlash from his supporters.
Why wasn’t the Unselect Committee willing to question me months ago? The final moment of their last meeting, why did they wait until the very end? Because the Committee is a total ‘BUST,’” Trump wrote.
“The Government has not publicly disclosed any request to hold the former President or his representatives in contempt. The government can’t confirm or deny whether it made a request, according to the DOJ. “To the extent any such request exists, it and any related proceedings would be in connection with secret grand jury proceedings protected from disclosure.”
A bipartisan committee that is pro-Trump could get some cover because of the subpoena, which they claim is a politicized attempt to impugn Trump and not allow cross-examination of witnesses. If it wished to enforce a subpoena, the committee would have to seek a contempt of Congress referral to the Justice Department from the full House. It took a step like this with Trump’s political guru, Steve Bannon, who was found guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress and soon faces a sentencing hearing.
It could take months and involve a lot of legal battles if the effort is to follow a similar path if Trump does not testify. It’s unclear whether the Justice Department would consider this a good investment, especially given the advanced state of its own January 6 probe. And there’s a good chance the committee will be swept into history anyway, with Republicans favored to take over the House majority following the midterm elections.
Given the slim chance of Trump complying with a congressional subpoena then, many observers will see the dramatic vote to target the ex-President as yet another theatrical flourish in a set of slickly produced hearings that often resembled a television courtroom drama.
The investigation was no longer just about what happened in January, but about the future, as stated by the committee’s Republican vice chair.
“With every effort to excuse or justify the conduct of the former President, we chip away at the foundation of our Republic,” said the Wyoming lawmaker, who won’t be returning to Congress after losing her primary this summer to a Trump-backed challenger.
The 11th Circuit, Judge Raymond Dearie, vs. Prelogar, says the Justice Department is “fundamentally erred” in appointing a Special Master
The Justice Department asked the court to stay out of the dispute while legal challenges play out, deeming the records extraordinarily sensitive.
The Justice Department requested that the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals freeze some of those orders while the legal dispute plays out.
The Supreme Court last week was told that the Eleventh Circuit didn’t have the jurisdiction to review an order from the District Court to review materials seized from President Trump’s home.
Raymond Dearie, the senior US judge appointed as special master, will be “substantially impaired” by the appeals court order and that it will slow “ongoing time-sensitive work,” Trump’s team added.
“Any limit on the comprehensive and transparent review of materials seized in the extraordinary raid of a President’s home erodes public confidence in our system,” the filing said.
US Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said Cannon, who was appointed by Trump, “fundamentally erred” in appointing a special master in the first place and noted the Justice Department is appealing that decision in the lower courts.
The DOJ stated that the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals found that Cannon abused her discretion and inflicted serious and unwarranted intrusion on the Executive Branch’s authority to control the distribution and use of sensitive government records.
The special master expressed his frustration on Tuesday with limited information he was receiving from the Justice Department as well as from the defense lawyers for Donald Trump.
“Where’s the beef? During a half-hour conference call with both sides, Judge Raymond Dearie said he needed a bit of beef.
Dearie told the parties that he also hopes to hear from both sides on how he should treat documents that Trump wants to call personal, and thus potentially protect them from investigators, and also claim are covered by executive privilege, which could make them government documents.
Dearie asked why the two sides can’t determine among themselves if the letter was sent, which would be a crucial fact to help the judge decide if it should be kept confidential.
“I don’t want to be dealing with nonsense objections, nonsense assertions, especially when I have one month to deal with who knows how many assertions,” said Dearie of the Eastern District of New York.
There’s a certain inconsgruity there if I’m wrong and I’ve been wrong before. Dearie thinks that the counsel may address that in a submission.
The Return of the Mar-A-Lago Donald Trump Documents: A Plethora of Negotiable Issues in a Tortuous Case
The parties have not yet indicated how many of the nearly 22,000 pages seized at Mar-a-Lago Trump are in dispute and will require the special master to make a call.
Donald Trump’s legal team is weighing whether to allow federal agents to return to the former President’s Florida residence, and potentially conduct a supervised search, to satisfy the Justice Department’s demands that all sensitive government documents are returned, sources tell CNN.
In the midst of a host of legal battles and trying to relieve some of the stress, Trump has recently signaled to aides that he may be open to a less combative approach towards the Justice Department, one that would allow for a swift resolution of the records issue.
A person close to the former President told his allies that he wants to move on, adding that the general belief in Trump World was that this is just a waste of time.
At least some of the battle to secure their return has been playing out behind the scenes in a court proceeding that is under seal, according to people familiar with the situation. It’s possible that the Justice Department will ask a judge to force the Trump team to work with them to arrange for another search.
