A central question in the Mar-a-Lago espionage and stolen documents investigation involves former President Donald Trump’s knowledge and involvement in retaining government records. We have compiled a comprehensive account of the publicly available information that addresses that question. Especially significant findings are highlighted in red text

Readers should decide for themselves what conclusions they reach based on the record below. On our view, the record as a whole points to Trump’s culpability based on evidence that

  • Trump was warned in late 2021 by his former White House lawyer that it was unlawful to retain the documents, especially classified information;
  • Trump personally sorted through the documents in late 2021;
  • Trump’s personal knowledge and possession, access, and control of the documents is indicated by the quantity, content, and location of documents with classified markings (including intermingled with personal belongings) and by his admissions on Truth Social;
  • Trump repeatedly stated privately that the documents were his to possess and he was not willing to deliver them to the government;
  • Trump aides repeatedly tried to get him to return the documents to the government;
  • Trump was repeatedly put on notice by Archives and Justice Department that his retention of the documents was unlawful and a potential threat to national security; 
  • Trump was apparently involved in obstructive acts of trying to conceal documents from the government after receiving a subpoena. 

I. Undated

Trump’s direct knowledge of documents:

“Several of the documents [retrieved by the Archives on Jan. 18, 2022] also contained what appears to be FPOTUS’s handwritten notes.” [FBI Affidavit accompanying search warrant application]

“Multiple documents [retrieved by DOJ and FBI on June 3, 2022 under subpoena] also contained what appears to be FPOTUS’s handwritten notes.”[FBI Affidavit (less redacted) accompany search warrant application, Aug. 5, 2022 (less redacted version released Sept. 13, 2022)]

II. During Presidency

As President, Trump held onto classified documents:

“Trump had a habit of grabbing intelligence documents,” said [John] Bolton, who has been a sharp critic of the former president. “God knows what he did with it.’” [NBC News]

“Trump seemed especially fond of his correspondence from Kim. Bolton, in an interview, mentioned a letter that Trump had gotten from the North Korean leader and said that ‘John Kelly took it from him and we put it back in the right place.’ (Kelly confirmed the account). ‘We gave Trump a copy of it back. He had a habit of taking stuff and you’d never see it again.’” [NBC News]

“‘Intelligence briefers used to find a way to get inside his head and would bring along a picture – a chart or a graph or something like that – and hand it to him across the Resolute Desk,’ said John R. Bolton, a former national security adviser to Mr. Trump. ‘Sometimes he would say: ‘Hey, this is interesting. Can I keep this?’’”[New York Times]

“Not every official could successfully retrieve a document that Mr. Trump took an interest in, former officials said.” [New York Times]

“‘Any documents that made it to the White House residence were these boxes Trump carried around with him,’ explained Stephanie Grisham, a former senior White House staffer. ‘Usually the body man would have brought them upstairs for Trump or someone from the outer-Oval at the end of the day. They would get handed off to the residence and just disappear.’” [Washington Post]

“Mr. Trump repeatedly had material sent up to the White House residence, and it was not always clear what happened to it. He sometimes asked to keep material after his intelligence briefings, but aides said he was so uninterested in the paperwork during the briefings themselves that they never understood what he wanted it for.” [New York Times]

“Several former officials interviewed for this article who remembered Mr. Trump occasionally taking a document from a classified briefing or requesting a document from the National Security Council staff said the material he collected in those instances could not have added up to the hundreds of pages in dozens of boxes retrieved by the government from Mar-a-Lago.” [New York Times]

Trump’s top aides stated attempts to return documents to Archives:

Late 2020: “Notes from conversations among White House staff members indicate that there are discussions about material that Mr. Trump had been amassing, and how to get it back and make sure the documents are properly handled. Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, tells others he will take care of it, according to people familiar with the matter.” [New York Times]

Note: The New York Times adds that “it is unclear whether [Meadows] ever talks to Mr. Trump” about this matter.

