Stern wrote in an email, “It is our understanding that approximately two dozen boxes of original presidential records were kept in the White House last year when President Trump took office and that they were not transferred to NARA. Pat Cibolone promised that they should be in the final days of the administration. I raised this concern with Scott in the final weeks.”
“Scott” refers to Scott Gast, another Trump lawyer copied in the message.
Cipollone, along with his former deputy Patrick Philpin, were appointed by Trump shortly before he left office to deal with issues related to his presidential records.
CNN could not reach Cipollone for comment via email.
The National Archives previously said at least 15 boxes of White House records were recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in January — including some classified. In its search earlier this month, the FBI recovered 11 sets of classified documents, including some material marked “Top Secret/SCI” — one of the highest levels of classification.
According to a source familiar with the matter, there have been about a dozen emails and calls throughout the year as archivists try to get Trump to return presidential documents.
Archivists were aware of the disappearance of White House Records Administration documents before Trump left office.
Also, the source said, the archive knew about two dozen boxes in the house even while Trump was in office.
But there was no inventory or documentation of what exactly was in those boxes.
Shortly after Trump left office, negotiations between the documents and Trump’s team to return the documents began, according to sources familiar with the matter. The source said there have been several phone calls and communications to get the boxes back, but to no avail.
Finally, in January 2022, Trump agreed to return 15 boxes — not 24 — kept at his home in Mar-a-Lago — boxes that the archives determined contained classified documents.
This story has been updated with additional reporting.
CNN’s Evan Perez and Gabby Orr contributed to this report.