“Maybe coincidentally, within a week of the Mar-a-Lago search on August 8, more information started coming in,” said a source familiar with the discussion.
Sources familiar with the discussion said the Archives believed Meadows was cooperating, even though the process began slowly.
“This is how it’s supposed to work,” the source added, noting that the situation wasn’t such that a referral to the Justice Department would be necessary.
Another person familiar with the matter said the FBI’s search for Mar-a-Lago had nothing to do with Meadows’ decision to hand over the materials to the archives.
Still, Meadows is in an awkward position to have Trump’s former chief of staff because he’s been in an effort to get Trump to return the documents to the National Archives since last year, sources told CNN. was one of Trump’s nominees for the archives, and he became involved in the summer of 2021 after being contacted by another nominee, former Trump deputy White House attorney Pat Philbin.
Sources say Meadows spoke with Trump when he was in Mar-a-Lago last summer about the documents the Archives was seeking to return. Sources say Meadows has continued to work with the archives to recover the documents ever since.
A spokeswoman for Meadows declined to comment. The National Archives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Meadows’ involvement with the Archives and his discussions with Trump underscore the long effort the Archives has embarked on to obtain federal records from Trump, leading to an unprecedented FBI investigation into the former president’s residence last month. rice field.
President Trump turned over 15 boxes of papers to the public archives in January, but additional papers marked as classified remained in Mar-a-Lago. Federal investigators sought those documents through a grand jury subpoena in June and obtained a search warrant last month after producing evidence that not all classified materials were provided.
The Washington Post first reported last month that Meadows turned over the materials to the Archives.
In recent months, Trump has been advised to cut off contact with Meadows, and his actions leading up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and on that day, have been scrutinized by a House panel investigating Jan. 6. Sources close to Trump say the former president didn’t completely cut ties with Meadows, but Trump has complained about Meadows in conversations with other allies. rice field.
“Their relationship is not what it used to be,” a source told CNN.
Mr. Meadows’ involvement with the Archives regarding electronic communications began when the January 6 Commission discovered that it had obtained records it believed were not owned by the Archives and fell under the Presidential Records Act. started. Earlier this year, CNN reported on the content of more than 2,300 texts Meadows selectively provided to House committees in the period between Election Day 2020 and the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
In addition to the text messages, Meadows recently contributed about 10 emails to the archive, one source said.
“It’s a category of communication that was on a personal device, but you’re supposed to turn it over,” the source said. I was obliged to ensure that
Correspondence between the Archives and Meadows has been going on for some time, according to a source, and it took several months between initial contact and delivery of the first batch.
In recent weeks, Meadows’ attorneys have arranged for materials that Meadows had already shared with Congress to be turned over to the archives for a January 6 selection committee inquiry. Meadows agreed to provide the material to the public archives, but claimed that his legal team did not believe it was subject to the Presidential Records Act.
After the Archives requested, Meadows and his attorney reviewed his correspondence and turned over what they believed was covered under the Presidential Records Act, one source said. There are carveouts detailing material that does not need to be provided to the archive, such as messages of a personal or political nature.