The August 8 FBI search, revealing dozens of classified documents, “cast serious doubt” on the sworn statement made by one of Trump’s lawyers in June stating that all classified documents had been returned and that “diligent research” had been conducted, the Justice Department wrote.
Trump’s attorney, Christina Bobb, is the person who signed the June 3 letter certifying that all documents requested by the subpoena issued to Trump had been delivered to the Justice Department, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN. case.
After receiving the subpoena, Trump’s team said they conducted a “diligent search” of the boxes moved from the White House to Florida after Trump left, according to the letter included in a file from the MJ Tuesday night. Notably, the letter signed by Bobb says she 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, sources told CNN it was Bobb who signed the letter and was named custodian of the records. Bobb and Trump’s attorney, Evan Corcoran, attended the meeting with federal investigators at Mar-a-Lago in June, when officers saw a storage room where the materials were kept.
The New York Times, which first reported that Bobb signed the document, reported that Corcoran wrote the June statement signed by Bobb.
Bobb and Corcoran did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment. They have not been charged with any crime.
In its court filing on Tuesday, the Justice Department said the FBI “uncovered multiple sources of evidence indicating that the response to the May 11 grand jury subpoena was incomplete and that classified documents remained at the scene. , notwithstanding the sworn certification made to the government on June 3.”
“The fact that the FBI, within hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification marks as the ‘diligent search’ that the former president’s attorney and other representatives had weeks to perform is a reminder seriously question the statements made in the June 3 certification and cast doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter,” the DOJ wrote.
CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said the statements made in the June certification are patently untrue, and the question is whether prosecutors can establish that Trump’s attorney “made this statement, knowing that ‘she was fake’.
“If that’s the case — and that’s a big if — then we could see misrepresentation and obstruction charges in play,” Honig said.
The new scrutiny of the statement signed by Bobb is just the latest instance where questions have swirled about the conduct of Trump’s legal team since the FBI’s raid of his Florida home and compound.
Sources close to Trump have questioned the role of Bobb, a former One America News Network television host who previously aided Rudy Giuliani’s behind-the-scenes efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, CNN reported.
Bobb has gone on TV to defend Trump, though she was not included in legal papers Trump filed in Florida seeking to appoint a special master to review documents gathered in the search for Mar-a- Lago by the FBI.
Corcoran is a Baltimore-based former assistant U.S. attorney who also represented Trump associate Steve Bannon.
On Monday, Trump added former Florida solicitor general Chris Kise to his legal team to represent him in the Mar-a-Lago search case. Kise will appear in Florida court on Thursday along with the rest of Trump’s legal team as part of the former president’s efforts to have a special master assigned to review documents extracted from Mar-a-Lago.
Access to storage room
Tuesday’s DOJ filing included an account of the government’s attempts to retrieve classified Mar-a-Lago documents leading up to August’s search – including several instances where members of Trump’s team were part of a effort to frustrate the government’s efforts.
In addition to the DOJ showing that Trump’s team failed to comply with the subpoena to return all classified documents, the government filing focuses on the June 3 meeting between Trump’s legal team and federal investigators.
In its account, the Justice Department describes the conduct of a lawyer for Trump, who is not named in the brief, but according to a letter attached to the documents, was Corcoran, who “represented that all documents from the White House” at Mar-a-Lago was kept in the resort’s storage room, according to the filing.
“The attorney further stated that there were no other records stored in private office space or elsewhere on the premises and that all available boxes were searched,” the DOJ said.
Through the DOJ and visiting FBI officials that day were permitted entry into the storage room, “the former president’s attorney explicitly prohibited government personnel from opening or viewing inside one of the boxes that remained in the storage room, giving the government no chance to confirm that there were no documents left with classification marks.”
With its further investigation, the “government developed evidence that a search limited to the storage room would not have uncovered all classified documents on the premises.”
“The government has also developed evidence that the government records were likely concealed and removed from storage and that efforts were likely made to impede the government investigation,” the DOJ wrote.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.