Trump’s top legal counsel assessment of need to return documents to Archives:

“The Archives battle to secure records from Trump began while he was still president, according to records reviewed by The Post. Gary M. Stern, the agency’s top lawyer, began asking the former president’s attorneys to return two dozen boxes in the residency of the White House before he left. In an email Stern wrote to others, Trump’s counsel, Pat Cipollone, agreed with him. But Trump did not return them.” [Washington Post]

“‘It is also our understanding that roughly two dozen boxes of original presidential records were kept in the Residence of the White House over the course of President Trump’s last year in office and have not been transferred to NARA, despite a determination by Pat Cipollone in the final days of the administration that they need to be,’ wrote Gary Stern, the agency’s chief counsel, in an email to Trump lawyers in May 2021, according to a copy reviewed by the Washington Post.” [Washington Post]

Note: It is unknown whether Cipollone communicated his views to President Trump and/or Mark Meadows.

III. Post-Presidency (unspecified dates)

Evidence of knowledge: Large volume of classified documents:

January 17-18 2022: National Archives recovers documents:

  • 14 of 15 boxes contained documents bearing classification markings
  • 184 unique documents bearing classification markings
    • 67 documents marked as Confidential
    • 92 documents marked as Secret
    • 25 documents marked as Top Secret
    • “FBI agents observed markings reflecting that the documents were subject to sensitive compartments and dissemination controls used to restrict access to material in the interest of national security” including HCS, FISA, ORCON, NOFORN, and SI.
    • In its initial review of materials within those boxes, NARA identified items marked as classified national security information, up to the level of Top Secret and including Sensitive Compartmented Information and Special Access Program materials.” [National Archives letter to Trump attorney, May 10, 2022]

The first 100 documents marked as classified totaled over 700 pages[National Archives letter to Trump attorney, May 10, 2022]

[Government response to Trump motion for return of property and Special Master (Aug. 30, 2022); FBI Redacted Affidavit for search warrant (Aug. 5, 2022)]

June 3, 2022: DOJ officials meet at Mar-a-Lago and recover documents pursuant to a subpoena:

  • Trump’s counsel provide a single Redweld envelope, double-wrapped in tape
  • Trump’s counsel “indicated that the documents had come from boxes inside of a storage room at Mar-a-Lago.”
  • 37 unique documents bearing classification markings
    • 5 documents marked as Confidential
    • 16 documents marked as Secret
    • 17 documents marked as Top Secret
    • “FBI agents observed markings reflecting the following caveats/compartments, among others: HCS, SI, and FISA.”

[Government reply to Trump motion for return of property and Special Master, Aug. 30, 2022; Justice Department application for disclosure of subpoena; FBI Affidavit (less redacted) accompany search warrant application, Aug. 5, 2022 (less redacted version released Sept. 13, 2022); U[date: Brief of United States, Full appeal to 11th Circuit (Oct. 14, 2022), at p. 7 n.3 (explaining accurate number is 37, not 38 documents).]

August 8, 2022: FBI recovers documents pursuant to a search warrant: 

  • Documents located in storage room and Trump’s office (including desk drawer and containers in office closet)
  • 103 unique documents bearing classification markings

The Office contains:

      • 27 documents bearing classification markings
        • 3 documents marked as Confidential
        • 17 documents marked as Secret
        • 7 documents marked as Top Secret
      • 43 empty folders with classified banners
      • 28 empty folders labeled “return to staff secretary/military aide”
      • Several documents have colored cover sheets showing their classification status
      • 3 classified documents were located “in the desks in the ‘45 Office’”

The Storage Room contains:

      • 76 documents bearing classification markings
        • 28 documents marked as Confidential
        • 37 documents marked as Secret
        • 11 documents marked as Top Secret (including SCI)
      • 3 empty folders with classified banners
      • 14 empty folders labeled “return to staff secretary/military aide”

In at least 15 boxes in both the office and storage room, documents marked as classified are comingled with personal and other items including magazines, newspapers, press articles, and other printed media

[Justice Department application for disclosure of subpoena; Revised Detailed Inventory of Aug. 8 search, Sept. 26, 2022; Government reply to Trump motion for return of property and Special Master, Aug. 30, 2022]

The highly classified documents recovered on Aug. 8 reportedly include at least one on a foreign country’s nuclear weapons readiness. [Washington Post]

