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National Archives says Trump took 15 boxes of White House records to Florida

The former president took documents that were supposed to be turned over to the National Archives to his home in Florida, the agency said.
Then-President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House on Nov. 26, 2020.
Then-President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House on Nov. 26, 2020.Erin Schaff / Pool via Getty Images file

Former President Donald Trump had to return 15 boxes of documents that were improperly taken from the White House, the National Archives said Monday.

"In mid-January 2022, NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) arranged for the transport from the Trump Mar-a-Lago property in Florida to the National Archives of 15 boxes that contained Presidential records, following discussions with President Trump’s representatives in 2021," the National Archives said in a statement, confirming a report in The Washington Post.

Two sources told The Post that among the items Trump had to return were correspondence with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that Trump has described as "beautiful letters" and a handwritten letter that former President Barack Obama had left behind in the Oval Office for his successor.

NBC News has not independently confirmed the contents of the boxes. The National Archives said they were items that under the Presidential Records Act should have been turned over at the end of the Trump administration.

“The Presidential Records Act mandates that all Presidential records must be properly preserved by each Administration so that a complete set of Presidential records is transferred to the National Archives at the end of the Administration,” Archivist David S. Ferriero said in the statement, adding that the National Archives “pursues the return of records whenever we learn that records have been improperly removed or have not been appropriately transferred to official accounts.” 

The records agency said it believes Trump still has more records that need to be turned over and that "Trump’s representatives have informed NARA that they are continuing to search for additional Presidential records that belong to the National Archives."

The agency revealed last week that Trump had torn up numerous documents when he was president that were supposed to have been preserved.  

“As has been reported in the press since 2018, White House records management officials during the Trump administration recovered and taped together some of the torn-up records,” the National Archives said last week.