Trump announces he will run for president in 2024 at his Mar-a-Lago estate
Trump announces he will run for president in 2024 at his Mar-a-Lago estateREUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Former US President Donald Trump on Monday defended his retention of classified materials after leaving the White House.

I an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, Trump said he did not have time to go through the boxes filled with the documents.

Asked by Baier, “Why not just hand them over then?” the former President replied, “Because I had boxes. I want to go through the boxes and get all my personal things out. I don’t want to hand that over to [the National Archives] yet. And I was very busy, as you’ve sort of seen.”

Baier noted that the Justice Department’s indictment described how Trump allegedly told an aide to move the boxes containing classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate while also telling his lawyers to indicate he was cooperating.

“Before I send boxes over, I have to take all of my things out,” Trump stated. “These boxes were interspersed with all sorts of things, golf shirts, clothing, pants, shoes, there were many things.”

Asked if he was aware of documents on Iran being among the items in the boxes, Trump said, “Not that I know of.”

Trump last week pleaded not guilty to charges on 37 counts in the classified documents case.

The former President has denounced the indictment against him in a speech in Georgia, calling it "ridiculous and baseless."