Trump’s willful retention:

“Mr. Philbin tried to help the National Archives retrieve the material, two of the people familiar with the discussions said. But the former president repeatedly resisted entreaties from his advisers. ‘It’s not theirs; it’s mine,’ several advisers say Mr. Trump told them.” [New York Times]

Two former White House officials, who had been designated as among Mr. Trump’s representatives with the archives, received calls and tried to facilitate the documents’ return. Mr. Trump resisted those calls, describing the boxes of documents as ‘mine,’ according to three advisers familiar with his comments.” [New York Times]

“Trump resisted handing over some of the boxes for months, some people close to the president said, and believed that many of the items were his personally and did not belong to the government.” [Washington Post]

Trump’s personally overseeing documents:

“As the fight with the Archives came to an uneasy conclusion, the FBI proceeded with interviews with others in Trump’s orbit, including valets and former White House staffers, people familiar with the interviews said. Agents were told that Trump was a pack rat who had been personally overseeing his collection of White House records since even before leaving Washington and had been reluctant to return anything. The FBI became increasingly convinced that the former president continued to hold classified documents in Florida, people familiar with the investigation said.” [Washington Post]

Trump’s possession, access, and control over documents:

 In a hearing before the federal district court in Florida, Trump attorney Christopher Kise said in his opening remarks:

“What we are talking about here, in the main, are Presidential records in the hands of the 45th President at a location that was used frequently, during his term as President, to conduct official business.” 

The inventory, in fact, that was just provided and unsealed demonstrates that, the first inventory.  It is what you would expect, when you look at it.  It is what you would expect if you looked through a bunch of boxes that were moved in a hurry from a residence or an office.  It contains all sorts of things.  And in there are, again, Presidential records in the hands of [the] 45th President of the United States.”

[Transcript of Sept 1 hearing]

 

IV. Post-Presidency 2021

National Archives places Trump on notice throughout 2021:

Throughout 2021, the United States National Archives and Records Administration (“NARA”) had ongoing communications with representatives of former President Trump in which it sought the transfer of what it perceived were missing records from his Administration.” [Government response to Trump motion for return of property and Special Master, Aug. 30, 2022; see also National Archives letter to Chairwoman Maloney, Feb. 18, 2022]

“On or about May 6, 2021, NARA made a request for the missing PRA records and continued to make requests until approximately late December 2021 when NARA was informed twelve boxes were found and ready for retrieval at the PREMISES.” [FBI Redacted Affidavit for search warrant (Aug. 5, 2022)]

National Archives provides Trump notice of non-compliance:

May 2021: In an email to Trump lawyers, the National Archives chief counsel, Gary Stern wrote: “It is also our understanding that roughly two dozen boxes of original presidential records were kept in the Residence of the White House over the course of President Trump’s last year in office and have not been transferred to NARA, despite a determination by Pat Cipollone in the final days of the administration that they need to be.” [Washington Post]

Trump aides try to get him to return documents:

Summer 2021: “Mr. Meadows, contacted by Mr. Philbin in an effort to facilitate the return of materials from Mar-a-Lago, talks to Mr. Trump about the documents at the club during a visit there. The conversation is brief, and it is not clear how aggressively Mr. Meadows pursues the issue.” [New York Times]

Trump shows off a presidential record, Kim Jong-un letter, to others:

“For the rest of 2021, Mr. Trump resisted requests to give back the material. In the meantime, Mr. Trump would wave things like the North Korean leader’s letters at people, as if they were collectors’ items he was showing off.” [New York Times]

Trump’s false statements with aides and Trump Archives representatives’ false statements to Archives:

September 2021: “National Archives officials …  were told that none of the material was sensitive or classified and that Trump had only 12 boxes of ‘news clippings,’ according to people familiar with the conversations between Trump’s team and the Archives. 

