Donald Trump told an aide to deny any knowledge of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, a report said Tuesday.
Molly Michael began working for Trump in the White House in 2018 and remained his assistant after his departure.
She resigned last year over his alleged refusal to return documents he took from the White House, and has since testified before the Jan. 6 committee.
On Tuesday, ABC news reported that she told investigators looking into Trump’s handling of classified documents that he was trying to silence her.
After Trump learned last year that the FBI wanted to interview Michael, sources told ABC, Trump allegedly told her, “You don’t know anything about the boxes.”
Molly Michael also testified about note cards before the January 6 House Committee
Michael, left, is seen with Johnny McEntee, former director of the Presidential Personnel Office, on May 1, 2020
Stacks of boxes containing classified documents are depicted in Mar-a-Lago
Documents were kept in the bathrooms – with so many boxes they were even stacked in the bath
Michael became increasingly concerned about Trump’s response to the National Archives’ repeated requests to return classified documents he had taken, the sources said.
She felt there were many people around Mar-a-Lago who could “easily” refute his public statements that all documents had been returned.
Michael even told Trump that many people, including maintenance workers, had seen the boxes at Mar-a-Lago and knew there were many more than the fifteen he claimed.
And she told investigators, according to ABC’s sources, that Trump knew full well there were classified documents in the boxes because he was familiar with their contents and had been shown a photo of a storage room with all ninety or so boxes in it.
The indictment against Trump for mishandling classified documents and refusing to return them alleges that Trump asked one of his lawyers at the time, “Wouldn’t it be better if we just told them we have nothing here?”
In June last year, Trump’s attorney, Evan Corcoran, oversaw a search for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and turned over 38 of them to the FBI, signing a statement confirming that the subpoena for the documents was complete complied with.
But officials did not believe Trump had been honest with them and launched an unannounced search of the property in August, turning up another 102 papers.
Michael told investigators there were more.
Donald Trump is seen in Miami on June 13 following his indictment on federal charges related to the documents
Michael stopped working for Trump last year, some time after the Mar-a-Lago raid in August
Documents were stored throughout Mar-a-Lago, including in the ballroom
Some boxes of documents ended up on the floor at Mar-a-Lago
She said she returned to work after the raid – she had not been in her office at the time – and found her desk in disarray. She noticed that To Do lists that Trump had drawn up for her were still there, buried under papers.
The To Do lists were scribbled on the backs of documents with secret markings, she said.
Michael did not comment on ABC’s report.
Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Trump, said ABC’s report stemmed from “illegal leaks” of the investigation and lacked “proper context.”
Cheung said the Justice Department needed to urgently investigate the leaks.
“These illegal leaks come from sources completely lacking proper context and relevant information,” he said.
“The Justice Department should investigate criminal leaks, instead of carrying out their baseless witch hunts.”