A former aide to Donald J. Trump told investigators that the former president allegedly told her to say she knew nothing about the boxes of classified documents he stashed at his private club in Florida after leaving the House White, according to a source. informed of his comments.
The aide, Molly Michael, who worked for Mr. Trump outside the Oval Office and then in his post-presidential office, told investigators about Mr. Trump’s comments when she was questioned in the investigation into his management of sensitive matters. government documents.
“You don’t know anything about the boxes,” Mr. Trump told Ms. Michael when he learned that federal officials wanted to talk to her about the matter. His account was first reported by ABC News and was confirmed by the person briefed on his comments.
Ms. Michael also told investigators that Mr. Trump wrote notes on the documents he gave her, listing tasks he wanted to accomplish. She later realized that in some cases the documents bore classified markings, the person briefed on her comments said. The precise nature of the documents in question remains unclear, the source said.
A spokesperson for Mr. Trump did not respond to an email seeking comment. Ms Michael could not be reached for comment.
The revelations about Ms. Michael’s discussions with investigators are the latest to show the scale and nature of evidence collected by federal prosecutors working on the classified documents case. Mr. Trump is accused of illegally possessing dozens of highly sensitive national security files after leaving office and of conspiring with two associates at Mar-a-Lago, his club and his Florida residence, to obstruct the repeated attempts by the government to recover them. .
Ms. Michael is one of at least two witnesses who could be called to testify at Mr. Trump’s trial in the documents case and present to the jury evidence that the former president was in some way seeking other to obstruct the government’s investigation.
In July, another potential witness in the case, Yuscil Taveras, one of Mr. Trump’s information technology employees, entered into a cooperation agreement with the government and told investigators that the property manager of Mar-a-Lago asked him, at Mr. Trump’s request. , to delete from a computer server the security images sought by the government as part of its investigation.
Ms. Michael’s account that Mr. Trump wrote notes on classified documents does not appear to be directly related to the specific charges he faces in this case. But that information could be used at trial to portray the former president as handling sensitive government documents in a reckless or negligent manner.
His remarks could also be used to reinforce that Mr. Trump was trying to prevent people from sharing information about the boxes with investigators.