During a September 2021 phone call with top Archives lawyer Gary Stern, former deputy White House counsel Pat Philbin offered reassuring news: Philbin said he had talked to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who made the assertion about the dozen boxes of clippings, the people familiar with the call said. Trump’s team was aware of no other materials, Philbin said, relaying information he said he got from Meadows.” [Washington Post]

Mr. Trump had told advisers a version of what Mr. Meadows is said to have told Mr. Philbin, that the boxes contained news clippings and personal effects, according to people familiar with the events. Aides to Mr. Trump had told others that there were only 12 boxes of material, which is what Mr. Meadows is also said to have relayed to Mr. Philbin.

In a statement, Ben Williamson, a spokesman for Mr. Meadows, said, ‘Mr. Meadows did not personally review the boxes at Mar-a-Lago and did not have a role in examining or verifying what was or wasn’t contained within them.’” [New York Times]

[Trump had designated Meadows and Philbin as representatives to the Archives in a Jan. 19, 2021 letter.]

Trump’s resistance:

“The email shows NARA officials were concerned about Trump keeping dozens of boxes of official records even before he left the White House – concerns that only grew in the coming months as Trump repeatedly declined to return the records.” [Washington Post]

National Archives provides Trump notice of non-compliance and threat to report to DOJ and Congress:

“Officials at the archives warn Mr. Trump’s representatives that there could be a referral to the Justice Department or an alert to Congress if the former president continues to refuse to comply with the Presidential Records Act.” [New York Times]

“Trump only decided to give some of the documents back after Stern told Trump officials that the Archives would soon have to notify Congress.” [Washington Post]

Trump initially made false statement that had turned over everything:

“Sometime last year, the National Archives reached out and asked Trump to turn over documents he was supposed to relinquish under the Presidential Records Act, a statute meant to preserve records for posterity, according to the two sources familiar with the chaotic move to Mar-a-Lago and records issues. Trump initially said he had already given over everything, but then he checked and found some records during the 2021 winter holiday and turned them over, the sources said.” [NBC News]

Trump White House lawyer warned Trump illegal to retain documents

Former Trump White House lawyer and a former prosecutor, Eric Herschmann, “warned [the former president] late last year that Mr. Trump could face legal liability if he did not return government materials he had taken with him when he left office, three people familiar with the matter said.

The lawyer, Eric Herschmann, sought to impress upon Mr. Trump the seriousness of the issue and the potential for investigations and legal exposure if he did not return the documents, particularly any classified material, the people said..” 

“Mr. Trump thanked Mr. Herschmann for the discussion but was noncommittal about his plans for returning the documents, the people familiar with the conversation said.”

[New York Times]

Trump’s direct handling of documents before returning some of them:

“Mr. Trump went through the boxes himself in late 2021, according to multiple people briefed on his efforts, before turning them over.” [New York Times]

“Mr. Trump ultimately goes through the boxes at the club himself, although he appears not to have gone through them all.” [New York Times]

V. Post-Presidency 2022

Trump’s role in having National Archives retrieve documents:

According to Trump’s court filing, Trump “voluntarily asked NARA movers to come to Mar-a-Lago to receive 15 boxes of documents … so that they could be transferred to NARA headquarters in Washington, DC.”

Trump’s direct knowledge and secretly overseeing packing of documents:

Trump had overseen the packing process himself with great secrecy, declining to show some items even to top aides, said a person familiar with the process.” [Washington Post]

Possible evidence of commingling with post-presidential and other records:

“Specifically, on February 9, 2022, the Special Agent in Charge of NARA’s Office of the Inspector General sent a referral via email to the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) (hereinafter, the ‘NARA Referral’). MJ Docket D.E. 102-1 at ¶ 24. The NARA Referral stated that a preliminary review of the Fifteen Boxes indicated that they contained ‘newspapers, magazines, printed news articles, photos, miscellaneous print-outs, notes, presidential correspondence, personal and post-presidential records, and a lot of classified records. Of most significant concern was that highly classified records were unfoldered, intermixed with other records, and otherwise unproperly [sic] identified.’ Id. (internal quotations omitted).” [Government response to Trump motion for return of property and Special Master, Aug. 30, 2022]

Note: It is not clear from the publicly available record whether these documents were stored in an intermixed manner at Mar-a-Lago or packed that way in the process of providing them to NARA. Witness interviews would likely address that known unknown.

