In a recent report, it has been revealed that former President Donald Trump allegedly scrawled to-do lists for one of his assistants at Mar-a-Lago on documents with classified markings. Molly Michael, a former White House executive assistant who continued to work for Trump after his presidency, informed federal investigators that she received tasks from Trump written on the back of notecards that had visible classification markings. These markings were related to phone calls with foreign leaders and other international matters. It remains uncertain if any of these notecards are among the classified documents that Trump is accused of unlawfully retaining.
The assistant, referred to as "Trump Employee 2" in special counsel Jack Smith's indictment regarding Trump's handling of sensitive White House documents, handed over the notecards to the FBI after realizing that they were not collected during the search of Trump's Palm Beach club and residence on August 8, 2022. Michael also expressed her growing concerns to federal investigators about how Trump was handling the National Archives' requests for White House material that she knew was being kept at Mar-a-Lago.
According to the report, Trump responded to the FBI's interest in speaking with Michael by stating, "You don't know anything about the boxes." The former president, who pleaded not guilty in June to 37 counts related to his handling of classified White House documents, allegedly showed reluctance in cooperating with the government after agreeing to turn over only 15 out of the approximately 90 boxes of documents held at Mar-a-Lago. Michael informed investigators that Trump asked her to spread the message that no more boxes existed, despite her pointing out that many people, including maintenance workers, had seen the stacks of boxes.
In a Truth Social post in January, Trump admitted to keeping folders after his presidency that once housed classified papers because he considered them “cool” keepsakes. He stated that the classified papers within the folders were collected by officials after White House briefings. Furthermore, it was revealed that Trump used an empty folder labeled "Classified Evening Summary" to cover a light in his bedroom at Mar-a-Lago, as it kept him up at night. The folder was reportedly given to federal prosecutors in December 2022, and Trump's former lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, confirmed that it had no classification marking and was not illegal.
In response to the report, Trump denied any wrongdoing. His long-time assistant, Molly Michael, alleged that she received requests from him on notecards with visible classification markings. Trump's spokesperson dismissed the report as "illegal leaks" and maintained his innocence. Trump, who is currently the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has been charged, along with two aides, with illegally storing classified documents at his personal residence and lying to federal investigators. These charges include violations of the Espionage Act, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and making false statements. In addition to these charges, Trump is facing separate indictments in Washington, D.C., Georgia, and New York, all of which he denies.
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