Former Trump White House lawyers spoke with the FBI on classified docs taken to Mar-a-Lago: report
Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead.

The New York Times is reporting that two former White House lawyers to President Donald Trump spoke with the FBI about the classified documents taken to Mar-a-Lago post-presidency.

Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin both spoke to investigators about their experiences trying to get the government documents back to the National Archives, according to the new report.

A report on Monday night revealed Philbin, in particular, worked to get the documents. However, they quoted Trump ranting: "It's not theirs, it's mine," advisers told the Times.

Ultimately, Trump did allow 15 boxes to be turned over to the National Archives, with staff taking a truck to Mar-a-Lago to retrieve the documents.

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"At that point, at least one Trump lawyer signed a statement saying material with the classified markings had been returned, according to four people familiar with the document," the report continued. "But officials then used a subpoena to obtain surveillance footage of the hallway outside a storage room at Mar-a-Lago and saw something that alarmed them. They also received information from at least one witness who indicated that more material might remain at the residence, people familiar with the investigation said."

Speaking to MSNBC on Tuesday, Andrew Weissmann, former Justice Department prosecutor on special counsel Robert Mueller's team explained the significance of the new report.

"I think it is important for people to know that both those gentlemen were two of seven people who President Trump designated on Jan. 19, 2021, two days before his presidency was over, as his representatives in terms of dealing with presidential records," said Weissmann.

"I think this is part of the reason that you saw in the search warrant the reference to section 1519 of the criminal statute," he continued. "That is an obstruction statute. And that is the kind of thing that the department could have been very focused on false statements and false representations being made to them that everything had been returned. Only to find, in the search, that that was not true. And that kind of crime, I can tell you when I was in the department, that is the kind of crime that really gets people in the department up in arms. It goes to undermining the integrity of the criminal investigation. And that's the kind of thing that has to be deterred if you're in this case, in any case, if you're going to actually have a rule of law."