Trump’s willful retention of remaining documents:

“Trump resisted handing over some of the boxes for months, some people close to the president said, and believed that many of the items were his personally and did not belong to the government. He eventually agreed to hand over some of the documents, ‘giving them what he believed they were entitled to,’ in the words of one adviser.” [Washington Post]

Trump placed on notice that Archives has referred his handling of White House records to the Justice Department:

Feb. 9, 2022: The National Archives referred the situation to the Justice Department. National news media reported the referral on the same day with headlines such as “National Archives asks Justice Dept. to investigate Trump’s handling of White House records.” [Washington Post; CNN]

Trump placed on notice of potential criminal and Presidential Records Act violations by Congressional letter to Archives:

Feb. 9, 2022: Chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee sends a letter to the National Archives stating, “Former President Trump’s conduct, in contrast, involves a former president potentially violating a criminal law by intentionally removing records, including communications with a foreign leader, from the White House and reportedly attempting to destroy records by tearing them up.” “I am deeply concerned that these records were not provided to NARA promptly at the end of the Trump Administration and that they appear to have been removed from the White House in violation of the Presidential Records Act (PRA),” it also states.

The letter is reported by the national news media at the time.

National Archives placed Trump on notice confirming that it has a referred his handling of White House records to the Justice Department:

Feb. 18, 2022: In a letter to Congress that the Archives releases publicly, David S. Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States states: “Because NARA identified classified information in the boxes, NARA staff has been in communication with the Department of Justice.” [National Archives letter to Chairwoman Maloney (Feb. 18, 2022)]

Trump discusses retaining additional records with informal adviser:

Soon after Feb. 18, 2022: A non-lawyer, Tom “Fitton, the longtime head of the legal activist group Judicial Watch, had a simple message for Trump — it was a mistake to give the records to the Archives. … The Judicial Watch president suggested to Trump that if the Archives came back, he should not give up any additional records ….While Trump continued to publicly tout his cooperation with the Archives, privately the former President began obsessing over Fitton’s arguments, complaining to aides about the 15 boxes that were handed over and becoming increasingly convinced that he should have full control over records that remained at Mar-a-Lago, according to people with knowledge of his behavior at the time. Trump even asked Fitton at one point to brief his attorneys.”

”Sources close to the former President said his willingness to cooperate with Archives and, eventually, federal investigators broke down further once Fitton became a familiar voice inside his orbit.” [CNN]

National Archives provides Trump notice of possible federal criminal consequences:

“On April 12, 2022, NARA advised counsel for the former President [in other documents described as “an authorized representative of former President Trump”] that it intended to provide the FBI with the records the following week (i.e., the week of April 18).” The letter explains the decision to provide access to the FBI  is taken “in light of the urgency of this request.” Government reply to Trump motion for return of property and Special Master, Aug. 30, 2022; National Archives letter to Trump attorney, May 10, 2022]

DOJ National Security Division provides Trump notice of national security implications and possible criminal consequences:

April 29, 2022: In a letter the DOJ National Security Division advised Trump’s counsel:

“There are important national security interests in the FBI and others in the Intelligence Community getting access to these materials. According to NARA, among the materials in the boxes are over 100 documents with classification markings, comprising more than 700 pages. Some include the highest levels of classification, including Special Access Program (SAP) materials. Access to the materials is not only necessary for purposes of our ongoing criminal investigation, but the Executive Branch must also conduct an assessment of the potential damage resulting from the apparent manner in which these materials were stored and transported and take any necessary remedial steps. Accordingly, we are seeking immediate access to these materials so as to facilitate the necessary assessments that need to be conducted within the Executive Branch.” [National Archives letter to Trump attorney, May 10, 2022 (quoting April 29 DOJ letter)]

Note: In letters dated April 29, 2022 and May 1, 2022, Trump’s counsel Evan Corcoran asks the Archives to delay turning over the documents retrieved in January to the FBI. [National Archives letter to Trump attorney, May 10, 2022]

National Archives provides Trump notice  of national security implications and possible criminal consequences:

