Former White House aides speculate 'leverage' was part of the motivation for Trump taking documents
Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron AFP/File / Ludovic MARIN

The stolen government documents discovered at Donald Trump's golf course Mar-a-Lago continue to prompt questions about the former president's motivations for stealing the information.

Speaking to CNN on Sunday, former communications director and chief of staff to the first lady, Stephanie Grisham said that she's not surprised that all of the folders were mixed in with mementos and gifts.

"That is exactly what his filing system was," she explained. "It was just boxes of things randomly placed together. When I saw the picture, though, and I saw the sheer volume of classified materials and now we're hearing some could be missing, I just don't know how that amount could be put in those boxes and not be seen and not be noticed."

It was one of the pieces of information that former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin spoke to the FBI about the stolen documents, the New York Times reported last month. They were both nominated by Trump to serve as the representatives to deal with the National Archives for the transition ahead of Jan. 20, 2021. Mark Meadows was another.

The National Archives knew that there were documents "lingering" in the White House residence as Trump was packing to move out. Given those men were tasked with returning the documents, it's likely one of the main reasons that Cipollone and Philbin have been so forthcoming with the Justice Department about their handling in the final weeks. Trump ally Kash Patel also told right-wing streaming channels that the act of taking the documents to the residence from the Oval Office "declassified" them. Trump also claimed that he had a "standing order" to declassify anything he wanted. Both claims are false.

Patel also said at one point that he aimed to post the documents on his personal website.

"My thought is, as Alyssa [Farrah Griffin] said earlier, is I think it's some kind of leverage," Grisham told CNN on Sunday. "I do believe that some of it he thinks was cool. And I do think he thinks he owns it, which he did not. And the fact he did not give things back when asked over and over over the course of a year, I think there's something behind it. But as Alyssa also said, it's the million-dollar question to know exactly what it was."

Farrah Griffin said that the Justice Department has an obligation to the American people to explain some of the details about what was in the documents, whether they were nuclear related or military equipment as well as letters from leaders or intelligence on world leaders. It was revealed last week that Trump had intelligence on the love life of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Former Homeland Security aide to Mike Pence, Olivia Troye explained that had she done what Trump did she would be in jail.

"I would be answering questions afterwards, to be honest," she said about the seriousness the national security takes classified information. "Honestly, even when finding classified information outside of where it should be stored, there was a responsibility to actually report that, to turn it in and self-report. That is how seriously we take this. So, if anything like this were to be the case, anyone would be walked out. I saw people get walked out of the Pentagon for much less, you know, greater efforts like this. I mean, it is — it is mind-blowing to think about the fact that these documents were down there."

See the conversation below:

Why ex-Trump officials think Trump had classified docs in his home