Trump said the FBI found classified documents at his home because federal workers packed them. But emails Bloomberg got show boxes were already packed when movers arrived.

Former President Donald Trump's Palm Beach estate, Mar-A-Lago was searched by the FBI Monday evening.
Former President Donald Trump's Palm Beach, Florida, estate, Mar-A-Lago, was searched by the FBI in August.Joe Raedle/Getty Images; Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • Bloomberg News got emails with information about boxes packed during Trump's White House move.

  • Trump said the FBI found classified documents at his home because federal workers packed them.

  • But the emails, with the GSA, show the boxes were already packed when the movers arrived.

President Donald Trump's boxes may have already been packed when movers arrived at the White House after his election loss, according to emails and documents that Bloomberg News obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Trump previously and publicly said one of the reasons the FBI found classified documents at his Palm Beach, Florida, estate, Mar-a-Lago, when it was searched on August 8 was that federal workers had packed the boxes.

"They packed them," Trump told the Fox News host Sean Hannity late last month.

Kash Patel, a former defense official for Trump who handled his presidential records with the National Archives and Records Administration, also said during a radio-show appearance on August 15, just days after the FBI executed its search warrant, that federal workers from the General Services Administration packed the boxes.

"They're the ones that packed up and moved these documents," Patel said of the administration on "The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show." "It's not like President Trump put them in his briefcase and hopped aboard Air Force One on January 20 and said, 'OK, I'll see you guys later.'"

But Bloomberg's Jason Leopold and Jack Gillum reported Wednesday that the email correspondence between the General Services Administration and Trump's operations team told a different story.

According to the documents Bloomberg obtained, Mark Meadows, Trump's then-chief of staff, signed an agreement on January 11, 2021, laying out the guidelines for both Trump and then-Vice President Mike Pence to use Mar-a-Lago as a "temporary office space" for six months. The agreement also allotted $2 million for Trump and $520,000 for Pence so they could acquire "office space, furniture, shipping costs and other expenses," the documents say.

Trump aides used kitchen space and resort rooms at Mar-a-Lago and GSA-provided office space in Arlington, Virginia, to process and appraise gifts for the National Archives, requiring at least 100 boxes at one time, Bloomberg reported.

The documents show that in April 2021, Desiree Thompson Sayle, the correspondence director for the Office of Donald J. Trump, emailed the GSA, asking what she described as a "weird" question: "Does GSA work with a contractor for interstate shipping? We have a portrait of President Trump and it needs to be shipped to FL, but in its crate it is 300 lbs, 6 x 8 feet."

Kathy Geisler, a GSA facilities manager, responded that the painting was considered "personal property," meaning it was not eligible to be shipped using taxpayer dollars, the documents show.

Another GSA spokesperson made it clear that its contract solely covered shipping and not packing. The documents show that the spokesperson told Trump's office, "The outgoing transition team was responsible for putting the boxes on pallets and shrink-wrapping each pallet."

Bloomberg reported that another email sent in July 2021 shows Thompson Sayle informing the GSA that the first pallet of boxes was ready for shipment, with it weighing in at 598 pounds.

One email shows Thompson Sayle sending the GSA multiple pictures of boxes stacked on pallets, wrapped in cellophane, and ready for shipment to Florida.

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