Donald Trump ‘told his assistant to deny knowledge of classified files he kept at Mar-a-Lago’ and ‘ordered’ her to say ‘you don’t know anything about the boxes’
Donald Trump told an aide she should deny any knowledge of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, according to a report released Tuesday.
Molly Michael began working for Trump at the White House in 2018 and remained his aide after he left.
She resigned last year over his alleged refusal to return documents he took from the White House and has since testified before the January 6 Committee.
Tuesday, ABC News reported that she told investigators looking into Trump’s handling of classified documents that he tried to silence her.
After Trump learned the FBI wanted to interview Michael last year, sources told ABC, Trump allegedly told him, “You don’t know anything about the boxes.”
Molly Michael also testified about note cards before the House Jan. 6 Committee.
Michael, left, is seen on May 1, 2020, with Johnny McEntee, the former director of the Office of Presidential Personnel.
Stacks of boxes of classified documents are photographed at Mar-a-Lago
Documents were stored in bathrooms – with so many boxes they were even stacked in the bathroom
Michael became increasingly concerned about Trump’s response to repeated requests from the National Archives office for the return of classified documents he had taken, the sources said.
She felt there were many people around Mar-a-Lago who could “easily” refute her public statements that all the documents had been returned.
Michael even told Trump that many people, including maintenance workers, had seen the boxes at Mar-a-Lago and knew there were many more than the 15 he claimed.
And she told investigators, according to ABC sources, that Trump knew full well there were classified documents in the boxes, because he knew their contents and had been shown a photo of a warehouse containing some 90 boxes.
The indictment against Trump for mishandling classified documents and refusing to return them alleges that Trump asked one of his lawyers at the time: “Wouldn’t it be better if we just told them we have nothing here?
In June of last year, Trump’s lawyer Evan Corcoran oversaw a search for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and turned over 38 of them to the FBI, signing a statement confirming that the subpoena for the documents had been fully respected.
But officials didn’t believe Trump had been honest with them and launched an unannounced search of the property in August, finding 102 more papers.
Michael told investigators there were even more.
Donald Trump is seen June 13 in Miami, following his indictment on federal charges related to the documents
Michael stopped working for Trump last year, sometime after the August raid on Mar-a-Lago.
Documents were stored everywhere at Mar-a-Lago, including the ballroom
Some boxes of documents had spilled onto the floor at Mar-a-Lago.
She said she returned to work after the raid – she was not in her office at the time – and found her desk a mess. She noticed that the to-do lists Trump had prepared for her were still there, buried under papers.
To-do lists were scrawled on the backs of documents with classified markings, she said.
Michael has not commented on the ABC report.
Steven Cheung, a Trump spokesman, said ABC’s report came from “illegal leaks” of the investigation and lacked “proper context.”
Cheung said the Justice Ministry must urgently investigate the leaks.
“These illegal leaks come from sources that completely lack context and relevant information,” he said.
“The Department of Justice should investigate criminal leaks, instead of engaging in a baseless witch hunt.”