Months before a special counsel was appointed to prosecute Donald Trump, one of his attorneys reportedly urged returning all documents.
Christopher Kise opined U.S. Merrick Garland would stop criminally prosecuting Trump if he returned all documents, according to a Washington Post report. The report noted Trump gave that idea a big thumbs-down.
The former president, who views strong offense as the best defense, listened to loyalists who advised fighting back. Former Judicial Watch head Tom Fitton, who is not a lawyer, was his chief cheerleader, the report noted.
The Daily Wire further reported:
Former President Donald Trump reportedly ignored in a plan late last year — after his Mar-a-Lago home was raided by the FBI — from one of his top lawyers to defuse the federal criminal investigation into his handling of sensitive U.S. government records.
The Washington Post reported that attorney Christopher Kise believed that the U.S. Department of Justice under Attorney General Merrick Garland did not want to charge the former president and that the department would be willing to agree to a settlement in the case if the former president were to return the all the remaining documents.
The report said that Trump was “not interested” in the plan after listening to others in his orbit who urged him to take a more “pugilistic approach.”
Then-Trump attorney Alex Cannon urged the former president to give the documents back to the National Archives in the fall of 2021 and warned him of the serious legal repercussions that he would face if he did not, the report added.
When the National Archives realized in early 2021 that some of Trump’s White House records were missing, they reportedly contacted Patrick Philbin, deputy counsel to then-President Trump, for help in retrieving the documents, according to a report
Philbin reportedly tried to help the National Archives retrieve the material, but was reportedly blocked by Trump.
“It’s not theirs, it’s mine,” Trump reportedly told several of his advisers.
The former president was also warned by former Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann that he could face serious legal jeopardy if he did not comply.
Numerous reports, including the one from The Post, have said that instead of listening to his lawyers, Trump took the advice of Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, who is not a lawyer.
Trump has repeatedly said that he should be clear legally speaking because of the President Records Act.
“SO NOW THAT EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS THAT THE PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS ACT, PLUS THE CLINTON SOCKS CASE, TOTALLY EXONERATED ME FROM THE CONTINUING WITCH HUNT BROUGHT ON BY CORRUPT JOE BIDEN, THE DOJ, DERANGED JACK SMITH, AND THEIR RADICAL LEFT, MARXIST THUGS, WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO DROP ALL CHARGES AGAINST ME, APOLOGIZE, AND RETURN EVERYTHING THAT WAS ILLEGALLY TAKEN (FOURTH AMENDMENT) FROM MY HOME?” Trump posted to social media on Thursday. “THIS WAS NOTHING OTHER THAN ELECTION INTERFERENCE!!!”
Former Trump Attorney General William Barr and former U.S. prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, a staunch conservative, have both disputed this notion and have argued that the Presidential Records Act only covers things like notes and diaries — not highly classified material created by U.S. government agencies and departments.