May 10, 2022: In a letter to Trump’s counsel, the National Archives states that “in its initial review of materials within those boxes [from January 2022], NARA identified items marked as classified national security information, up to the level of Top Secret and including Sensitive Compartmented Information and Special Access Program materials” and altered the Justice Department.” The letter includes the block quote from the DOJ National Security Division letter of April 29, 2022 above. It also states that Trump has no claim to executive privilege over the documents (“The question in this case is not a close one.”), and that “the Executive Branch here is seeking access to records belonging to, and in the custody of, the Federal Government itself, not only in order to investigate whether those records were handled in an unlawful manner but also, as the National Security Division explained, to ‘conduct an assessment of the potential damage resulting from the apparent manner in which these materials were stored and transported and take any necessary remedial steps.’

Grand jury subpoena demands return of all documents marked as classified:

May 11, 2022: A DC grand jury issues a subpoena demanding the return by May 24 of “any and all documents or writings in the custody or control of Donald J. Trump and/or the Office of Donald J. Trump bearing classification markings.”

Trump’s stated role in searching for documents, limited to Florida:

In a court filing, Trump’s lawyers stated that “President Trump determined that a search for documents bearing classification markings should be conducted… and his staff conducted a diligent search of the boxes that had been moved from the White House to Florida.” The Justice Department stated that such an action would not fulfill the subpoena’s demand for documents which was “without limitation to where they were stored” (i.e., in New York, New Jersey, or elsewhere).

Trump’s false statements to advisers that returned all documents:

Spring 2022: “By now, Mr. Trump has dug in his heels, insisting to his advisers that he has returned everything and is unwilling to discuss the matter further.” [New York Times]

Note: Trump’s statement would also mean the former president claimed he had knowledge of the entire and any remaining inventory.  

Trump’s admitted role in responding to subpoena:

June 2, 2022: After protracted negotiations and efforts by Trump’s lawyers to extend the timeline to respond to the subpoena, Trump’s attorney contacts the Justice Department to come to Mar-a-Lago the next day to retrieve documents.

Trump’s legal brief states:  “On June 2, 2022, President Trump, through counsel, invited the FBI to come to Mar-a-Lago to retrieve responsive documents.”

June 3 Visit by FBI and DOJ officials to retrieve documents under subpoena

Trump’s role of directing cooperation with DOJ/FBI:

According to Trump’s court filing, at the initial meeting with DOJ and FBI officials,  the person designated as the custodian of Trump’s records, and Trump’s counsel “President Trump’s last words to Mr. Bratt and the FBl agents were as follows: ‘Whatever you need, please let us know.’”

Limitation on looking inside boxes in storage room:

According to Trump’s court filing, “Mr. Bratt asked to inspect a storage room. Counsel for President Trump advised the group that President Trump had authorized him to take the group to that room.” The Justice Department’s court filings note that they were “allowed only a brief view of the storage room.” Another DOJ filing states, “Critically, however, the former President’s counsel explicitly prohibited government personnel from opening or looking inside any of the boxes that remained in the storage room, giving no opportunity for the government to confirm that no documents with classification markings remained.” (See also “Government personnel asked to see the storage room during that visit and  were permitted to briefly view it, but they were explicitly prohibited from opening any of the approximately fifty to fifty-five boxes that they observed[Justice Department application for disclosure of subpoena]).

Trump legal counsel’s false statement on storage of documents:

“During receipt of the production, FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 stated he was advised all the records that came from the White House were stored in one location within Mar-a-Lago, the STORAGE ROOM, and the boxes of records in the STORAGE ROOM were “the remaining repository” of records from the White House. FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 further stated he was not advised there were any records in any private office space or other location in Mar-a-Lago.” [FBI Affidavit (less redacted) accompany search warrant application, Aug. 5, 2022 (less redacted version released Sept. 13, 2022); see also Justice Department application for disclosure of subpoena].

Trump legal counsel’s false statement on returning all documents with classified markings:

Trump counsel produced and provided a signed certification letter stating that all documents with classified markings had now been returned to the government “based upon the information that has been provided to me, I am authorized to certify, on behalf of the Office of Donald J. Trump.

