The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration retrieved multiple boxes of records — including "love letters" from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — from Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort that had been improperly removed from the White House, a report said Monday.
The documents and mementos — which included correspondence from former U.S. President Barack Obama — should have been turned over at the end of Trump's term under the Presidential Records Act.
But the agency did not get hold of them until last month, according to The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources. A former Trump aide quoted by the paper said they didn't think Trump had acted with criminal intent.
The former president, waxing rhapsodic about his relationship with Kim, told a West Virginia rally in 2018: "We fell in love. No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters."
The comment prompted the media, as well as Trump supporters and opponents alike, to dub the unusual correspondence the Trump-Kim "love letters."
The recovery of the boxes has raised questions about Trump's adherence to presidential records laws enacted after the 1970s Watergate scandal that require Oval Office occupants to preserve records related to administration activity.
Trump lost his bid last month to stop the Archives from releasing diaries, visitor logs, speech drafts and other White House documents to the House committee investigating the 2021 U.S. Capitol riot.
Some of the papers handed over had been "torn up by former President Trump" and taped back together, the Archives revealed, adding that it had also received a number of records that were still in pieces.
"It's all a pristine example of Trump's approach to the Presidency, namely that the vast power exists for him and not for the American people, to whom these records in fact belong," former deputy assistant attorney general Harry Litman said on Twitter.
AFP reached out to the National Archives and Trump's office for comment but there was no immediate response.