- An attorney declined to back Donald Trump’s claim he’d returned all govt records in January, reports say.
- The lawyer, Alex Cannon, was involved in negotiations between Trump and the National Archives.
- Months later, The FBI retrieved stashes of government records from Mar-a-Lago in a search.
Alex Cannon, an attorney for Donald Trump, declined to put his name to a statement by the former president asserting that in January he had returned all the government records held at Mar-a-Lago, reports said.
Trump wanted to release a statement in January saying that all the government records the National Archives (NARA) had requested Trump hand over had been returned, and none remained at the Florida resort, The Washington Post first reported.
The report was later confirmed by The New York Times and CNN.
Cannon had been liaising between Trump and National Archives as the agency repeatedly asked for Trump to return records he had been keeping in Florida.
Trump’s push to make the statement came after Trump gave back 15 boxes of material voluntarily, months before the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago and found stashes more documents.
But Cannon declined to convey the message to the archives because he didn’t know if it was true, the reports said.
According to CNN, Cannon decided not to affirm the statement because he had been dealing with the issue from New York and could not say whether all the material held at Mar-a-Lago was returned.
Shortly after, the report said, Trump instructed him not to involve himself in the matter further.
The statement claiming all records had been returned was ultimately not released, the reports said.
“Biden’s weaponized DOJ has no greater ally than the fake news media, which seems to only serve as the partisan microphone of leakers and wilds buried deep within the bowels of America’s government,” Taylor Budowich, a spokesman for Trump, said in response to the reports. “President Trump remains committed to defending the Constitution and the Office of the Presidency, ensuring the integrity of America for generations to come.”
In the boxes of materials Trump returned to them in January the National Archives found highly classified information, trump-white-house-documents/index.html” data-analytics-module=”body_link”>and alerted the Department of Justice.
When FBI agents visited Mar-a-Lago in June, Trump aided handed over further boxes of government records and an attorney for Trump signed a statement affirming that no more classified material sought by the National Archives was still being held at Mar-a-Lago, a similar assertion to the January statement that was never sent,
But acting on information indicating that this was false, the FBI said it found many more classified records when it executed its search.
In court filings, the DOJ has said that Trump was keeping the material in a store room and his private offices, haphazardly stored alongside personal possessions.
Trump has used a range of defenses in response to the raid, claiming that the investigation is part of a political plot to destroy him.
However, the NARA and DOJ apparently made multiple attempts to resolve the issue without having to resort to obtaining a search warrant, having initially made requests for him to return the documents shortly after he left office in 2021.
Insider contacted Cannon for comment.
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