Two employees of former President Donald Trump moved boxes of papers the day before Federal Bureau of Investigation agents searched for and removed classified documents from Trump’s Florida home in an unannounced raid in August 2022, the Washington Post reported Thursday, days after reports circulated that Special Counsel Jack Smith was wrapping up his investigation into Trump’s potential mishandling of those documents.
Trump aides separately conducted a “dress rehearsal” to practice moving sensitive papers, even before he was subpoenaed in May 2022, the Post reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
Prosecutors obtained evidence that shows that Trump stored classified documents in a visible place in his office, occasionally showing them to others, the Post reported.
The timing of the “dress rehearsal” and the moving of boxes was an indication of possible obstruction, the sources told the Post.
Trump, who declared his candidacy for the presidency in November, is facing multiple criminal investigations—in two states and at the federal level—that could result in charges and trials throughout his campaign.
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Trump’s potential indictment in the matter. The report indicates special counsel Smith’s criminal investigation into whether Trump mishandled those classified documents is coming to an end. Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal reported Trump’s associates are preparing for his indictment in the matter, though it’s unclear exactly when and if that will happen.
The initial August raid of Mar-A-Lago was part of a broader investigation into documents Trump took with him to his Florida home after he left the White House. In February 2022, the National Archives said it had “arranged for the transport” of 15 boxes that were being improperly stored at Mar-A-Lago and later revealed some of those boxes included classified information. The National Archives then asked the DOJ to investigate the matter. The raid happened a few months later as investigators wanted to determine if anything hadn’t been turned over to officials, particularly after someone familiar with the documents reportedly tipped off officials that more documents were left behind.
Earlier this week, Trump’s lawyers, John Rowley and James Trusty, wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, requesting a meeting to discuss Smith’s ongoing investigations. Along with the investigation into Trump’s potential mishandling of classified documents, Smith is also investigating Trump’s role in attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. In the letter, shared by Trump on Truth Social, Trump’s lawyers claimed, “No president of the United States has ever, in the history of our country, been baselessly investigated in such outrageous and unlawful fashion.”
Trump is facing a number of criminal probes, including one in New York from earlier this year that resulted in the former president being charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. Prosecutors allege Trump made a series of hush money deals to conceal alleged affairs with three separate women. In Georgia, Trump faces potential charges of election interference as the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office continues its investigation into allegations that Trump and his allies pressured state officials to undo his loss in the state.