Trump personally packed 15 boxes of material returned to NARA in January, The Washington Post said.
He tried but failed to get a lawyer to claim those were all the documents he had, it added.
Many secret and classified records were later found in an August FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago.
Former President Donald Trump personally packed up a trove of documents returned to the National Archives and Records Administration in January, while keeping many records, The Washington Post reported Monday.
Trump also instructed a lawyer to say all the documents sought by the records agency had been returned, the news outlet added. It said the lawyer refused to do so, as he could not be sure it was true.
The Post cited unnamed people familiar with the matter.
A spokesperson for Trump did not respond to specific questions from The Post and did not immediately reply to a request for comment from Insider.
The report that Trump himself selected the documents to be returned from Mar-a-Lago, while keeping some behind, could worsen his position in the legal case against him.
Trump packed up the 15 boxes under intense secrecy, keeping the process out of the view of even top aides, earlier reporting from The Post said.
After handing those over, he was extremely keen to claim that all documents had been returned, dictating a statement to that effect, The Post reported.
But his lawyer Alex Cannon in February refused to sign it, the report said. Cannon, the report added, was not convinced that there were no more documents at Mar-a-Lago.
Several months later, another Trump lawyer, Christina Bobb, signed a similar statement asserting that a "diligent search" of Mar-a-Lago had located no further documents that needed to be returned.
But as officials analyzed Trump's documents and found at least 100 classified records among them, the National Archives asked the Justice Department to begin an investigation, which would lead to the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago in August.
That raid found many documents that were not returned in the earlier handover, including those with high levels of classification.
In response to The Post's reporting, a spokesperson for Trump did not address the substance of it but attacked the outlet.
The spokesperson called The Post "the partisan microphone of leakers and liars buried deep within the bowels of America's government."
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