Former President Donald Trump reportedly warned his longtime personal assistant not to cooperate with the federal investigation into the classified documents he took to Mar-a-Lago, according to a new report out Monday.
Molly Michael told the FBI that Trump ordered her to feign ignorance after he discovered the feds were interviewing insiders about his refusal to hand over boxes of classified documents, ABC reported.
“You don’t know anything about the boxes,” Trump told Michael, the report said.
The statement mirrors remarks Trump made to his own lawyers that prosecutors consider to be strong evidence of obstruction of justice since it is illegal for anyone to instruct another person to lie to federal investigators.
Michael also told investigators that Trump occasionally would write “to-do notes” for her on the back of documents that bore classified markings. She handed over several examples of such documents after the FBI did not turn them up in her office during a search of Mar-a-Lago in August 2022.
Michael had worked for the Trump White House since 2018 and followed him to Mar-a-Lago when he left office.
Even though she was a loyal employee, Michael told investigators that she became increasingly concerned about how Trump was handling boxes of documents in 2022 after federal officials started to demand their return.
She told the feds that Trump took a very intense personal interest in the documents and regularly instructed her and valet Walt Nauta to bring him the boxes so he could comb through them.
Prosecutors later hit Trump with a subpoena to return all the documents. But he only handed over a small number of them and more than 100 were found in the search at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump was charged with mishandling classified documents and obstructing justice. Nauta and another Trump employee, Carlos D’Oliveira, are charged with helping him try to hide the documents from investigators.
They all pleaded not guilty and are awaiting a May 2024 trial date in a South Florida federal court.