The Justice Department has obtained new evidence suggesting potential obstruction by former President Donald Trump in the agency’s probe of his handling of classified documents, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
Investigators have information that indicates Trump personally reviewed some of the documents in his Mar-a-Lago home after receiving a subpoena from the Justice Department, people familiar with the investigation told the Post, out of an apparent wish to hold on to some things.
While the former president’s team returned some classified documents following the May 2022 subpoena, the FBI’s August search turned up more that hadn’t been returned.
Additional evidence obtained by investigators suggests that Trump told others to mislead government officials trying to recover documents from his time in the White House before the subpoena last year, which the Post noted could be evidence of his intent.
CNN has confirmed that investigators have emails and text messages from Molly Michael, an assistant to the former president who left her job last year. Those texts and notes, which investigators have had for several months, detail what Trump was doing and who he was meeting with, which could be significant for understanding his whereabouts in relation to the documents.
As CNN reported last month, at least two dozen people – from Mar-a-Lago resort staff to members of Trump’s inner circle at the Florida estate – have been subpoenaed to testify to a federal grand jury that’s investigating his handling of classified documents.
The staffers are of interest to investigators because of what they may have seen or heard while carrying out their daily duties around the estate, including whether they saw boxes or documents in Trump’s office suite or elsewhere.
The Justice Department has been investigating potential mishandling of national security records and possible obstruction for about a year. FBI agents recovered more than 100 classified documents during a search of Mar-a-Lago last summer. Since then, Trump’s legal team has turned over additional classified material.
Officials involved in the investigation have also asked witnesses if Trump showed specific interest in documents or material related to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, the Post reported, but it’s unclear why.