An Aug. 8 FBI search revealed “serious suspicion” of several classified materials, and one of Trump’s lawyers in June vowed that all classified material had been returned and a “diligible search” had been conducted, the Justice Department wrote.
Trump lawyer Christina Papp is the person who signed a letter certifying that all materials requested by the subpoena issued to Trump on June 3 have been turned over to the Justice Department, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN.
According to a letter filed with the DOJ court late Tuesday, Trump’s team said it conducted an “affirmative search” of boxes moved from the White House to Florida after Trump left office. Notably, the letter signed by Bob states that he swears or affirms that “the above statements are true and correct to the best of my knowledge.”
Although his name was redacted in Tuesday night’s filing, Bob, who signed the letter, was appointed custodian of the records, sources told CNN. Bob and Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran attended a meeting with federal investigators at Mar-a-Lago in June, when agents were shown a storage room where the items were kept.
The New York Times, which first reported that Bob had signed the document, reported that Corcoran drafted the June statement that Bob signed.
Bob and Corcoran did not respond to CNN requests for comment. They were not charged with any crime.
In a court filing Tuesday, the Justice Department said the FBI “revealed numerous evidence indicating that its response to the May 11 grand jury subpoena was incomplete and that classified documents remained on the premises, regardless of the certification promised to the government. June 3.”
“The FBI recovered twice as many documents in a matter of hours as the former president’s counsel and other representatives had weeks to seriously question the representations made in the June 3 testimony, in a matter of hours that would have exceeded the ‘substantial search.’ The degree of cooperation in this matter raises doubts,” the DOJ wrote.
CNN legal analyst Eli Honig said the statements in the June affidavit were provably false, and the question is whether prosecutors can establish that Trump’s attorney “made that statement knowing it was false.”
“If that happens — and it’s a big if — we’ll see misrepresentations and obstruction charges play out,” Honig said.
The new probe into a statement signed by Bob is just the latest to raise questions about the conduct of Trump’s legal team since the FBI searched his Florida home and resort.
Sources close to Trump have questioned the role of Pope, a former One America News Network television anchor who previously helped Rudy Giuliani’s behind-the-scenes efforts to sway the 2020 election results, CNN reported.
Although he was not included in the legal filings Trump filed in Florida seeking the appointment of a special master to review materials seized from the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search, Bob went on television to defend Trump.
Corcoran is a former assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore who also represented Trump ally Steve Bannon.
On Monday, Trump appointed former Florida Solicitor General Chris Kiss to his legal team to represent him in the Mar-a-Lago search case. Kiss will appear in court in Florida on Thursday with the rest of Trump’s legal team in the former president’s bid to have a special master appointed to review materials taken from Mar-a-Lago.
Access to storage room
Tuesday’s DOJ filing includes a description of the government’s efforts to retrieve classified materials from Mar-a-Lago that led to the August search — including several examples of Trump’s team members allegedly being part of an effort to thwart the government’s efforts.
Aside from the DOJ showing that Trump’s team did not comply with a subpoena to return all classified documents, the government filing focuses on a June 3 meeting between Trump’s legal team and federal investigators.
In its account, the Justice Department described the conduct of a Trump lawyer, who was not named in the brief, but who, according to a letter included with the filings, was Corcoran who “represented all records that came from the White House.” It was kept in a storage room at the Mar-a-Lago resort, according to the filing.
“Counsel further represented that no other records were stored in any private office space or elsewhere on the premises and that all available boxes were searched,” the DOJ said.
Given access to the storage room by DOJ and FBI officials who visited that day, “the former president’s counsel expressly prohibited government employees from opening or looking inside the boxes that remained in the storage room. No documents with classification markings remained.”
Through its further investigation, “the government produced evidence that a search of the storage room alone would not have found all of the classified documents on the premises.”
“The government also produced evidence that government records may have been concealed and removed from a storage room and that efforts may have been made to obstruct the government’s investigation,” the DOJ wrote.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.
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