Federal agents ‘ransacked’ his father’s office, he said, and in his own statement the former president accused them of breaking into his safe.
But Trump’s issues with the National Archives reportedly began before he even left office.
Politico reported in 2018 that aides were forced to follow the then-president around to tape back documents that he had shredded – a habit the Republican was known for during his prior life heading the Trump Organization – in fear of running afoul of record-keeping laws.
And late last year, Trump attempted to slow the release of presidential documents from the National Archives to the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack.
It’s not clear what specifically is being investigated, but it’s worth noting there are laws on the books against tampering and destruction of classified presidential records.
Below is a timeline piecing together reports of the former president’s legal battle with the Capitol riot committee over his documents, which appeared to run parallel to the National Archives’ own efforts to recover classified pages from Trump.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday afternoon that the two are not related.
Trump sues January 6 committee to block National Archives records
In October 2021, the former president launched a lawsuit against the Democrat-led House panel and the National Archives to block the release of White House records linked to last year’s Capitol riot.
Trump’s lawyers called the probe a ‘fishing expedition’ in a 26-page lawsuit filed in mid-October.
The attorneys had also requested that the National Archives send Trump’s team any documents that could be relevant for review.
Trump lost the case along with two subsequent appeals later that year.
FBI agents with a search warrant raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida on Monday morning
The above timeline highlights just some of former president Donald Trump’s battles with the National Archives since leaving office, including an unrelated court fight with the January 6 committee
Supreme Court shuts down Trump’s bid to block documents, National Archives says it will turn them over
The January 6 committee revealed on January 19 that it had begun receiving documents from the National Archives that Trump ‘had hoped to keep hidden.’
It happened the same day as the Supreme Court rejecting Trump’s last-ditch request to shield his records.
Nine justices voted against the former president, including three who he appointed to the bench.
Only Clarence Thomas, whose wife Ginni is now being investigated by the committee over her efforts to push Trump’s election fraud claims, voted in Trump’s favor.
In addition to his own documents, the tranche also included records belonging to White House legal counsel, ex-adviser Stephen Miller and ex-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, The Guardian reported.
National Archives reveals some Trump records were ‘torn up’
The record-keeping body confirmed to the Washington Post on January 31 that the documents it handed to the January 6 committee ‘included paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump.’
At this point the National Archives had reportedly handed more than 700 pages to the committee.
Anti-media and pro-Trump protesters stands across the waterfront from Mar A Lago. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate after it was raided by FBI agents on Monday
Not all of them had been taped back together at the time of the committee’s receipt.
‘These were turned over to the National Archives at the end of the Trump Administration, along with a number of torn-up records that had not been reconstructed by the White House,’ the Archives reportedly said.
Trump’s 15 boxes of sensitive White House documents
The next month, the National Archives revealed that Trump had taken 15 boxes full of White House records to his Mar-a-Lago retreat after leaving Washington, DC the year before.
Officials from the Archives and the Records Administration had to retrieve the boxes this past January.
It was first reported by the Washington Post on February 7.
Items that were improperly taken and had to be retrieved included what Trump called ‘love letters’ exchanged with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
A letter from then-outgoing President Barack Obama to Trump when he first took office was also among the trove.
National Archives asks Justice Department to probe Trump record-keeping
Two days after it was revealed that Trump took 15 boxes of White House documents to Mar-a-Lago, the National Archives stepped up its enforcement by asking the Justice Department to probe the ex-president’s handling of the sensitive pages.
The Archives asked President Joe Biden’s DOJ to investigate whether Trump violated the Presidential Records Act, a source told CNN on February 9.
The Washington Post reported the next day that some of the files in the 15 boxes the Archives had retrieved were marked as ‘top secret’ – spurring security concerns.
The former president was at Trump Tower in New York City when his home was raided, his son Eric Trump told Fox News that night
Trump released a lengthy statement claiming he was ‘under siege’ and that federal agents broke into his safe
At the time, Trump’s spokesman Taylor Budowich said the records retrieving process was ‘normal and routine’ but was being ‘weaponized by anonymous, politically motivated government sources to peddle Fake News.’
Report details months-long effort to retrieve Trump documents
It follows a June visit by DOJ official Jay Bratt and two others to Mar-a-Lago to inquire about the documents
While the controversy between the former president and government record-keepers only gained steam earlier this year, a February 13 CNN report reveals that the National Archives knew as early as May 2021 that documents had been missing.
National Archives counsel Gary Stern reportedly first contacted an official in the White House who had been named the point-person for records-keeping matters.
Stern apparently reached out to one of Trump’s other lawyers after his efforts to get the records appeared to be slow-walked.
At the time of the February report, one person told CNN the matter had ‘not been fully resolved’ and the National Archives was still seeking more documents from Trump.
‘Former President Trump’s representatives have informed NARA that they are continuing to search for additional Presidential records that belong to the National Archives,’ the Archives said in a statement.
Classified documents were among the 15 boxes Trump took, National Archives says
A week later, the National Archives confirmed an earlier Washington Post report that top secret documents were among the trove that Trump took to Mar-a-Lago with him.
The body said in a statement published on February 18 that it was ‘in communication’ with the DOJ on Trump-retrieved documents that were ‘marked as classified national security information.’
In response to letters from the House Oversight Committee seeking more information on the matter, the Archives revealed the sensitive nature of the documents and added that social media and other online records from White House aides had not been properly stored.
The body said Trump aides had been warned about the matter previously.
DOJ summons grand jury in National Archives probe and grills Trump staffers
After months of silence, the Justice Department was revealed in May to be investigating whether Trump or others mishandled classified White House documents.
The DOJ convened a grand jury in the probe, the New York Times reported on May 12.
Prosecutors had subpoenaed the relevant documents from the National Archives, and CNN revealed they questioned Trump aides in April and May of this year.
Merrick Garland’s top officials sit down with Trump lawyers in Mar-a-Lago
Four top DOJ officials traveled to Mar-a-Lago in early June to speak with the former president’s attorneys about the documents, it was reported the day after the FBI raid.
In revealing the visit CNN noted how ‘rare’ in nature it was.
The DOJ’s counterintelligence and export control section chief Jay Bratt was reportedly among the group who sat down with Trump’s lawyers.
Trump’s team had also shown the government officials where Trump were storing documents.
Investigators reportedly observed that some of the files there were marked as classified.
At one point the former president himself reportedly stopped in to say hello and ‘make small talk’ before leaving again.
Trump staffers padlock documents room in Mar-a-Lago
Days after the investigators’ visit, they reportedly sent a letter to Trump’s staff asking them to secure the room where they observed the documents being stored.
Aides padlocked the area, according to CNN.
Feds raid Mar-a-Lago on Monday morning
It was reported that the FBI’s operation at Mar-a-Lago occurred in the early hours of Monday morning.
The ex-president had been at Trump Tower in New York City at the time. His son Eric Trump told Fox he informed his father of the raid.
CNN reported that federal agents’ activity was exclusively kept to the portions of the club where Trump’s office and residence are.
The former president claimed he was a victim of political persecution in a statement that revealed the unannounced search to the public.
‘These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,’ Trump said through his Save America PAC.
‘I stood up to America ’s bureaucratic corruption, I restored power to the people, and truly delivered for our Country, like we have never seen before. The establishment hated it. Now, as they watch my endorsed candidates win big victories, and see my dominance in all polls, they are trying to stop me, and the Republican Party, once more. The lawlessness, political persecution, and Witch Hunt must be exposed and stopped.’