Former President Donald Trump claimed Wednesday that the reason he was storing “hundreds” of folders with classification markings at Mar-a-Lago was because the government does not “collect” them.
The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida residence, in August, on suspicion that the former president did not turn over all classified documents when he left office. After a request, Trump gave the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) 15 boxes of documents in January, with 14 of the boxes bearing classification markings. The affidavit for the FBI raid pointed to the number of classified documents in the January delivery as reason for concern. (RELATED: DOJ’s Highly Redacted Trump Affidavit Details Reasons For Raid)
The inventory of what the FBI took from Mar-a-Lago was released in September. The material included several hundred government documents — some bearing classification markings — and over 70 empty folders with “CLASSIFIED” and “Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide” markings.
Trump made a statement on Truth Social on why he had the empty folders.
“When I was in the Oval Office, or elsewhere, & ‘papers’ were distributed to groups of people & me, they would often be in a striped paper folder with ‘Classified’ or ‘Confidential’ or another word on them. When the session was over, they would collect the paper(s), but not the folders, & I saved hundreds of them,” Trump said.
Trump said they were a “cool” keepsake, and the folders were just “ordinary” and “inexpensive.”
“Remember, these were just ordinary, inexpensive folders with various words printed on them, but they were a ‘cool’ keepsake. Perhaps the Gestapo took some of these empty folders when they Raided Mar-a-Lago, & counted them as a document, which they are not,” Trump said.
In November, President Joe Biden’s lawyers discovered classified documents at the Penn Biden Center, a think tank where Biden held a private office. More classified documents were found at Biden’s personal Delaware residence on Dec. 20 and Jan. 11 and 12, following an additional search by Biden’s lawyers. (RELATED: Five Additional Pages Of Classified Documents Found At Biden’s Delaware Home)
Biden has maintained he does not know what is in the documents, and that he was “surprised” to know that the documents were there.
The Department of Justice appointed a special counsel on Thursday to investigate whether Biden mishandled the documents.