A former aide to Donald J. Trump has told investigators that the former president told her to say he knew nothing about the boxes of classified documents he had hidden in his private Florida club after leaving the White House, according to a person who reported his information. comments.
The aide, Molly Michael, who worked for Trump outside the Oval Office and then in his post-presidential office, told investigators about Trump’s comments when she was interviewed as part of the investigation into his handling of sensitive issues. . government documents.
“You don’t know anything about the boxes,” Trump told Michael when he learned that federal officials wanted to talk to her about the case. Her account was first reported by ABC News and was confirmed by the person informed of his comments.
Michael also told investigators that Trump wrote notes to himself on documents he gave him listing tasks he wanted done. He later realized that in some cases the documents had classified markings, the person familiar with his comments said. The specific nature of the documents in question remains unclear, the person said.
“These illegal leaks come from sources that completely lack proper context and relevant information,” said Trump spokesman Steven Cheung. “The Department of Justice should investigate the criminal leak, instead of carrying out its baseless witch hunt.”
Ms. Michael could not be reached for comment.
The revelations about Ms. Michael’s conversations with investigators were the latest to show the scale and nature of evidence gathered by federal prosecutors working on the classified documents case. Trump is accused of illegally retaining dozens of highly sensitive national security records after leaving office and conspiring with two aides at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida club and residence, to obstruct the government’s repeated attempts to recover them. . .
Michael is one of at least two witnesses who could be called to testify at Trump’s trial in the documents case and present to the jury evidence that the former president sought in some way to obstruct the government’s investigation.
In July, another possible witness in the case, Yuscil Taverasone of Trump’s IT workers, reached a cooperation agreement with the government and told investigators that the property manager at Mar-a-Lago asked him, at Trump’s request, to delete from a computer server security images that the government was seeking as part of its investigation.
Michael’s account of Trump writing notes on classified material did not appear to be directly related to any of the specific charges he faces in the case. But the information could be used at trial to make the case that the former president handled confidential government documents recklessly or carelessly.
His comments could also be used to reinforce that Trump was trying to prevent people from sharing information about the boxes with investigators.