This is awkward for the former President’s lawyers.
A “long-serving” Trump aide was caught on camera moving boxes out of a storage room at Mar-a-Lago, both before and after the DOJ subpoena demanding the return of the documents Trump stole, according to a new report.
“A long-serving aide to former President Donald J. Trump was captured on security camera footage moving boxes out of a storage room at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s residence in Florida, both before and after the Justice Department issued a subpoena in May demanding the return of all classified documents, according to three people familiar with the matter,” the New York Times reports.
“The footage showed Walt Nauta, a former military aide who left the White House and then went to work for Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago, moving boxes from a storage room that became a focus of the Justice Department’s investigation…”
The Times reports that the DOJ “has interviewed Mr. Nauta on several occasions, according to one of the people.” And actually, the interviews started before the FBI executed the Mar-a-Lago search warrant. “Mr. Nauta has answered questions but is not formally cooperating with the investigation of Mr. Trump’s handling of the documents.”
This report appears to corroborate a report published yesterday in the Washington Post reported that a Trump worker told FBI that he had been specifically directed by Trump to move the Mar-a-Lago boxes as the FBI sought the return of the documents. There is also video footage.
“A Trump employee has told federal agents about moving boxes of documents at Mar-a-Lago at the specific direction of the former president, according to people familiar with the investigation, who say the witness account — combined with security-camera footage — offers key evidence of Donald Trump’s behavior as investigators sought the return of classified material.”
It’s unclear if these two reports are about the same witness and the same video footage. If they are, they corroborate, if they are different, that’s obviously even worse for the former President.
The Times pointed out that in an August court filing, prosecutors suggested they had evidence led them to conclude “efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.”
“prosecutors said they had evidence that ‘government records were likely concealed and removed’ from the Mar-a-Lago storage room even after the Justice Department had sent Mr. Trump’s office a subpoena for any remaining documents bearing classified markings. That led prosecutors to conclude that ‘efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation,’ the government filing said.”
Let’s not forget, the DOJ thinks Trump STILL has some classified documents he stole from the White House. Even after all of this, after lying about not having them, being busted, whining about being held accountable to the law for having them, claiming persecution, fundraising — all while still holding on to documents he KNOWS he should not have.
Obstruction is Trump’s go-to, along with witness intimidation and using lawyers like street thugs to delay, deflect, accuse, threaten to bankrupt his opponent — this is Trump’s game.
Behold, this afternoon’s 1/6 hearing:
Liz Cheney says the 1/6 Committee has evidence of obstruction of justice. pic.twitter.com/82q2ceiM0P
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) October 13, 2022
This time, Trump has been caught. On camera.
The questions remain of Trump’s illegal document heist: why did he take these documents, what did he do with them, and will anyone do anything about it.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.