Smoking gun in documents case? Donald Trump staffers moved boxes at Mar-a-Lago the day before a Justice Department visit: The Office of Special Counsel Jack Smith is reportedly nearing a charging decision in the case involving former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents.
A new report indicates that staffers for the former president moved boxes the day before the Justice Department was due to arrive
Donald Trump Might Be In a World of Trouble
The Washington Post reported Thursday that two employees of former President Donald Trump moved boxes of papers at Mar-a-Lago the day before FBI agents and a prosecutor were set to visit.
The visit was part of the investigation into the former president’s handling of classified documents.
The timing of the moving of boxes is something that those investigating Trump “have come to view as suspicious and an indication of possible obstruction, according to people familiar with the matter.”
The alleged moving of the documents happened in June of 2022, after the issuance of the subpoena in May, and prior to the fill-on FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago last August.
Per the report, the same day the employees moved those boxes, a Trump attorney contacted the Justice Department and told them they “were welcome to visit Mar-a-Lago and pick up classified documents related to the subpoena.”
When they arrived the following day, agents were given an envelope containing 38 classified documents, stating that all relevant documents had been turned over.
However, more than 100 additional documents were found at the estate when the raid took place two months later.
The report also said that Donald Trump and his aides had performed a “dress rehearsal” for moving such papers even before they received the subpoena a year ago.
Beyond that, per the Post, Trump was known to keep classified documents in his office, “in a place where they were visible,” and even sometimes showed the documents to others.
What Happens Next
The Wall Street Journal had reported earlier this week that Smith “has all but finished obtaining testimony and other evidence in his criminal investigation into whether former President Donald Trump mishandled classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort, according to people familiar with the matter.”
The report comes amid those indications that Smith is nearing a charging decision, and has largely wrapped up investigatory work in terms of the documents side of the case. Smith is likely farther away from any type of decision when it comes to the probe into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and lead-up to the January 6 Capitol riot.
The attorney for one of the two employees told the newspaper that his client had cooperated with the investigation, and did not have “any reason to think that helping to move boxes was at all significant.”
“This is nothing more than a targeted, politically motivated witch hunt against President Trump that is concocted to meddle in an election and prevent the American people from returning him to the White House,” Trump’s spokesman Steven Cheung told the Post.
Trump Was Warned
A report earlier this week found that Trump was “warned” he could not keep classified documents following the 2022 subpoena.
“The previously unreported warning conveyed to Trump by his lawyer Evan Corcoran could be significant in the criminal investigation surrounding Trump’s handling of classified materials given it shows he knew about his subpoena obligations,” The Guardian reported earlier this week, citing the notes of Trump’s then-attorney Corcoran.
“The warning was one of several key moments that Corcoran recounted in roughly 50 pages of notes he dictated that were described to the Guardian over several weeks by three people with knowledge of their contents, which prosecutors have viewed in recent months as central to the criminal investigation.”
While Trump is facing legal jeopardy on various fronts, including the case in New York in which he has already been indicted and the Georgia election case, the case of the documents appears to have the strongest body of evidence of any of them.
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.