Evidence of intermingling documents marked as classified with personal belongings:

“Other items were also present in the STORAGE ROOM, including a coat rack with suit jackets, as well as interior décor items such as wall art and frames.”  [FBI Affidavit accompany search warrant application (less redacted version released Sept. 13, 2022)

Department of Justice Chief of Counterintelligence and Export Control Section warns Trump of unauthorized storage:

June 8, 2022: In a letter to Trump’s counsel, Jay Bratt, the chief of the DOJ National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section states:

“As I previously indicated to you, Mar-a-Lago does not include a secure location authorized for the storage of classified information. As such, it appears that since the time classified documents [REDACTED] were removed from the secure facilities at the White House and moved to Mar-a-Lago on or around January 20, 2021, they have not been handled in an appropriate manner or stored in an appropriate location. Accordingly, we ask that the room at Mar-a-Lago where the documents had been stored be secured and that all of the boxes that were moved from the White House to Mar-a-Lago (along with any other items in that room) be preserved in that room in their current condition until further notice.” [FBI Redacted Affidavit for search warrant, Aug. 5, 2022]

Trump admits direct involvement in responding to warning by Chief of Counterintelligence and Export Control:

Early to mid June: “The DOJ and FBI asked my legal representatives to put an extra lock on the door leading to the place where boxes were stored in Mar-a-Lago – We agreed. They were shown the secured area, and the boxes themselves.” [Truth Social]

In a court filing, Trump’s motion states: “ln response [to the letter from Bratt], President Trump directed his staff to place a second lock on the door to the storage room, and one was added.”

Trump’s resistance:

“Trump ignored multiple opportunities to quietly resolve the FBI concerns by handing over all classified material in his possession – including a grand jury subpoena that Trump’s team accepted May 11. Again and again, he reacted with a familiar mix of obstinance and outrage, causing some in his orbit to fear he was essentially daring the FBI to come after him.” [Washington Post]

Commingling classified documents with Trump’s passports in his office desk drawer:

Aug. 8, 2022: In the Aug. 8 search, “the government seized the contents of a desk drawer that contained classified documents and governmental records commingled with other documents. The other documents included two official passports, one of which was expired, and one personal passport, which was expired. The location of the passports is relevant evidence in an investigation of unauthorized retention and mishandling of national defense information.” [Government reply to Trump motion for return of property and Special Master, Aug. 30, 2022]

Potential commingling with personal items:

“According to the Privilege Review Team’s Report, the seized materials include medical documents, correspondence related to taxes, and accounting information [ECF No. 40-2…]” [Federal district court order and opinion, Sept. 5, 2022]

Trump’s own admission – held documents that the government wanted:

They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK. The bigger problem is, what are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?” [Truth Social, August 12, 2022]

Trump’s own admission – held documents that the government wanted:

“NOW THEY RAID MY HOME, ban my lawyers and, without any witnesses allowed, break the lock that they asked us to install on the storage area that we showed them early on, which held papers that they could have had months ago for the asking, and without the ridiculous political grandstanding of a ‘break in.’”  [Truth Social, August 14, 2022]

Trump states he gave the government “much” instead of saying he gave them “everything”:

“Affidavit heavily redacted!!! Nothing mentioned on ‘Nuclear,’ a total public relations subterfuge by the FBI & DOJ, or our close working relationship regarding document turnover – WE GAVE THEM MUCH. Judge Bruce Reinhart should NEVER have allowed the Break-In of my home.” [Truth Social, August 26, 2022]

Trump’s own admission – knew how the documents were organized in container:

“There seems to be confusion as to the ‘picture’ where documents were sloppily thrown on the floor and then released photographically for the world to see, as if that’s what the FBI found when they broke into my home. Wrong! They took them out of cartons and spread them around the carpet, making it look like a big ‘find’ for them. They dropped them, not me – very deceiving.”  [Truth Social, August 31, 2022]

“Terrible the way the FBI, during the Raid of Mar-a-Lago, threw documents haphazardly all over the floor (perhaps pretending it was me that did it!), and then started taking pictures of them for the public to see. Thought they wanted them kept Secret? Lucky I Declassified!” [Truth Social, August 31, 2022]

IMAGE: Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally on August 05, 2022 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)