Former White House attorney warned Trump about the legal risk of holding onto classified documents nearly a year after he left office. Trump was noncommittal about returning them, report says.

·2 min read
Former White House attorney warned Trump about the legal risk of holding onto classified documents nearly a year after he left office. Trump was noncommittal about returning them, report says.
In this image from video, Eric Herschmann, an attorney for President Donald Trump, answers a question during the impeachment trial against Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
In this image from video, Eric Herschmann, an attorney for President Donald Trump, answers a question during the impeachment trial against Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020.Senate Television via AP
  • Eric Herschmann warned Trump about the legal risk of keeping classified documents, NYT reported.

  • Sources told NYT Herschmann was no longer working as Trump's lawyer at the time of the warning.

  • Trump returned some documents to the National Archives and Records Administration in late 2021.

Three sources with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times that former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann warned former president Donald Trump about the legal risk of holding on to presidential records and classified documents.

The meeting with Herschmann — who was no longer serving as legal counsel for the former president at the time — occurred in late 2021, nearly a year after Trump left office, NYT reported.

Herschmann stressed the significant legal liability of maintaining the classified records and the possibility that Trump or his aides engaged in obstruction through storing them, sources familiar with the matter told NYT.

The following January, Trump returned the first batch of documents to the National Archives and Records Administration. It contained letters from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, who Trump said he exchanged "beautiful" love letters with while in office, and a letter that former President Barack Obama left for Trump in 2017.

In the historic August 8 search of Mar-a-Lago, the FBI found 12 additional boxes worth of documents Trump had retained in his Palm Beach, Florida, home. The documents are currently at the center of a legal battle between Trump and the Justice Department.

The office of former President Trump did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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