An staffer of the former president reportedly informed the FBI that Donald Trump asked for the relocation of boxes of records at Mar-a-Lago after receiving a government subpoena to return them.
Surveillance footage obtained by the FBI corroborate the worker’s account, the Washington Post and CNN reported on Wednesday.
Collectively, the testimonies and CCTV footage may provide the most compelling evidence to date of possible obstruction of justice on the part of the ex-president.
The Post reports that the former Mar-a-Lago staffer is helping the justice department and has been interviewed by federal officials on many occasions.
After Trump’s advisers got a subpoena in May for papers the former president was retaining at his Palm Beach house, the witness initially denied touching sensitive materials, but in subsequent talks with agents, the witness acknowledged to moving boxes at Trump’s instruction.
On August 8th, the FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate with a judge’s approval, seizing over 11,000 papers, including around 100 that were marked as confidential.
A request for comment on the findings from the justice department went unanswered for some time. It was claimed by a Trump spokesman that law enforcement had been “weaponized” during the Biden administration.
The president has “ultimate authority to categorize records, and whether materials should be classified,” the spokesman, Taylor Budowich, told the Post, thus previous presidents were given “time and consideration” in document administration.
Since the inquiry into his handling of the papers became public in August, Trump has had a special master appointed to review the materials seized by the FBI and has sought the Supreme Court to settle a dispute over which items should be reviewed by the special master.
As he mulls a candidacy for president in 2024, Trump confronts multiple pending investigations and court proceedings, including one into his handling of secret data.
The attorney general of New York has filed a civil complaint against Trump and three of his adult children, alleging that they committed fraud and deceit when creating financial statements for the Trump Organization, the family’s real estate business.
On October 24th, the Trump Organization will also face criminal tax fraud accusations in New York.
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