Donald Trump allegedly knew he was supposed to return every single classified document after he was subpoenaed for them, but he kept hundreds of papers anyway.
Federal prosecutors have about 50 pages of notes from Trump’s lawyer Evan Corcoran, who apparently warned the former president about complying with the subpoena, The Guardian reported Monday. These notes could be significant in special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
Corcoran found about 40 classified documents in the estate storage room last June and told the Department of Justice that that was all there was to be found. The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago two months later and seized 101 additional classified documents.
The notes reveal that Trump and his valet Walt Nauta knew exactly where and when Corcoran was planning to search for the documents at Mar-a-Lago. The Justice Department is paying particular attention to Nauta, according to The Guardian, who had previously testified that Trump asked him to move boxes out of the storage room both before and after the subpoena was issued.
The Guardian suggested that it is possible prosecutors are investigating whether Nauta knew exactly what was in the boxes he was moving. According to Corcoran’s notes, Nauta had offered to help him look through the boxes in the storage room, which Corcoran declined. But he took breaks during the multiday search, leaving the storage room unattended multiple times.
The grand jury hearing evidence in the case was able to see the notes after a judge ruled in March that some of Trump’s attorney-client privileges could be “pierced.” Prosecutors for Smith’s team found that Trump intentionally misled his own lawyers, including Corcoran, about keeping classified materials when he left office.
U.S. Judge Beryl Howell ordered Corcoran to comply with a grand jury subpoena for testimony on six different lines of inquiry. She also ordered him to hand over records of Trump’s alleged “criminal scheme,” including handwritten notes, invoices, and transcriptions of personal audio recordings.
In addition to Smith’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents and role in January 6, the former president is also under investigation in Georgia for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and he has been indicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records for paying hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels.