Trump plotted to trade Mar-a-Lago files for 'sensitive documents' about his 2016 campaign Russia ties: report

Trump plotted to trade Mar-a-Lago files for 'sensitive documents' about his 2016 campaign Russia ties: report
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at Joint Base Andrews Air Force Base Friday July 5, 2019, in Maryland, and depart on Air Force One en route New Jersey. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
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According to new reporting from the New York Times, Donald Trump told aides he wanted to make a deal with the National Archives to return the documents and files he whisked away to his Mar-a-Lago resort in exchange for "sensitive" documents he believes prove his 2016 campaign did not conspire with the Russians.

As the Time's Maggie Haberman and Michael Schmidt wrote, the former president pressed aides to lie about what he took and was hiding, thus also putting them -- and his attorneys -- in legal jeopardy.

The report states, "Mr. Trump, still determined to show he had been wronged by the F.B.I. investigation into his 2016 campaign’s ties to Russia, was angry with the National Archives and Records Administration for its unwillingness to hand over a batch of sensitive documents that he thought proved his claims," before adding, "In exchange for those documents, Mr. Trump told advisers, he would return to the National Archives the boxes of material he had taken to Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla."

The Times reports that the former president's aides "never pursued" his plan, and that the episode "...demonstrates how Mr. Trump spent a year and a half deflecting, delaying and sometimes leading aides to dissemble when it came to demands from the National Archives and ultimately the Justice Department to return the material he had taken, interviews and documents show."

The report adds, "Mr. Trump floated the idea of offering the deal to return the boxes in exchange for documents he believed would expose the Russia investigation as a 'hoax' cooked up by the F.B.I. Mr. Trump did not appear to know specifically what he thought the archives had — only that there were items he wanted."

The report comes on the heels of additional reporting that DOJ believes the former president has still not turned over all of the documents he took, which could lead to Espionage Act charges and a criminal obstruction indictment.

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