Sources close to Trump said that the former President has become more amenable to the cooperative approach being advocated by some of his more experienced lawyers, including former Florida Solicitor General Chris Kise, who joined his legal team following the FBI search in August. Kise had faced headwinds from Trump and some of his more aggressive advisers.
Trump has never substantiated his accusation of federal investigators planting evidence during the Mar-a-Lago search, even though he said that at one point.
Among the complicating factors has been Trump’s personal views on the document dispute. He initially claimed that his team had been fully cooperative with investigators and insisted on social media “ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK,” for documents to be returned. In court and on social media, Trump argued that the Mar-a-Lago documents are his. “I want my documents back!” the former President said in early October.
Corcoran’s investigation of the case against a special counsel: a case study of Boris Epshteyn at Mar-a-Lago
Corcoran has insisted to colleagues that he does not believe he faces any legal risk and has not hired a lawyer, according to sources familiar with his situation.
The FBI seized Boris Epshteyn’s phone last month and he gave testimony in a Georgia grand jury about efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
The letter, filed on Thursday by the Justice Department, describes disputes over ownership and executive privilege claims involving a batch of 15 records that have undergone early review. It likely foreshadows larger fights to come over the main bulk of roughly 13,000 documents and other materials F.B.I. agents took from Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s club and residence, in a court-authorized search in August.
There are six packages that were sent to Mr. Trump when he was president, two documents related to his administration’s immigration policies and an email addressed to him from someone else.
Two documents with classified markings were found in a Florida storage unit during a search by a team hired by former President Donald Trump’s lawyers, a person familiar with the situation told CNN.
The four searches came amid lingering concerns from the Justice Department that not all documents had been returned to the federal government. Carried out in recent weeks, the searches were overseen by Trump’s legal team, another source familiar with the matter told CNN.
The prospect of a special counsel was worrying Trump’s lawyers, who have been fighting for the investigation since it began. And Trump himself has complained about the matter, likening the prospect to former special counsel Robert Mueller, who oversaw the Russia investigation.
Special prosecutors were brought in to investigate Biden and Trump. The Trump matter is being investigated by special counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed in November. And the Biden matter is being investigated by special counsel Robert Hur, who was appointed in January.
Jack Smith investigated war crimes in Kosovo when he was the chief prosecutor for the special court.
The 11th Circuit Judge Ordered Trump to Come and Charge a Special Master of the Sessions on Capitol Hill [J.P. Parlatore]
The former president called the appointment of the special counsel a horrible abuse of power while speaking at the America First Gala on Friday night.
The former president on Friday indicated that he had believed federal investigations into him were slowing down or over until the announcement from Garland. He repeatedly called the investigations political and said it was not a fair situation and would not be a fair investigation, telling the crowd at Mar-a-Lago, “You’d really say enough is enough.”
The ruling freed the Justice Department from its main obstacle in its investigation into the Trump administration’s mishandling of government records.
“The law is clear,” the appeals court wrote. “We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant. We cannot create a rule that allows only former presidents to do so.
The 11th Circuit said that either approach would be a “radical reordering of our caselaw limiting the federal courts’ involvement in criminal investigations” and that “both would violate bedrock separation-of-powers limitations.”
The former president’s attorneys claimed that his constitutional rights had been violated. In his court filings, Trump did not state what he hoped a special master would do to protect privileged and potentially privileged materials.
Prosecutors are looking into whether obstruction of justice, criminal handling of government records, and violations of the Espionage Act were committed.
Trump lawyer Tim Parlatore said on CNN that the referral was worthless. The Department of Justice does not have to follow it. An existing investigation has been going on for quite some time. Really what this does, If anything, it just politicizes the process.”
Parlatore was responding to the unprecedented criminal referrals that the bipartisan select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol sent to the Justice Department earlier this week. Committee members said they believed Trump was guilty of at least four federal crimes, including conspiracy and obstructing a joint session of Congress.
The January 6 committee reached those conclusions after unearthing evidence from witnesses indicating that Trump was warned that some of his post-election schemes to overturn the results were illegal – but he tried them anyway. This included Trump’s relentless pressure campaign against Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump hoped would interfere with the electoral vote count during the joint session on January 6, 2021.
“It’s political noise, but it doesn’t have any effect, as of right now, on our defense,” said Parlatore, who represents Trump in the Justice Department probes into January 6 and the potential mishandling of government documents at Mar-a-Lago.
According to CNN, Parlatore said that he was certain that there were no records with classification markings still at Mar-a-Lago.
The FBI and Justice Department are Investigating the Inside Story of Donald J. Pence and the Penn Biden Center: A Special Jurisprudence Investigation
The DOJ wanted Trump and his office to be held in contempt for not complying with a subpoena, after the search of his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Also on Thursday, the Justice Department argued for continued secrecy around any grand jury proceedings following the May 2022 subpoena and August search, after media organizations sought access to more of what is happening in court behind closed doors.
