A lawyer for former President Donald Trump turned down his request earlier this year to tell the National Archives all documents sought by the agency had been returned after the 45th president left the White House, according to a report.
Alex Cannon, who had been the point man with the National Archives and Records Administration and had helped return 15 boxes of material from Mar-a-Lago in January, refused to relay the message because he was unsure if it was true, the Washington Post reported late Monday.
The Archives, by that point, had been pressing Trump for the White House records for more than a year and had threatened to alert the Justice Department or Congress.
The missing documents sparked an investigation into the former president by the DOJ and initiated a legal dispute between Trump’s legal team and federal prosecutors over access.
An FBI raid on Trump’s oceanfront resort in Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 8 turned up even more boxes of presidential records, including dozens of documents marked classified.
Trump on Tuesday railed against the FBI raid on his ritzy resort and the leaks about aspects of the case.
“So much FAKE talk about the Government’s Document Hoax Case against me, and the Unwarranted, Unnecessary, and possibly Illegal Raid on Mar-a-Lago, a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment,” the 45th president said Tuesday on Truth Social.
“There were no leaks until the documents were given, and now the FBI seems unable, according to reports, to count what they have, a mess. This is not a criminal case, and wasn’t for Obama, Bill Clinton, Bush I, Bush II, or even for Crooked’s deleting 33,000 Emails AFTER getting a Subpoena. Read ’Socks Case,’” he continued, referring to 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.
Trump, the Washington Post reported, had himself packed the boxes returned to the Archives in January, but a month later directed his staff to release a statement saying that “everything” the National Archives requested had been turned over.
He also asked Cannon to send the same message to the Archives.
Trump also reportedly downplayed the contents of the boxes, telling his team that they included “newspaper clippings” that would be of no interest to the federal repository.
But Cannon, who had worked for the Trump Organization, the real estate mogul’s presidential campaign, and for Trump in a personal capacity after his 2020 election loss, appeared leery about making that claim.
At the time, others in Trump’s orbit reportedly advised Cannon not to connect himself to such a definitive claim.
The statement Trump dictated on Feb. 7 was never released over concerns about its accuracy, but another was issued three days later that did not confirm all materials had been handed over.
“The papers were given easily and without conflict and on a very friendly basis, which is different from the accounts being drawn up by the Fake News Media,” the statement read.
The Washington Post said a Trump spokesman did not respond to specific questions, but issued a statement alleging that the “Bezos-subsidized Washington Post” was an ally of the Justice Department.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns the newspaper.
Cannon also did not respond to requests from the Washington Post.