Trump personally packed up 15 boxes of material returned to NARA in January, per The Washington Post.
Trump tried but failed to get a lawyer to claim that was all the documents he had, per the report.
Many secret and classified records were later found in the August FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago.
Former President Donald Trump personally packed a trove of documents returned to the National Archives in January, while keeping many records back, The Washington Post reported.
Trump also instructed a lawyer to say all the documents sought by the records agency had been returned, the paper reported. It said he refused to do as he could not be sure it was true.
The Post reported this on the basis of unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
A spokesperson for Trump did not respond to the Post's specific questions, and did not immediately reply to Insider's request for comment.
The report that Trump himself selected the documents to be returned from Mar-a-Lago, while keeping some behind, could worsen his position in the legal case against him.
Trump packed up the 15 boxes under intense secrecy, keeping the process out of the view even of top aides, per earlier reporting from the Post.
Video: Supporters and experts react to FBI's seizure of documents at Mar-a-Lago
After handing those over, he was extremely keen to claim that all documents had been returned, dictating a statement to that effect, the Post reported.
But his lawyer Alex Cannon in February refused to sign it, the report said. Cannon, per the report, was not convinced that there really were no more documents at Mar-a-Lago.
Several months later another Trump lawyer, Christina Bobb, signed a similar statement asserting that a "diligent search" of Mar-a-Lago had located no further documents that needed to be returned.
But as officials analyzed Trump's documents and found at least 100 classified records among them, the National Archives asked the Justice Department to begin an investigation which would lead to the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago in August.
That raid found many more documents which were not returned in the earlier handover, including those with high levels of classification.
In response to the Post's reporting, a spokesperson for Trump did not address the substance of the reporting but attacked the outlet instead.
The spokesperson asserted that the Post was "the partisan microphone of leakers and liars buried deep within the bowels of America's government."
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