WASHINGTON — The National Archives informed Donald Trump’s lawyers in May 2021 that some of the presidential records they were missing included correspondence between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and a letter former President Barack Obama left with Trump, according to a previously undisclosed email.
The email, dated May 6, 2021, and several other documents were released Monday by the National Archives and Record Administration in response to Freedom of Information Act requests from numerous news outlets. Most of the requested material has not been published.
In an email last year from Records General Counsel Gary Stern to three Trump lawyers, including Patrick Philbin, Stern said the agency had “encountered several issues that we need your help with.” to resolve”. He said there were “now some paper/textual documents that we cannot report” and that officials needed their “immediate assistance to ensure that NARA receives all presidential documents, such as the requires the Presidential Documents Act”.
“Original correspondence between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has not been transferred to us; it is our understanding that in January 2021, just before the end of the administration, the originals were placed in a binder for the president, but were never returned to the Office of Records Management for transfer to NARA,” Stern told Trump officials. “It is essential that these original recordings be transferred to NARA as soon as possible.”
Stern also said, “The letter that President Obama left for President Trump on his first day in office has not been transferred; since this letter was received by President Trump after his term began, it is a presidential record.”
These specific recordings have previously been reported by other outlets, citing unnamed sources, along with the National Archives saying in a February statement that a few weeks earlier they had “arranged the transportation of the Trump Mar- a-Lago in Florida to the National Archives of 15 boxes containing presidential records, following discussions with representatives of President Trump in 2021.”
Stern’s email was among nearly a dozen published pages of other communications between Archives officials and Trump officials who handled the Presidential Records Act. The Archives, however, said Monday it was withholding nearly 300 other pages it possessed related to those communications.
The National Archives also released 54 pages of communications between agency officials and outside entities such as Congress, the White House and the Justice Department. The Archives said it was holding about 1,250 pages of those communications.
Most of the pages that were leaked have already been made public, such as the letters that House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., sent to the Archives as part of the investigation of her panel on classified documents and other presidential records that Trump failed to transfer. to the Archives and taken to Mar-a-Lago instead.
Within the 54 pages was a letter sent by Stern in June 2018 to Stefan Passantino, Trump’s then assistant attorney, about an article published by Politico about how White House employees were tasked with taping documents. torn apart by the president.
Stern asked the White House to provide the Archives “the extent of the problem and how it is being handled.”
“For example: how many documents were torn up? Were any documents destroyed or were they in such a state that they cannot be recovered? What steps are taken to recover documents that have been torn? he asked, adding that the Archives would be “happy to provide advice on best practices for restoring damaged records”.
The release of the documents comes just days after the Archives informed the House Oversight Committee that some Trump White House records have still not been turned over in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.