The Archives (NARA) has released several sets of documents pertaining to the documents Trump stole, including the email that kicked off the entire hunt for documents on May 6, 2021. In it, NARA General Counsel Gary Stern emailed Pat Philbin, Mike Purpura, and Scott Gast talking about known missing items (including the love letters from Kim Jong Un).
Of those love letters, Stern described that Trump had a binder of them made right before he left office, just like he had a binder of the records pertaining to the Russian investigation.
[I]n January 2021, just prior to the end of the Administration, the originals were put in a binder for the President, but were never returned to the Office of Records Management for transfer to NARA.
More hilariously, Stern told the Trump lawyers that he knew of around 24 boxes of records that had been kept in Trump’s residence that weren’t returned. Stern told Trump’s lawyers that he knew that Pat Cipollone had told Trump to give them back — all 24 boxes of Presidential Records!
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. I had also raised this concern with Scott during the final weeks.
NARA emailed Trump’s lawyers and told them he knew that there were roughly 24 boxes that Trump’s own White House Counsel had determined belonged to NARA.
And after an extended fight, Trump returned just 15.
Trump apparently thought a building full of archivists would just round up from 15.