FBI interviewed Trump White House lawyers about documents at center of Mar-a-Lago search: report
The FBI has reportedly interviewed former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy Patrick Philbin about the documents the former president stored at his Mar-a-Lago residence that were seized in a search last week.
The lawyers were questioned about how boxes of White House documents came to be stored at the Palm Beach, Fla., resort past the end of Donald Trump’s presidential term, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
The National Archives reportedly contacted Philbin when it became aware of the missing documents, but Trump resisted its efforts to reclaim the records, some of which were allegedly marked as classified.
Philbin and Cipollone did not immediately return The Hill’s requests for comment.
“It’s not theirs, it’s mine,” the former president allegedly argued about the records.
Fifteen boxes of records were returned to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in January, according to a NARA release, including “paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump.”
NARA says Trump’s possession of the documents after the end of his time in office violates the Presidential Records Act, which requires their preservation and transfer to the National Archives.
The Justice Department, to which the National Archives had referred the matter, reportedly issued a subpoena for documents that they believed remained at Mar-a-Lago in May.
According to the Times report, a Trump lawyer signed a document affirming that classified material had been turned over, but officials had reason to believe additional records continued to be stored at the residence.
After questions about the basis of the search, the Justice Department asked a judge to unseal the search warrant, but the agency has resisted releasing the associated affidavit, saying it could compromise the investigation.
Related documents revealed that the FBI recovered 11 sets of classified documents from Trump’s residence.