On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that throughout his battle with the National Archives and the DOJ over the classified documents he removed from the White House after leaving office, Donald Trump refused to listen to the advice of his lawyers to simply return all of the documents as requested and instead chose to listen to advice from Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, who, unlike Trump’s attorneys, is not a lawyer.
According to the seven Trump advisors interviewed by the Washington Post, Trump repeatedly mislead his attorneys and advisors by claiming that the boxes only contained clothing and newspaper clippings.
The advisors told the Post that even when some of Trump’s longest-serving advisors flew to Mar-a-Lago to beg him to cooperate with the National Archives and return the documents, Trump continued to refuse.
After turning over only 15 boxes while holding back another 64, Trump told his advisors to release a public statement asserting that “everything” had been returned to the National Archives.
It was within the 64 boxes Trump kept at Mar-a-Lago that more than 100 documents with classified markings were found.
Even after the Justice Department issued a grand jury subpoena for the return of the classified documents, Trump continued to ignore the advice of his advisors and attorneys who were urging him to cooperate, instead he listened to Tom Fitton.
Tom Fitton confirmed to the Post that he advised Trump on the matter, but refused to discuss any details of their conversations.
Fitton, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English from George Washington University, told the Post that he does not believe that the 37-count indictment against Trump lays out a case for illegal conduct or obstruction.
The Judicial Watch president testified before the grand jury where he was questioned about his involvement in the documents.
Several of Trump’s advisors believe that Fitton’s repeated mention of the 2012 Clinton sock drawer case is the reason Trump believed he had the right to keep the subpoenaed documents.
One Trump advisor told the Post that the indictment was an “unforced error” on Trump’s part, adding, “We didn’t have to be here.”