The two individuals who were hired to search four of Trump’s properties last fall were each interviewed for about three hours in separate appearances last week.
By pushing for access to computers, investigators are trying to determine if there is an electronic paper trail regarding the classified documents, another source said.
The situations in which Biden and Pence are involved are the same, with their lawyers discovering classified documents and turning them over toNARA. In Biden’s case, FBI agents later found additional documents when they searched his home in Wilmington, Delaware.
Special counsel Jack Smith and prosecutors who now work for him have used the federal grand jury nearly weekly to question witnesses in the Mar-a-Lago investigation.
The FBI also examined binders that were held at the president’s campaign attorney’s office in Boston that were also handed over to the Archives. Those binders contained no classified materials, the source said.
This latest revelation raises additional questions about how transparent the White House and Biden’s legal team have been about the government’s investigation into the president’s handling of classified documents, which is now being overseen by special counsel Robert Hur.
The purpose of the visit was likely to ensure that nothing was left in the office and assess how the documents were stored, according to a former Justice Department official.
The Archives of the Penn Biden Center had over three dozen boxes of unclassified material from the center’s office given to it out of an abundance of caution. The Archives got the extra boxes that contained all of the documents from the Penn Biden Center on November 8.
A source who was briefed on some of the Pence documents previously told CNN that the government papers recovered from his home were “lower level” classification, without any SCI or SAP markings.
CNN has previously reported that the FBI and Justice Department are conducting a review of the Pence documents and how they ended up at his home. This is not a criminal investigation.
The Trump investigation has progressed the farthest. Federal prosecutors tried to hold Trump in contempt when he didn’t fully comply with their demands but he didn’t do it. CNN reported that there is a grand jury in Washington, DC, that recently heard testimony, and investigators also got a judge to approve a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago.
The FBI has conducted interviews with some of the people on Biden’s team who handled documents, but there have been no known subpoenas or search warrants.
According to Parlatore, anytime they found anything, they immediately turned it over to the criminal investigators.
In recent months, the folder was one of the items that Trump’s legal team has turned to federal prosecutors, as well as more materials with classified markings and a laptop belonging to an aide.
According to Parlatore, Trump had effectively been using the empty folder as a lamp shade to block a light on his landline telephone that was keeping him up at night.
“He has one of those landline telephones next to his bed, and it has a blue light on it, and it keeps him up at night. He put the manilla folder over so it wouldn’t light up at night. “It’s just this folder. It says the evening summary on it. It’s not a classification marking. It’s not anything that is controlled in any way. There is nothing illegal about it.”
A memo to Parlatore and the White House on the possible investigation of special counsel Jack Smith in the February 6 attack on the U.S. Senate
“When you have DOJ go into these things, they are automatically going in with all the criminal processes and trying to threaten people to go to jail over something that is a procedural failure and an institutional procedural failure that has nothing to do with Mike Pence, Donald Trump or, quite frankly, Joe Biden,” he said.
Parlatore said the DOJ should be “benched” on matters related to classified material and, instead of appointing special counsels, it should be left up to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to conduct an administrative review of the White House’s procedure for handling such documents at the end of each presidency.
Parlatore confirmed Sunday that Trump intends to assert executive privilege in an effort to limit the testimony of Pence and former national security adviser Robert O’Brien after both were subpoenaed in special counsel Jack Smith’s other investigation related to January 6.
Biden’s alma mater, the University of Delaware, contains an extensive collection of papers from his time in the Senate.
An archive of materials from Biden’s time in the US Senate and documents that Biden sent to the university were examined during the searches.
Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the president’s personal attorney, did not comment and referred inquiries to the Justice Department. A spokesman for the White House also referred inquiries to the Justice Department.
A Trump aide was interviewed by investigators for special counsel Jack Smith, because she copied classified materials from the box using her phone and put them on a laptop. After a voluntary interview with the aide, prosecutors subpoenaed the password to the laptop, which she provided, according to one of the sources.
The people said the box had been put into the closet in the suite where the Trump campaign items were kept. The box was put over to the Justice Department.
When President Donald Trump walked out in December 2021, he revealed he had surrendered all the classified documents in the presidential records
She wasn’t aware that there were classified documents in the presidential records as she worked through thousands of pages.
In November 2021, after the contents in the box were scanned, the box was moved to an office in downtown Palm Beach funded by the General Services Administration, the people said.
Trump had hoped the searches he conducted in November would quell prosecutors’ concerns, as he claimed in writing that he’d scoured Trump’s properties and surrendered all classified records.