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News / Nation & World

Report: Trump workers moved classified documents at Mar-a-Lago before prosecutors arrived

By Dave Goldiner, New York Daily News
Published: May 25, 2023, 4:18pm

Former President Donald Trump’s workers at Mar-a-Lago reportedly moved boxes of classified documents just a day before federal prosecutors came to collect papers pursuant to a subpoena.

The two Trump employees, including longtime valet Walt Nauta, brought boxes of documents to a basement storage room on June 2, just hours before Justice Department officials came to the Florida resort to execute the subpoena, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The paper also said special counsel Jack Smith has evidence that Trump kept classified materials in open view in his office at Mar-a-Lago and sometimes showed the documents to visitors.

The new report did not say what Trump’s goal might have been in moving documents into the storage room as officials prepared to retrieve classified documents.

Trump’s lawyers allowed investigators to see boxes in the store room but not look inside them.

Whatever the reasons, moving documents after receiving a subpoena would amount to evidence of obstruction of justice.

Showing classified documents to unauthorized third parties as Trump is suspected of doing could violate the Espionage Act and laws covering handling of classified information.

The report also says that Trump workers carried out a so-called “dress rehearsal” for moving classified documents from one place to another at Mar-a-Lago even before the former president was hit in May 2022 with a subpoena to return all of them.

Nauta and the other Mar-a-Lago worker have already been questioned by prosecutors, but are apparently not cooperating witnesses for the prosecution.

Other reports say that at least one Trump insider who worked at Mar-a-Lago has flipped on Trump and is working with prosecutors but it’s not known who that is or how senior a figure they might be.

After the June 3 visit by prosecutors, federal officials believed Trump had not returned all of the classified documents as required by the subpoena.

A federal judge granted a search warrant and FBI agents found more than 100 additional documents in the storage room and elsewhere at Mar-a-Lago.

The report comes as the grand jury hearing evidence in the documents case has not met in three weeks, its longest break since Smith took over the probe last year.

Several published reports say Smith is in the final stages of the documents case and is expected to decide whether to charge Trump within a matter of a few weeks at the longest.

Trump’s lawyers sent an angry letter demanding a meeting with Attorney General Merrick Garland to try to derail the probe, a sign that they believe a decision is near.

Smith is separately investigating Trump’s effort to overturn his loss in the 2020 election, which culminated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

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