The National Archives alerted former President Donald Trump’s lawyers in May 2021 that Trump’s correspondence with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — and two dozen boxes of records — were missing. New Correspondence The archives were released on Monday.
National Archives and Records Administration general counsel Gary Stern wrote a May 6, 2021, letter to former Trump White House lawyers Patrick Philbin, Mike Purpura and Scott Kast in a Freedom of Information document that Trump’s exchanges with Kim and the letter he received were missing from his predecessor, President Barack Obama. The letter, released Monday, was in response to dozens of requests by the law.
In the email, Stern asked for attorneys’ help to ensure the archives receive all presidential records required under the law.
“It is our understanding that approximately two dozen original presidential records were kept in the White House residence during the last year of President Trump’s inauguration and that they were not transferred to NARA despite Pat Cipollone’s determination that they should be in the final days of the administration,” Stern wrote. “I raised this concern with Scott in recent weeks.”
CNN reported earlier The Archives is working to obtain presidential records from Trump throughout 2021.
The letter, released Monday, provides more details showing how the archives engaged with Trump’s team for months before handing over 15 boxes of items stored at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in January.
In a May 2021 letter to Trump’s representatives made public Monday, Stern wrote that “we cannot account for some paper/text records,” citing letters Trump wrote from Kim and Obama.
“For example, the original correspondence between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was not turned over to us; it is our understanding that in January 2021, shortly before the end of the administration, the originals were placed in a binder for the president, but were never returned to the Office of Records Management for transfer to NARA,” he wrote. .
Stern added that the Obama letter was also missing, adding that presidential libraries of other presidential archives maintain copies of similar letters. “It is necessary that this should be granted to us as well,” he wrote.
The archives indicated that they are also seeking to obtain electronic records from the Trump administration. On Friday, the Archives said in a letter to the House Oversight Committee that it still lacked all required records from the Trump administration because officials used private emails to conduct official government business and did not turn over those required under law.
The documents handed over by Trump earlier this year included numerous classified documents, prompting the archivist to send them to the Justice Department.
But the archives have withheld more than 1,000 pages worth of most of the correspondence from public release — citing exceptions to FOIA, including ongoing judicial investigations and the archives’ own discussions with Trump’s representatives.
In a letter to American Oversight, one of the groups seeking records from the archives, the archives released 11 pages and withheld 298 pages, saying they had 309 pages of records related to correspondence with Trump representatives through March 31, 2022. The agency said 295 pages were suspended due to potential interference with law enforcement.
The archives identified 1,303 pages of emails between archivists and other agencies such as congressional offices. The agency released 54 pages from that cache, including correspondence with the House Oversight Committee, while it withheld 1,249 pages.
There was the National Archives Said before At least 15 boxes of White House records — including some classified — were recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in January. In the Aug. 8 search, the FBI recovered 11 sets of classified documents, including some material designated “Top Secret/SCI” — one of the highest levels of classification.
The The Washington Post reported On Monday, after the batch of documents was recovered, Trump asked one of his lawyers, Alex Cannon, in February to tell the archive that it had returned all the requested material.
Cannon He declined to do so because of doubts that other requested documents might still be at Mar-a-Lago, a position supported by other Trump advisers, people familiar with the matter told The Post.
Trump asked his team to issue a similar statement, noting that he had returned “everything” that the archives had requested but not released because of similar concerns, the Post reported.
A statement from the Trump team was eventually released on February 10 CNN reported at the time It did not say that all the documents had been returned, but rather that the boxes had been delivered “on a very friendly basis”.
This story has been updated with additional details.