Trump lawyers say Mar-a-Lago boxes contained reports from foreign leaders –

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Donald Trump’s lawyers in the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation found that the 15 boxes the former president returned to the National Archives a year after the end of his presidency contained mostly reports for calls with foreign leaders, according to a new letter they sent to Congress. .

Most of the letter, seen by The Guardian and previously reported by CNN, served to characterize of trump the withholding of documents classified as involuntary, and because White House staff swept all the documents in boxes during a chaotic walkout at the end of the administration.

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But the 10-page letter sent to the House and Senate intelligence committees also revealed the order in which the documents were placed, as well as their contents, inside 15 boxes that the National Archives fought to recover for months and years. They precipitated the criminal investigation.

The investigation into Trump’s possible withholding of national defense information and obstruction of justice led by special counsel Jack Smith is ongoing, though it may be nearing its end given that prosecutors subpoenaed nearly everyone who could possibly have knowledge of the matter.

The two main Trump lawyers involved in the document investigation, Tim Parlatore and Jim Trusty, formally requested the National Archives in late December last year for access to the 15 boxes that Trump had returned through the relevant provision of the Act. of Presidential Records.

The request was granted several weeks later, and Parlatore and Trusty went to one of the upper floors of the main National Archives building overlooking the National Mall and began going through the boxes, which they found preserved just as Trump had sent them from his home. . Mar-a-Lago Spa.

The boxes, according to the letter, contained a mix of White House documents that were grouped by date and included newspapers, magazines, memos, letters and presidential daily planners.

Where there were classified documents, which is what prompted the National Archives to first alert the justice department to launch an investigation last year, officials inserted placeholder pages describing the document that had been removed, it said. the letter.

“That allowed Parlatore and Trusty to discern what the documents were, as well as what other materials in the boxes were nearby… The vast majority of the placeholder inserts refer to briefings for phone calls with foreign leaders who were located close to the schedule of those calls. .”

The letter then described the ensuing criminal investigation as “misguided” because, in its opinion, the way the boxes were packed indicated that White House staff stuffed all the documents into the boxes during a chaotic “packaging” process. at the end of the Trump administration.

The criminal investigation was not said to have evolved since the initial referral.

The obstruction portion of the investigation centers on Trump’s incomplete compliance with a subpoena last May demanding the return of any classified documents in his possession. That was after the documents he previously returned to the National Archives included 200 classifieds.

Last June, Corcoran searched Mar-a-Lago and turned over about 30 classified-marked documents to the justice department, and had another Trump attorney, Christina Bobb, sign a certification attesting to compliance with the subpoena “based on the information provided to me.” ”.

But the justice department developed evidence that more documents that were marked classified remained at the resort, according to court documents, and when the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago in August, they found 101 documents marked classified in a storage room and at Trump’s. . office.

Last month, Corcoran was ordered by a superior US judge to testify and hand over his notes to the grand jury hearing evidence in the case, bypassing his attorney-client privilege protections through the criminal fraud exception because Trump could have used his advice to further a crime.

The special counsel is also investigating whether Trump violated the Espionage Act, and prosecutors have recently asked witnesses if Trump ever showed a map to donors or the author of a booksaid a person familiar with the matter.

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