A longtime aide to former President Donald Trump has told investigators examining his retention of government records Trump used to write “to-do” lists for her on the back of notecards that were marked classified.
ABC News reported that the aide, Molly Michael, made investigators aware of these notecards the day after the FBI had executed a search warrant of his property in August 2022. Michael, who was away from Mar-a-Lago during the search, returned to the property the day after it had happened, and found the notecards in her personal office. The Trump aide contacted federal investigators and turned the documents over to them the same day that she had found them, sources with knowledge of her actions said.
The notecards included information about foreign leaders and other matters pertaining to international issues that Trump used while he was president. The notecards, when Trump used them to write to-do lists, were still clearly marked as classified, Michael told investigators.
Michael also spoke with federal investigators last year about Trump’s claims regarding his post-presidential storing of documents at Mar-a-Lago, asserting that his public statements seeking to justify why he had them could easily be disproven, sources told ABC News.
Michael detailed to investigators how Trump had also spoken to her after he became aware that she was wanted for questioning about the documents. “You don’t know anything about the boxes,” Michaels recalled Trump saying to her, referring to dozens of boxes at Mar-a-Lago that contained government materials.
Michael has told investigators that she and others on the property were well aware of those boxes at that time. It wasn’t clear to her whether Trump’s words were a statement of his own belief regarding her knowledge of them, or an order for her to follow while answering questions from investigators.
A spokesperson for Trump denies that the former president did anything wrong, claiming that the story lacks “proper context.”
In June, a federal grand jury charged Trump with 37 criminal counts relating to his unauthorized retaining of government documents, hundreds of them marked as classified, after leaving the White House in January 2021, and his efforts to obstruct the investigation into his doing so (three additional charges were added to that number in late July). Trump has tried to claim that he possessed legal authority to use a “standing order” as president that allowed him to take the documents. No proof of such an order has ever materialized, and at least 18 former Trump officials say it was never actually given.
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